Migrants to the West #2

Wrong perceptions

About 40 per cent of the French, German and Norwegian populations perceive Islam as a threat to national identity (NOU 2011:14; p.315); and an annual Gallup in Norway over the years 2005 to 2010 shows that more than 50 per cent of the Norwegian population think that Islamic values are incompatible with basic Norwegian values (IMDI 2010:22). A similar proportion also say that immigrants should assimilate (NOU 2011:14; p. 317). Given that a large majority of Muslims want to integrate and think that their religion is compatible with liberal values, why does every second “Westerner”, even theorists like Taylor, Barry (2001:27) and Kymlicka, share a misperception that the two have incompatible values? {A Multicultural Society in the Making; How Norwegian Muslims challenge a white nation; by Christian Stokke, 2012 p20}

1st President of Modern Turkey: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Perhaps are Esposito & Mogahed right to say that the conflict between Western and Muslim communities is more political rather than cultural; it is more about policy than about principles. I am not convinced that European Muslims may be more secular than their counterparts in Muslim countries, though much might have changed in those countries. When I first encountered the dancers of the Ankara Ballet in 1976 and visited Turkey in the early 1980s I did find contemporary fashioned clothed people and a very modern country where the inhabitants had very western or modern living attitudes. They were more open minded than their Turkish European counterparts. But when I revisited the country some 20 years later I also noticed lesser bikini’s and no monokinis any more, plus saw many more women fully dressed with everything hidden from public. In the home country of those who immigrated to Europe we saw a shift to the fundamentalist Muslim religion. A lot of the work of the great politician Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who wanted to give the people a sense of pride associated with their citizenship, giving the needed psychological spur for the people to work harder and achieve a sense of unity and national identity, is destroyed. The more secular open religious country became more religious narrow minded. Atatürk had embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the former Ottoman Empire into a modern, secular and European nation-state. Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, while the burden of taxation on peasants was reduced. It were the more conservative Turks who came to the West, like in the previous century several Europeans had fled from the religious defiled Europe, those Turks went away from a country which in their eyes lost connection with the Laws of God.

Rejection of multiculturalism

In the East as in the West we see that people become more afraid to intermingle.

While Kemalist ideology aims to banish religious interference in government affairs, and vice versa; solidified in public education and government-subsidized cultural and legal affairs this separation of religiosity and laicism frightens people today. It seems that many Eastern people think they would loose their possibility to be faithful Muslims and in the West we notice that people become afraid that their Christianity would be endangered by the more active believers of the Islam world. Those people who call themselves Christian but are not really very active believers better wonder how they should be faithful believers and why those immigrants so eagerly wish to worship their God, which is the same God of gods as the one of the Jews and Christians.

In case the western world would allow Kemalist laicism it would offer freedom of thought and independence of the institutions of the state from the dominance of religious thought and religious institutions. The Kemalist principle of laicism is not against moderate and apolitical religion, but against religious forces opposed to and fighting modernization and democracy. And it is for such dangerous forms of religiosity, be it Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or any other that the industrial world has to be afraid for.

Freedom of religion and code of dress

Many Muslim women have different ways of hair and parts of their body covering.

The Muslims should not be afraid for the laïcité of the industrial world and the civic world should not be afraid of people wearing religious symbols. What happens in Belgium, having public schools or the civic offices prohibiting any religious symbol being worn by their pupils or workers is totally against the freedom of people. That Catholic, Protestant or any other private school would demand their pupils to wear an uniform without certain symbolic signs can be accepted. Those who would not like to apply to the code of dressing of that school or institution could and should have the possibility to go somewhere else. But a state school has to be open for everybody and every body should feel themselves at ease, not to oblige themselves to say prayers or to do actions against their believes.

A Muslim women wearing an acceptable or not dangerous hijab

Any democratic country has to provide their citizens the possibility to go to places where they can wear the clothes acceptable for their believe. As such a a veil which covering the head, which is particularly worn by Muslim women beyond the age of puberty in the presence of non-related adult males, should also be allowed in the public schools and in the civic official buildings, like the townhall, library and civic hospitals. Though the believers should also recognise and respect the civic laws covering the safety of all the citizens. This means that for safety the commonly understood belief that hijab being a requirement in Islamic tradition would not endangering any body, but the wearing of a Jilbāb when the coat for the woman has also a covering of the full face of the woman, would be too dangerous because underneath the coat any person could hide any dangerous person or weapon.

