Since the start of the 21st century, it has become clear that a widespread fear of Islam has developed throughout the Western world. Because of events like the attacks on 9/11, 7/14/2016 (Nice, France), the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the belief that Islam is a fundamentally violent religion that promotes an uncivilized ideology has grown immensely popular.
Muslims are often discriminated against in European countries due to drastic differences between their cultures. From language to religion to politics, day-to-day lives of Muslims living in predominately Muslim countries are extremely different from Western norms. This causes problems both in how Westerners perceive Muslims into Europe and how Muslims respond to this reception when it is not ideal.
Picture : Wikipédia : Islam in Europe
A few myths that Justin Vaisse is talking about in “Muslims in Europe: A Short Introduction.” are:
- “Being Muslim constitutes a fixed identify, sufficient to fully characterize a person”. What I understand from this myth, is that most people categorize Muslim people as a person. They don’t see Muslim as American, German or French but they consider Muslim people as Muslim as a race instead of a religion.
- “Muslims in Europe are inherently foreign, the equivalent of visiting Middle-Easterners who are alien to the “native” culture.” Meaning that people, do see themselves as French Muslim or German Muslims. A French person practicing the religion of Islam, is exactly like a French person practicing Catholicism.
- “Muslims are demographically gaining on the “native” population.” The difference being that the birth rate in France or Ireland is like the one in the US (1.9 children per woman) whereas the birth rate for immigrants is usually higher. However, according to Justin Vaisse it is doubtful that the percentage of Muslims in European countries will be higher than 6% in the future.
It is important to make a difference between the political religion and religious dimensions. Indeed, in Saudi Arabia the Quran is considered as the law, and they believe in the Sharia that is the country’s constitution. Whereas the religious dimension of Islam is the religion that a person chooses to practice in a country that has a government separated from a religious book, for example.
Muslim communities are facing many challenges in Europe especially regarding integration. Indeed, as I have said before most people categorize Muslims as a group or even as a race which means that they don’t think that Muslims people can agree with their government all the while following the Quran and its rules.
Also, there are a lot of newspapers that have written on the burqa in France. Indeed, the French government implemented secularism (often referred to as Laïcité), which has been in practice since the French Revolution of 1789, throughout all French territory. It entails, that no signs of religious beliefs should be shown in schools or publics places. However, people think that everyone should be able to wear whatever they want. I think, that the burqa in France is dividing people because it is seen as a rebellion from Muslim people and not as a religious choice from women.
Ramadan is encouraging Muslim families to remain positive in the face of cultural adversity, and to focus particularly on collaborating and building relationships with other people of different faiths in order to maybe be more integrated in the society.