GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham tells Arab world: U.S. hasn’t changed despite Trump

Residents of the Middle East should not be too alarmed at the prospect of Donald Trump becoming president, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters in Cairo on Sunday.

“The Congress is going to be around no matter who is the president,” Graham, who is leading a Republican congressional delegation touring the Middle East, told reporters after meeting Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Graham said he and el-Sissi discussed Trump, among other issues.

“Don’t let the politics of the moment make you believe that America has fundamentally changed in terms of the way we view the world; it hasn’t,” said Graham

British imams visit Iraq in bid to counter Isis propaganda in the UK

A group of Sunni imams are to make the first-ever visit by British Muslim religious leaders to see first hand the front line in the fight against Isis.

The imams, representing mosques across the country, will travel to Iraq on Tuesday for an eight-day fact-finding mission. They are expected to visit parts of the country previously under Isis control as well as meeting victims of the group, including from the Yazidi community.

The hope is that the visit will help to counter Isis propaganda in this country by highlighting the Sunni resistance to Isis in Iraq and relaying back first-hand accounts of life under the extremists.

If successful, the plan is to then bring Iraqi Sunni imams to the UK, to talk in mosques about the reality of life in Isis-controlled areas and to “deglamorise” the group and its appeal to young British Muslims.

The trip is being paid for in part by trustees of the Imam Husayn Shrine in Karbala which Isis attempted to blow up earlier this year. The rest of the funding is coming from the Muslim community in the UK. Mustafa Field, an Iraqi-born community organiser who has helped to arrange the trip, said the group would travel to Samarra and Tikrit as well as Baghdad. Tikrit was previously under Isis occupation while Samarra was for a long time at the front line between the Iraqi army and Isis.

“We want to take those stories back to the UK so that Muslims can hear first hand what is going on and hopefully counter some of the myths that have been built up over the years.

“Daesh propaganda is dangerous and this is a British Muslim-led response to challenge their ideas.

Immigrants feel more German than Germans think: a new survey on the perceptions of immigrants’ lives in Germany

21 March 2016

The newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has published a survey in which both Germans and long-settled immigrants in Germany were asked to assess the situation of immigrants in the country. In this survey, the non-immigrant respondents painted a somewhat sceptical picture of what, according to their perception, being an immigrant in the country would feel like: 52 per cent were convinced that immigrants were faced with growing levels of distrust, and 45 per cent believed that immigrants were seen as foreign strangers by Germans; 35 per cent were of the opinion that immigrants would sometimes feel Germans treated them in a condescending manner. 41 per cent believed that immigrants liked being in Germany, while only 36 per cent thought that people with foreign roots conceived of Germany as their home country. Moreover, only 23 per cent of non-immigrants surmised that immigrants were able to lead ‘a fully normal life’ in Germany in which their life choices were unhampered by their immigrant background.

Interestingly, however, immigrants themselves rated their situation in the country quite differently: only 7 per cent of them asserted that they felt higher levels of distrust, and only 6 per cent had the feeling that Germans saw immigrants as foreign strangers. Only 8 per cent observed that Germans behaved in a condescending manner towards immigrants. Conversely, 69 per cent were of the opinion that immigrants liked being in Germany, and 65 per cent saw immigrants as conceiving of Germany as their home country. 55 per cent asserted that foreign roots did not play a role in their lives.

The same juxtaposition holds with respect to the answers given to the question ‘Do most foreigners who have been living in Germany for a longer time identify as Germans or as foreigners?’: while the non-immigrant German population estimated that 13 per cent of immigrants identified as Germans and 45 per cent of immigrants did not, 58 per cent of immigrants asserted that they conceived of themselves as Germans, and only 24 per cent claimed that they saw themselves as members of their country of origin. In terms of political preferences, the party-political predilections of immigrants closely track those of the non-immigrant population: when asked ‘Which party do you find most likeable?’, hardly any divergences between the two groups could be observed. Similarly, among both immigrant and non-immigrant respondents, 39 per cent were optimistic rather than pessimistic or agnostic about the future.

