It's illusion that Muslims of Europe are responsible for its problems: European analyst

It's illusion that Muslims of Europe are responsible for its problems: European analyst

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 14 / Trend , E.Ostapenko/

Europeans take Muslims as responsible of the global crisis when they are only the first victims, because most of the time they are very fragile, vulnerable and the less advantaged among the populations of the European countries, believes Christophe Bertossi, the French Analyst on Islam and Ideology in Europe.

"It's an illusion to think that Muslims would be responsible for the problems that the societies in Europe are going through," Bertossi told Trend in a telephone conversation from Paris.

Recently, the issue of Muslims in Europe has become more topical.

In mid-August, a new scandal erupted in France due to the tradition of wearing Islamic dress. In one of the pools in the suburbs of Paris, the guards banned Muslim woman to swim in the pool in a special swimsuit that covers the entire body except the face. Employees of the pool explained that bathing suit does not comply with the rules of hygiene.

The incident broke out at a time when a special parliamentary commission began to consider the possibility of a ban on the wearing of niqab and burqa in France. The Commission has no right to adopt laws, but after long-term discussions, it should submit to the Parliament a proposal whether Muslim woman can wear burqa (wide-spread clothing in Afghanistan which fully covers woman's body with face-veil) and niqab (Muslim woman's headdress that covers the face, with a narrow slit for the eyes).

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, also supports this ban and calls the Muslim clothes the "symbol of slavery".

Over last 10 years, the Muslim issue in Europe has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with the reality of integration of population with Muslim backgrounds in European countries, Bertossi believes. The issue of integrating Muslims has become a moral issue, which has as an objective only the objective of winning election

The analyst believes in all general and presidential elections in Western European Countries in the last few decades this issue of integrating Muslims is very important to win an election and it has to do with public opinions of these countries.

So this narrative about the dash of civilization, this narrative about Muslims refusing to integrate in European societies belongs to political agenda, believes Bertossi, the Research Fellow at the French Institute of International Affairs (Institut Français des Relations Internationales - IFRI).

"There is no way to build up an integrated European Union if this European Union is divided along racial and ethnic divides which is the way Islam is now used," he said.

The ongoing debate in France is not something unexpected. Five years ago, the Muslim community of France was shaken with the new law, banning the wearing "symbols showing, religious affiliation", including hijab in public schools. Besides the hijab, the Christian crosses and Jewish kippahs were also banned.

Finally, everything points to the fact that the Europeans will have no choice, because it is about the population, which is already part of the European countries, citizens of the most European countries. Therefore there is no way to escape from integration, Bertossi said.

Now the question is whether governments are ready to explain to the public opinion that Europe is based on inclusive principles, which are citizenship, socio-economic participation, education, work and labor, and social mobility, Bertossi believes.

"At some point we - Europeans will realize that Muslims are European, too," he said.

Bertossi sees two way outs to improve the situation with Muslims in Europe:

- first of all, big political discourses, top in playing the Muslim card in elections, stop speaking about Muslims when political debates is concerns.

- second is the mobilization of all segments of society in order to fight discrimination at all levels of the society, including public institutions, like schools, the military or health institutions.  

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at [email protected]

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