Justin Vaisse is a senior fellow for the Center on the United States and Europe and Brookings. Justin has written an article on Muslims in Europe he talks about Myths, Challenges and he compares it to America. There are many myths he has written about and I will cover a few of them.
The first myth I would like to discuss is the myth of Being Muslims constitutes a fixed person identity, sufficient to fully characterize a person. This is that people assume being Muslim is religion and not a nationality. Also people are judging others because they are Muslim and put them in a category in their own mind that all of these people are the same and like the same things. This myth needs to be resolved because everyone is their own person, everyone likes and dislike different things. This is discrimination, this would be like saying everyone that lives in Louisiana likes a crawfish boil, I know this is false because I know people in Louisiana that hate crawfish.
Another myth about Muslims in Europe are inherently foreign, the equivalent of visiting Middle-Easterners who are alien to the native culture. This is a Myth because Europe has always had Muslim elements in it, it can be traced back to the 8th century. Many of the Muslims in Europe hold a French, German, or British nationality, many of them only thing of themselves as Europeans and nothing else. This is the world they have been and grown up in, carrying their heritage. There is not much difference in-between a French Muslim and a French person of a different religion. The Muslims in Europe are just like everyone else, they are a part of the culture, they are the culture.
The last myth I would like to discuss is the myth that Muslims in Europe form a distinct cohesive and bitter group. People are judging people on past experiences with other Muslims, first of all this is very wrong and people should not do this but the do anyways and secondly people are people they have bad days and good days you can just catch a person on a bad day and think that they are a bitter person, when they are actually a nice and open human being.
There is a difference between the religion of Islam and the politics of Islam. Many people think that it is all the same thing, but it is nowhere near the same. “Regarding ‘ibadat (worship), Muslims have to do what is strictly prescribed…in social affairs, the situation is completely different one can do whatever one wants as long as is not a pre-described principal” (Hunter 209). What Hunter is saying is that for Worship a person needs text on what to do and how to do it, and in social affairs (politics) text is required on what not to do.
There are many challenges that are brought upon the Muslims in Europe from education. “School is no longer what it used to be and everything is wrong (Hunter 216). School is no longer teaching technical abilities and performance, they are focused on questioning meaning of life and discussing values, this is not what the Muslim communities want, this is not what a lot of other Europeans want. This way of schooling is making people wonder who they are, they are in an identity crises and are lost they don’t know who they are anymore, school is making them question themselves.
Muslims in Europe are also facing challenges in social rifts. Europe is going through social and economic crises, Unemployment and social exclusion. Muslims also have to face discrimination when they are looking for a job because employment places are discriminating against religion, names, skin color, or even where they are from. This is terrible for Muslims in Europe because there is high unemployment all around and they are having problems getting jobs because of discrimination.
HUNTER, Shireen T., and Charles BUCHANAN. Islam, Europe’s Second Religion: The New Social, Cultural and Political Landscape. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002. Print.