Islam in Scandinavia & Spain – Post 12

Week 14 // Post 12

In the book Islam, Europe’s Second Religion Hunter discusses the four levels of integration into Scandinavian Countries they are as follows:

General Integration: To make Islam and Muslims accepted in every day life, as they have not be widely accepted and integrated. Contributing factors toward the negative integration due to “the persistence of communalism among Muslims plus the segregation in house and in the labor market” (Hunter, 2002) For this to change both Muslims and Swedish have to be more accepting and change.

Political Level: Muslims and Swedish integration at the political level is low, there are very few Muslims involved with the Swedish political scene at the national level. Hunter describes two different parties that are involved in the Scandinavia that are present in Flag_of_scandinaviathe public are basically secular. The two groups are secular and observant – Male is identified as secular and females are identified as observant.

Level of Religious Rituals: the different religious views toward different aspects of life. For example “in Sweden, Muslims have attacked the Freedom of Religion Act from 1951 because of restrictions on Islamic way of slaughtering animals.” (Hunter, 2002)

Ideological Level: One of the positive situations between Muslims and Sweden. Muslim individuals have expressed the idea to create the term “Euro-Islam”. These individuals were to express that they have distanced themselves from the different political problems in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to create more of a “true” Islam in Europe. (Hunter, 2002)

        The situation in Spain regarding Islam is different from other European countries. “The most important difference lies in the face that despite a past marked by many centuries of Islamic rule, at present Muslim are not numerically significant in Spain, and the Muslim community in Spain, both naturalized and immigration, totals just 350,000” (Hunter, 2002) The reason behind this is due to that in the past 15 years Spain has been receiving immigrants, Spain has also had no lasting colonies in Muslim countries. Muslim integration in Spanish Society is very high in the case of naturalized Muslims and Spanish converts, but the majority of these Muslims have settled into Spain due to economic reason and who have achieved a limited level of integration. Comparing the number of immigrant Muslims verse the number of “nationalized Muslims”, immigrant Muslims is much higher “Spanish legislation relation to region has been develop only in light of the needs of the Spanish Muslim community and dose not extend to Muslim immigrants.” (Hunter, 2002)

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References:

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.

 

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Tanner Post 10- Sharia Law and Islamic Feminism

Although Muslims received their independence in the 1950s, they believed they were not being treated equally, as they felt suppressed and controlled by the Westernized elites. Muslim ideals and traditions were ignored by the Western leaders, which eventually resulted in a lot of tension between the oppressed Muslims and the Western civilization. Consequently, the Islamic revolution resulted in 1979 after the militant jihad’s decided to take action and defend themselves against the Soviet Union. The authors, Sardar and Davies believe that this sudden feeling of power led to the establishment of the Taliban. The creation of the Taliban was a way for the jihadi to create an idealistic Islamic state. However, current tension between the Jihadis and the West is extremely high, as both sides perceive each other as threats and enemies.

Sharia law, otherwise known as Islamic law, was created by the fundamentalists who are extremely strict to their Islamic views; a major reason for the Islamic Revolution. The fundamentalists believe that in order to make an idealistic Islamic state, everything must be revolved around Islamic law. The Sharia Law is not the equivalent of the Qur’an, yet it is still perceived as “laws from God.” Sharia laws do the opposite of liberating women, as it signifies the objection of women’s rights. Another key characteristic of the Sharia law is the punishment quality of it. The most extreme characteristics of punishment are known as the Hubud laws which are demonstrated when someone commits a certain crime. Beheading, torture by dismantling body parts, and stoning are some examples of punishment given by the Hubud laws. The puritan fundamentalists are concerned with the Hubud laws because they want the punishments to reveal that the “state is enforcing the whole of Islam” (Sardar and Davies, 118). The fundamentalists use these punishments as a way for people to behave and to demonstrate their seriousness.

I do not believe Islamic law has always been consumed with “punishment”. According to the No-Nonsense Guide to Islam, Puritan Fundamentalists are the only ones worried about punishment and crime laws. A while back, The Muhammad talked down on punishment, explaining how everyone is equal and nobody deserves punishment. Therefor, I believe that the recent Islamic fundamentalist believe in these punishments, such as cutting ones hands off as a recompensation for what they have done. I believe what has changed is Puritan Fundamentalist are concerned about never being able to go fully practice their religion because of the restraints from society and they are afraid of never returning to what is pure, so they are implementing these scary rules.

women rights

As stated by Margot Bardon in Islamic Feminism to a Muslim Holistic Feminism, Islamic feminism includes the awareness and analysis of gender inequality and women’s deprivation of their rights and efforts. There are several differences between “secular” and “Islamic feminism”. Secular feminism was established in the form of a social movement, while Islamic feminism began as a discourse of women’s rights and gender equality, taken from religious texts such as the Qur’an. Secular feminists focused on building new institutions of state and society using democratic, constitutional, and humanitarian argument. Secular feminism was also more concerned with the pubic sphere and favored the social movement, unlike Islamic feminist’s who went for a discourse in gender equality.

