The disparities between American Muslims and European Muslims has been discussed and analyzed thoroughly over the past decade or so. Several causes have been mentioned including the social class of the migrants and the exsisting racial and cultural make up of the respective regions. The debate has heated up especially since the rise of the political right across Europe. But it’s not your typical political right. The SVP of Switzerland, the freedom party, the freedom party of the Netherlands, the Danish Folk Parti and the Swedish Sverigedemokraterna have ironically transformed themselves from fascist social conservatives to the defenders of European liberalism overnight. It’s quite a remarkable transition and although any thinking human could see through the charade they have been quite successful in gaining votes from the traditionally left of centre socially liberal voters of western Europe but I will not go into too much detail over this phenomena now.
Social Conservatives have been in the periphery of most western European nations in the later half of the 20th century while the Unites States has had a quite robust socially and religiously conservative base within a major party. The immigrants who came to Europe in hoards in the past decades have usually been from the working class of Muslim societies which tends to have a very traditional values regarding issues such as abortion, premarital sex, prostitution, and drugs that tend to not really have a voice within liberal societies like the Netherlands, Sweden, or Germany. Speaking as a Muslim brought up in Sweden, I have seen the trend of parents of Muslim to not only retreat to their fundamental moral values but also take a more traditional interpretation of their faith than they would have had in their birth countries. The resurgence of conservatism among immigrant Muslim families is quite a widespread phenomenon that has been very specific to western Europe but has not taken place in north America since those view that many Muslim bring with them already exist within the mainstream of American society.
The concept of religiosity is not foreign and exotic to the American public, and although these recent month has seen an onslaught on anti-Muslim propagation one is often reminded that the breed of hate that is taking place in the United States has mainly been imported from Europe and not as indigenous to the American people.
This integration crisis that has been continually covered here in Europe might be overblown but unfortunately the people who have had the debate sat on the fringes of society and now they are in the mainstream and while many rightly have concerns about a changing society the people in the forefront are blinded by their ignorance and keep dehumanizing people with overtly fascistic rhetoric rather than any constructive criticism. Unfortunately due to the severity of attacks being hurled at each side of the debate any self reflection by anyone seems to be a long away down the road.
Reza Aslan recently wrote an interesting opinion column in the Jewish Daily where he talked about the need for Muslims to learn from past experiences to overcome the recent onslaught of Anti-Muslim propagation in the United States spearheaded by people such as Pamela Geller, Robert spencer, and so-called media organizations like fox news. Here a link to the entire piece but I would like to focus on an excerpt that I found the most important :
“But for that to happen, American Muslims must learn a valuable lesson from the American Jewish experience about how to reframe perception of their religious community. Rather than apologetically trying to strip away the veil of exoticism and otherness that had formed about their faith and culture — as so many Muslim leaders (myself included) are so desperate to do when it comes to Islam — American Jews plunged ahead in becoming business and political leaders themselves. Even more significantly, they took the lead in the arts: literature, music, film. Jewish ideas, Jewish mores and Jewish stories became a deeply ingrained part of the American cultural landscape, refashioning the mainstream. The same right-wing religious groups, which a century ago would likely have joined in the anti-Jewish chorus issuing forth from pulpits across America, now speak proudly of the country’s “Judeo-Christian” foundations.”
this , I believe, is probably the single most important point in combating the incorrect perceptions about the diverse muslim communities in the west. the problem is that most within the muslim culture, especially the middle and upper class, do not seem to value the professions of art and culture. this is prevalent all over the muslim world. if you examine the social norm of an average muslim majority country there is a robustly polarizing pecking order regarding career professions . ironically this culture of cultural neglect is carried over with immigrants who settle in the west. so what one has here is a community clearly lacking a PR foundation to disperse during times of tension.
if you now look at who ends up representing the muslim community on different news or tv shows its usually an old bearded muslim man with a heavy foreign accent who ,while he might have lived in his adopted country for a long period of time non the less does not and can not access or relate to the western mind-set and tends to deter audiences rather than engage.
