Adults in Netherlands have Strong Opinions about Muslim Integration

Many adults in the Netherlands hold strong views on the way Muslims adapt to the European continent, according to a poll by Motivaction released by GPD. 63 per cent of respondents believe think Islam is incompatible with modern European life. In September 2004, Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders quit the liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). Wilders criticized Muslims in the Netherlands for failing to properly integrate to society, and openly opposed Turkey’s accession to the European Union (EU). In November 2004, controversial filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered. Van Gogh directed a short motion picture that depicts a husband’s abuse on a Muslim woman. Death threats to Wilders and other former VVD members were left at the crime scene. On May 15, Dutch officials revealed that Somali-born VVD lawmaker Hirsi Ali provided false information when she applied for refugee status, and then when she sought citizenship. The next day, the lawmaker announced that she would leave the Second Chamber immediately. Hirsi Ali confirmed that she intends to move to the United States and work at the American Enterprise Institute. In the January 2003 election, the Christian-Democratic Appeal (CDA) elected 44 lawmakers to the 150-seat Second Chamber. CDA member Jan Peter Balkenende has acted as minister president since July 2002. In early 2003, Balkenende established his second coalition government with the VVD and Democrats 66 (D66). The next legislative ballot is tentatively scheduled for January 2007. Polling Data Do you think Islam is compatible with modern European life? Yes 37% No 63% Source: Motivaction / GPD Methodology: Interviews with 1,200 Dutch adults, conducted in May 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

Muslims ‘Want Sermons In English’ Friday Prayers At East London Mosqu: Many Believe Multiculturalism Improves UK Society

A majority of British Muslims say clerics should preach in the English language, a BBC survey suggests. The Mori poll for the BBC found 65% of Muslims backed such a move, compared with 39% of the national population. More than half of UK Muslims were born in the country and younger generations, backed by progressive leaders, have long advocated more English in mosques. Many believe English-speaking imams helps break down cultural divides between Islam and mainstream society. Backing for multiculturalism Commenting on the poll, imam Dr Abduljalil Sajid, chair of the Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony, said it was important for “integration and communication” that imams in the UK spoke English. The Koran commanded imams to speak in the “language of the nation” and those that did not were “not actually performing their duties” as community leaders, he added. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme “nobody knows” how many imams could not speak English, but added: “My feeling is that only 10% are well versed in English and 90% probably speak in their own mother tongue – Turkish, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and so on.” ‘Home-grown imams’ He said the “majority of people” in mosques did not understand the imams because “56% of our young people are born British and the only country they know of is England, the United Kingdom”. He said British Muslims needed “home-grown imams” who “can be the real leaders of the community not just simply preachers”. ISLAM AND INTEGRATION There are enormous numbers who go to mosque and colleges at the same time; they don’t have a problem integrating while sticking to their religious principles Imam Saeed Ahmed Dawn to dusk: Life of an imam Increasing numbers of imams are British-born and educated in the country. Many pursue their higher education in both British universities and the Islamic seats of learning in the Middle East. Muslim leaders also supported a Home Office move to impose language tests on all religious ministers coming to the UK, saying they regarded it as key to imams being able to do their job. Sadia Hussein of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, an organisation that has campaigned for reform of mosques – particularly over access for women – welcomed the poll results. “The poll further reinforces the need for ‘Mosque reform’, ackowledged by many Muslims who are requesting Imams to deliver educational programmes and sermons in English with a wider knowledge of British society and politics,” she said. “Mosques [should] open their doors to improve relations and celebrate British multiculturalism.” The BBC survey, which was carried out to test attitudes towards multiculturalism in the wake of the 7 July bombings, also suggests the majority of British people think multiculturalism makes the country a better place. But 32% think it “threatens the British way of life” and 54% think “parts of the country don’t feel like Britain any more because of immigration”. International sport The survey questioned 1,004 people in the UK. A booster survey of 204 British Muslims was conducted for comparison. The overwhelming majority of Muslims surveyed – 89% – said they feel proud when British teams do well in international sports competitions, a similar figure to the national population. And the survey suggests broad agreement between the two groups on immigrants being made to learn English and accept the authority of British institutions. But the survey suggests a more confused attitude to the concept of multiculturalism. Some 62% of the national population believe “multiculturalism makes Britain a better place to live”, according to the poll. At the same time, 58% thought “people who come to live in Britain should adopt the values of and traditions of British culture”. Among Muslims, 87% thought multiculturalism improved British society, but only 28% thought people coming from abroad should adopt British culture and values. Both Muslims and the broader population disagreed strongly with the suggestion that the policy of multiculturalism had failed and should be abandoned. Only 2% of the national population described themselves as “very racially prejudiced”, but a third said they thought Islam was “incompatible with the values of British democracy”.

