Post 11 – Italy and Muslim Integration: Europe vs. The United States

The way European countries see and deal with Muslim immigrants shows a distinct pattern. The Muslim community tends to be on the poorer side and live in “ghettos”. Because they are not welcomed into the dominant society, they tend to stick together which furthers places them in the “outsider” category. Not to mention the hostility towards Muslims because of recent events, Muslims, I think, will never be able to integrate into the dominant society, they will only ever be tolerated. The Muslim immigrant population differs from that in other European countries because, Muslims ruled in Italy from the ninth to the eleventh century, so rather than Muslims being a new presence in Italy, they are returning to Italy.  Italy tries to ignore this historical fact, but the only evidence is in short stories that illustrate some sort of conflict with Muslims/Arabs. Also there was a period of Fascist rule from 1928 to 1943. Musolini tried to be the “protector” of Islam, and defined Italy as a “friend of the Islamic world. Factors that contributed to the lack of an “Intesa”, or an agreement with the Islamic community in Italy are that it is not the duty of the state to grant an intesa, but it is always a bilateral agreement with a particular religious community. Some other factors that make meeting an agreement problematic are most Muslims are not Italian citizens, the number of Italian converts to Islam and other Muslim citizens is still small; they do not represent a powerful political group, cultural differences like the use of Arabic enhances the alienation of Islam and Muslims, some financing for Muslim institutions comes from other Muslim countries and not the Italian government; this further perpetuates the “outsider” image, and lastly Italian Islam has a weak level of organization, it lacks cohesion, lacks adequate public awareness of Islam, and the persistent image of Islam as an enemy. These factors contribute to the lack of an intesa.

img_02361The climate regarding Muslim integration differs drastically from European countries and the United States. The United States does not have a “Muslim problem” when compared to Europe because, according to the Jamali reading, the Muslims in the United States have no problem being welcomed and assimilating into society. Europe has a problem with integrating Muslims into their society and as a result, disenfranchised young men turn to ISIS for support because they feel like and are treated like outsiders. The Muslim population differs from that in Europe because Muslims make up 10% of physicians, are the second most educated group after the Jewish population, they are as likely as other American households to report an income of $100,000 or more, and over 6,000 serve in the military. Muslim Americans are “highly assimilated into American society and are content with their lives. They feel that they can be devout Muslims and still live in a modern society. Most importantly, Muslim Americans have a sense of inclusion and loyalty. Some biases that the author might have are that he was born in America, so he could feel more American that Pakistani, also a factor could be that his father is a successful doctor so he does not know the struggle of other Muslims who do not have those skills. Since this article, the United States has seen an increase in Islamophobia and xenophobia. Muslims are being targeted by racist supporters, who also support our new administration’s views on Muslims/Arabs. As a result of our administrations ignorance and fears, a travel ban was implemented that mainly targeted Muslim majority countries (but the bad countries were exempt from the ban). The majority race in the United States fears everything that they do not understand.

 

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