A woman berniqāb which is forbidden in Belgium though the police does not pick them up or do not give a fine.

A woman wearing a niqab in Monterey, California

A totally unacceptable dress is the one with the full mask, like the Burqa. The cloth which covers the face as a part of sartorial hijab was originally worn by some Muslim women in public areas and in front of non-mahram adult males in Syria, the Arab countries of the Arabian Peninsula such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the UAE. Though today on the streets of Europe we see those Niqābs more. We can even find European, white munaqqabahor niqabi (women wearing the niqab). Hanbali and Salafi schools with some others preach also in Belgium the covering of the entire body (including her face) when in public or in presence of non-mahram men. [I do find it strange that in my neighbourhood two young Flemish girls who previously walked, where clothed and behaved like whores converted to Islam and sometimes wear the nearly full covering dress.]

The Medina quarter in Essaouira, Morocco, showing women wearing the traditional Jilbāb.


A woman wearing a burqa in Afghanistan

Entering the 21st century we saw a growing awareness of upcoming Islamic beliefs giving more way to a clash of civilizations by the way of living of immigrants who did not adapt to our modern western society and by the youngsters who became disillusioned by our way of life and the capitalist system.

The media did not help really by creating in their articles the “classical” stereotypes. Many false presumptions where made and fed by the multiplying terrorist acts of some lunatics, that gave the idea that the Islamic religion is a violent political ideology with values incompatible and inferior to those of the West. (Report of the European Monitoring Centre on Xenophobia and Racism)

This week I am in discussion about such Islamophobic ideas on a Dutch Christian group where some people consider the Muslims not as a monotheist religion (?)  while others accuse Islam to be constructed as monolithic, substantially different, having an other God than ‘we Christians’ have.

In many places we see that people do find the Islam threatening and that any Muslim criticism of the West is rejected, even when they would say something very right. Lots of Westerners do not like to receive any criticism on their system which they consider to be the best way to construct a good society.

But fear of Islam is also mixed with anti-immigration racism, fear for their own job, having to face a ruthless competition. I am afraid that in many cases it is not so much an attack on the religious people for their believes, but more for them behaving different and worse, for they being part of ‘demanders’ in the community, having the right for social security and for taking jobs or for opening shops which are open in day but also in night time, and seemingly making more money than others would want.

We can not exclude anti-immigrant, class and racial discrimination in a group of religious people who seem to manage to get some of the own population into the religious and more dangerously in the political networks, like getting them to fight in Syria.

According to me our world did not get rid of the colonial imperialist feeling. Europe recognises that America has outgrown them, but together they consider themselves as the western superior power. They love the dominance and hegemony which consistently constructs Europe as superior to the ‘Other’.

Upcoming eastern danger

The West was more than please to use first the liberated Eastern European, transferring their factories to those countries where they could find cheap labour. But when they became too expensive the West went more East, to Pakistan, India and China.

At first they thought to have the Orient under their sceptre and in control, but  now they see those upcoming markets and many stereotype ideas shattered.  The Western idea to liberate all the other people is also fed by the differences in how people treat the other sex. The desire to unveil and ‘liberate’ the oriental women has re-emerged but on the other side as a from of ‘counter-action’ the hijab has become a symbol of resistance to assimilation.

We can not deny that gender and violence have been persistent themes in anti-Muslim discourse, as reflected in the focus on violence against women, but also in the cartoon affair, where the most provocative cartoons depicted the prophet as a terrorist surrounded by women in burqas.

By demonizing non-assimilated Muslim minorities in Western countries as an ‘enemy
within’ the so called democratic countries created themselves a fertile ground for a hostile community.

When the discourse of good Muslims and bad Muslims is linked to a neo-nationalist ideology that links culture to descent and
sees Muslims are unassimilable, individuals of ‘Muslim descent’ are faced with the impossible task of repeatedly proving themselves to be ‘integrated enough’ in terms of loyalty to ‘western values’. (Razack 2008:122)

The themes of gender and violence remain central, and like historical Orientalism served to justify colonialism, it still serves to justify specific Western political interests such as the war in Afghanistan (Zebiri 2011:174-175; Fekete 2009:193).