Spain: With The Bombs Came Questions

The attacks of March 11th in Madrid, in which several Moroccans took part, have changed teh relationship between the Spanish and Muslims. Before, they lived next to one another, with little trouble, but also little integration. Spaniards have become much more suspicious, and life has gotten much more difficult for Moroccans. However, there is also a belief that Spanish society has reacted rather tolerantly. {(continued below in German)} Die Bombenanschl_ge des Terrornetzwerks El Kaida in Madrid am 11. M_rz vergangenen Jahres, an denen haupts_chlich Marokkaner beteiligt waren, haben das Verh_ltnis der Muslime und Spanier deutlich ver_ndert. Vorher lebten sie nebeneinander her, ohne viel voneinander zu wissen. Es gab keine Ausschreitungen, keine Diskriminierung, aber auch keine Integration. Die Anschl_ge h_tten Letzteres sehr deutlich gemacht, glaubt Mohamed El Afifi, Sprecher des Centro Cultural Isl_mico in Madrid, der gr?_ten der sechs Moscheen in Spanien: “Pl_tzlich wurden die Spanier misstrauisch.” Vielen Marokkanern sei nach den Anschl_gen gek_ndigt worden, viele h_tten bis heute keinen neuen Job gefunden. Auch bei der Wohnungssuche h_tten Muslime heute viel mehr Probleme. “Das liegt auch daran, dass fast alles, was wir im Fernsehen _ber den Islam erfahren, derzeit negativ ist”, sagt die aus Syrien stammende Journalistin Malak Mustafa Sahioni. Dennoch glaubt sie wie auch Afifi, dass die spanische Gesellschaft im Vergleich zur britischen oder amerikanischen toleranter reagiert habe. Afifi: “Sie haben nicht begonnen, uns alle zu hassen, im Gegenteil, sie wollten auf einmal mehr _ber den Islam wissen, und die Regierung hat von Anfang an geholfen, dass die Menschen zwischen Terroristen und Muslimen unterscheiden.” Die Regierung hat in den vergangenen Monaten einiges bewegt, so bekamen Anfang dieses Jahres viele Tausende illegal in Spanien lebender Muslime eine Aufenthaltsgenehmigung. Zudem wurde endlich die vor drei Jahren gestartete Initiative, in der Schule nicht nur katholische Religion, sondern auch andere Glaubensrichtungen in einem Fach geb_ndelt zu lehren, umgesetzt. Und: Die Mittel f_r kostenlose Sprachkurse wurden aufgestockt. Aber auch die Muslime selber h_tten durch den Terror vom 11. M_rz gelernt, sagt Sahioni: “Sie haben verstanden wie wichtig die volle Integration ist.”

Pushing For Islam In German Schools; Some German Schools Already Offer Islamic Classes In German

