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Islam A Threat To Europe Multicultural Democracies

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Question:

Is Islam a Threat to Europe’s Multicultural Democracies?
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Many dwellers of Europe are with thinking that the nature of Islam is not acceptable in the democracy of multi-culture and also of the thinking that Islam always has the tendency to pose a threat of long term in Europe.  Main points highlighted by them to the fact that the Islamic societies are not democratic in general and with this justification it is concluded  that the reason for that situation is the practiced undemocratic nature of this religion. It is also pointed out by the inhabitants of Europe that that language of Muslim normally has inherent mood to hate the West along with the modern evolution. It is also being inferred that Muslims could not prove them as good citizen in the perspective of Western democracies  (Richardson, 2012). This present literature study will try to find out the answer of the research question of the sociological impact of Islam and Muslim in the Europe with special emphasis on Britain which can be defined as the main cause of Islamophobia. To make this article more realistic without considering any generalization in abstract sense with shallow remarks which characterize most of debate, this article will provide justified platform for this debate on the perspective of Britain as it represents the natural trend of greater Europe related to democracy and Muslim population, this will be good to find the conclusion on this subject with this consideration in order to prove to acceptable for Britain and rest of Europe simultaneously.   

 

Literature study

In his work “Is Islam a Threat to Europe’s Multicultural Democracies?” Published in the book “Religion In the New Europe” (pages 111 to 121) Lord Bhiku Parekh had put light on the issues of sociological parameters related to the Islam and Muslims in the Europe to find the basic causes of the feeling of Islamophobia.

In his article, he had emphasized in different issues related to this subject which are discussed below:

Demographic constitution of Muslim community in Britain- As per the census of 2001, Britain has the population of Muslims of around 3 % of total citizen. Main portion of Muslim population had come from the Indian subcontinent with lion share being contributed from the rural areas of Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is observed that the adoptability of Western culture is not due to their religion but from their cultural difference with basic criterion of unfamiliarity of social culture. It is observed that the lion share of the Muslim population is of relatively younger age. There was found four Muslim riots which are compared with eight riots related to race by Afro-Caribbean.  Basic reasons for those four riots are for Satanic Verses of Rushdie and insensitivity of police and racist marches. It is also observed that Muslim community has not posed major threats to the law and order situation to the democracy of Britain. There are other challenges presented by Muslim of UK which are caused for social and cultural practices of Muslim, their moral values and with the demand of citizenship (Aidi, Billoo, Daulatzai, & Fadil, 2012, 3-9).

Clash of Practices- There are different issues in this subject like food habits, dress habits, marriage system, education of Muslims in Britain. Their food habit with religious rituals like Halal is being allowed by the British Government. Their dress code, flexibility of prayer time during work, introduction of public funded schools for Muslim community, marriage practice endorsing polygamy and arranged marriages are being considered with consideration till the time the same had pose any direct threat to the social situation for the society and the community (McLuhan, 2010, 9-13). 

Clash of values- Basic social values of equality, tolerance, freedom to express, amicable settlement of difference of opinion, and providing due respect for majority decision are the aspects which are to be endorsed for any social set up. The Muslims of Britain has complied with respectable consideration in this aspect. Equality of races is a significant value and practice of Muslims with some constraints found in case equality of sexes. The Muslims of Britain have never showed their declination for the subject of enjoyment of equality of sex for their women so far social, civil and political rights are concerned for any individual being. Muslim women are not restricted to take part in exercising their voting rights although the percentage of participation not as per the expectation in case of male. The representation of female in local councilors is under five while one out of four Muslim members of House of Lords is woman. There is no existence of Muslim Women in parliamentary candidature which has caused no participation as such for this situation. The Muslim organizations are, by and large, dominated by men.  For freedom of speech, Muslims community does not value it like the liberals. They are more concerned about the sensitive issues like Satanic Verses of Rushdie with demanding of the same to be banned, at least for the paperback editions. When the government had declined this, they have had gave up the demand followed by continuous complain. Regarding discrimination of employment considering the sex and religion is wanted to be banned by the Muslims in Britain. The government had a patient consideration of the issue and the European directive is also not endorsing the consideration of discrimination of religion for employment which is accepted by the British government. Tolerance of British Muslims is often found to meet the expected level in perspective of internal decency regarding the practices of wider society which they are not approving. They show their protest but with the permissible limit in case of their religion is being attacked or misrepresented by others. The Muslims of Britain are tending to rely on persuasion, peaceful protest and political pressure for raising their demand as discussed earlier without creating any major incident of violence except those four riots as declared earlier. In spite of some issues, the Muslims of Britain had accepted the proposed ban on the issues of polygamy and status of women. Even in case of denial of public funding of schools and discrimination of employment and other areas, they never raised any protest through violence  (McQuail, 2010).

