المساعد الشخصي الرقمي

مشاهدة النسخة كاملة : Europe’s view of Muslims


aammar
03-02-2013, 08:01 AM
The European countries’ experiences of integrating Muslims into their societies have varied. The recognition of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph in 1912 of Islam as an official religion is considered the oldest official recognition of Islam in the continent of Europe.

However, the first Muslim Assembly in Vienna was established in 1979, after nearly seventy years. Muslim students did not receive any religious education until 1982. In Italy, the Italian government still refuses to recognize Islam as an official religion. This intransigence incurred a duplication of culture and created a conflict among young Muslims, who are not able to integrate into the Italian society because they are Muslims and at the same time have a sense of belonging to the country in which they were born and raised.

In Germany, Germans still view Muslims as foreigners and a jeopardy to their society. In the Netherlands, the prime minister calls for the closure of the 35 Islamic schools in the country under the pretext that they do not encourage the integration of Muslim children within the community.
The British and French experiences are considered pioneer examples of handling the issue of Muslim integration into European society. By 1842, about 3000 Muslim sailors were visiting Britain every year, some of whom settled in British cities such as Liverpool and London. The first mosque was built in Britain in 1889 and it is called the Woking Mosque, and this took place after a large number of British elite converted to Islam.

In the 1950s, the largest waves of Muslim migration to Britain began. Most of them came from villages in south-east Asia, especially from the Indian subcontinent.
The estimated number of Muslims in the UK now, as previously mentioned, is about 1.6 million, approximately 50% of whom are British-born.
[The official website of the British Foreign Office, http://www.fco.gov.uk]

There are 600 mosques in Britain, compared with 13 mosques in 1963. Add to that, there are1400 Islamic associations and societies in Britain. The distinguishing characteristic of Muslims in Britain is their greater number of youth, more than the British people themselves. This is due to the relatively high birth rate among Muslims. The proportion of British-born Muslims is about 55% of all Muslims. Additionally, British Muslims have political representation in the House of Commons and Lords, and at the municipal level as well. They also have an Islamic party.

British law has a positive view of the various ethnic groups and allows them to enjoy a degree of maintaining their distinguishing characteristics. In Britain, ethnic origin is nothing but a legal status and is not an abhorrent thing or a flaw. Under this freedom that was given to ethnic groups to express their political identity, Muslims managed to express themselves in the British political system.

The Muslims of Britain were keen to highlight their religious and cultural identity through multiple mechanisms, including: participation in the educational process in order to have a word in what should be taught to Muslim children; the formation of Muslim pressure groups in the municipal and legislative elections intended to put the interests of Muslims on the agenda; opening channels of communication with the British government aiming at protecting Muslims from racist attacks, and the recognition of Islamic marriage before British courts.

In France, there is a clear confusion in the French policy towards Muslims concerning the issue of integration. Therefore, the issue of the immigrants occupied a prominent position in the presidential elections in France. The reason behind the rise of the extreme right party was their pledge to reduce foreign immigration to France. The ballot box reflected the extent of the hatred that a large sector of the French people harbors towards foreigners. When the phenomenon of hostility to immigrants exacerbated and caused serious riot incidents that led to the imposition of the state of emergency for the first time in a long time in France, the French government began pursuing a new policy to reduce the hatred and antipathy towards foreigners.

This new policy was reflected in TV ads that underlined the need to show tolerance towards colored people and ended with the words (France is better without racism). The French government also helped immigrants to integrate into French society and established a special ministry for integration, appointing a minister of Algerian origins at its head. Among the responsibilities of this new Ministry was helping the immigrants to integrate into French society. The French Interior Ministry held meetings with the officials of Islamic organizations and bodies in France as a prelude to the formation of a representative council for the Muslims of France, to represent Muslims before public authorities.