The dark side of University – Students attitudes towards Jewish and Muslim minorities

February 28, 2014

 

A German-Canadian study dealing with “antisemitic and anti-muslim attitudes and prejudices by students” was presented last week in the Jewish Museum of Berlin. One of the scholars conducting the study, the educational scientist Wassilis Kassis, explained the goals of the collaborative study, which took place between the University of Osnabrück and the University of Victoria in British Columbia (Canada).

As the „dark side of University”, the study describes a high percentage of anti-Muslim and antisemitic attitudes and prejudices among students of both Universities. Only a few number of students have distanced themselves to discriminating statements towards Muslims and Jews. In Osnabrück,  only 18% out of 1.000 students rejected statements such as “German women should not marry Muslims” or “Muslims provoke hostility against Islam through their behavior”. In summary, approximately 80% of respondents showed anti-Muslim prejudices at different degrees.

Approximately 40% of students of both Universities show antisemitic attitudes in “partly” or “fully” agreeing with statements such as “less Jews should be allowed to immigrate”. The study assumes antisemitism to be the entrance for expansion of hostile stereotypes against further minorities.

Wassilis Kassis is concerned about the reactions of the public by emails. Most writers have openly demonstrated their resentments or hatred against Islam and Muslims. So far, most assumptions rely on the thesis of education and social background as resistant factors towards antisemitic or anti-Muslim prejudices. Prof. Dr. Zick, Social- psychologist and leader of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Conflict and Violence Studies at the University of Bielefeld, urges to educate children at school to learn how to deal with conflicts without questioning the “other” identity.

The study is not yet published.

 

Migazin

http://www.migazin.de/2014/02/28/antisemitismus-islamfeindlichkeit-bildung-studenten-vorurteile/

Comic for tolerance

Febraury 2, 2014

 

Soufeina Hamed (24) is from Berlin, studying Intercultural Psychology at the University of Osnabrück. She decided to wear a headscarf. Having observed and experienced marginalization and prejudices against Muslim females, Soufeina begun to draw comics about daily life of Muslims and non-Muslims in German society. The comics confront stereotype patterns of prejudices with creativity and intelligent humor.

 

Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/wunderbar/muslimische-studentin-mit-kopftuch-comics-fuer-toleranz-a-950428.html

Women and Islam: Other prejudices that come with knowledge

Rosanna Sirignano

June 3, 2013

 

Chained, reclusive, condemned lives, sufferers, slaves: these are some of the adjectives easily used in association with Muslim women. However, this is a broad stereotype and is predicated on the notion that there is one Islamic state or a holistic Islamic culture, the attempt to create some order to the question of Islamic women and offer cues for reflection from a point of view of little understanding.

 

Unfortunately for external observers it is difficult regardless of there want to examine the question objectively. The veil, an often cited example, is seen as a sign of oppression and the limits of female liberty. Many don’t know that many women probably the major part, choose to wear the veil they illustrate their devotion to God and is their own decision. Those “advocates” would now give voice to those immigrant women even though they have chosen to wear the veil these women do not think of themselves as “poor, oppressed, ignorant, terrorists” rather they might focus on a fear of not being heard or of not finding work.

 

It is sad to note, those who defend the rights of Islamic women there are people who have never read a verse of the Koran and have no knowledge of the historical development of the rights of women, and perhaps more gravely, look at Islam as a homogenous system. It is natural to distinguish between Italian Catholicism, and that of Swedish Catholicism for Islam we understand the same religion not a Tunisian, or a Yemen or an Indonesian Islam? When one speaks about Muslim women many understand them as the same, regardless of state, which have the same problems and the same conditions.

Converts face prejudices

01.02.2012

Le Monde

In its recent magazine Le Monde published selected interviews with recent converts to Islam in France. A number of male and female French Muslims recount their stories of conversion as well as the reactions of their families and immediate surroundings to their change of faith.

Doug Saunders, “The Myth of the Muslim Tide”

Myth of the muslim tideIn his book “The Myth of the Muslim Tide”, Doug Saunders puts theories from critics of immigration under the microscope. He talked to Aygül Cizmecioglu about extremism, xenophobia and successful integration

Mr. Saunders, prominent public figures such as Thilo Sarrazin in Germany and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands believe that the West is being overrun with Muslims – at least demographically. Is that true?

Doug Saunders: No, I think the facts clearly contradict that. I’ve spent a lot of time in the largest Muslim countries, in Iran, in Bangladesh, in Pakistan, doing various forms of journalism and research into migration and urbanization. And I hired a research team, people who are not partisans and weren’t activists, but who are good scholars, who know demographics, who know radicalism, who know the history of integration. And first of all, what we found out was that these countries have the fastest falling reproduction rates in the world. Bangladesh now has a population growth rate falling very quickly toward a European level. The situation in Turkey is very similar.

Moreover, in Europe and North America, Muslims are not the largest group of immigrants at all. And what we’re seeing is the pattern that poor religious minorities always – after some time – follow the trend of the majority society. The second generation of immigrants has considerably fewer children than the first generation, and by the third generation they have almost completely adapted to their environment, in terms of the birth rate.

Since the September 11 attacks in 2001, the image of violent Muslims with extremist tendencies is ingrained in many people’s psyches…

Saunders: I didn’t use any data that was supported by only one organization. I’m talking about universities, government bodies, United Nations bodies, intelligence agencies. And the big surveys of extremism done by the CIA and MI5 were extremely useful for this book. Those surveys found that almost all Islamic extremists and terrorists do not come from tightly clustered immigrant neighbourhoods. Extremists don’t usually come from communities of strong belief.

