Fundamentalism and out-group hostility: Muslim immigrants and Christian natives in Western Europe

December 2013

 

In the heated controversies over immigration and Islam in the early 21st century, Muslims have widely become associated in media debates and the popular imagery with religious fundamentalism. Against this, others have argued that religiously fundamentalist ideas are found among only a small minority of Muslims living in the West, and that religious fundamentalism can equally be found among adherents of other religions, including Christianity. However, claims on both sides of this debate lack a sound empirical base because very little is known about the extent of religious fundamentalism among Muslim immigrants, and virtually no evidence is available that allows a comparison with native Christians.

 

View full report here: Fundamentalism and out-group hostility – Muslim immigrants and Christian natives in Western Europe

Author: Ruud Koopmans

Published in: WZB Mitteilungen

A distressing map of religious freedom around the world

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has issued a report highlighting those it calls the worst violators of religious freedom in the world. Among them are many Asian and Middle Eastern governments, although some Western European countries are also included.

 

The report from the bipartisan advisory body divides violators into three categories. Fifteen “tier 1″ nations, marked red on the above map, have committed “particularly severe” violations that are “systemic, ongoing and egregious.” That includes all the countries you’d expect, as well as a few worsening problem areas, such as Egypt and Nigeria. The “tier 2″ countries are said to be “on the threshold” of meeting tier 1 status and include states that might have serious problems but, often, are at least making an effort to address them. A small third category of nations under “monitoring” for violations includes, among other states, some in Western Europe.

 

The report isn’t just about documenting abuses: The tier 1 countries can be officially designated as “countries of particular concern” by the U.S. State Department, at which point the president is legally required to follow up with some sort of action, recommended by the report. It might suggest, for example, engaging with Burmese civil society groups to promote tolerance or working with Pakistani lawmakers to improve legislation.

 

The report also discusses a trend in Japan it calls “kidnapping and forced religious de-conversion.”

 

Some readers, particularly those from countries highlighted in the map above, may wonder why the report includes nothing on the United States, which has seen some local and state-level movements to expel or suppress mosques or other forms of public worship by Muslims. And it’s a fair question. Alas, the commission exists to make recommendations to the U.S. State Department, which of course does not have oversight over the United States. Still, fairly or not, U.S. representatives who seek to promote religious freedom abroad risk having their advice deflected because some Tennessee officials tried to block construction of a mosque. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that religious freedom is an ongoing process as well as a state of being.

French nationalists protest in Paris against radical Islam, allege Muslims won’t integrate

News Agencies – November 10, 2012

 

Hundreds of French nationalists demonstrated in Paris against Islamist extremism, chanting the French anthem and saying the religion has no place in the country. Three weeks ago, dozens of far-right French activists stormed an unfinished mosque to protest immigration policies that have made France home to Western Europe’s largest population of Muslims. The protest was organized by a nationalist group called the Republican Resistance.

Islamophobia in the West: Measuring and Explaining Individual Attitudes

Since the late 1980s, growing migration from countries with a Muslim cultural background, and increasing Islamic fundamentalism related to terrorist attacks in Western Europe and the US, have created a new research field investigating the way states and ordinary citizens react to these new phenomena. However, whilst we already know much about how Islam finds its place in Western Europe and North America, and how states react to Muslim migration, we know surprisingly little about the attitudes of ordinary citizens towards Muslim migrants and Islam. Islamophobia has only recently started to be addressed by social scientists.

With contributions by leading researchers from many countries in Western Europe and North America, this book brings a new, transatlantic perspective to this growing field and establishes an important basis for further research in the area. It addresses several essential questions about Islamophobia, including:

  • what exactly is Islamophobia and how can we measure it?
  • how is it related to similar social phenomena, such as xenophobia?
  • how widespread are Islamophobic attitudes, and how can they be explained?
  • how are Muslims different from other outgroups and what role does terrorism and 9/11 play?

Islamophobia in the West will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, religious studies, social psychology, political science, ethnology, and legal science.

Toronto imam charged with assault traveled under aliases

News Agencies – August 24, 2011

A Toronto imam charged with sexual assault travelled under three aliases, the Toronto Police Service has announced. Police allege that Mohammad Masroor, 48, used the name Junaid Salman in Hungary, Austria, Italy and elsewhere in Europe in the early 1990s, may have travelled under the name Abdur Rahim in India, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, and was also known as Abdul Karim Abdul Aziz.

Mr. Masroor was arrested on Aug. 10 and police announced on Aug. 17 that he faced 13 charges, including sexual assault and threatening death, in connection with alleged offences between Nov. 1, 2008, and July 28, 2011. Mr. Masroor taught at the Baitul Mukarram Islamic Society on Danforth Avenue in Scarborough. Mr. Masroor has worked at mosques in Bangladesh, Singapore, Sri Lanka and several countries in Western Europe. He was most recently in Michigan and Florida.

New study: Swedish Muslim Congregation

Islam is the fastest growing religion in Western Europe today. As a consequence, the emergence and growth of Muslim religious congregations is one of the most important changes that have taken place within the European third (or voluntary) sector in the last 20 years. However, more often than not, these congregations are described as “enclaves” or “integration traps” isolating new citizens from the rest of society, a picture that has remained largely uncontested due to a lack of more extensive research. 