Islamic feminism has been a useful tool for addressing gender inequalities within Islamic societies and communities abroad. Women are beginning to take action and go back to texts to question the way men have perceived and written them. They are also beginning to strive to hold more higher positions like men do and are attempting to change the tradition of men always being the decision maker. The Musawah was also established, as they are a group that focuses on restructuring Muslim family laws. It is important that secular and Islamic feminists combine their ideals to help change the perception of Islamic women.

References:

Badran, M. (2011).  From Islamic Feminism to a Holistic Muslim Feminism.  Retrieved from: https://blackboard.missouri.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-3161660-dt-content-rid-31263463_1/courses/SP2017.GERMAN.4810.01/From%20Islamic%20feminism%20to%20a%20Muslim%20Holistic%20feminism.pdf

Davies, M. & Sardar, Z. The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam. New Internationalist Publications, 2007. Print.

 

Tanner Post 12- Islam in Scandinavia and Spain

After speaking about Islam’s integration in Italy last week, we now shift over to Scandinavia. In Islam, Europe’s Second Religion, Leif Steinberg explains the four integrated levels for Muslims in Scandinavia:

1) General Integration- Islam has not integrated in at an accepted level for them to be accepted as part of the country’s everyday life. This is indicated by the segregation in housing and in the labor market as well as the persistence of communalism among Muslims. Due to the negative views of Islam, Muslims will have to reinterpret Islam in order to be able to live a life considered in a secular society, and non-Muslims will have to make changes as well in order to accommodate them into their society. The author explains how Swedish government is working towards preventing discrimination in the labor market and the workplace, such as the rule of now accepting headscarves.

2) Political Level- Not many Muslims are active in Scandinavians political life at a national level. The way the media labels the male and female Muslims has a lot to do with the lack of involvement. Men are seen as very stubborn in sticking to their views of Islam and do not consider Swedish political involvement necessary. Women on the other hand, are portrayed as very secular and interested in politics.

3) Religious Rituals- Muslims have been against the Freedom of Religion Act from 1951 because it restricts their way of slaughtering animals. This is just another example of restricting their religion in a sense and Muslims are not fond of it and do not want to integrate.

4) Ideological level- there is room for optimism at this level. Muslims want to be recognized as “Euro-Islam” and are distancing themselves from the political problems in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Muslims in Scandinavia “are willing and able to create a more “true” Islam in Europe (Hunter, 138).

Islam in spain

“Despite a past marked by many centuries of Islamic rule, at present Muslims are not numerically significant in Spain, and the Muslim community is Spain, both naturalized and immigrant, totals 350,000” (Hunter, 157). One reason for this is because Spain has only been a receiver of immigrants for the last fifteen years. The other reason is Spain hasn’t had any lasting colonies in Muslims countries, unlike other European countries.

Muslim integration is help to many different degrees within the Spanish society. In terms of naturalized Muslims and Spanish Converts, the level of integration is high. That being said, many immigrants settle in Spain solely for economic purposes, and that limits their level of integration. In terms of a political degree, Spanish legislation has only compromised for the well-being of the Spanish Muslim community and does not extend to Muslim immigrants. The degree at a political level is very low considering many of the Muslim’s are immigrants. There is such a broad area in term of Muslim’s integration within the Spanish society because naturalized Muslims and Spanish converts are being recognized by the government policies, but immigrants are not.

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I believe it will be nearly impossible to for Islam to completely integrate in Spain if immigrants are not being recognized. I also find it extremely challenging for Muslims to be more active in the community if “most of Europe’s Muslim communities constitute an underprivileged class, clustered in ghetto like neighborhoods imbued with a culture of deprivation and alienation and with antisocial propensities” (Hunter 274). I believe the media attention and recognition of Islam it is a great sign for Islam as a whole, but I still cant see how Muslims can happily integrate with all the restrictions European’s place on them. Not only is it tough to integrate with the many restrictions placed on Muslims by the government and living as an underprivileged class, but also the people and society still lack the acceptance and care needed for Muslims to feel at home and in peace. Garcia backs this up by explaining how there are many new additions and “structures, including at the neighborhood level, in order to ensure positive and peaceful interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims” (Hunter, 173). I just find it extremely challenging for Muslims to happily integrate in Europe if they not only have to deal with government restrictions, but they also have to be concerned about the lack of acceptance from non-Muslims.

