Post 8 | Life of Muslims in Europe

muslims-in-europe

In the Book Islam, Europe’s Second Religion, in chapter 13 Zemni and Parker explain the failure of integration of muslims in Europe. They say there are two main reasons responsible for this failure. 1. Migration of laborers and their families from developing families to fill low-wage jobs in the European economics between the early 1950’s, when migration was encouraged and the 1970’s, when economic downturns led most European states to stop immigration. Europe was picking and choosing when they wanted to allow immigration and never having a consistent feeling toward immigration in their country. The economy was the reason for increase and decrease of interest in immigration in Europe. There is a definite separation in native Europeans and ‘others’. In the 70’s the others were from Turkey, Morocco, and Algeria, Now the others are muslim. What is point of claiming to be to be an accepting, open country when really you call immigrants as ‘others’? I can see why this is one of the reasons of failed integration. No matter what the time, there is a separation between natives and immigrants and there isn’t much openness to bring the immigrants into the country. 2. The dramatic increase in the number of people fleeing conflict and/or political and economic insecurity in their home countries and arriving in Western Europe after the end of the cold war. Since so many people from other countries wanted out of the conflict of the war, going to Europe was the best option for them. Something that Europeans expect from immigrants is to adopt styles and practices of daily life considered compatible with the norms of hegemonic national cultures. Without being included and seen as a individual rather than a country it makes it hard for them to adapt to the countries norm and adopt styles. Also for one to adopt all the life practices and culture styles they might have to change who they are as a person. European are not known for their openness of religion or religious expression so to ask immigrants to take that out of their life is asking them to take a part of themselves and throw it away.

headdress

Gender Systems are different in French culture than Islam culture in many ways. French wanted to ban any kind and all visible signs of religious affiliation in schools but this when against European Court’s rulings that protected religious expression and individual right. They saw any religious expression (mainly head dress) as a distraction and didn’t want to have that in the schools. Since this was against Court Rule they decided to say they wanted to ban ‘conspicuous’ dress and that anything that fell under this would be not to be worn in schools. What does conspicuous really mean and does that align with what the French meant when changing the rule in the school? “One of the many commentators pointed to the futility of these academic distinctions it might be possible abstractly to separate “ostentatious”, “conspicuous”, and “visible” he said, but in practice it would be very difficult to distinguish among them” (Scott). French argue that they made these rules to make sure that there is no sexual or non-modest or distractive dress in school. If you can see anything at all it is that Muslim women do not wear sexual or non-modest clothing. They take pride in knowing that they wear the headdress that stands for modesty and sexual unavailability. As said in Politics of the Vail, French see dress as different and excessive and perverse. As western feminists have often pointed out, uncovered bodies are no more a guarantee of equality than covered ones. This goes against the  abstract individualism and laïcité  which means sexual equality. There should be a freedom in dress and individualism in schools and anywhere else. If they have the goal of sexual equality that covers dress freedom as well.

Sources:

Shireen Hunter.   Islam, Europe’s Second Religion. Chapter 1   Islam in France   Chapter 13 Islam, the European Union, and the Challenge of Multiculturalism

 Joan Wallach Scott. Ch. 5 The Politics of the Veil. Bb Islam in Europe.

 

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