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Old 03-17-2006, 08:32 PM   #31
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Really? What does a liberal society do when the core liberal values of free expression, sexual liberation and secularism are threatened by religious bigots? Is it expected to respect and protect a culture that seeks to destroy the host culture?
I find myself agreeing with this statement, sorry to say.

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Old 03-17-2006, 10:30 PM   #32
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I really don't see reason to be sorry about it - in terms of core values namely freedom of speech and individual rights we more or less completely agree. The only divergences may be the role of government and the nature of religions. I feel that there is a folly in those who only see liberalism as tolerance even when they must deal with the inherently intolerant. Taking a stand for the core values of liberty, secularism and free speech even when it is not what people want to hear is one of the noblest traditions of liberalism through history.

This style of Islam will not change it's manner to suit European values, it will change European values to suit it's manner. It will do it through the avenues of the political systems and it doesn't matter how many stupid anti-freedom laws are pushed in now to piss off Muslims because Islamic populations in Europe have the long term demographic upper hand in many of these countries - the important thing today is positively engaging these populations - laying the groundwork for a future where the core principles of democracy, pluralism and maybe, just maybe secularism are maintained.

Demands for blasphemy laws, anti-porn measures, campaigns against lewd advertising and alcohol as well as the push to recognise religious bodies to resolve disputes (for instance limited Sharia courts) cannot go unchallenged.

To qualify all of this I would like to list a few examples of Islamic intolerance in Western Europe that illustrate the mentality that threatens liberal values. I invite a response that shows me Muslims experiencing attacks such as this by Europeans because for the most part Islamophobia only seems to be about cartoons, jokes and political statements.
>The brutal murder (shot, throat slit and stabbed in the chest) of Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic terrorist Mohammed Bouyeri over him directing the film Submission that deals with misogyny in Islam.
>The abduction, sustained torture, dismemberment and burning to death of French Jew Ilan Halimi by a gang of Muslim youths.
>The reaction to the cartoons of Mohammed extending to death threats upon the cartoonists, publishers and their families.

The fundamental nature of discourse is being altered by these events, the limits of free speech have been highlighted by these events, the rights of individuals become redefined in light of these events. What is the reaction when this gets highlighted and rightly oppposed? Islamophobia, anti-religious hate speech, fascism - people are getting murdered for their dissent against a set of religious conservatives that make Jerry Falwell look like Jim Wallis. Let's make no mistake, there is nothing wrong with opposing these people to support minority rights - engaging the Muslim community should not entail giving a minority of extremists credibility.

A start may well be curbing immigration, and if not then ensuring that individuals who see these western societies as decadent, sinful and worthy only of contempt are not just granted citizenship. Banning the Burka is a dumb idea - symbolically it drives away a lot of Muslims from engaging with a society and only exacerbates the disconnect. Welfare programs are getting stretched and that is a problem, especially when you see Islamic leaders telling their followers that they are righteous in getting welfare because it is a form of Jizya. These are not answers merely pointing out things that are or may potentially be problems. Crying anti-Islam, racist and fascist then siding with advocacy groups who's leaders who carry sentiment that a liberal would find abhorent (e.g. Iqbal Sacranie talking about homosexuality) is self-defeating. If you genuinely believe in pluralism and individual rights then speak out against the greater threat of fundamentalism: the moderates who are sidelined, the apostates who are silenced and all manner of regular Muslims are all victims when bigotry is sanctioned in the name of tollerence.

Islamic populations will grow over the next few decades to a large minoriity in Western Europe, they will not dominate violently or seize control - it will just become electorally neccessary for politicians to appeal to this religiously conservative base. Piece by piece the nature of these societies will change because it gets politicians elected: say goodbye to gay marriage, make divorce harder, crackdown on abortions, crackdown on alcohol advertising, ban blasphemy etc. It is not far removed from the rise of the religious right - the difference being that the Islamic populations within Europe are seen as outsiders at best - but their votes count and moderate levels of religious conservatism will be injected into government (not electing Taliban style governents, that just wouldn't happen - I am talking about governments that are sensitive to religious views which by any measure would be considered conservative at the expense of the real minorities such as gays and atheists).

It would all be done democratically and for the most part non-violently. The groundwork was set over the last few decades (for instance allowing immigrants from former colonies to bring their relatives into Europe). The hope of creating a European Islam has not come to fruition and there is even a small minority that shows the exact opposite response - rejectionism - towards the societies that they have been raised around.

Moderate Islam is Mainstream Conservative Christianity - Conservative Islam is Inquisition Era Catholicism

Either way when it becomes politically expedient societies will become more socially conservative than they are now and I feel that is a bad thing.
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Old 03-18-2006, 11:02 AM   #33
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Think this will solve any tensions?

Quote:
Gay Vs. Muslim Soccer Set in Netherlands

Associated Press
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, March 16 - A Dutch multicultural group is organizing a soccer tournament between gays and Muslims, hoping to counter what a study published on Thursday said was a rising tide of fear among gays.