The intention of the Swedish Muslim Congregation project is to present – for the first time in Europe – nationally representative data about the activities and roles of local Muslim congregations. We have concentrated primarily on three problem areas:

Our aim, first, has been to map the congregations’ demography and activities (especially the extent of voluntary social work). Second, we have investigated Muslim experiences of the reactions of others in their surrounding environments, as reported by congregation representatives. To what extent do Muslim congregations encounter local opposition and support? Third is our focus on Muslim congregation collaboration with other organizations and public institutions. The Scandinavian welfare model boasts a long established emphasis on collaboration between third sector, municipal and state organizations. Are the Muslim congregations able – and willing – to connect to the established forms of cooperation that already exist in Sweden between the public and third sectors?

An essential part of the project is the nationwide questionnaire sent to the 147 local Swedish Muslim congregations that we identified, to which we received 105 replies (a 71 percent response rate). Non-response analysis showed no

statistically significant differences in response propensity that could be connected with the different existing schools of Islam, nor with the type of municipality (metropolitan, small town, rural district, etc.)

Islamophobia behind Norway Massacre

24 July, 2011

Anders Behring Breivik (32) – who has confessed to have planned and executed the bombing and massacre killing almost 100 persons in Oslo and nearby Utøya – published a 1500-page manuscript on Internet one hour before the detonation demolishing great parts of central Oslo, and central Government buildings. In the manuscript he states that he spent 9 years planning the deeds.

In the manuscript he presents himself as a patriot Christian and nationalist fighting muliticulturalism and what he understands to be an ongoing islamization of Norway and Western Europe. The manuscript begins:

Western European patriot,

I’m hereby sending you my new compendium (3 books); “2083 – A European Declaration of Independence”, in Word 97 format, which includes the following main topics:

1. The ongoing Islamisation of Western Europe

2. The current state of the Western European Resistance Movements (anti-Marxist/anti-Jihad movements)

3. Solutions for Western Europe and how we, the cultural conservative resistance, should move forward in the coming decades

4. And covering all, highly relevant topics including solutions and strategies for all of the 8 different political fronts

The compendium/book presents advanced ideological, practical, tactical, organisational and rhetorical solutions and strategies for all patriotic-minded individuals/movements. The book will be of great interest to you whether you are a moderate or a more dedicated cultural conservative/nationalist.

Further down in the manuscript it says:

Multiculturalism (cultural Marxism/political correctness), as you might know, is the root cause of the ongoing Islamisation of Europe which has resulted in the ongoing Islamic colonisation of Europe through demographic warfare and conquest. This compendium presents the solutions and explains exactly what is required of each and every one of us in the coming decades. Everyone can and should contribute in one way or another, it’s just a matter of will. 

Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to the massacres and has said he will explain his motifs further Monday, July 25.

Call for proposals for papers and discussants: Making European Muslims (Oct. 28 to 29, 2011)

*Call for proposals for papers and discussants*

*Making European Muslims:*

*Islam and the Struggle over Beliefs, Perceptions and Identities among
Children and Young People in Western Europe*

* *

*Two-day conference in Copenhagen, Denmark*

*Friday 28 to Saturday 29 October, 2011*

* *

*Organized by the Arab and Islamic Studies Unit and the Child and Youth
Unit, Aarhus University*

As states and politicians in North-Western Europe focus more and more on
the “integration” of Muslim populations, the religion of Islam becomes
ever more controversial. While the focus of attention is often
elsewhere, it is among children and young people that the struggle over
the making of Europe’s Muslim citizens is most intense. Although some
European Muslim children attend private schools catering to students of
Muslim background, most attend public schools operated by the states in
which they reside, and it is in these schools, above all, that religious
beliefs, perceptions and identities are contested and constructed. The
conference explores the processes and interests involved and their outcomes.

Previous studies have pointed out the importance of Islam as an identity
marker and as a common point of reference for schoolchildren with
minority backgrounds. Less attention, however, has been paid to ways in
which Islam is constructed in changing social, intellectual and cultural
contexts, and how boundaries between religion and culture are negotiated
and shifted. These, along with the construction of identities, are among
the focal points of the conference. For further information, see
http://teo.au.dk/en/schoolislam/mem/ .

Assailants topple 30 tombstones, scrawl swastikas at Muslim cemetery in northeast France

News Agencies – September 24, 2010
Unidentified assailants have toppled about 30 tombstones and scrawled swastikas into the ground at a Muslim cemetery plot in Strasbourg, in northeastern France. Mayor Roland Ries has denounced the desecration of the Muslim section of a cemetery in the city of Strasbourg as “an unbearable racist act.”
An umbrella group of French Muslim organizations, the CFCM (French Council of Muslim Faith) expressed its “indignation” about the vandalism overnight Thursday to Friday and called on authorities to track down and punish the attackers. France is home to Western Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim populations, and there are occasional attacks on their schools, cemeteries or places of worship. Many go unsolved and unprosecuted.

Assailants topple 30 tombstones, scrawl swastikas at Muslim cemetery in northeast France

News Agencies – September 24, 2010
Unidentified assailants have toppled about 30 tombstones and scrawled swastikas into the ground at a Muslim cemetery plot in Strasbourg, in northeastern France. Mayor Roland Ries has denounced the desecration of the Muslim section of a cemetery in the city of Strasbourg as “an unbearable racist act.”
An umbrella group of French Muslim organizations, the CFCM (French Council of Muslim Faith) expressed its “indignation” about the vandalism overnight Thursday to Friday and called on authorities to track down and punish the attackers. France is home to Western Europe’s largest Jewish and Muslim populations, and there are occasional attacks on their schools, cemeteries or places of worship. Many go unsolved and unprosecuted.