References:

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.

Muslim Immigration in Europe Vs. the United States – Post 11

sWeek 12// Post 11

The population of Muslim immigrants in Italy differs from that in other countries in many ways. One of the various things that set Italy apart is the setting up of mosque in several university towns in 1970’s. “Regarding the emergence of Muslim organization, Italy is unique because, unlike in many other European countries the first mosques were created not by and for immigrant workers, but by and an intellectual elite of students from the middle east…”(Hunter, 2002)The evolution of immigrant communities in Italy differ from those in European countries not only in the recent arrival of immigrants but also the diversity of countries or origin, rapid pace of entry and settlement, higher number irregular immigrants, and higher level of geographic dispersion. (Hunter, 79) “The Islamic presence in Italy became visible with the entry of the first immigrants, whereas in other countries, Islam became visible only after the emergence of a second immigrant generation.” (Hunter, 2002)Muslims8_thumb

 

The “intesa” is essentially an agreement that has to be signed if religions they want to be included in the system of recognition that offers various judicial and economic advantages. Factors that have contributed to the lack of an “intesa” with the Islamic community in Italy are because (1) Muslims are not Italian citizens and are immigrants with the hope to return to their country of origin, (2) Muslims do not yet represent a powerful political group, which reduces the urgency of coming to an agreement, (3) Cultural differences, the use of Arabic as the principle medium of religious expression and intra-Muslim communication, leads to alienation of Muslims, (4) Financing for Muslim institutions coming from other Muslim countries leads to more alienation of Muslims, (5) the weak level of organization, minimal cohesion, and adequate public awareness in Italian Islam. (Hunter, 2002) These factors have been a contributing factor to the lack of an “intesa” between the Islamic and Italy.

After reading the article Why the U.S. doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does by Naveed Jamali I gained an insight to the United Stated and Europe’s Muslim population. When asking the question why dose the United States not have a “Muslim problem” compared to Europe was for a couple reasons according to the article. Jamali reasons the “Muslim problem” in Europe to the inability for Muslims to assimilate into European culture. While there is a greater Muslim population in Europe, the United States has allowed Muslims the ability to assimilate into American Society and feel like they belong rater then feeling like an outsider. Jamali uses outside statistics to back up him claim stating “ …80 percent of US Muslims were happy with life in America, and 63 percent said they felt no conflict between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society” (Jamali, 2016) Muslims in the United states have shown their pride by displaying the US flag in various locations, which is another indication of how Muslims immigrants in America feel at home. The Muslim population in the United States differs from that in Europe by the number of immigrants in each country. There is a larger population of Muslims, which most likely contributes to the uneasy feeling of not feeling assimilated in Europe.

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Jamali uses his real life examples of how Europe and the United States differ from each other when it comes to the welcoming Muslim Immigrants. Jamali’s uncle went to Europe to work as an engineer for the German Space Agency. In Germany he had two sons who avoided mandatory German military service and struggled to identify himself German. Jamali’s dad had a much different experience in the United States, he came to the US on a Fulbright scholarship and ran a successful business, and one of his sons joined the US Navy; also voting in each election, immersing themselves in American culture. These different experiences give Jamali a basis toward the United States.

Since the publication of this article last year a lot has change in the United States, this is due to the election of the newsiest President Donald Trump. President Trump has placed a ban on immigration to the United States. This has caused a lot of controversy within and out of the US for many. I feel as if this article was written today, I feel as the attitude toward the United States would be much different given the changes over the past couple months.

References:

Jamali, N. (2016, April 3). “Why the US doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does.” Retrieved from: https://bblearn.missouri.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-3161668-dt-content-rid-31263459_1/courses/SP2017.GERMAN.4810.01/fpri.org-Why%20the%20US%20does%20not%20have%20a%20Muslim%20problem%20and%20Europe%20does.pdf 

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.

 

Post #12

Islam integration in Scandinavia & Spain

The four levels of integration of Muslims in the Scandinavian countries are as follows:

1. The general integration of Muslims. So far, Muslims have not been integrated at this level because there is still a persistence of communalism and segregation in housing and the labor market. The public and media’s image of Muslims are still negative in Scandinavian countries as well. For Muslims to feel more integrated, the Swedish laws must change so there is not ethnic discrimination. The Swedish state is currently moving toward the acceptance of the headscarf and must grant Muslim women the right to wear headscarves at the workplace (Hunter, p. 138).

