“The Radicalization of Diasporas and Terrorism”

Throughout history, diasporic communities have been susceptible to a variety of forms of radicalization. Indeed, even in the pre-Christian era, ethnic and religious diasporas were prone to religious and separatist radicalization. Since the end of the Cold War, ethnonationalism has continued to fuel radicalization within some diasporic communities. With respect to contemporary global terrorism, militant Islamism, and in particular, its Salafist-Jihadist variant, serves as the most important ideational source of radicalization within diasporas in Western Europe and North America. Within the global North, this radicalization has frequently pitted the political desirability of relatively liberal immigration politics against the core requirements of internal security.

© 2009 Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich

Sharia in Netherlands (Dutch)

A recent study has found that due to the ethnic and religious diversity of Dutch Muslim groups, the existence of an official legal institute for all Muslims in the Netherlands is not possible, and no Sharia courts currently exist in the country.
The study was conducted by Radbound University Nijmegen for the Ministry of Justice and sent by the ministers of Justice and Integration to Dutch parliament. It notes that while practices of counseling and conflict-arbitration on the basis of Sharia exist in the Netherlands, it does not take the form of settling disputes. Rather, Muslims ask among peers or scholars for advice about issues in which Islamic concepts and life in Dutch society offer choices. The cabinet response admits that the study alleviates concern about the existence of Sharia courts, while restating its position ensuring that there will be no parallel legal orders in the country.

The Edge of Violence: A Radical Approach to Extremism

The path into terrorism in the name of Islam is often described as a process of radicalization. But to be radical is not necessarily to be violent. Violent radicals are clearly enemies of liberal democracies, but non-violent radicals might sometimes be powerful allies.

This report is a summary of two years of research examining the difference between violent and non-violent radicals in Europe and Canada. It represents a step towards a more nuanced understanding of behavior across radicalized individuals, the appeal of the al-Qaeda narrative, and the role of governments and communities in responding.

Re-imagining European Identity Politics and the Social Integration of Muslims

In this timely work, Alexander Castilla deconstructs the myth of the so-called clash of Islam and democracy, and examines the forces involving the social integration and religious accommodation of Muslims in Catalonia, Spain during the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and the March 11, 2004 terrorist attacks in Spain. In adapting to the pressures of globalization and to their own religiously plural, yet increasingly secular society, the Catalans sought to strike a delicate balance between the accommodation and integration of Muslims, while building on Catalonia’s nation building project which focused on the historical continuity of Catalan language and culture.

Re-imagining European Identity Politics and the Social Integration of Muslims defines how the claims of immigrant Muslims influence the ongoing construction of a Catalan national identity. It also explores the primary demands for religious accommodation which Muslims sought in the beginning of the 21st century and why it is necessary to separate political and religious powers. Looking at the role of Muslim religious leaders in the context of secular society is of particular significance because the contemporary issues surrounding the separation of politics and religion is far from being resolved not only in Catalonia, but also in greater Spain and in other European countries with significant Muslim communities such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland and France.

Re-imagining European Identity Politics and the Social Integration of Muslims represents the first comprehensive study in English about the social integration of Muslims living in Catalonia and combines an historical, socio-political and philosophical analysis about Islam and democracy and contributes to the literature on peace and security studies, as well as to studies of migration, citizenship and nationalism.

Published by VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, the book is now available on Amazon.com.

Report on Polygamy in France

French think tank the Montaigne Institute recently published this study on polygamy in France, highlighting the dangers for women in these marital arrangements.

This report suggests that 500,000 people are affected by polygamous households, including adults and children. It includes 10 recommendations.

The Pasqua law in 1993 formally prohibited polygamy in France.

French legislature’s report on the burqa ban

A 32-member multiparty panel led by André Gerin presented a panoply of recommendations aimed at dissuading Muslim women from wearing full-face covering headscarves in this report. Another recommendation: denying resident cards and citizenship to women who wear all-encompassing veils.

The panel was bitterly divided over recommending a ban on face-covering veils on the street, and that was not among the 15 recommendations retained after a vote. President Nicolas Sarkozy put the issue before the French in June when he told a joint gathering of parliament that face-covering veils “are not welcome” in France.

Only several thousand women in France are thought to wear burqa-style garments, usually pinning a “niqab” across their faces to go with their long, dark robes. Such veils are widely seen as a gateway to extremism and an attack on gender equality and secularism, a basic value of modern-day France.

“The all-enveloping veil represents, in an extraordinary way, everything that France instinctively rejects. This is the symbol of the enslavement of women and the banner … of extremist fundamentalism,” said Bernard Accoyer, president of the National Assembly, the lower house, after being presented with the report.

Despite the acrimony, this recommendation to ban the veils in public sector facilities could be in place “before the end of the year,” conservative lawmaker Eric Raoult, the panel’s No. 2, told The Associated Press. “We need maybe six months or a little more to explain what we want,” he told The AP, adding that “by the end of 2010” there could be such an interdiction.

Hours after the report was presented, President Sarkozy visited a Muslim cemetery in northern France that has been desecrated twice. Secularism, he said in a speech honoring Muslims who fought and died for France, “is not the negation of religion.” But it is “an essential component of our identity.”

The president of the parliamentary panel, André Gerin, has stressed that the goal of any ban is not to stigmatize women with face-covering veils but to rout out people he calls “gurus” who indoctrinate and force even young girls to cover themselves.

The recommendations show attention, too, to public sector employees dealing with women in full veil who refuse to remove it. In particular, there have been reports of confrontations in hospital settings in which a husband refuses to allow his wife to be treated by a male doctor. Also among the 15 recommendations that passed a panel vote is one calling for special training by state employees to manage such confrontations and another to “systematically signal” when minors are seen wearing full-body veils.

Neither the parliament nor the government is obliged to act on the panel’s recommendations. No action is likely before March regional elections.

Interview with Dr. Jocelyne Cesari

Professor Jocelyne Cesari, Director of Harvard’s Islam in the West Program discusses today’s most pressing integration issues in this interview.

She explores how Muslims in America and Europe differ, Islam’s compatibility with democracy, homegrown radicalism in the West, Switzerland’s minaret ban, France’s national identity debate, and ways to build stronger bridges between our two worlds.

Annual report on integration by The Netherlands Institute for Social Research

The annual report on integration from the Netherlands’ Institute for Social Research (Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau) was released in December 2009.

This report is designed to track the trends in immigration in the country, providing demographic information and statistics. The Netherlands’ Moroccan and Turkish populations, and particularly their second-generations, feature prominently in the report, followed by populations of Surinamese, Somalian, and Chinese background.

The report provides information on language, living conditions, employment, criminality, and social/cultural status among the country’s many diverse immigrant communities. Special chapters address the position of women, and of youth from non-western backgrounds.

Report:

http://www.vrom.nl/Docs/Jaarrapport%20Integratie%202009.pdf

Homepage Netherlands Institute for Social Research:

www.scp.nl/english

Religious Perceptions in America: With an In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Attitudes Toward Muslims and Islam

About 43 percent of Americans say they feel at least a little prejudice against Muslims, a significantly higher number than those who have prejudice against Christians, Jews, and Buddhists, this Gallup report reveals.

The report, “Religious Perceptions in America: With an In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Attitudes Toward Muslims and Islam” also reveals Islam is the most negatively viewed out of those four religions. Nearly a third of Americans say their opinions about Islam are “not favorable at all.”