Race, Religion, and Immigration in 2016

How the Debate over American Identity Shaped the Election and What It Means for a Trump Presidency

Key Findings

  • Even before the 2016 election, there was increasing alignment between race and partisanship, with white voters without a college education shifting sharply toward the Republican Party.
  • Attitudes related to immigration, religion, and race were more salient to voter decision-making in 2016 than in 2012. Other attitudes do not show this pattern.
  • There are serious partisan cleavages in how Americans feel about immigrants and Muslims.
  • Large majorities agree on certain criteria for “being American,” but Democrats and Republicans disagree about whether being Christian is an important criterion.
  • Americans see both positive and negative consequences to the demographic changes that are projected to make the U.S. a majority-minority nation.

 

European Court of Justice decision on the veil: Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) fears tension

While presidential candidate Francois Fillon welcomed the European Court of Justice’s ruling on headscarves in the work place, the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) expressed its “profound worry” regarding the ruling. It argued that the judgment gave “permission to discriminate” in workplaces. The CCIF denounced the ruling as “carrying heavy consequences” that represent “tensions within certain fringes of European societies.

The sentiment was shared by European Network Against Racism (ENAR). “It’s an extremely worrying decision because it excludes women wearing the veil from the working world.”

Hollande urges ‘firm’ response to Trump

French President Francois Hollande urged Europe to form a united front and provide a “firm” response to US President Donald Trump, at a gathering Saturday of southern European Union leaders.

“We must conduct firm dialogue with the new American administration which has shown it has its own approach to the problems we all face,” he said at the end of the gathering as he was flanked by the other leaders who took part.

Trump has rattled America’s traditional European allies with a range of radical policy plans.

On Friday he also signed a sweeping executive order to suspend the arrival of refugees and impose tough controls on travelers from seven Muslim countries.

During his first phone conversation with Trump late Saturday, Hollande stressed the “economic and political consequences of a protectionist approach”, adding that the principle of “acceptance of refugees” should be respected.

“Faced with an unstable and uncertain world, withdrawal into oneself is a dead-end response,” Hollande was quoted as saying in an Elysee Palace statement.

Hollande had earlier told the gathering that “when he adopts protectionist measures, which could destabilise economies not just in Europe but the economies of the main countries of the world, we have to respond”.

“And when he refuses the arrival of refugees, while Europe has done its duty, we have to respond.”

While officially the new administration in Washington was not on the agenda, the six other European leaders who took part in the summit also alluded to Trump.

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said Europe was “ready, interested and willing to cooperate” with the Trump administration. “But we are Europe, and we cherish our values,” he added.

 

 

 

Paris terror attacks: We Muslims must hunt down these monsters who make a mockery of our religion

Twelve years ago, I converted to Islam to marry a Tunisian. It was a purely formal conversion. I remained fundamentally agnostic until 20 months ago, I experienced a spiritual revelation, started to believe in God and to practise my religion of adoption.

We must take the lead in fighting and hunting down extremists, not just beside, but ahead of, our Christian, and Jewish brothers and sisters.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this year, I felt it was my duty as a concerned Muslim citizen to express my outrage at having my religion hijacked by mindless thugs.

With several French Muslim theologians and intellectuals, we launched the “Khlass le silence!” (“Enough with the silence!”) movement, which called on French Muslims to take the lead in the struggle against the monsters who make a sordid mockery of our religion.

Despite the emotion felt throughout France and the French Muslim community, our appeal fell largely on deaf ears.

Less than a month later I teamed up with Anwar Ibrahim, the charismatic leader of Malaysia’s opposition; the Palestinian-Austrian theologian Adnan Ibrahim; and a number of other authoritative Muslim figures from all around the world.

In pictures: A night of carnage in France’s capital

Together, we argued that while our natural instinct as Muslims to distance ourselves from the jihadists, saying that the latter have “nothing to do with Islam”, was understandable, it was dubious intellectually and altogether irresponsible to keep our reaction at that.

The last serious attempt at launching a movement of Islamic reform, led by the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh at the turn of the 20th century, ended up in failure and gave way to the creation of the Muslim brotherhood.

To overcome the state of denial described above and the moral decadence that is affecting many of us, nothing less than a new movement of Islamic reform is needed.

Despite some welcome marks of support, our calls continued to go unheeded. Our initiative was attacked or ridiculed by many in the French Muslim community and we were soon branded apostates by Islamic State (my picture appeared along with death threats in their French language propaganda magazine Dar al Islam).

Not a single Muslim leader came to our defence in France when that happened, and barely a thousand of our fellow Muslims manifested their support for our initiative.