Integration and government decisions

Ghassan Hage argues that the tendency towards integration, including a degree of change in majority society, is inevitable and minimally affected by government decisions. A comparison of the wide differences between minority policies of various European states would show that certain policies may facilitate or slow down the integration process, but they have a rather limited effect; differences in the extent of real integration are small. Hage thus argues that when nationalists worry about minorities’ ‘lack of integration’, what they want is “more supervised integration” (where minorities have to prove their loyalty to the nation), while they actually fear “real integration”, where minority persons become equal and politically active citizens defining their belonging independently. Rather than as a
meaningful instrument for formulating policy, Hage sees integration debates as a “ritual
of white empowerment” (ibid, 241), which provides the majority with a sense of control
over the nation; he argues that the presence of unchecked white nationalism assures the
continuation of white hegemony, while white liberals can condemn nationalist populism
as irrational, and claim for themselves a responsible “middle ground” as managers of
diversity. {Christian Stokke, A Multicultural Society in the Making, 2012}

The Flemish parliamentarians demanding to forbid people wearing any religious sign or symbols, but allowing them to wear rainbow shirts or any contestant sign for ‘earth-matters’ is putting oil on the fire and instead creating a solution, creating a bigger problem and a restriction of religious freedom.


Preceding article: Migrants to the West #1


Place enough for all sorts of white and coloured people of different cultures in a world full of colour

Demanding to put the fear of union away and going for peace together


Read also:

A Multicultural Society in the Making: How Norwegian Muslims challenge a white nation

Citizen University and the difference between Citizenship and Activism

Doomthinking or a real problem for Europe

Citizens to be put at the heart of the public debate

Blow to legitimacy of the capitalist system

Will Islam conquer europe

God of gods


  • Here We Go Again: Most Germans See Islam as a Threat (secretsofthefed.com)
    More than half of all Germans view Islam as a threat to their country and believe it does not belong in the Western world, according to a major new study on religious attitudes in Germany.The findings confirm the results of dozens of other surveys, and reflect a growing divide between the views of ordinary Germans and those of Europe’s multicultural elites, who, in the quest for “diversity,” have been promoting mass immigration from Muslim countries for decades.

    Although 80% of Muslims in Germany say they believe “democracy is a good form of government,” the survey also shows that only 24% of Muslims are involved in civil society activities outside of work and family. Bertelsmann explains the statistical disconnect in this way: “The strong collective attachment to family, which prioritizes family relationships over civil society activities, probably plays a role.”

    The survey results are undeniably bad news for multiculturalists, who are now busy casting the blame for “Islamophobia” on German ignorance and portraying Muslim immigrants as victims of “negative stereotypes.”

    Bertelsmann claims that the Germans who are most concerned about Islam are “the elderly and those with low levels of education,” although the report offers no convincing empirical evidence to support this claim.

  • Islam is the Ultimate Sleeper Cell (iranaware.com)
    koran peace
    Most recent Muslim terrorist plots were carried out by “lone wolves”, individuals or small groups, who received their Islamist indoctrination and explosives training through the Islamic internet of Jihadist social media.Koran quotes
    As a Muslim becomes more religious, his thoughts turn to Jihad, whether supporting it directly or indirectly. The religiosity need not be overt. The terrorist can be outwardly secular, but inwardly religious. He doesn’t have to grow a beard or leave Korans everywhere. Many don’t. The essence of Jihad is that it allows a Muslim to live a secular life so long as he dedicates himself to the fight against non-Muslims.
  • Face of Islam: Being Muslim and American (wbng.com)
    Two thirds of the Muslim community in America today are immigrants, but the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates almost half of Muslims in the U.S. will be born here by 2030.But while Muslims become a greater presence in the US, Shaikh says Islam continues to be associated with terror.

    “I think Islam has definitely gotten portrayed negatively in the media,” he said.

    He said he would explain Islam as a submission to God’s will, which includes a command against violence.

    “Our greeting, ‘As-salamu alaykum,’ is translated to ‘Peace be upon you, peace be on you.’ So we greet people with peace,” Shaikh said, “And this shows that peace, love and kindness are important aspects of Islam.”

    Shaikh said a common misconception among non-Muslims is focused on the frequency of prayer, which can be viewed as extreme. He said Muslims pray five times a day in order to keep them better connected to God.

    “The reason why we pray so many times during the day is because every so often we need to go back to God,” Shaikh said.

    Shaikh encourages anyone with questions to sit down with Muslims, and come to the understanding most are far from extreme.

    “If you interact with a Muslim,” he said, “You’ll come to know exactly who he is.”