It must be made clear that a number caveats must be attached to the survey’s findings. The researchers note that the survey’s representativeness might suffer from a certain sampling bias, insofar as responses were voluntary and people self-selected into answering. This might be relevant especially with respect to the immigrant respondents, since good language skills and also a willingness to engage with questions on political life in Germany are a prerequisite that might exclude that some sectors of the immigrant population from the survey. Perhaps more importantly, while the number of Muslim respondents is too small to make solid statistical claims about this group, we do catch a glimpse of potential challenges for the Muslim community from their answers to the survey questions: while Muslims on average share the relatively positive assessment of the situation of immigrants in the country, only two fifths assert that their immigrant origins do not prevent them from leading a normal life (as opposed to 55 per cent among immigrant respondents generally). Similarly, a third of Muslims assert that they have already been insulted because of their roots (as opposed to 9 per cent of immigrants considered as a group); and a third sometimes feel treated condescendingly by Germans (in contrast to only 8 per cent of all immigrants). A fifth of Muslims also report increased levels of distrust directed against them while only 7 per cent of immigrants overall have this feeling.

All things considered, however, the survey offers a very interesting snapshot of immigrant and non-immigrant perceptions of the lives of individuals and communities with a non-German roots. Apparently, immigrants feel considerably more ‘German’ than their compatriots think. This might be reflective of the long-standing inability of mainstream German society to come to terms with the role of their country as an important migration destination. In fact, the article and the survey are telling in this regard: they often display a propensity to label describe immigrants as ‘foreigners’, thereby emphasising their non-German nature.

Once Hopeful for Harmony, a Philosopher Voices Discord in France

March 11, 2016

HE is the intellectual much of the French left loves to hate, the writer whose rumpled look has racked up multiple magazine covers, the bookish essayist turned omnipresent media star and boogeyman for proselytizers of painless multiculturalism. Alain Finkielkraut’s mere presence in a television studio raises temperatures and sends accusations of racism flying.

“For the good of France, shut up, Mr. Finkielkraut!” a young Muslim woman, a teacher from the suburbs, said recently on live television, throwing back to Mr. Finkielkraut his own words, after a televised harangue aimed at him several years earlier in a similar confrontation.

After several dozen books, an influential weekly radio show, frequent interview requests and his induction in January into one of French civilization’s holiest — albeit most conservative — shrines, the Académie Francaise, Mr. Finkielkraut has no intention of shutting up.

A former philosophy professor at France’s elite Ecole Polytechnique, he is arguably the most visible of France’s public intellectuals. “We have seen only you, we have heard only you, we have read only you,” the historian Pierre Nora said, as Mr. Finkielkraut listened under the academy’s ornate dome, during the traditional induction speech.

The national audience for Mr. Finkielkraut’s themes, returned to obsessively and buttressed by a seamless web of references, is now larger than ever in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 2015.

Before and after the attacks, those themes have not varied: Much of Islam is radically incompatible with French culture and society; Muslim immigrants represent a threat; French schools are crumbling under a mistaken multicultural outreach; the inherited corpus of French culture is in danger; and anti-Semitism is on the rise again, this time by way of Islam.

Many of the 2015 attackers were French. “Hatred of France is present in France,” Mr. Finkielkraut said in a recent interview. “What the attacks proved is that we have a redoubtable and determined enemy.” He has caught a national mood, bridging unease over relations with the country’s Muslim minority with a nascent renewal of national pride after the November attacks. Its expression by Mr. Finkielkraut has been delivered, over many years, with all the fervor of the immigrants’ son who has succeeded. But in Mr. Finkielkraut’s pessimistic vision this fusion is dark-robed.

His last substantial book, “The Unhappy Identity,” was a best seller in France — a compact lament over declining standards in schools, the pernicious effects of multiculturalism, the oppression of women under Islam and France’s self-alienation from its own heritage.

The book’s protest over neighborhoods where “the French feel they have become strangers on their own turf” under the weight of Muslim immigration led critics to put him in the camp of the far-right National Front — a charge he rejects.

“France is on its way to disintegration,” Mr. Finkielkraut said in the interview in his Left Bank apartment, every book-lined inch underscoring his distrust of the Internet. The prosperous, pleasant and largely white-populated streets outside are far from the troubled multiracial suburbs that are his preoccupation.

“Until recently, France was successful in integrating its immigrants — that was even its pride,” he said. “Today, it is disintegrating in front of our eyes.” The French model of integration “doesn’t work anymore,” he said. “Where one could have hoped for a certain harmony, it is hatred that prevails.”