 


Demand of citizenship- the citizens of a democratic society are needed to cultivate certain pre-fixed virtues which are forming the core of democratic culture. Without this culture, democratic institutions normally and resultantly lose their vitality. Main features of these virtues are being loyal to the state, participating in public affairs, showing respect to legislation and parliamentary constitution, feeling of pride for being the part of the country followed by subsequent commitment and sharing the identity of British nationality. To discuss these issues, there are some theological debate about the obligations of Muslim to any non-Muslim state, but British Muslims had accepted in wide manner their unreserved owing to loyalty. It is not that they do this under pressure of circumstances, but they do it with their unconditional will. The percentage of Muslim community exercising their voting right in different level of election is not felt to be different from the trend of the society. There are a number of 150 local councilors and eight mayors from Muslim community which does not make so big difference compared to other ethnic minorities. The representation of Muslim in House of Lords is four and three in the House of Commons which proves to be bigger than that of some other ethnic minorities. The society of British Muslim never challenges their identities with legitimacy in question. Public opinion survey showed the result that most of the Muslims feel proud to stay in Britain with the commitment for it stability and prosperity. Normally Islam is being interpreted in Britain in such a manner that in formal or informal ways it shows its inclination to the British Democracy by respecting the British democracy with its values. This is largely applicable for other European countries too where the Muslims are showing their respect to the subject of respect to the democracy as it is practiced in those countries. It may be the fact that Muslim societies have never developed the habit of staying in a stable democracy, but they have never posed any threat to that, too with the flexible attitude to adjust them (Sajid, 2005).

Islam and multiculturalism- Even if the Muslims has no such problem in living in a democracy, they face some difficulties while coping up with the multicultural society. The Muslims are inclined to the faith on Islam’s superiority, unlike the followers of other religion. Their holy book, Koran is to be considered as unique as per the perspective of literal, unmediated and direct word of God. It is always adjudged to represent as the conclusive and definitive valuation of God which supersedes the other religion of the world including Christianity and Judaism  (Ilic, Hassan, Siddiqi, & White, 2013, 5-7).

 


To conclude as the article written by Lord, Bhiku parekh, Islam constitutes a significant part of Europe with its cultural identity. Europe, has acknowledged the significance appearance of Muslim communities with its automatic formation. Their different reactions endorsed with friendly attitude with hostile behavior, have made them realizable or acknowledgeable to their true feeling. Except of Spain and other parts of Eastern Europe, they are behaving to interact with distance and outside the geographical boundaries of Europe. It is the high time that they should find some new ways to cultivate their civic attitude of friendship within the Europe for which the rational and logical reasoning was supported in this article (Parekh, 2012).

In the literature “Social Identity Theory for Investigating Islamic Extremism in the Diaspora” by Dina Al Raffie which was published by Journal of Strategic Security Volume 6 Number 4 Volume 6, No. 4: Winter 2013 Article 4. In this article radicalization and socialization had been highlighted by the author. It is stated that there is specific grey area which happens to exist between drivers for radicalization at the level of individual which also persists in the organizational level in which the individual has made his presence through membership as a contributor to violent extremist organization.  The second category, as specified in Dielgaard-Nielsen in his work “Social Movement Theory and Network Theory,” though summarizing scholarly effort in order to bridge this gap through suggestions of transactions at the level of group or community which can have the ability to foster the required environment which is promoting to adopt such ideas sponsoring violent and extremist in nature and application with subsequent behaviors.   There are other contemporary works of Wiktorowicz’s, Sageman, Neumann and Rogers, and McCauley on the driving forces of radicalization through the specified social processes. Sageman had used network theory which has the ability to demonstrate the importance of the concepts like personal relations, kinship and social circles to reinforce ideology which can encourage extremist attitude. The importance of social movement theories and group dynamics are there for examining the way the individuals and communities are getting mobilized by changing the meaning of construction by applying selective framing techniques. These approaches by sponsoring the constructive attitude to understand radicalization are proved to be useful as they contribute directly to help building on self- understanding of the magnitude of manipulation of identities to ensure mobilization of individuals to serve the purpose of ideologies  (Jannah, 2015).  The French Sociology School is instrumental to set the identity as the basic factors of radicalization as the same school follows on through suggestions extended for the next step in the process.  This process can make guidance for both extremist and non-extremist components work for reformulation of identities of Muslim community of youth by creating of social circles which can help bonding of selected identities (Raffie, 2013, 67-91).

 

Conclusion

To evaluate the research question, two different articles were considered which had emphasized on the social aspects on the issue of Islamophobia. From the first article by Lord Bhikhu Parekh, it is emphasized that Islamophobia is a mere statement which is far from reality considering the Muslim inhabitants in Britain.  The other article had also emphasized the role of different ideologies in construction of the social values of human being in perspective of Islam. Hence the research question of assessing the existence of Islamophobia in true sense is found with the answer that it is created by the Western media and the same concept needs to be attended with social ideologies, in case it appears in broader form to make threat to the global mankind.

 

References:

Aidi, H., Billoo, Z., Daulatzai, S., & Fadil, N. (2012). The Islamophobia . Islamophobia studies journal , 1 (1), 9-31.

Ilic, D., Hassan, A., Siddiqi, K., & White, B. (2013). Innocent Mistakes: A Controversial Film Finds Journalism Caught Between. Ejn.

Jannah. (2015). The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center.

McLuhan, M. (2010). Understanding Media: The extensions of man . London and New York.

McQuail, D. (2010). McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Parekh, B. (2012). Is Islam a Threat to Europe’s Multicultural Democracies? Retrieved May 23, 2017, from Openedition: https://books.openedition.org/ceup/1283?lang=en#tocfrom2n1

Raffie, D. A. (2013). Social Identity Theory for Investigating Islamic Extremism in the Diaspora. Journal of Strategic Security , 4 (6), 67-91.

Richardson, R. (2012). Islamophobia or anti-Muslim racism – or what? – concepts and terms revisited. London.

Sajid, A. (2005). Islamophobia: A new word for an old fear . Cordoba: OSCE

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