2. The political level. Very few Muslims are active in the Scandinavian political life at a national level and therefore integration at this level is low. Even the actively political Muslims are hardly known as leaders or representatives of Islam’s and Muslims. There are two prototypes of political Muslims portrayed in the media and one is secular (male) and the other is observant (female).

3. The level of religious rituals. “Muslims have attacked the Freedom of Religion Act from 1951 because of restrictions on the Islamic way of slaughtering animals in Sweden” (Hunter, p. 138).

4.  The ideological level. This level is quite positive for Muslims in Sweden. Muslims feel like they are a part of the development of what they call Euro-Islam. Muslims are willing to distance themselves from Middle East, Africa and Asia politics in order to create a more “try” Islam in Europe.

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“Muslims holding Sweden’s flag.”

Photo Retrieved from: http://dailyscandinavian.com/norways-population-rises/

Currently, there are only 350,000 Muslims in Spain (Hunter, p. 157). There are two reasons why there is not a greater impact of Islam in modern-day Spanish society given the history of Islam in Spain. The first reason is that only in the last 15 years has Spain become a receiver of immigrants. The second reason is that unlike other European countries, Spain has had no lasting colonies in Muslims countries.

The degrees of Muslims integration within the Spanish society differs across each Muslim group. In general, the level of integration is very high in the case of naturalized Muslims and Spanish converts (Hunter, p. 165). But a majority of Muslims are only in Spain for economic reasons and they have a more limited level of integration. Currently, Spanish legislation relating to religion was only developed for Spanish Muslims, but not Muslim immigrants. At the political level, the integration is low. Since most Muslims are immigrants who do not have a Spanish citizenship, it is very difficult for political expression. It also discourages Muslims from forming associations, which in turn makes political parties and trade unions ignore Muslim communities (Hunter, p. 171).

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Muslim women in Granada, Spain.

Photo retrieved from: http://www.aquila-style.com/converts-corner/muslim-women-granada-spain/93448/

Something that really stands out to me is how hard it is for Muslims to integrate into European countries. It’s just surprising that it would be so difficult, especially since Europe has such a diverse population in general with people from all over and various backgrounds. You would think Europe would embrace more diversity – especially more than the U.S. It’s interesting how including one more religion into their folds is such a challenge for Europe, why can’t it be easier? It also seems like Muslims are somewhat willing to adapt to their European culture, as long as they can still celebrate their own culture that they know.

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“Europa kicking Islam out of Europe.”

Photo Retrieved from: http://www.renegadetribune.com/finishing-off-the-rape-monkeys-in-sweden/


Works Cited

Hunter, S. (2002). Islam, Europe’s Second Religion. Print.

Zach Post #12 – Muslim Integration in Scandinavian Countries and Spain

 

Integration in Scandinavian Countries

General Integration –  So far Muslims have not integrated at the general level. “The persistence of communalism among Muslims plus segregation in housing and labor markets symbolize this failure” (Hunter 137).  This is that Muslims are living all in the same area as other Muslims, and they are not living amongst other people. Also the “labor market” being the jobs they have are all the same, and not mixed in with non-Muslims.

Political Level – There is as some would say little to no integration for Muslims in Scandinavian counties in the political level. In Sweden out of 349 Parliament members (government officials) only 3 are Muslims. “Immigrants are interested in politics, but they feel that they are unable to change their own conditions and those of the society by acting through the existing political systems” (Hunter 127). It seems that they want to be involved but they are afraid of what others will think if they change something.

Level of Religious Rituals –  Muslims have not integrated with others to the point of religious rituals. “Muslims attacked the Freedom of Religion Act from 1951 because of the restrictions on the Islamic way of slaughtering animals” (Hunter 138). If they are being restricted on their religion, it is very hard for them to integrate with the other people in the country.

Ideological Level – At the Ideological level Muslims in Sweden are positive. They are thought of more than they were before and they are a part of a development they call Euro-Islam. This is Muslims getting away from all the bad in the middle east and wanting to be more of a real Islam in Europe.

 

Integration in Spainmspain

“The presence of Islam in Spain has less to do with the historical past than it does with Spain’s becoming a recipient country of immigrants” (Hunter 172). This is saying that the presence of Islam was not really seen until Spain was allowing immigrants and that the immigrants make up the community. It is a small community but Islam is becoming more seen in the public eye, getting attention from the public, politics, and government authorities. “Spain’s small and diverse Islamic community has found it difficult to make progress in various fields, and it has faced many problems.” (Hunter 172). They have made this worst because they are talking bad or against the government. The Spanish Muslims consist of small communities and they are trying to better themselves by practicing their religion and pasting it down to their children.