First of all, the most religious groups of people do not produce extremism and terrorism. And second of all, if you survey all people who have become extremists and terrorists, religious faith is almost never a big cause. They use the language of religion as part of their extremism.

The New York police department just wasted something like six years investigating tens of thousands of ordinary Muslims in New York who had strong Islamic believes in the hope of finding some evidence of terrorism. And they had to admit that they had not found after this enormous spying program one piece of useful evidence for extremism.

But where do these fears come from?

Saunders: I passed through that set of views myself. I had deep fears, certainly when extremism and terrorism hit my own neighbourhood – when my local mosque was taken over by one of the most extreme al Qaida supporters around, when one of my neighbours had both of her legs blown off in the July 7, 2005 London transport bombings. Of course I wondered, of course I thought, is the western liberal world threatened by Islam?

What factors make it difficult for us to overcome these prejudices?

Saunders: I would not say that Muslims are an average. Now, you’re talking about very different people. There’s no generalizing about Muslims. You’re talking about extremely moderate practices like Alevi next to very ascetic, and rigid practices like Wahhabis and Salafists. And we can also show that immigrants from the same place of different religions have the same problems and difficulties. So religion is not a major causal factor.

Are areas populated mainly by Arabs or Turks, such as those in Berlin, parallel societies?

Saunders: Most of the successful immigrant groups in western history who have become very well integrated into the society around them have been clustered into ethically concentrated neighbourhoods. For instance, the Lower East Side of New York has seen about five different ethnic groups pass through it: eastern-European Jews, Irish, southern-European Catholics, Latin Americans, Greeks. All of whom have passed through and formed these densely clustered neighbourhoods, and their neighbourhoods were widely seen as being criminal.

 

Leila Ahmed, Harvard Divinity School Muslim Scholar, Wins Prestigious Grawemeyer Award

ahmedFor the first time, the University of Louisville’s prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion, a $100,000 cash prize, will go to a female Muslim scholar.

Leila Ahmed, a Harvard Divinity School professor specializing in women and Islam, will receive the 2013 Grawemeyer religion award for her 2011 book, “A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America.” The book explores why a growing number of Muslim women are wearing religious headscarves

Ahmed, 72, was born and raised in Cairo at a time when few women wore religious headscarves, yet considered themselves observant Muslims. Why, she wanted to know, has the hijab enjoyed such a comeback?

Known for debunking stereotypes about Muslims, Ahmed acknowledged she started the research with her own prejudices. “I thought this was going to be connected with fundamentalist Islam, or patriarchal Islam,” she said.

Instead, interviews with Muslim women of diverse backgrounds around the world revealed that many of them wore the hijab as a symbol of activism and to assert their identity, especially in America after 9/11. “They wanted a way of saying,’I’m proud to be Muslim and I want to show you, you shouldn’t have prejudices against Muslims.'”

Some women hoped their hijabs would make other women think about their own styles of dress, as well as social justice and service. While activism often motivated women to don hijabs, religious commitment remained an important reason as well. “Many women wear the hijab because they believe that God requires them to,” Ahmed said.

Anti-radicalization poster campaign – Turkish community of Germany calls the UN

September 4

 

The Turkish community of Germany has appealed to the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe with a protest against the poster campaign initiated by the German Ministry of Interior. In the press release, the poster campaign against the radicalization of young Muslims has been described as “discriminating and humiliating”.

 

While raising no objections against the warning of radicalization, the representative of the Turkish community Kenan Kolat criticized the stigmatizing nature of the campaign. According to him, it would strengthen prejudices against young Muslims.

One in four Basque citizens reject the idea of a mosque in their neighborhood

Most people show attitudes of respect and tolerance towards those who profess a religion other than Catholicism, but a significant part of the Basques held prejudices towards other faiths, including Islam. A survey by the Executive Basque Government executed in February with 1,400 interviews has come to confirm this impression. One of the main conclusions of the study is that one in four citizens rejects the opening of a mosque in their neighborhood, while 16% would not want a Muslim as a neighbor.

Ahmadiyya community promotes positive image of its Muslim women

May 4

 

Known for its reform-oriented approach, the Ahmadyyia community of Berlin has initiated a campaign to counter negative prejudices against the image of Muslim women. The community declares its distance from parallel societies; it prefers education of its Imams in Germany and promotes education for women. The Ahmadiyya community, which is said to have 220 adherents in Berlin, has financed posters in the city public transport; advertising for respect towards women and against religious force. Also, there will be a public event titled “Woman in Islam” on May 9th.

 

In recent years, citizen initiatives had rallied against the construction of the Ahmadiyya mosque in the East Berlin district of Pankow. The clergyman of the Khadjia-mosque Imam Abdul Basit Tariq, denied this image campaign to be a reaction to the Koran distributions of the Salafists. Ahmadiyya adherents try to improve the image of Islam and promote a reform-oriented and pro-integrative approach. In countries such as Pakistan, they have been victims of violent Islamic fundamentalists.

 

About 210.000 Muslims live in Berlin with 90% being Sunni Muslims. Most of the Muslims come from Turkey. There are 80 mosques in Berlin, five of them with a cupola and minaret. Most of the mosques are situated in the districts of Neukölln and Kreuzberg.

 

Amnesty International: “European Muslims are discriminated against”

April 24, 2012

 Amnesty International reports that European countries discriminate against Muslims who show their faith publically. This is especially visible in places of education and at various workplaces. The report focused on Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. Amnesty urges those governments to do more on prevention of prejudices about Islam. The organization is particularly critical of the countries which had banned face veils (niqab) and the religious symbols in their schools.