  • Islam as a Hegemonic and Expansionist Religion (robertlindsay.wordpress.com)
    There are plenty of cultures who are content with not trying to dominate the world and don’t keep pushing for a takeover when they go abroad. I sure as heck don’t notice: Polynesians, Copts, Greek Orthodox, Saivites, Buddhists, Shintoists, Tibetans etc…imposing themselves in the same manner as Islam. As shitty/wicked as Vedic Hinduism is, it pretty much limited itself to the SubCon. Buddhist Nationalists run pogroms in Burma and Sri Lanka but they don’t try to colonize other regions of the world.
    The infidel West must open its doors to be flooded by millions of alien, often hostile and frequently ill-behaved Muslims who, if they obtain enough numbers, will threaten the very nature of the West by Islamicizing it. Yet all Muslim countries must remain Muslim. Muslims must be treated wonderfully in the West by infidels, but Muslims are free to treat their non-Muslim minorities like crap, which as a general rule, they do.The West must make its Muslims citizens, but Muslims have a right to import generations of infidel bonded labor who have no hope of ever obtaining citizenship, lest the Islamic nature of the society be challenged. Muslims have a right to limit proselytization and the building of infidel houses of worship in Muslim lands, but the infidels must not put limits on the building of mosques in infidel lands or Muslim conversion efforts of infidels in infidel lands. The blatant hypocrisy of Muslims is stunning and audacious.
  • Resolution of the 4th International Conference on Islamophobia at UC-Berkeley: ON FRANCE (indybay.org)
    while discrimination is still in place and sustained by the state, the collective called Mamans Toutes Egales continue to defend many mothers that use the veil and are excluded from chaperoning fieldtrips and After School Programs. We concretely affirm the right of Muslim women to use the veil as an expression of their specific cultural and religious identity to participate in public life, to work, to get involved in the schooling of their children that is being violated.
    we call on the French government and the political leadership to adhere to the articles and spirits of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by affirmatively embracing the Muslim minority and to take the needed steps to repeal all exclusionary laws that discriminate and problematize and otherize Muslims as a group.
  • In Migrants to the West #6 we also shall look at the keynote speech at the opening of a two-day international symposium on “Migration, Islam and Multiculturality in Europe” arranged by Hacettepe University’s Migration and Politics Research Center, spoken of a.o. in Turkey – One Of The Worst Religious Freedom Offenders In The World – Lectures Europe On Tolerance (midnightwatcher.wordpress.com)
    European countries will face new humanitarian tragedies leading to mass killings of people if they continue in their failure to embrace tolerance toward different cultures and religions, President Abdullah Gül has warned.
  • Muslims dominate the natives on the streets of Norway (theoccidentalobserver.net)
    Gates of Vienna has an article showing just how unfathomably bad things are in Norway as a result of immigration and multiculturalism (“Everything You Have Learned in School Is Wrong“). The main story is the familiar one throughout the West: elites encourage immigration and are able to avoid the costs. As noted in Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech,  the costs are paid by those who can’t flee the areas impacted by immigration.
    Muslims have large social networks based on kinship and they are aggressive in groups, whereas they are cowardly when alone. The result is a very clear dominance hierarchy, with the natives at the bottom and groups of Muslims at the top.
    The genius of Western societies is that individualism allows the construction of civil societies where kinship ties are much less important. This is  why Syria and  Iraq cannot construct civil societies but are riven by kinship groups that are in constant conflict.
  • On the Muslim Question by Anne Norton – review (guardian.co.uk)
    Anne Norton thinks that the “Muslim question” is, if anything, a question about non-Muslims. She is straightforward in denying the claim that Islam and the west are involved in a “clash of civilisations”, castigating writers of various political persuasions who have, blatantly or inferentially, put forward this view. She thus criticises writers such as John Rawls (as well as those, such as Michael Walzer and Michael Ignatieff, who “have urged them on”) for saying that Muslims constantly seek empire and territory, for stereotyping Muslims’ political orientation as the antithesis of liberalism, and for promoting a false history that conceals liberalism’s own failings.
  • “Different and Threatening”: Most Germans See Islam as a Threat

    Although 85% Germans say that society should be open to all religions, and 67% believe that “every religion has a core of truth,” fully 50% of Germans believe that Islam does not belong to Germany.

    The survey also shows that Muslims possess the strongest religious identity in Germany. Some 90% of Muslims believe that religion is somewhat or very important, 40% rate themselves as very religious, and 30% of Muslims visit the mosque on a regular basis. By contrast, only 18% of Protestant Christians attend church on a regular basis.

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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