A nationwide survey by the Police Research Academy said that most gays questioned feel unsafe and reported experiencing verbal attacks in the last year.
Of the 776 homosexuals who responded to an internet questionnaire, 80 percent said they believed their safety was threatened at some time during the year, said academy director Frits Vlek, who commissioned the research.

Only 3 percent said they were physically assaulted, Vlek said in an interview, but some 40 percent claimed they had been insulted or verbally abused.

Youths from Moroccan and Turkish backgrounds often were blamed for the incidents, Vlek said, since homosexuality is not widely accepted in many Muslim cultures.

"Parts of the Muslim community still resist homosexuality and receive little education about it," he said.

Muslim-gay tension is the theme of the soccer tournament organized by the Institute of Multicultural Development, to be held next week.

An organizer of the group, Suzanne Ijsselmuiden, said she hoped the competition will "help ease these tensions so that people can openly talk about homosexuality."

Gay Muslims can take their choice of teams, she said. "People can have many identities."

A Latin team along with a team of all-women players has also been assembled for the government-sponsored competition.
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Old 03-18-2006, 11:20 AM   #34
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no - it will not

and while i am not sure about the proposal (someone proposed it .. doesn't mean it will necessarily get anywhere near to becomming a law) either - i have to say that i support the video.

People coming to the netherlands do not necessarily realize what their idea of an open/ free society means. Confronting them with the very "shocking" facts and pictures will have them face it right from the beginning. It's not that they have to like it, but tolerate it and not attack (verbally or physically) the concerned group

As for the excluded countries/ cases. The countries that are refererred to are largely from the very same cultural circle. what do you want people to tell or teach if it is basically the same at home?
As for high earning business people: people who earn that much and have reached a certain position are already familiar enough or open enough to accept most of the dutch culture (btw, noone aims to make these people über-dutchies). No company takes the risk hiring and paying a lot to a foreigner who is not likely to adapt to his new home.
These people usually do not popup from the depth of the other culture, they usually have a history of shifting between their and the western culutre.
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Old 03-18-2006, 02:09 PM   #35
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I'm pleased to see some input by a Dutch person. I was wondering what the average Dutch person thinks of this whole thing surrounding the immigrant controversy in the Netherlands. I suppose if anyone is to live in a culture there are certain norms that they must expect. If they're not willing to accept the norms, they can't function in the society, and thus would be better off not living in it. For this reason it's really the best thing for both the immigrants and the natives. It's hard coming to this. I read in the press about banning the burqa and I think "oh, they're banning a Central Asian headdress". But the burqa is a symbol of oppression because of its use in the treatment of women in some Muslim countries. These Muslims insist on keeping women in their houses and thus out of other aspects of life in several countries, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is Islamofascism. It's not what they practice in more tolerant Islamic countries like Turkey, where the headscarf is actually discouraged because it's a secular country, committed to liberal ideals. It's walking a fine line, because one wants to guarantee Muslims the right to practice their faith in their lives. It gets sticky when they want to force their values down the throats of everyone in the society they are living in.
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Old 03-18-2006, 04:55 PM   #36
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Excellent, really thoroughly argued post, A_W.

I do have a question about this bit though:
Quote:
engaging the Muslim community
What kinds of engagement are you envisioning here--through which institutions, and how might they identify and target an appropriate intended audience, etc.?
Quote:
Originally posted by a-mole
As for the excluded countries/ cases. The countries that are refererred to are largely from the very same cultural circle. what do you want people to tell or teach if it is basically the same at home?
Can't go along with that...there are very substantial numbers of Americans, at least, who would happily support campaigns against public nudity and gay rights--both on "cultural values" grounds, and because they have strong majoritarian leanings which give the idea of non-negotiable, fundamental commitments to secularism and free speech short shrift.
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Old 03-18-2006, 06:51 PM   #37
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Engagement in a positive manner is a very difficult problem, many of the public affairs groups have connections with fundamentalist organisations, very savvy about masking it - I think that they should be ignored, not invited to meetings with the government.

I don't know the answer, but unless one is found things will become very difficult for Muslims when a few more bombs go off in western cities - thats bad.
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Old 03-18-2006, 07:46 PM   #38
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You've made your point really well A_W.
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:04 PM   #39
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If you genuinely believe in pluralism and individual rights then speak out against the greater threat of fundamentalism: the moderates who are sidelined, the apostates who are silenced and all manner of regular Muslims
Well said, A_Wanderer.

Quote:
As for the excluded countries/ cases. The countries that are refererred to are largely from the very same cultural circle. what do you want people to tell or teach if it is basically the same at home?
This is incorrect, a-mole. Even in New Zealand, which has a large gay community and transgender politicians, many citizens are vehemently anti-homosexual. My point was that you can find such people in any country; why target only Middle Eastern and Asian nationalities?

Look, even if you do show them the video, who's to say how effective it will be in sifting out the citizens Verdonk (as opposed to the Netherlands) does not want? In the end, you're making migrants shell out a lot more money (application fees are already incredible) to buy the video, CD-rom etc. while appearing insensitive and xenophobic.