“Today, when some, like me, speak of the problem of Islam, we are denounced as the successors of Maurras and Barrès,” said Mr. Finkielkraut, naming two influential far-right thinkers of pre-World War II France. “There is a refusal to think about this era on its own terms.”

  1. FINKIELKRAUT’S political roots are on the left, though.

His father was a Jewish leather craftsman, an immigrant from Poland who survived deportation to Auschwitz after being rounded up by the French police in 1942. Born in Paris in 1949, Mr. Finkielkraut attended the prestigious Lycée Henri-IV school, demonstrated with other leftist students during the May 1968 uprising, went on to teach French literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and from 1989 taught philosophy at the École Polytechnique, from which he is now retired.

His wife, the lawyer Sylvie Topaloff, has been quoted as lamenting the friends they have lost over her husband’s political views. Yet his ideas carry just enough of an old tradition of left-leaning nationalism in France — exemplified by one of his favorite authors, Charles Péguy — for him to be acceptable to the law-and-order faction in the ruling Socialist Party.

He writes as he speaks — carefully, precisely, with minute attention to the complicated rules of French grammar, and in a style that is never far from arch irony. It is as though he were taking special trouble to avoid the constant obsession in his books and his weekly radio program, “Répliques”: the contemporary maltreatment of the French language.

It is tradition that inductees into the Académie Française eulogize the deceased academician whose chair they now occupy. Mr. Finkielkraut’s detractors were delighted that he was forced to pay tribute to a man — an obscure writer named Felicien Marceau, who did broadcasts for German-controlled Belgian radio during World War II, before fleeing — accused of collaborating with the Nazis. But Mr. Finkielkraut, himself the son of a Holocaust survivor, managed to laud the man obliquely, avoiding the trap. “The past that obsessed him hid from him the awful newness of the event that he was living,” Mr. Finkielkraut said at the ceremony.

In Mr. Finkielkraut’s view, Marceau was blinded to the dangers of Hitler by the horrors of World War I; and the French left, obsessed because of fascism with the National Front, has been blind to the dangers of radical Islam. The green-and-black-uniformed academy members, most of whom labor in obscurity, were conscious that an unusual public figure was being added to their number: The historian Mr. Nora, in the induction speech, spoke of Mr. Finkielkraut’s “omnipresence” and noted that he was at the very top of a “blacklist” of those challenging the French left’s May 1968 orthodoxies.

“You are the one who breaks the public omerta, who says — and very well indeed — what the politicians can’t say, and what the journalists don’t want to,” Mr. Nora said.

BUT the historian also hinted at a weak spot in Mr. Finkielkraut’s armored suit of erudition, one that makes him the subject of constant attack in the left-leaning press. He occupies the “fragile and porous border,” Mr. Nora said, “between solid good sense and an argument that is slightly specious.”

He also made reference to a notorious 2005 interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in which Mr. Finkielkraut derided the French national soccer team for being “black-black-black” and not black-blanc-beur — black-white-Muslim — as the popular saying had it.

Mr. Finkielkraut, for all of his warnings about the difficulty — if not impossibility — of assimilating France’s approximately four million Muslims, is not advocating their expulsion. Yet he has no practical agenda for how to integrate them into French society.

He has little to say about the evident discrimination against Muslims in France today, or about the anti-Muslim violence since the attacks. The Muslim teacher who clashed with him on television, Wiam Berhouma, raised these points to no response — before telling Mr. Finkielkraut to shut up. For Mr. Finkielkraut, the problem is with Muslims, not with France. “We’ve got to fix very clear rules,” he said in the interview. “Secularism has got to prevail. And we can’t compromise on the status of women.”

He is adamant about that last point. “Everything plays out there,” he says. “People are telling us that problem comes from all sorts of oppression by the West. No. The problem comes from the oppression by Islam of women. We’ve got to help the Muslims resolve this question.”

Fourteen arrested in far-right anti-migrant protest in Calais

March 12, 2016

French police arrested 14 people on a far-right anti-migrant demonstration in Calais on Saturday morning. The protesters, who had not notified the authorities of their plan, blocked two bridges, set fire to tires and brandished banners telling foreigners to “Go home.”