In the community level or general integration, the Muslims are not doing a great job integrating with non-Muslims. They are living in separate neighborhoods and not interacting with each other. Authorities are also having problems finding good partners in Muslim communities to know what is going on around them to try to keep them safe.

In the Political Level of integration, “Bonds with Islamic countries-countries of origin and other are being strengthened because of the need for funds to build places of worship” (Hunter 173). This is a good aspect of integration in between counties they are helping them build a stronger bond. But there is also fear that foreign nations try to manipulate them through Islamic associations.

Legal Recognition, In July 1989 Islam was officially recognized by the government of Spain because there is a great presence of Muslims in Spain. This is good but has also created more problems for Muslims in Spain. Such as the government does not provide financial assistance to religious intuitions. “Consequently, even today, conditions for the practice of Islam in Spain are not as good as they could be. Because the agreement is a framework… and its content has been modified within a long and complex process” (Hunter 169). This sums up as saying that there are loopholes for the government to jump through so that they can and cannot do thing for the Islamic community in Spain.

 

 

 

References:

HUNTER, Shireen T., and Charles BUCHANAN. Islam, Europe’s Second Religion: The New Social, Cultural and Political Landscape. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002. Print.

Daisy Post 12 – Muslims in Scandinavian Countries & Final Thoughts

Muslims’ integration into Scandinavian societies has been both similar and different from the integration experiences of fellow Muslims into other European countries.

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Map of the Scandinavian Countries

Lief Stenberg, contributor to Islam, Europe’s Second Religion, explains four main levels of integration for Muslims into Scandinavian countries:

  1. The general integration in order to make Islam and Muslims an accepted part of the Scandinavian country’s way of life – so far, this has not happened due to remaining segregation in the housing and labor markets.  There are lingering bad views of Islam and Muslims, mainly among older generations – a view which I find similar to how some view other groups, like African Americans, in the U.S.  Stenberg notes that change can only come from both the Muslims and native Scandinavians.  Specifically, Muslims will have to reinterpret their religion to work it into existing Scandinavian society, and Scandinavians will have to change their laws to be more accommodating.  For example, Sweden is taking a step in the right direction by working towards making headscarves legal in the workplace for Muslim women.
  2. Political level – so far there is a low level of integration in this area.  Muslims generally have little to no involvement in Scandinavian politics, partially due to how the “average” Muslim male and female are portrayed in the media.  The male is often pictured as a middle aged guy, living every aspect of his life to Islamic standards; he is passionate about protecting and embracing Muslim culture, so far as to say his brand of Muslim is the right brand, and he is not interested or invested in Scandinavian politics.  The female, on the other hand, is portrayed as a convert who wants to be involved in Scandinavian politics and is generally much more secular in comparison to her peers and males (Stenberg, 2002).
  3. Level of religious rituals – the tension between Muslims and Swedes, specifically, is rising.  Stenberg writes, “… In Sweden, Muslims have attacked the Freedom of Religion Act from 1951 because of restrictions on the Islamic way of slaughtering animals” (Stenberg, 2002).  Slaughtering of animals is certainly a topic that is controversial in many societies today, but it adds depth to the situation as this activity is part of a religion, not just out of plain cruelty.
  4. Ideological level – generally, the situation for Muslims in Scandinavian countries is positive.  According to Stenberg, Muslims are active in the development of “Euro-Islam.”  In other words, generally, Muslims want to separate themselves from political unrest in the Middle East and their home countries, and they want to create a new, “true” Islam in Europe.

The integration of Muslims in Scandinavian countries is an ongoing process that is slow moving, similar to that of Muslims in Spain.  Surprisingly, despite the history between Spain and Islam, there is not such a great impact of Islam on modern-day Spanish society.  Contributors to Islam, Europe’s Second Religion, Contreras and Garcia, conclude that it is for two reasons: 1) Spain has only welcomed Muslim immigrants for the past 15 years and 2) Spain has no colonies in the Muslim world anymore.  They write, “The disparity of their ethnic origins, circumstances, and timing of their settlement in Spain coupled with the fact of the presence of a well-established Muslim community in Spain… have affected the way in which each Muslim community has lived its religious life” (Contreras & Garcia, 2002).  Naturalized Muslims and Spanish converts to Islam have a high level of integration in society, however, the majority, Muslim immigrants who have settled in Spain, have limited integration (Contreras & Garcia, 2002).  The Spanish government’s policies and acknowledgement of Islam is for the naturalized Muslims and Spanish converts, not for immigrants.  How is this fair?

