American Muslims Shireen Qudosi

European Muslims Face Alienation

There are an estimated 13 million Muslims living throughout Europe. Yet, according to the EUMC (the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia), there is an alarmingly “wide range of anti-Muslim or Xenophobic abuse across the European Union’s 25 member states,” (BBC).

According to the report, discrimination is reflected in a number of social circles, including housing and employment sectors. While this is a concern, how much can really be done if the mass majority of Muslims are not willing to integrate into the society they are a part of?

With few exceptions, a significant percentage of (mostly European) Muslims treat their residency in a foreign state with cautionary isolationism. They think:

Be a part of society, yet be separate from it. Live in the land, yet don’t identify with it. Benefit from the system, but condemn the very same traditions and customs that welcomed you openly, having tolerated and respected your beliefs.

Perhaps there’s just the slight stench of hypocrisy here – a hypocrisy that others are not blind to, an incredulous double standard that leads to the xenophobic abuse reflected in the EUMC’s report.


Muslim Population

France: 6 million

Germany: 3 million

UK: 1.6 million

Spain: 1 million

Netherlands: 1 million

If they wish to live peacefully, Muslims must do more to integrate with their society. Muslims feel alienated because Muslims alienate themselves. They alienate themselves, and then are upset when others begin alienating them as well; and others do so primarily because that is how we have shown them to treat us – Muslims, with a culture rich in hospitality, cannot be hospitable to the people who have welcomed them into their land.

Government policies only escalate the situation through an eagerness to “protect” this demographic, to appear politically polished, politically correct. In doing so, they create a reverse alienation, which justifies Islamophobia and only gives rise to increased statistics of abuse on both sides, to Muslims and by Muslims.

So the only real solution is for Muslims to begin trying to chip away at mental walls; this, without delusion, is going to be a painstakingly arduous process.

It is not something that is going to happen overnight. It is not something that most Muslims will even begin acting on independently. It is something that government and media have to work together on by no longer playing into language that gives the Muslim majority a sense of authority and justification in forcing their will onto other members of society. Politicians and media need to stop feeding into word play, a language that advocates an ethnic group at the cost of another.

It is a type of language that is giving rise to new form of racism, creating a system that only makes it easier for Muslims to look down at the other side with contempt and scorn for behavior often inconsistent with Islamic tradition and cultural expectations.

And yes, as per the EUME report, Muslims will cite that they “feel that acceptance by society is increasingly premised on ‘assimilation’, and the assumption that they should lose their Muslim identity.”

With this sentiment, the question now becomes: are Islamic values fundamentally at odds with Western society? The answer would be an ambiguous yes and no, if it weren’t for one key word: fundamentally.

As I have and will detail in other articles, there is one key element in Islam that is discordant to Western society. And despite scattered shared values between East and West, there are a few negative qualities that greatly overshadow the positive.

And the fact that many European Muslims cite loss of identity as a result of assimilation, highlights that they do also feel there is a polarity between the two cultures.  Muslims living in western nations willing to accommodate both sets of values, will have to learn to compromise what they see as their traditional Islamic identity – not so much in how they live, but how they think.

A great number of Muslims will feel they are moderate and open-minded, yet deep-rooted sentiment gives them away. A comment here, a judgment there, shows there is still a great degree of prejudice and bias being drawn upon when observing and interacting with non-Muslims.

To reach a balance, Muslims must begin by correcting themselves from treating non-Muslim Europeans as enemies – or even as inherently against all that is “righteous”. They must stop placing pride in their believed heritage to the extent that they destroy any real chance of respect for another faith, belief system, and culture.

Respect. Not conversion to another faith, belief system, culture. There is a significant difference between to the two. To those Muslims that have already reached this level, their duty extends to speaking out when they see others act ignorantly.

It’s commendable to be open-minded and tolerant; however, this nobility soon varnishes when you don’t speak out against others who act unjustly. And if none of this can be done, then the only real solution is to go back to an Islamic country, where you won’t feel so at odds with society.

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