In “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion” by Shireen Hunter, she discusses several differences in the Muslim community in Italy compared to in other European countries. There are four main developments in the immigrant population in Italy. These include diversity of countries of origin, rapid pace of entry and settlement, higher number of irregular immigrants, and higher level of geographic dispersion (Hunter 2002). She goes onto explain that there is no Muslim “ghettos.” Next, Muslims came to Italy with the first immigrants. In other European countries this was not the case. Hunter explains “in other countries, Islam became visible only after the emergence of a second immigrant migration” (Hunter, 2002). There is a presence of ethnic diversity in Italy, which means that Muslims are not identified as one ethnic group. This leads to the fact that there is no foreign policy enforced in Italy, unlike other European countries. The majority if Italy’s Muslim population is Sunni. The “intesa,” or an agreement, must be signed by other religions if they want to be included in the system of recognition (Hunter 2002). There are several factors that have contributed to the lack of “intesa” within the Islamic community in Italy. These include: most Muslims are not Italian citizens, the number of Italian converts to Islam and other Muslim citizens is relatively small, cultural differences, some financing comes from other Muslim countries which contributes to the ‘outsider’ image of Muslims, and weak level of organization, lack of cohesion, and lack of adequate public awareness of Islam (Hunter 2002).
In Naveed Jamali’s article entitled “Why the US doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does, he goes into detail about how the US does not have the same problem as Europe does with Muslims. He explains that Europe has a hard time, a very hard time, welcoming immigrants thus creating major racial tension. The US does not have this same problem. The United States has a very different view on Muslim immigrants, and there are about 3.3 million living here. According to the Pew Research Center, Muslim Americans are “’highly assimilated into American society and…largely content with their lives” (Jamali 2016). The report also stated that about 63 percent of Muslim Americans said that they felt no conflict between them and others. What I found very cool was in fact that “half of all Muslim immigrants display the US flag at home, in the office, or on their car” (Jamali, 2016). Many people have migrated to other countries to escape this tension. Jamali states “Officials believe that over 5,000 Western Europeans have made their way to Syria to support ISIS” (Jamali 2016). Of the 4.2 million Muslim refugees, 850,000 have fled to Europe, which is the result of an influx of foreign workers taking advantage of lax guest worker programs after World War II (Jamali 2016). At the end of his article, Jamali explains the journey of his uncle and his father. His uncle was one of the immigrants who came to Europe under the guest worker program, and was a very skilled worker. His father, similarly, was not fleeing war, but also leaving to pursue a professional career. The author might have some biases in the fact that he was born in America. He might be giving us readers some of the wrong impressions and favoring America over Europe on purpose, even there are underlying reasons for his explanations. Since this article was published, several things have changed for the Muslim community. The main thing that has changed is the travel ban that was enforced which mainly targets the Muslim population. This is a result of our communities fear and disregard of other races.
Hunter, S. T. (2002). Islam, Europe’s Second Religion. Wesport , CT : Praeger .