We have to come back to this essential and fundamental issue. In my previous blogs I have described various fault lines that run through the social fabric of our societies and that have so far prevented the creation of so called multicultural societies. If we want to understand the current situation we have to understand the reasons why it seems to be impossible to integrate peoples from various cultural backgrounds that come to our shores. We have to understand that different cultural backgrounds very often mean different religious beliefs and consequently different ethical outlooks, morals and values. Lets have a closer look: In the past, our Western societies have been subjected to many, sometimes radical changes. From absolute to constitutional Monarchies, from Dictatorships to Democracies, through Revolution and Restoration, Reformation, War and Peace. But despite all the differences, the one common denominator was the historic heritage of the concept of the Christian Occident. And despite the many religious wars that have been fought in the name of religion, it was the belief in GOD and Jesus Christ, that determined mainly morals and values that found their way into constitutions and legal codicils. And despite more liberal thoughts and secular concepts, beliefs other than Christianity had no place in society. The choc of 7oo years of occupation of the Iberian Peninsula by Islamic tribes from North Africa and the several attempts of infiltrating Europe from the East by the Ottoman Empire sits still deep in the European sub conscience. When, shortly after WWII the South/North migration began, it was first embraced by many as a welcomed help to re build war torn Europe. Few paid actually attention to the fact, that most of the migrants were Muslims that began to settle in our communities. The fact that they kept to themselves made it easier for most to accept strange appearance and customs, in fact it was perceived more as folklore than anything else. But with growing numbers grew also resistance against a supposed threat to the integrity of our own societies, and the growing fear of many resulted in verbal and sometimes physical abuse of some. The migration deluge of today as well as historic events like the two Iraq wars, the war in Afghanistan as well as 9/11, the terror attacks of 7/7 and consequently the declared “war on terror” have now added a totally new dimension to the already difficult situation. Some will not like it, but we have to remember that the underlying message of the sometimes unwisely made remarks of the then US President George W. Bush and his advisers regarding the fight against terrorism were of religious nature and based on the Presidents personal beliefs. These statements left no doubt that the war on terror had escalated into a war of religion. One can argue about the timeline of events, but there is no doubt in my mind, that the declaration of a Jihad by Islamic extremists was the direct consequence of the verbal and material escalation of events in the Iraq and Afghanistan war. The spiral of confrontation let finally to the implementation of Islamic State with all the consequences we are suffering from right now.
It is deplorable how little we seem to understand about ISLAM and recent declamations of our leaders that ISLAM is generally a religion of tolerance and peace seam to underline that. Of course it is tolerant and peaceful but in the context of its own terms. You could argue that Christians are generally speaking tolerant and peaceful. But only on their own terms. No? How would you then explain the Christian terror in the conquest of the Americas, the inquisition and the African slave trade? We understand so little about Islam that we now try to coerce Muslims to underwrite so called British values, or in France “Valeurs Republicaines” or in Germany the acceptance of “Deutsches Wesen”. And if they don’t adhere to this brain washing exercise, they are classified as “non violent terrorists” and become the subject of interest for MI5, BND and DSG. Do we honestly think that we can achieve integration through these measures? Don’t we create solidarity with those that we want to fight? Believe me, at the end of the day a Salafist or Wahabist ISIL fighter is for many a Muslim that fights for the rights of his allegedly suppressed brothers. No, the problem of fighting extremism within the Muslim communities must come from within. What should worry us is the fact that the outcry of Muslims in our communities is rather tepid than convincing. This is the kind of passive encouragement on which extremism thrives. Instead of labelling Muslims in “good” or “bad” and thereby pushing them towards extreme ideas, we should strive to find sustainable solutions and if our leaders want to create legacies for themselves in the fight against terror they should go to the source of the problems and solve the problems politically. Delivering arms (that fall into the wrong hands) or throwing bombs (that kill innocent people) is certainly not a sustainable solution. In fact it’s a botched job. By doing this you do not solve problems, you delay them. And they will be back to haunt you.
Enough for today, have a lovely summer, enjoy life – you only have one. Merci and Hasta la Vista.