Germany’s many Muslim groups plan to unite under one umbrella in an effort to ensure that Islam can be taught in public schools, better integrating children and combating the influence of fundamentalists. “It is vital to resolve this problem and ensure that Islam can be taught in German in schools,” said Nadeem Elyas, president of one such group, the central council of Muslims, after a meeting of Muslim groups in Hamburg, northern Germany last weekend. “If we don’t, the next generation of Muslims will grow up without values, and if they don’t get their religious education in schools they risk being influenced by bad interpretations of the Quran,” he added. A Need For Integration Chancellor Gerhard Schr_der has been increasingly keen to improve the integration of Germany’s Muslims, particularly with overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey preparing to start talks to join the European Union. Legal moves have also been launched to crack down on fundamentalists in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, in which Germany was an unwitting rear-base for some of the suicide hijackers. Only last month, two Egyptian imams were banned from the country under new legislation aimed at so-called “hate preachers” suspected of trying to spread extremist ideologies. Constitutional Guarantees Religious courses for the estimated 600,000 Muslim children living in Germany are guaranteed under its constitution, the Basic Law. But the law provides only for the beliefs of “religious communities” to be taught in public schools and given the division of the Muslim community here, the Quran has not been accepted in the classroom. Muslim groups in Germany define themselves by the number of mosques under their jurisdiction, rather than by the number of people who are signed up as members, whereas the law only takes membership into account. Berlin Hesitates With education in Germany controlled by the 16 states, the federal government has sought to avoid the issue. In the most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, the authorities have for the last decade refused to allow Islam into the classroom because, they say, the main Muslim groups do not represent the entire community. “We plan to create a unified and democratic structure at the federal and state level,” said Elyas. He said six groups, accounting for around 70 percent of Germany’s Muslims, would join forces to have their religion taught in public schools. “Within a year, we will announce the project at every mosque and organization,” Elyas said. Some Snub The Idea However the biggest group in Germany, the Turco-Islamic Union (DITIB), representing an estimated 150,000 Muslims, appears to be snubbing the project. The need for momentum is great. For a few years, Muslims in some states have been trying to mount initiatives of their own but without great success. In Bavaria, Islamic instruction classes were set up in the 1980s but were only available in the Turkish language. Similar efforts were made in Schleswig-Holstein and the city-states of Hamburg and Berlin. A Promising Experiment Since August 2003, Muslim associations in Lower Saxony have come together under a Shura (council) to work out how to interact with the authorities and structure courses in Islam. “The experiment has been promising,” said Bernd Knopf, a spokesman at the federal office for integration. But an estimated 4,500 religious instructors will probably be needed. “The problem is that we can’t massively bring thousands of teachers into the country from one day to the next,” said Knopf. Some teachers are being trained in Turkey under an accord between universities from both countries, but in Germany itself the first-ever faculty aimed at completing such a task was only opened last year.

Switzerland: Imams Face Swiss Integration Test

Islamic preachers and other spiritual leaders from abroad could soon have to take courses to help them integrate better into Swiss society. The government proposal comes at a time of growing public debate about the role of Muslims in a multicultural society such as Switzerland’s. The justice ministry is planning to submit the plan to the cabinet within the next few weeks, according to the Federal Office of Immigration, Integration and Emigration (IMES).

Islam, Citizenship and European Integration

École de Médecine 15, rue de l’École de Méde cine, 75006 Paris

A Roundtable By The Network On Comparative Research On Islam and Muslims In Europe (NOCRIME)

Organized with the Sponsorship of the European Commission (DG Research)

Keynote address by Jocelyne Cesari

Key question addressed: do Muslims Create and Organize their Communities in Ways that Affect Citizenship Formation and Political Mobilization?

  • Muslim Women and European Citizenship
  • Gema Martín-Muñoz, University Autonoma of Madrid Muslim Women in Spain. Leadership and Religious Identity in an Accommodation Framework
  • Nico Landman, Utrecht University Dutch Muslim Women in National and Local Politics: Intermediaries between State and Mosque Organisations?
  • Valérie Amiraux, CURAPP and European University Institute Local Muslim Leaderships in France: Coping with Generations, Gender and Politics
  • DISCUSSANTS: Sabiha El-Zayat, Centre for Islamic Women Studies – Zentrum für Islamische Frauenforschung Ahmed Jaballah, IESH – Institut Européen des Sciences Humaines de Paris
  • European Citizenship and Muslim Leadership

  • CHAIR: Pandeli Glavanis, Manchester University
  • Sean McLoughlin, Leeds University Citizenship and Muslim Leaderships in the UK: Orientations of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Islamic Foundation
  • Chantal Saint-Blancat, University of Padov, Ottavia Schmidt di Frieberg, University of Trieste Local Leadership: Visible and Invisible Interactions with the Italian Local Society in Northern Italy
  • Jonas Otterbeck, Malmö University Muslim Callers in Sweden
  • Moussa Khedimellah, GSRL (CNRS-EPHE) Opposition or Compatibility between Local and National French Muslim Leaders: The Case of Paris
  • DISCUSSANTS: Dilwar Hussain, Islamic Foundation Tariq Ramadan, University of Fribourg
  • GENERAL DISCUSSION

  • Pandeli Glavanis, Manchester University
  • CONCLUDING REMARKS: Angela Liberatore, European Commission – DG Research
  • Integration of Muslim Migrants in Europe: Religious and Political Aspects in the aftermath of September 11, 2001