On this ignominious day, the time has come for me to repeat with a greater sense of urgency still what my cosignatories and I said earlier this year:

“My dear Muslim brothers and sisters, it is time to make our voices heard: we must rise up massively and tell the barbarians who ordered, executed or condoned the acts of mass murder just committed in Paris that from now on we will take the lead in fighting and hunting them down, not just beside, but ahead of, our Christian, Jewish, or agnostic brothers and sisters.

“We must do so because Muslims are the extremists’ first victims and because we have mustered the courage to take our responsibilities and launch a massive, global movement for Islamic reform.

“If we do not, we must accept that these monsters represent Islam (and us) in the face of the entire world. With obvious consequences in many an forthcoming European election. The choice is ours.”

Dutch annual General Political Assembly overshadowed by refugee crisis

The first day of the Dutch annual General Political Assembly (Dutch: ‘Algemene Politieke Beschouwingen’) in the Dutch Lower House for a large part was dominated by the increased influx of refugees. All party chairmen gave attention to the issue. According to the Dutch anti-Islam party chairman Geert Wilders (Party for Freedom) the Netherlands is in danger of becoming one big refugee centre.

The Party for Freedom (PVV) leader once again brought dismay upon himself from other parties by warning for the massive inflow of Muslims. Dutch tax-money is the Netherlands’ biggest export product, according to Wilders. ‘The cabinet rather spends money on foreign countries and foreigners than on the Netherlands and the Dutch people’, the PVV-leader argued.

Wilders read from a, according to him secret, list of Dutch locations were refugee centers are still going to be opened. ‘Almost half of the municipalities in the Netherlands are in danger of accommodating a refugee center’, he said. Green-Left (GroenLinks) party-leader Jesse Klaver said he was unable to detect ‘a shred of humanity’ in Wilders.

The Labour Party-leader (PvdA) Diederik Samson stated that the consequences of the refugee crisis are worse that the bank crisis of 2008. ‘At that time banks collapsed but now people drown’, he said.

France is 32% Muslim: The chimera that terrifies the French

32% of the French population is Muslim, and the country is composed for 28% immigrants. These are the estimations of the French based on a public opinion survey published in The Guardian. The actual figures show that France is made up of about 10% immigrants and 8% Muslims. Sociologist Nacira Guenif-Souilamas discusses the reasons for these disproportionate results.

“This distorted view takes place within the context of evident misinformation. It allows for a racist ideology to develop and to transform into a self-fulfilling prophecy, that’s to say that one has created problems where there weren’t any. The Muslim becomes an ideal culprit, that which is inexorably linked… to crime, to the monopoly of social benefits, to the failure to comply with republican values or to the equality of men and women.”

Guenif-Souilamas also points to the very real consequences of these collective representations of French Muslims. She argues that a young woman who has a Muslim-sounding last name would have less of a chance of getting a job than another candidate whose last name sounds more Christian. “When we see that veiled mothers are prohibited from accompanying their children on school field trips because they could potentially be guilty of proselytizing, we can say that Islamophobia has invaded all strata of our society,” she says.

However according to demographer Michele Tribalat, the overestimation does not only concern Muslims or immigrants. She argues, “Public opinion has an extremely limited culture and statistical understanding…It is wrong about almost everything and not only about the proportion of Muslims or immigrants.”

“Actions or substantive arguments that enter into conflict with our convictions would not be important if our opinion came from knowledge and was not founded on social proof, that’s to say, on the beliefs of many,” said Tribalat.

However, she adds that “As the Islamic State triumphs in Syria and Iraq it is hard to deny the reality of worries that relate to Islam. The exaggeration of the Muslim presence in public opinion is at the center of these worries.”

Jail Sentence Over ‘Cyber Jihad’

March 5, 2014

 

A French convert to Islam was convicted of using the Internet to disseminate terrorist propaganda and promote participation in terrorist acts and was sentenced by a Paris court to one year in prison and two more on probation late Tuesday. The case is the first using a law passed in 2012 that makes “cyber jihad” a crime and potentially has serious consequences for freedom of expression in France. The law was passed in response to the attacks in Toulouse by Mohammed Merah, who killed seven people including three children and apparently was inspired in part by extremist Internet postings. The maximum sentence in Tuesday’s case could have been five years in prison, and the relatively light term given to Romain Letellier, 27, suggested that both prosecutors and judges were still considering how to apply the new law. The prosecutor said that the trial was happening in a context where young people become radicalized rapidly after reading material on the Internet.

 

Could principles of Islamic finance feed into a sustainable economic system?