Quote:
But the burqa is a symbol of oppression because of its use in the treatment of women in some Muslim countries.
verte76, I can tell from your post that you are conflicted about the burqa but let's not call it a symbol of oppression because that is true only to some people, and I don't share this sentiment besides. I've already explained at length in a similar thread (can't find it) how the hijab is worn with a sense of pride among many women, and I agree with A_Wanderer that banning the burqa is stupid because the reason for its banning is stupid and will have only negative consequences.

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Old 03-18-2006, 09:13 PM   #40
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p/s. last part not necessarily directed at you, verte76, just to be clear
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Old 03-19-2006, 01:50 PM   #41
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OK, I think I got confused. The burqa is a Central Asian headdress. It in itself is not a problem. The association comes from its use--it might be appropriate to call it abuse--by the Taliban, and the people we associate with Muslim extremists. The Muslim immigrants do not come from one culture. Some Muslims are Arabs, some are of Persian heritage, some are Turks, and some are ethnic groups I don't know the names of. I'm no expert on Asian countries. I do know that the school of Deobandi, in India, is the "spiritual" ancestor of the Taliban. It's another school of Islam, Wahhabism, based in Saudi Arabia, that's Osama bin Laden's background, and put much emphasis on "jihad" as "holy war". The more moderate Muslims of countries like Turkey and Jordan interpret this word as a personal struggle with sin. Many ordinary Muslims in Saudi Arabia disapprove of the holy war concept and other radical Islamic practices and are nice people who mind their own business. This is the kind of Muslim who isn't going to have trouble living and working in Europe. In fact, some of these people regularly travel to the West and enjoy their time there.
Enough rambling, I think I understand this stuff better. It's not easy. I'd better not run for public office.
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Old 03-22-2006, 01:43 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
I'm pleased to see some input by a Dutch person. I was wondering what the average Dutch person thinks of this whole thing surrounding the immigrant controversy in the Netherlands.
uuuuh.. sorry I am actually German
I just live in NL since 2 years for my study

Actually I would also like to know the average dutch opinion on this, but i keep forgetting to ask my dutch friends *doh*
(it is an english study and many clasmates are foreign too, having only little dutch speaking skills and no TV it is hard to get a grip on the national feeling about this)

However, if it helps: there is just a very similar discussion brewing in Germany. We are discussing to introduce such a test as well
Lefts/ Socialists: NO
Conservative/ Liberals: YES
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Old 03-22-2006, 01:57 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
Can't go along with that...there are very substantial numbers of Americans, at least, who would happily support campaigns against public nudity and gay rights--both on "cultural values" grounds, and because they have strong majoritarian leanings which give the idea of non-negotiable, fundamental commitments to secularism and free speech short shrift.
I see where you are comming from. No society is free from struggle about values and norms from within. However, I do think that this is an internal problem. these people did not come to (in this case) america and then complained, it grew from within. It is a demanded struggle/ change from inside the society. Furthermore, even thoug there is struggle, the practice/ values/ morals in question are still very existent and present in everyday life. Maybe society will decide to abonden them within the next 2 years, but untill then they are a part of the society an immigrant has to deal with.
When it comes to these kind of struggles I do feel different about outsiders coming in. They have to be aware and accept the momentarian situation and cannot be a 3rd force to demand changes as well. Yes, i do measure with 2 rulers here, but in my pov that is valid. In my house i do have more freedom than when i stay/ live at other people's houses. I have lived in numerous countries with different societies and had plenty i did not like. However, changes and struggles within society is a countries own matter.
Generally do I also find it normal to find out as much about the new culture as possible. There should not be a test necessary, but if people seriously think they can just float in and things will go their way.. I am sorry. Not working.
Ok, some things you find out later.. but then that is just tough luck. However, when it comes to topics like gays/ nudes and whatnot, which are proven to be hot and full of explosive potential, I believe it is always safer to prepare outsiders for that. I seriously believe that it does not only benefit the country in question, but also the immigrants as they are not thrown into cold water without any guidance. Loosing orientation can be very easy when you are new. It would be ideal if these test where preceeded with a 2 -4 long intensive integration course with skilles facilitators. This would involve huge costs, but would help this test idea to it's full potential.
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Old 03-22-2006, 02:34 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by a-mole


uuuuh.. sorry I am actually German
I just live in NL since 2 years for my study

Actually I would also like to know the average dutch opinion on this, but i keep forgetting to ask my dutch friends *doh*
(it is an english study and many clasmates are foreign too, having only little dutch speaking skills and no TV it is hard to get a grip on the national feeling about this)

However, if it helps: there is just a very similar discussion brewing in Germany. We are discussing to introduce such a test as well
Lefts/ Socialists: NO
Conservative/ Liberals: YES
Oops! I goofed! If I lived in Germany, I'd vote Socialist.
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Old 03-22-2006, 02:42 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
Oops! I goofed! If I lived in Germany, I'd vote Socialist.
I am happy you don't

we had'em for 7 years now and they f**** up so much that we had to have early elections.
Now they are in a big coallition with the conservatives and get less and less populare by the hour
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