I agree that these tensions between Muslims and European countries will likely improve, but also become more complex. I believe both Muslims in Europe and native Europeans will become increasingly more passionate about their stances on these complexities, which will likely bring new light to the situation. The Muslims in Europe will likely become closer and more bonded through their similar experiences in attempt to integrate into the various European communities. Additionally, I agree with Hunter’s perspective regarding the old notion where Muslims will one day return “home” is slowly diminishing. I think (and hope) Europeans are starting to take these immigrants seriously, accepting the idea that these people are in Europe with intentions to stay and create a better quality of life. One interesting point that Hunter makes in the concluding remarks section is about the assimilationists versus communitarians. According to Hunter, the assimilationists believe that it is up to the Muslim people to conform to the culture of their host country and keep their religious life completely private and hidden – creating new, hybrid forms of Islam. However, communitarians prefer to stay banded together as Muslims and either slowly integrate into certain parts of society or remain isolated from the rest of society as a whole. The idea of a combination of the two views, with the creation of a modified European Islam is a promising and exciting future for Muslims. I think this is a huge step for several European societies that hold their history, legislation, and tradition so tight. By making way for new religions and new types of people, specifically, the integration of Islam and Muslims, I’m hopeful that the fear of the unknown religion/person begins to fade away.

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Islamophobia Cartoon

References:

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.

Zach Post #11 – Muslims in Italy & a”Muslim Problem”?

“Historically, Islam’s presence in Italy is not a novel phenomenon; it is rather a “return” (78 Hunter). Islam has been a part of Italy for a very long time, since the seventh century. Their history has been forgotten by many of the Italians. “Immigrants in the 1980’s and 90’s came to Italy from the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa countries, plus Albania, Latin America, other Middle Eastern countries, and more recently Europe” (79 Hunter). This is when the Muslim immigrants came to Italy, they mostly came from Maghred, Africa, and the Middle East. These people “reintroduced Islam to Italy” (79 Hunter). Muslim immigration become organized and they started to set up mosques in cities. I believe that the reasons why the Muslim immigrant population in Italy is different from other European countries is because: Many of these immigrants are from different places before, many have come over at different times and they came at different ages, and there are a lot of people coming and going from Italy.

All religions that want to be recognized legally in Italy must have a system of agreements (Intesa). When these religions are recognized legally in Italy they gain juridical and economic advantages. The system of agreements (Intesa) was started in 1984. Many religious groups have signed Intesa’s and are legally recognized. But Islam is not recognized legally by Italy. Since 1990 the Muslims in Italy have been negotiating an agreement with Italy to have a Intesa. The Muslims in Italy have enough people to have an Intesa, because many smaller religious groups have gotten an Intesa. “An Intesa is not, juridically, a duty of the state but always a bilateral agreement with a particular religious’ community” (89 Hunter). This means an Intesa is not a thing that the government has to do, it is something they do if they want to. An Intesa is a political decision. There are many factors that there is not an Intesa with the Islamic community in Italy.

-Most Muslims in Italy are not Italian Citizens. They are immigrants that hope, one day to return to their country of origin.

– The number of Italians that have converted to Islam is very small.

– Culture differences, especially language. Arabic is the language of Islam and it makes Muslims appear separate from the rest because they speak a different language.

– The public awareness/media coverage of the negative people that are Muslim

 

According to Naveed Jamali the United States of America does not have a “Muslim Problem” and that Europe does have a problem. The main reason why Jamali believes that Europe has a “Muslim Problem” is because Europe does not know how to welcome and fully understand immigrants and this tension creates a way for ISIS to recruit people. The population in Europe and the population in the United States of America differ A LOT, there are 19 million Muslims in Europe and only 3.3 Million Muslims in the United States of America. But we need to take in percentages because more people live in Europe than in the United States. With this factored in, the Muslim Population in Europe is about 2.5%, and in the United States of America it is about 1%. These two numbers now do not seem too far from each other. So population is similar in the percent of people. The author (Jamali) might have some bias, because if he in like any other AMERICAN, he is PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN and he believes his county is the best, most powerful in the world.  One will always think his life or country is better than others, and it is always easy to find facts that you agree with and that will support you.

 

 

 

References:

HUNTER, Shireen T., and Charles BUCHANAN. Islam, Europe’s Second Religion: The New Social, Cultural and Political Landscape. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002. Print.