October 18, 2013

 

Islamic finance has been a significant global force for the past few decades, but in recent years sharia-compliant saving and investing have become more common. For example, in June, Goldman Sachs provided a loan to Arcapita Bank, an Islamic investment company, that in compliance with sharia law did not charge interest. In July, a US-based trade association, the World Council of Credit Unions, published a manual explaining to would-be community financiers in developing countries how to operate sharia-compliant credit unions.

Western discussions of sharia law often focus on extremist groups imposing brutal interpretations of these legal codes on unwilling populations. But sharia law, which derives from the Qur’an and the religious teaching of Islam, can also be applied to the finance sector. Importantly, Islamic finance can be seen as part of a wider movement towards the promotion of sustainability as a key element of economic life.

The basic premise under sharia law that no one should profit purely from money leads to a shift in both parties’ perspective away from the short-term transaction and towards the longer-term relationship and its consequences.

In short, the structures that have evolved do away with classic debt – and the banks that provide such financing – in exchange for direct participations in risk and reward. For example, an ijara can be used to purchase real estate for the purpose of leasing it out to tenants and the rental income is distributed pro rata to subscribers. A sukuk is a fully negotiable certificate that can be bought and sold on the secondary market, and allows the new owner to “step into the shoes” of the original holder, taking all the rights, obligations and liabilities relating to the underlying assets that accompany the certificate.

Importantly, participants in an ijara and holders of a sukuk have no guaranteed return and are all economically aligned in the long-term success of the project. If the project fails, they cannot simply take their profits to date and sell of the loan collateral to make themselves whole. As a result, Islamic finance encourages the creation of social value alongside economic value.

But Islamic finance is a legitimate expression of an economic philosophy of the use of money. This shouldn’t be stigmatised or criminalised – especially in light of the excesses and abuses that preceded the recent global financial crisis.

Islamic finance is becoming an important part of important emerging economies in the Middle East and Asia – high-growth markets where businesses will want to compete and succeed. And the Muslim population is continuing to grow and can be an engine for further growth.

 

The Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/islamic-finance-sustainable-economic-system

Interview with Prof. Karakaşoglu about teachers with headscarf

July 31

 

Yasemin Karakaşoglu is a Professor for Educational Sciences at the University of Bremen. In an interview with the the Migration Journal Migazin,  Karakaşoglu speaks about the challenges consequences of the headscarf ban in public schools for students, who wear headscarves and are aiming for teaching degree. According to her personal experiences, some students begin a career in private schools run by migrant associations. Some have given up their dreams of becoming a teacher. Only a rare number of graduates reveal to depose their headscarves. According to Prof. Karakaşoglu some few cases have revealed conflicts between headscarf wearing teachers and their non-Muslim colleagues. Either headscarves have been perceived as symbols of repression against women or symbols of religious fundamentalism. In her opinion, pedagogic training is the reasonable step to reduce the risk of hiring ideologically biased teachers. Nevertheless, the creation of compromise between the State and its citizens is an unavoidable step towards pluralistic nomality.

 

In 2003, the Constitutional Court ruled against the complaint of Fereshta Ludin, a Muslim teacher, who had been banned to teach with her headscarf in 1998. Eight German States followed the rule of the Constitutional Court and did not allow teachers to wear the headscarf, as the neutrality of the State would be violated. States in the Eastern part of Germany with a low percentage of Muslim immigrants did not consider the need to act legally. States in Western part of Germany reacted differently according to their interpretation of religious symbols in public institutions.

The Five Craziest Reactions To The Marriage Equality Rulings

Though the strong majorities of Americans who support marriage equality and equal federal benefits for gay couples celebrated today’s historic Supreme Court rulings, several prominent conservatives reacted with fear and fury. Though the conservative establishment (by in large) had little to say about the marriage equality cases, the vitriol that came from these particular conservatives stood out:

 

Rand Paul and Glenn Beck worry about Muslims and animals: In a video captured by Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, the purportedly libertarian Senator and popular talk show host worry about a host of bizarre “logical” consequences of the moves toward marriage equality, with Beck asking “who are you to say that, if I’m a devout Muslim, I come over here and I have three wives, who are you to say if I’m an American citizen that I can’t have multiple wives?” Paul nodded, saying “people take it to one extension further — does it have to be humans?…I’m kinda with you…we should not just say ‘oh, we’re punting on it, marriage can be anything.”

 

The list goes on and on while Another fiery reaction — outgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann’s declaration that “no man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted” — didn’t have quite the intended impact. “Who cares?” responded House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), when asked for comment on Bachmann’s outburst.