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Europe's Culture War

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Europe's Culture War

Postby Paul » Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:05 am

Hi,

I am curious what our European Textkitters (and others) think about the observations herein:

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news ... 04297e45de

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby IreneY » Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:26 pm

Well, it is an interesting article that touches too many subjects; I guess it will need a lengthy discussion.

To begin with, the opening statement will make any Eastern (or, to be precise, South-Eastern) European smile humourlessly for quite a few reasons.


On the other issues raised by the article what can I say? True, quite a few Eurpean rant and storm about liberty of expression , religious freedom and so on and so forth, but what they actually mean is that everyone is free to agree with them.

Is there an Islamophobia? I guess there is. The Media do all they can to inflame the situation.

Are the Muslims to blame for not assimilating? Well, that's what needs a lot of discussion. Take the matter of the burka. I find burka deeply offending. The same goes for keeping the wife in the house and not letting her learn the language of the hosting-country.
However these are two completely different cases.

By our standards both are unacceptable. According to our much vaunted religious freedom etc though, we cannot ban the burka. Forcing someone NOT to wear a burka, or a head scarf or whatever they feel their religion and traditionn dictates, is pretty much the same as forcing someone to wear one.

On the second case however, we have to see closely whether human rights are violated. If so, then we have to do sth about and it is right to do something about it.

To conclude this long (and a bit incoherent) post, I think it's the age long problem of respecting the rights/ideals of a minority without repressing the rights/ideals of the majority. (mind you, I am not referring to the danish cartoons on purpose; that would complicate things more)

Hope that makes some sense,
Irene

P.S. Europe is a tad bigger than what the article suggests
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Postby Paul » Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:11 pm

Thank you Irene.

The only Europeans I know are here at Textkit. I am chiefly interested in their experience of what the Canadian author describes as Europe's "culture war". E.g., do Europeans:

a. regard the rise of Islam as a threat
b. feel personally threatened by Muslims
c. agree with the passage of laws "requiring" societal integration, minimal conformity, etc.?

Cordially,

Paul
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Postby IreneY » Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:50 pm

Culture war? Not yet, but we may get there eventually. Extremists from both sides wouls sure love one (mind you that is all my personal opinion and you have to take into consideration that Greece may be a Western European country but not quite :) )

It depends on who you are talking about.

For instance, most Western European countries -using this term loosely- (and a big part of the population) fear a muslim terrorist attack. Greece and Greeks don't

I think the main fear is that, since the Muslim refugees do not assimilate at all, their countries character will eventually be altered.For instance, quite a few women I talk with, fear a 'backsliding' in women's rights.

A Pakistani woman living in the UK told me that, just because - she is a teacher- she told them not to hit their children and that (since they refuse to believe that it is wrong) if they do they may get in trouble with the law, they called her a cocconut (sp?) meaning that she may have dark skin but she has turned white inside.

Why am I mentioning that? Because I think that up to a point there IS cause for anxiety.

I don't think most agree with conformity laws. That's a disgusting measure. Something must be done though, as most believe, before we end up with "countries" within countries.

The main problem is that we don't try to understand them. See, WHY they are so adamant about not changing a bit. (and if you ask me, personally, if I think that someone should behave like Romans when in Rome, my answer is yes, not changing completely but when in Rome you have to respect Roman law and custom)

I don't know how one living somewhere where they have problems with Muslims would reply (a friend living in Munich is certainly more anti-Muslim than I am)

In a nutshell there is more anxiety, more worrying than fear for the moment, and the Media are a lot to blame. Europeans are a bit too cocky if you ask me about their civilisation and have not gotten over the habbit of trying to force their ideals down other's throats.

On the other hand, respect has to work both ways

that concludes incoherent post number 2 :)
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Postby Adelheid » Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:54 pm

Paul wrote:Thank you Irene.

The only Europeans I know are here at Textkit. I am chiefly interested in their experience of what the Canadian author describes as Europe's "culture war". E.g., do Europeans:

a. regard the rise of Islam as a threat
b. feel personally threatened by Muslims
c. agree with the passage of laws "requiring" societal integration, minimal conformity, etc.?

Cordially,

Paul


I feel the article puts everything into a very black and white perspective: for example, the person they quote to speak for the Netherlands (Geert Wilders), is a marginal figure at best, someone I for one do not take seriously at any time, any place. He represents the tiniest of fractions of Dutchmen.

Furthermore, in the Netherlands, every immigrant has to go through a kind of assimiliation process. Not only muslims. In my eyes, this process is a very rigid and ridiculous one, but it does not target muslims and only muslims.

I do feel there is tension. I do worry a little bit when I read how muslim boys treat girls.

But I do also feel that the media play a part in blowing things out of proportion, as Irene also stated. I know some people who are muslim, and they are the kindest and gentlest of people. Most of my concerns come from newspaper articles. Now that's worrying.
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