 

Tanner Post 11- Islam Integration

 

Italy was populated with many Islam’s for an extremely long time, as their Islamic importance was recognized throughout Italy. Islam used to thrive in Sicily around the 17th century, but since the “return” of Islam, much of their significance has depleted since then. As of today, the Islam’s importance has taken a sharp decline in Italy because Italy doesn’t believe there is a reason to develop specific policies towards the Islamic world, due to their lack of colonization.

Regarding Muslim organizations, Italy differs from other European countries. Something unique about Italy is that “unlike in many other European countries, the first mosques were created not by and for immigrant workers, but by and for an intellectual elite of students from the Middle East” (Hunter, 79). Other qualities that separate Italy from other European countries are its diversity of countries of origin, rapid pace of entry and settlement, higher number of irregular immigrants, and a higher level of geographic dispersion. The author explains how Muslims are well dispersed throughout Italy and there aren’t certain concentrated immigrant communities. Another interesting characteristic is Islamic presence in Italy became apparent with the entry of the first immigrants, as other countries recognized Islam after their second immigrant generation. These “first generation” immigrants did not all come from a specific origin; rather, they came from a large variety of countries. Despite the many characteristics that initially seem to make Italy respectable in terms of handling Muslims, they don’t do so well with integration.

Italy expects all religions to sign the “intesa,” which is an agreement with the state that their religion is recognized. The Muslim community has been trying to get this legal recognition from the state but the request hasn’t been met because of certain actions that make it problematic such as: 1)Most Muslims are not Italians, they are immigrant who may not return to their countries of origin 2)Muslims do not represent a powerful political group which reduces the urgency of reaching an agreement with them 3)Cultural differences, such as the use of Arabic, which enhances the alien image of Islam 4)The financing of some Muslim institutions still comes from outside Muslim countries, enhancing the “outsider” image 5)The recent character of Italian Islam is not so great.

The author explains that to overcome, the political treatment of the presence of Muslim minorities needs to be “de-Islamized” and Muslim need to stop being viewed as a special case.

Muslim workers pray after colleagues wer

The Jamali article explains the difference between the Muslim population in the U.S. and the Muslim population in Europe. Jamali argues how U.S. Americans do a much better job of welcoming and assimilating Muslim immigrants compared to Europe. Jamali continues to express why the United States does not have a “Muslim problem” because so many Muslims are thriving in the U.S. The author explains how Muslims make up 10% of U.S. physicians, are ranked second in education, and are just as likely as any other American to earn a income of $100,000. Another major difference between American and Europe, according to a Muslim report, is that 80% of Muslims were happy to live in America, and around 63% did not seem to have any conflict with expressing their Muslim ideals in modern society.

Throughout the article, Jamali uses his family experience to help argue his belief of America being more accepting than Europe. He explains how his uncle was very educated and did not come to the United States as an act of fleeing war; it was to start a new successful life. Jamali’s brother and other family members did not have the same feeling towards their country, as they always felt like outsiders. It is important to note that there could be a bias from the author. Jamali is using his families experience to support his argument and not every Muslim will have the same experience as Jamali’s. For example, Jamali’s father has extremely educated and thrived in the United States, but not all people will have that same amount of success, which could generate different perspectives.

Another important thing to note is that a lot has changed since the article was published. Since the people of the United States elected Donald Trump, immigrants, especially Muslims, have been targeted and are seen as outsiders from many people. Donald trump established the Muslim Ban, disallowing Muslims from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen from entering the United States. Judging from Donald Trump’s tactics, Muslims may not be as happy/proud to live in the United States like Jamali’s grandfather was.

References:

Jamali, N. (2016, April 3). “Why the US doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does.” Retrieved from: https://bblearn.missouri.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-3161668-dt-content-rid-31263459_1/courses/SP2017.GERMAN.4810.01/fpri.org-Why%20the%20US%20does%20not%20have%20a%20Muslim%20problem%20and%20Europe%20does.pdf 

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.

