- Published on Friday, 29 January 2010 05:21
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2100
In England and France there is a very visible and at times violent Muslim minority who stir up antagonism and get involved in terrorist plots. It's hard not to notice this (!) so France is talking about banning the Burqa and perhaps even the head-scarf. Denmark is planning to enforce rules against them and there is talk in England and Canada of doing the same although they probably will not. Switzerland recently banned Minarets for the same reason. Muslims are getting too visible. The problem is not really their religion - it's their culture. Religions can be interpreted to suit - that's why there are both Muslim moderates and extremists - but culture is actually harder to change.
The existing culture in the Western world of Europe, Canada, U.S., Australia is Judeo-Christian. Even atheists live by that culture. We don't wear clothes that cover everything, we don't get violent when our favourite icon is criticised, we tolerate other cultures, we tolerate religions that we disagree with.
But because we tolerate, we allow Muslims to "do their thing". And "their thing" is foreign, even alien to our culture. So there are some who think that maybe we should emphasize our Judeo-Christian culture and "rally around it".
In a recent speech to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Franco Frattini said that Europe must assert its religious identity if it is to face up to the "challenges" of globalisation and immigration. "On one hand, we quite rightly recognise the influence that religious characteristics have on other people's identities, like Muslims," he said, "but on the other, when we speak of our own religion, we keep our distance".
"The political disputes that led to the removal from the [EU] treaty of all references to Europe's Christian roots, to a Europe that is unquestionably Jewish, Christian, secular and a product of the Enlightenment, exposed our weaknesses."
In his speech, the Frattini spoke of the need to offer immigrants "a road to integration" and urged other countries to do likewise.
"Citizenship should be an achievement attained after a complex journey. It's not a present to be offered to those who aren't ready to accept it," he said.
"We need to demand reciprocity in the enjoyment of our rights. The mosques in our towns must have their counterparts: churches where Christians, whatever their denomination, are asking for churches".
Frattini is saying that immigrants must assimilate and not expect their cultures to dominate or "win". He is also suggesting that Christianity be emphasized to counter Islam and even to an atheist, that seems preferable because it's more likely to be moderate. Muslims enjoy the freedom of Western countries but they must not exploit that - they must assimilate if they wish to live in a Western country.
Europe has a higher percentage of Muslims and they are more strident than in Canada - hopefully Canada can learn from their experience.