Sunday, December 06, 2009

Immigration, Islam and Minarets.

The following figures are somewhat interesting, given that all the countries in this comparison have similar numbers of immigrants (roughly about 10%).

(from The Economist)

It is interesting to note that once again perception matters more than reality :

Roughly 10% of peope in Britain are imigrants; the average Briton believed the
figure to be 27%.

It is too bad Switzerland was not part of the poll, given their recent vote for the ban on building Minarets, it would be interesting to analyze their views (although polls did not predict the vote).

The Minaret question is linked to the immigration in Europe. It has been the center of discussion in the rest of Europe this week, fueled by far right-wing parties.

However, it does not seem to catch on in France. As for the United-States, I have seen a few more or less large mosques with Minarets in large cities but I don't think that they have ever caused controversy. (although the number of Muslims in the U.S. is smaller, compared to the population and also of different socio-economic background than in Western europe)

It must also be noted that there is already about a dozen Minarets in France, compared to four in Switzerland. The oldest one was built in Paris in 1922 with the Great Mosque of Paris "as a sign of France's gratefulness to the Muslim tirailleurs from the colonies who fought against Germany" during WWI. No Minaret in Europe is used for the prayer call, they have no purpose other than architectural. (interestingly and somewhat paradoxially the first Minarets were originally inspired by Christian churches)

Islamic Center of America, Dearborn, Michigan.


At 00:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First I’d say carefulness is required with polls for closed questions are not always easy to answer because of restricting meanings, a lake of precisions or options.

I agree Minarets aren’t in France a current event as the debate is elsewhere. Getting close to the French regional elections the government asked French people what they think about French national identity (read the post "What it means to be French...." in this blog). Of course, most of the answers are about immigration and religion.

I think of several reasons :
- 1# Even if many French say they believe in God most of them don’t go to church. So most of French are not really interested in history and rules of others religions included the Muslim one. As fears come from the unknown it can be a reason.

- 2# The Burqa was shown in several documentaries and ghost women in black clothes are disturbing : whatever their good or bad reasons they make think of repression, Talibans, violence, being under men control , losses of liberties, human rights, whomanhood, freedom.

- 3# Muslims, Romanian... are pointed in areas where unemployment and delinquency are significant (especially when they are pictured in local newspapers inside their news in brief). Strangers are also considered as people taking jobs away from native (see “I’m not racist, but…” in this post for these two cases)

- 4# I think that people make differences between Muslims or most of the strangers coming from abroad and the natives. Or maybe they don't do it any more when it comes about nice French they work with even when their parents are born abroad. They should…

Anyhow and to end I’d say let’s keep in mind that France is a secular state, bearing the globalization and an economic crisis like others countries so the Minarets are not a priority as it said on this blog.


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