Daisy Post 11 – Islam in Italy & Why Islam Is/Isn’t Working in US/Europe

Islam has been present in Italy for years and years, thriving in Sicily from the 17th century on.  However, there was a decline in Islam popularity in Italy because the country did not hold any colonies in the Islamic world, so the Italian government did not feel the need to extend policies towards Muslims.  That was the case, until Fascist ruler Musolini came to power in Italy.  According to Stefano Allievi, contributor to Islam, Europe’s Second Religion, Musolini said he would make it a great priority of his to show that Italy was a friend, and even protector, of Islam.  These statements, however, did not go much farther than public speech from Musolini.  Though Musolini’s actions did not necessary go in line with his Muslim-focused promises, Italy still was considered unique in its assimilation of Muslims into their culture.  Allievi writes, “Regarding the emergence of Muslim organizations… the first mosques were created not by and for immigrant workers, but by and for an intellectual elite of students from the Middle East… only later did the number of workers exceed that of students…” (Hunter, 2002).  This, among other factors, distinguish Italy from other European countries in their integrating and engaging with Muslim immigrants.  Some other distinguishing characteristics of Italy, outlined by Allievi, are:

  1.  Diversity of countries of origin – no single ethnic group defines the number of Italian Muslims, therefore Muslim presence in Italy cannot be treated as foreign policy, since the group is so diverse ethnically
  2. Rapid pace of entry and settlement in Italy
  3. Higher number of irregular immigrants
  4. Higher level of geographic dispersion

All of these factors basically mean that there are no set, exclusive Muslim “ghettos” or communities.  Rather, everyone is meshed together and integrated as an Italian whole.  Additionally, Italy’s immigrants have been coming for as long as written history can recall, whereas other countries weren’t seeing waves of Muslim immigrants until the 1950-70s.  Immigration in general was easier before the 20th century, hence the large numbers of Muslim immigrants in Italy early on.

muslims-in-milan-duomo-soeren-kern
Muslims Praying Outside Milan’s Duomo

Although it seems as though Italy does a wonderful job welcoming and supporting Muslim immigrants, there are still some difficulties with this integration.  Specifically, the “intesa,” legal recognition of the religion as part of Italian policy, is proving to be quite difficult for Islam.  This is due to several factors, according to Allievi:

  1. Most Muslims are not Italian citizens – they are immigrants who may or may not hope to return to their country of origin someday
  2. The number of Italian converts to Islam and other Muslim citizens is still relatively small, and therefore, they aren’t a powerful political group yet
  3. The alien image of Islam is still quite strong, especially with the use of Arabic (a foreign alphabet AND language)
  4. The financing of some Muslim institutions still comes from outside Muslim countries, rather than Italy itself, further enhancing the “outsider” image
  5. The recent character of Italian Islam is not so great – weak levels of organization, lack of cohesion, lack of adequate public awareness, and the constant “alien” image of Islam/Muslims

Allievi writes, “To overcome these barriers, it is necessary that the question of the juridical (and political) treatment of the presence of Muslim minorities be de-Islamized” (Hunter, 2002).

The next article I read was Why the U.S. Doesn’t Have a Muslim Problem, and Europe Does by Naveed Jamali.  As the title clearly states, Jamali argues that the U.S. does not have a Muslim problem, but that Europe definitely does. Jamari’s father and uncle left Pakistan at a young age, his father moving to the US and uncle moving to Germany. Based on his uncle’s immigration experience compared to his father’s experience as an immigrant, Jamari explains how the issue with Muslims in Europe stems from European countries’ inability to welcome and assimilate immigrants. As of 2015, the population in Europe is 743.1 million. In contrast, as of 2014, the United States population is 318.9 million. The significantly larger population in Europe might be a contributing factor to the unwelcoming and impersonal attitudes that Muslims may feel as they enter. The smaller population might set the scene for a more personal and warm welcome for immigrants that came around the same time as Jamali’s father.  However, Jamali may have some biases in his opinion. For one, Jamali’s father came to the U.S. with an incredible amount of knowledge and success, therefore, his livelihood was likely extremely fulfilling and well-financed. That could set the tone for how Jamali feels about the way of life for all Muslims coming to America, which may not be accurate. Additionally, the article was published just over a year ago. Since then, America has seen a huge amount of change, beginning with the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the country. Since Trump’s election, we have seen several policies and efforts towards pushing the immigrants and non-American citizens out of our country. The immigration ban was just the start of these topics that continue to circulate in the White House and all over the country. Seeing where our current president stands on immigration policy and how he views Muslims, Jamari might not feel the same way about why the United States doesn’t have a Muslim problem.

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Protesters of Trump’s Immigration Ban

 

References:

Jamali, N. (2016, April 3). “Why the US doesn’t have a Muslim problem, and Europe does.” Retrieved from: https://bblearn.missouri.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-3161668-dt-content-rid-31263459_1/courses/SP2017.GERMAN.4810.01/fpri.org-Why%20the%20US%20does%20not%20have%20a%20Muslim%20problem%20and%20Europe%20does.pdf 

Hunter, S. (2002). “Islam, Europe’s Second Religion.” Print.