This post is going to be dedicated to one of my favourite writer of our modern period. a man who has always exhibited a tremendous amount of honesty and the courage of his conviction. i tend to disagree with a lot of his points. some tend to be on his points on religion which even though i am an atheist i have certain quarrels with. when it comes to foreign policy issue and the middle I tend to agree to a large degree with Hitchens. On 30 June 2010, Hitchens postponed his book tour for Hitch-22 to undergo treatment for oesophageal cancer. he is a man who has as he put it “I burned the candle at both ends and it gave a lovely light”, a quite insightful quote which probably describe the lifestyle of Christopher Hitchens better than anything else. So in this post I am going present my favourite Hitchens speeches and once you hear him speak you will at once understand the sorrow of losing such a brilliant mind.
My all time Favorite being an excerpt from a speech on the purpose of life according to him. this comes from a debate between him and Jay Richard on the topic of God.
This one is where he summarizes why we would be off better without religion
And a great debate of Freedom of speech held in Toronto. this is a three-part series
This is one of the most fascinating articles that I have read in a long time. this articles explains how the environment and thought go hand in hand and how different languages tends to create a difference thinking processes within their respective cultures. its seems to be a very complicated issue and I would not do it any justice by trying to explain the research but here is a link to the article on the New York Times.
Interesting things have been going on during the past couple of month concerning Islam, muslims, and their presence in Europe and the United States. First you had the Community center debacle in the lower Manhattan, then the German economists views on muslims in Europe and most recently the planned Quran burning by a low life fanatical pastor in florida. I guess one can easily see the common thread here. with regard to the mosque and the question of moderate Islam and Imam Rauf, Ross Douthat wrote an excellent piece in the New Times two weeks ago which really hit the nail on the head.
Now regarding the now cancelled Quran burning I will make only a couple of points. As hateful, ignorant, and despicable pastor Terry Jones is, something I think we can all agree on, any person who is willing to commit violence and murder as a reaction to his hateful act is one hundred times worse than pastor Terry and his fellow sheep. there is something very troubling about the way people like him along with prominent right-wing lunatics and fanatics are shaping the arguments over Islam in Europe and the United States while simultaneously the exact type of radical and extremist muslims are taking over the narrative within muslim communities. these idiots feed of each other while squeezing out the vast majority of moderates in the middle. It’s the absolute worst kind of mutual masturbation.
Last but not least is the new book released by now former board member of the German Central Bank Thilo Sarrazin. His book “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (“Germany does away with itself”) has become the center of an escalating controversy in germany and in the rest of western europe. in it he states “With higher relative fertility among the less intelligent, the average intelligence of the population declines,” . the “less intelligent” he is referring to happens to be the muslim population in germany and added that “the inherited intellectual potential of the population is being progressively diluted.”. This seems to me to be the opinion of the vast majority of ethnic western european society and while there is definitely a growing segment of the population that has a strong tendency of irrational islamophobia, a much larger amount are worried about the quite extraordinary failure of European states to integrate and assimilate muslims in their respective societies. So before all you angry politically correct and self-righteous knuckle head go screaming murder, think about what this change of tone across western Europe might actually do to the process of cultural assimilation. for the past 60 years Europeans have been too afraid to assert any kind of cultural or national identity towards incoming immigrants and now look where that has left us. lets not let people shut down the conversation by simply hollering racism and for the first time in a very long time, let’s be honest about the cause of this parallel society within these countries. yes culture and discrimination does play a part but so does the exceedingly generous welfare and social programs that are in place right now. ill leave you with a book written by Christopher Caldwell called “Reflections on the Revoltuion in Europe : Immigration, Islam, and the West”.
This being my absolute first post in the blogosphere i would like to start with a statement of intent of what i am about to start here. this blog will be a place where i will give opinions on the latest world event and innovations as well as in topics like music and film. Hopefully what ever followers i accumulate will share my interests and challenge me on my opinions.
Born Sudanese, early childhood in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Sweden and now a self-declared internationalist with no real emotional or political ties, i now commit myself to the virtues of doubt, reason, skepticism, and every now and then a tiny bit of sadomasochism.
Love for music, art, film and the quest of mankind to honestly express its experience and detest for monotonous, closed-minded, and extremist aspects of the human face. that is where I stand.