CRS riot police stopped the unauthorized demonstration almost as soon as it began and had broken it up by 9.00am, officials said.

About 80 activists from the far-right group Génération Identitaire blocked two bridges, burnt tires and let off teargas, police said.

The organization claimed there were 130 protesters and that they blocked three bridges that “gave migrants access to the town of Calais.”

Photos and video posted on Twitter shown groups of young people sitting on the ground, some of them waving banners saying “Go Home” and “No Way,” which they appeared to believe means “No entry.”

A Génération Identitaire statement accused migrants living in the “jungle” shanty town of attacking police and motorists, rioting and destroying the “martyr town’s” social and economic life.

Demonstrations by the Islamophobic organization Pegida in Calais have been banned on the grounds of being a danger to public order.

On Friday five men appeared in court, accused of assaulting migrants while passing themselves off as police officers, the latest in several cases of attacks in the area.

France awarded top honor to Saudi prince ‘at his request’

March 11, 2016

What wouldn’t we do to please a future Saudi king? Contrary to the official version, the awarding of the Légion d’Honneur to the Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Nayef was made “at his request,” concerned as he is – as a future king of Saudi Arabia – to “strengthen his international stature”. Therefore, the matter was handled “very, very urgently (VVU) by the Elysée and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An exchange of diplomatic emails (reproduced in full below, misspellings included) fell into Causette’s handbag. And it’s scandalous.

Wednesday, 2 March, at 7.04 am, France’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia since 2007, Bertrand Besancenot, wrote to François Hollande’s adviser for the Middle East, David Cvach. In this exchange, there is no shortage of fine arguments, liberally sprinkled with cynicism. Seriously, are we to be taken for a bunch of numbskulls?

Excerpts :

From Ambassador Besancenot: “Of course, the kingdom doesn’t get good press, but I’m afraid that the improvement of its image will take some time…”

Given the treatment it reserves for women, opponents, journalists and bloggers plus the beheadings, torture and whatnot… that’s quite likely! But it is absolutely necessary to please the little prince, so Jérôme Bonnafont, director of the North Africa and Middle East section of Jean-Marc Ayrault’s office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explains the technique: “[…] it must be discreet with regard to the media without looking like a cover-up, if we don’t do it, it will be seen as a snub, and if we get asked, we’ll say it’s to do with the fight against Daesh and economic and strategic partnership. Just for good measure, let’s add a bit about human rights to the language of the discussion.” How convenient, Daesh and Human Rights!

At 12.53 pm, barely six hours later, the matter is wrapped up by the Élysée Palace: David Cvach relays François Hollande’s decision to all, first questioned by Jacques Audibert, his diplomatic adviser: “In fact – I suppose it’s time to buy MBN’s [Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, ed] actions…”. On 4 March, just two days later, the Prince was discreetly decorated. Diplomacy is so easy in realpolitik mode!

Grégory Lassus-Debat

We asked the adviser to François Hollande as well as France’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia if they (seriously) imagined that people would consider it appropriate to honour Saudi Arabia. At the time these lines are published, we are still awaiting their answers…

Below are the emails in full, minus the email addresses:

Wednesday, 2 March at 7.04 am 
From: Bertrand Besancenot [France’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, ed]

To: David Cvach [François Hollande’s adviser for the Middle East, ed]

Cc: Laurent Stefanini [Chief of Protocol at the Elysee, ed], […] Jérôme Bonnafont [director of the North Africa and Middle East section of Jean-Marc Ayrault’s office, Foreign Ministry, ed], […]

Subject: VVU: decoration of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

Dear David, I’m sending you the attached copy of the decoration proposal for Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

I know people are wondering about the idea of decorating the Crown Prince, shortly after the media campaign against Saudi Arabia in France. Of course, the kingdom doesn’t get a good press, but I’m afraid that the improvement of its image will take some time…

However, the welcome of Prince Mohamed bin Nayef to Paris is important for several reasons:

– Confirmation of the continuity of our strategic partnership at a sensitive time in the Middle East situation

– Recognition of the outstanding personal role of the prince in the fight against terrorism, which is a shared national priority

– The need to maintain the momentum of strengthening our bilateral cooperation to bolster our civil and military prospects

It is also a gesture to the next King of Saudi Arabia. It is in this context that it seems essential to me respond to his request to receive the Légion d’Honneur, at a time when he wants to strengthen his international stature. It would be a good incentive to get him to play ball with France.