    A Roundtable By The Network On Comparative Research On Islam and Muslims In Europe (NOCRIME) Organized with the Censorship of the European Commission (DG Research)

    Session 1: Legal, Social and Cultural Aspects of Integration of Islam in Different European Countries and in the European Union

    Opening Remarks and Introduction

  • Jean-Paul Willaime EPHE, Director of GSRL (CNRS-EPHE)
  • Key Notes Speakers

  • Legal Aspects of Islamic Integration in Europe Anthony Bradney Leicester University
  • Islam in European Social, Religious and Multicultural Policies Jocelyne Cesari GSRL-CNRS, Harvard University, NOCRIME coordinator
  • Chair Jean-Paul Willaime EPHE, Director of GSRL (CNRS-EPHE)

  • Debate with NOCRIME members And Muslim Representatives Research Group on French Islam, GSRL-CNRS, (Omero Marongiu, Sakina Bargach) 1) Key Point: What Is Integration? 2) Key Point: Symbolic and Legal Gap between Muslims and European Political Spheres 3) Key Point: Transnational Links and Relationship with the Countries of Origin
  • Chantal Saint Blancat University of Padova
  • Ottavia Schmidt di Friedberg University of Trieste
  • Gerdien Jonker Marburg University
  • Séan McLoughlin Leeds University
  • Dilwar Hussain The Islamic Foundation, U.K.
  • Hakim Elghissassi Magazine La Medina, France
  • Lidya Nofal AL-INSANN, Germany
  • Rijai Tatari UCIDE, Spain
  • Ahmed Jaballah Institut Européen des Sciences Humaines, France
  • Session 2: The Political Dimension of Inclusion of Islam The Question of Islam in European Governance

    Key Note Speakers

  • Consequences of September 11th on Immigration and Foreign Policies in Europe
  • Didier Bigo Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris
  • Elspeth Guild University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Responses of the EU to September 11th
  • Tung-Lai Margue European Commission, DG Justice and Home Affairs
  • Angela Liberatore European Commission, DG Research
  • Chair

  • Aristotelis Gavriliadis European Commission, DG Justice and Home Affairs
  • Debate with NOCRIME members And Muslim Representatives Key Point: Racism and Xenophobia against Muslims and the Role of the European Institutions

  • Jocelyne Cesari GSRL-CNRS, Harvard University, NOCRIME coordinator
  • Valérie Amiraux CURAPP-CNRS
  • Nico Landman Utrecht University
  • Jonas Otterbek Malmö University
  • Gema Martín-Muñoz University Autonoma of Madrid
  • And Muslim Representatives

  • Dilwar Hussain The Islamic Foundation, U.K.
  • Hakim Elghissassi Magazine La Medina, France
  • Lidya Nofal AL-INSANN, Germany
  • Rijai Tatari UCIDE, Spain
  • Debate with NOCRIME members And Muslim Representatives Key Point: The Muslim Voice in the Political and Legal Debate After 9/11

    Concluding Remarks

    Jocelyne Cesari GSRL-CNRS, Harvard University, NOCRIME coordinator

    Sorbonne: Salle des Commissions du Rectorat 46, rue St-Jacques – 75005 Paris

    Islam in European Cities

    Session 1: Islam, Factor of Urban Integration?

  • Opening Remarks and Introduction by Jean-Paul Willaime, EPHE, Director of GSRL (CNRS-EPHE).
  • Sean McLoughlin, University of Leeds, “Islam as a Resource for Urban Integration in Mannigham, a District of Bradford.
  • Nico Landman, Utrecht University, “Islamic Centre or Playground: a Contested Mosque Project in the Dutch Town of Deventer”
  • Jocelyne Cesari, CNRS-GSRL, “Islam in Marseille / Islam in Toulouse: Two Different Forms of Islamic Leadership in the Public Space”
  • Session 2: Immigration, ethnicity and Islam in urban policies in Europe

  • Ottavia Schmidt di Frieberg, University of Trieste, and Chantal Saint-Blancat, University of Padova, “Why and How Islam is not always at Stake in Urban Space: the Difference between Turin and Milan”
  • Valérie Amiraux, CURAPP-CNRS, “Islam and Citizenship in Amiens and Belfort”