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.
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.
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.