Thank you for your understanding, David.

Warm regards


2 March 7.14 am From: Jérôme Bonnafont 
To: David Cvach and Bertrand Besancenot 
Cc: Laurent Stefanini, […]

Subject: Re: VVU: decoration of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

NA-ME’s view [North Africa – Middle East section of the Foreign Ministry, ed] no reason not to do it: it must be discreet with regard to the media without looking like a cover-up, if we don’t do it, it will be seen as a snub and if we get asked, we’ll say it’s to do with the fight against Daesh and economic and strategic partnership. Just for good measure, let’s add a bit about human rights to the language of the discussion.

2 March 7.21 am

From Laurent Stefanini

To: Jerome Bonnafont, David Cvach, Bertrand Besancenot, […]

Cc: […]

Subject: Re: VVU: decoration of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

No objections from Protocol either. It’s a question of political expediency. I understand that the award will be of Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur. LS

2 March at 9.43 am 
From: David Cvach 
To: Laurent Stefanini, Jerome Bonnafont, Bertrand Besancenot, […] 
Cc: […]

Subject: Re: VVU: decoration of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

Bertrand – as you know, but to keep everyone in the loop, Jacques [Audibert, diplomatic advisor to François Hollande, ed] is questioning the PR [President of the Republic, ed]. I’m giving you the verdict. D

2 March at 12.53 pm 
From: David Cvach 
To: Laurent Stefanini, Jerome Bonnafont, Bertrand Besancenot, […] 
Cc: […]

Subject: Re: VVU: decoration of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

In fact – I suppose it’s time to buy MBN’s [Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, ed] actions…

How British Organizations Are Tackling Islamophobia

In a chintzy banqueting hall in Wembley, London, soft boos punctuate the loud chatter. A 300-person strong crowd, ranging from an Anglican vicar to former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg, have gathered for the third iteration of the satirical Islamophobia Awards. The crowd’s tepid response to the announcement that British Prime Minister David Cameron has won the U.K. category for Islamophobe of the year is explained partly by the distraction of dinner at the event organizers like to call ‘the racism awards.’

Saturday’s event, held by the U.K.-based Islamic Human Rights Council (IHRC), is one of the many initiatives aimed at spreading awareness of Islamophobia, which is on the rise in the U.K.. London’s police saw a 60% rise in Islamophobic offences in 2015, from 667 offences recorded in 2014. Tell MAMA, an organisation that monitors Islamophobia, counted around 2,500 incidents for the whole of the U.K., but believes the number may be in the tens of thousands as studies have shown that the majority of hate crimes go unreported.

Fiyaz Mughal, who heads Tell MAMA, believes that the Islamophobia Awards, “trivializes” what should be a serious matter. “Some people may not like what the Prime Minister does but this is not the way to deal with it. These are senior political members of our country and our job is to lobby them, our job is to speak to them and give them the facts and hopefully build better, cohesive societies” he says. “Our job is not to mock them and by doing so create a ‘them and us.’” His organization has been working with police forces around the country to help collate data that will, hopefully, inform future policy on Islamophobia.

The police have taken steps to bring awareness to the issue: in 2015, David Cameron announced that anti-Muslim hate crimes, which had previously not been distinguished from wider hate crimes, would be recorded in their own separate category. Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer of London’s Metropolitan Police says they are working on raising awareness around Islamophobia with young Muslims, who tend to shy from reporting anything to the police. “We have a large number of schools officers and their role is to engage with young people” he says. “I would argue it has resulted in an increase in hate crime reports.”

According to Miqdaad Versi, spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Islamophobic attacks can range from “verbal assaults and attacks on social media on the lower end… to a more violent situations and attacks on mosques.” In February, the MCB, one of the country’s biggest umbrella groups for Muslim organisations, organised ‘Visit my Mosque Day,’ which saw thousands of people visit some 80 mosques across the country. The day was organized with the aim to allow Muslims “explain their faith and community beyond the hostile headlines.” Positive and high-profile campaigns like that is what works says Miqdaad, by demystifying the other side and nurturing social acceptance among communities.

Versi believes that strong leadership from public personalities is also needed to publicize the issues of Islamophobia. He describes the controversy surrounding the contentious headline published by the Times of London on Feb. 20, which read: ‘Imam beaten to death in sex grooming town.’ More than 400 complaints were made over what was seen as the paper conflating the faith of the now deceased Jalal Uddin with the town’s past child abuse scandals, reports the Guardian. In response, Manchester’s police Force, Ian Hopkins, wrote a public letter to the Times demanding an immediate apology for offending “the thousands of peaceful, law-abiding Muslims and non-Muslims living in Rochdale.”

New survey: Germans believe in the possibility of integration but fear ‘growing influence of Islam’

05 March 2016

According to a new representative survey, 67 per cent of Germans believe that the integration of refugees into German society is manageable – with the significant addition that 52 per cent assert that a positive integration will only be possible if the numbers of refugees is limited from now on. 55 per cent advocate a maximum of 500,000 refugees per year.

In their answers to most questions, the German public was evenly split in their views: 50 per cent agreed that refugees were an important asset for the future of the German labour market; 49 assented to the statement ‘I am afraid that so many refugees are coming to us’; and 46 per cent saw refugees as an positively enriching the lives of Germans.

The biggest worries evinced by respondents were fears of increasing public debt levels (77 per cent), tightening competition for scarce housing space (72 per cent), growing crime levels (62 per cent), and high costs for sheltering and providing for refugees (58 per cent). 57 per cent of respondents answered the question ‘Do you fear that the influence of Islam becomes too strong in Germany’ in the affirmative, while 40 per cent denied having such fears.

“Yes to diversity – but please without Muslims”: Naika Fouroutan on German attitudes towards immigration

25 February, 2016

In a recent interview with Der Freitag newspaper, renowned German migration expert Naika Fouroutan discussed the current volatile state of affairs in the area of immigration and integration. Of Iranian heritage, Fouroutan is Professor of Integration and Social Policy at Humboldt University Berlin, as well as deputy chairwoman of the Berlin Institute for Empirical Research on Integration and Migration. She also advises the German federal government on migration issues. She characterised contemporary German society as marked by a profound ambivalence, torn between competing impulses of ‘welcome culture’ (Willkommenskultur) and national isolation. As evidence for this almost schizophrenic juxtaposition, Fouroutan cited a recent poll in which 29 per cent of respondents asserted that they would support a shoot-to-kill order at the German border to prevent uncontrolled immigration, while at the same time 73 per cent of those questioned were of the opinion that men and women had a right to flee and be granted asylum.

Fouroutan linked the rejection of immigration above all to the question of ‘visible minorities’, especially Muslims: there is “integrational optimism on the one hand – and on the other hand its limitation as soon as it’s about visible minorities. People are saying ‘yes’ to diversity – but please without Muslims! And without refugees. And without the homeless. And without whoever doesn’t conform to the majority’s image.” For her, this view is crucially linked to media representations of Muslims: questioned about the utterances of Rüdiger Safranski, a leading German intellectual who recently warned of the arrival of ‘millions upon millions of Muslims’, Fouroutan observed that “in his perception the issue of Islam is so present in every day affairs that he simply overestimates the number of Muslims and of refugees.” She pointed to a poll she had conducted, which had shown that half of Germans dramatically overestimate the number of Muslims living in the country. In this respect, she demanded more honesty from German politicians, and the acknowledgement that, like other important migration destinations around the world, Germany would have to expect annual immigration levels of roughly 1 per cent of the existing population (800,000 individuals) for the foreseeable future.

These numbers are not in themselves problematic, according to Fouroutan: “integration is something that does not fail because of the numbers but because of its acceptance [among the population].” While conceding that old preconceptions and stereotypes were slow to change, she also contended that recent years had seen considerable changes for the better in Germany. Positive signs, according to her, include legal changes (such as the recognition of dual citizenship), as well as an evolution in social attitudes. Among the latter she counts the unprecedentedly welcoming reception given to refugees in the summer and autumn of 2015, as well as the gradual realisation that Muslim women wearing a headscarf are not necessarily oppressed individuals that need to be liberated and saved. Fouroutan averred, however, that the focus of insecurity and prejudice has now shifted from Muslim women to (young) Muslim men, to whom too little positive role-models were made available by German society.