Islam and Europe: ‘We’re Muslim, get over it’

Published: November 18, 2011
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Michel Boivin, said that the French were acting within their legal rights as no one was allowed to practice their religion outside their houses. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Michel Boivin, said that the French were acting within their legal rights as no one was allowed to practice their religion outside their houses. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: We are Muslims so just get over it, said artist Durriya Kazi while talking about the perception of Islam in Europe and online. “It is extremely important to encourage the integration of Muslim societies in Europe and take measures to ensure that they are accepted.”

While speaking at a seminar on Islam in Europe at the Marriot Hotel on Wednesday, Kazi said that the media had given birth to a deep sense of antagonism between the Muslim and European communities. She added that many social media sites were filled with hateful comments about Muslims. The head of department of Visual Studies at Karachi University has exhibited across Europe over the years.

In an attempt to justify the environment for Muslims in France based on the laws passed against the Hijab in 2011, the director of the Centre for Social Sciences in Karachi, Michel Boivin, said that the French were acting within their legal rights as no one was allowed to practice their religion outside their houses. The 250 people present at the seminar, did not, however, buy his argument and felt that they were being personally attacked.

The former ambassador to the United States, Tariq Fatemi, said that the Muslims were being alienated abroad, partially to score political points. While talking about Islam and communal integration, he said that multi-cultures need not be the opposite of integration.

According to Fatemi, the foundations of the EU were based on freedom and liberation. “The aspirations of the EU do not match the current reactions towards the Muslim communities,” he said. For example, the French president refused to let Muslim candidates join Union parties. This escalated alienation between Europeans and Muslims.

Muslims in Germany

The lack of Muslim representation in Europe was taken up by Pierre Gottschlich, who is an assistant professor at the University of Rostock. He said that only five per cent of the population in Germany was Muslim, including 2,561,000 people from Turkey. “Politically strengthened institutions have been operational in Germany since 1976, including the Milli Gorus [the largest Turkish diaspora organisations in Europe],” he said. “The Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany was formed in 2007 and is looking into matters that concern Muslims.” The professor added that these umbrella organisations, although aimed at representing Muslims, were failing miserably. A public survey of these groups reported horrifying results. According to Gottschlich, only 22 per cent of the Muslims who were questioned in Germany were aware of these institutions and felt that they were being represented.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • hassan shahzad
    Nov 18, 2011 - 1:14PM

    the muslims should stop trying to impose shariah laws and their religious rituals on the europeans and americans and should make better efforts to integrate.when i visited the european countries i saw pakistanis practicing underage marriages,polygamy,severe homophobia,restricting their daughters and sisters’ freedoms etc. it’s wrong to force other people to adapt to an alien culture when you are the ones who went over to their country in the first place.living seperately in your self created ghettos won’t help anyone including yourselves,integration into the new country that has opened up itself for you should be the goal.

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  • sidra riaz
    Nov 18, 2011 - 1:17PM

    How would people here in our society react if someone said ” We’re atheists,get over it” or ” We’re gay,get over it” ?

    Will our maashra be as accepting as we are expecting the europeans to be?

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  • GA
    Nov 18, 2011 - 1:31PM

    Why do Muslims have problems everywhere? In their own countries as well as others?

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  • Rational Mind
    Nov 18, 2011 - 2:16PM

    Every one should remember : Muslims should not compromise Islam no matter what are the consequences even if they have to leave Europe & America

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  • zalim singh
    Nov 18, 2011 - 3:20PM

    @ sidra riaz
    @ hassan shahzad

    Wise observations. I will never escape alive in Pakistan if i use the statement- get over it. we’re Hindus.

    I travelled in Germany last month. The country was so nice and people of all walks were interacting well. Except muslim women. I see them mostly in burqas. Is it really required?

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  • Cynical
    Nov 18, 2011 - 3:51PM

    @Rational Mind

    “Muslims should not compromise Islam no matter what are the consequences even if they have to leave Europe & America.”

    I am quite sure that the people of Europe & America will wellcome such a scenario with unmitigated joy.No body,I repeat nobody is beging them to stay.

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  • German Muslim
    Nov 18, 2011 - 6:22PM

    Everyone got a right to practice his religion and its life , its up to me if a like to integrate or not ( my freedom of life ) , if integration mean drink alcohol , go to night club, push and pull girls ,then sorry to say it is nt acceptable being a Muslim. I am a student here doing PHD, German people really like us in fact they dnt hve any problem with us, ( i do my prayers in office) but first i asked my boss, very happily he allowed me, dnt tell us we need to integrate, we are already integrated , We speak German, we do business, we have German friends. Having veil is a personal decision of any women, every Muslim who live here already know the law that nobody can force them. The picture this article and some liberals present is not pragmatic.

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  • antanu
    Nov 18, 2011 - 8:32PM

    @GA:
    Well as the second largest human population on earth, the largest one feels threatened that they may soon be the second….and you know europian mindset never accepts second grade.

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  • Lobster
    Nov 18, 2011 - 8:58PM

    @zalim singh:
    it is required or not Zalim, its their right to wear whatever they like. A cloth piece is not a hindrance in interaction, like a turban can not obstruct interaction of Sikhs with others, right?
    btw: which “Germany” did you travel? I live here and seldom find anyone wearing burqa, scarf is much more common; its backed by statistics as well

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  • Truthbetold
    Nov 18, 2011 - 11:48PM

    @Lobster:

    “like a turban can not obstruct interaction of Sikhs with others, right?”

    Yes, it does. Sikhs demand special treatment for turbans and kirpans at schools, airport, military service and some industries where the turban would be a safety hazard. Isn’t this imposition of their view of the world over their host countries? It is natural that people view others, whose public practices are so alien, with suspicion. Many Sikhs got shot after 9/11 in the US as the miscreants mistook them for Al Qaeda.

    Anyone, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhist or whatever has no business settling down in a foreign country if they want to be so orthodox. There is no need for public display of religion if one wishes to settle in a foreign land. No one would object if people keep religion private.

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  • Grace
    Nov 19, 2011 - 12:26AM

    Most Muslims in Europe did not go there as legal immigrants but as asylum seekers who went to escape persecution. We know that most Muslims in Europe had to smuggle themselves into the country illegally first and then claim asylum. This is especially true for all the Iraqis, Afghanis and Iranians. As such they had to use illegal means to get there and stay there. Why then all this nonsense about needing to practice their religion? Europe does not need to get over Muslims, Muslims need to realise they shouldn’t go illegally to European nations and claim asylum only to cry about relgious rights later. It is hypocritical.

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  • Nothing but the Truth
    Nov 19, 2011 - 2:42AM

    @Lobster
    Of course people in the Land of the Pure will have no problem if Pakistani as well as European/ American women are out on the street wearing hot pants and bikini tops. After all rights apply equally not jst for muslims in Europe.

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  • Twit
    Nov 19, 2011 - 4:26AM

    Islam and Muslims will earn credibility and respect when they start respecting other religions in Muslim majority countries. Most Muslim majority countries proscribe other religions and prevent free conversions, the way Muslims expect other religions to allow them to spread Islam. Until there is a policy of give and take Muslims should be expected to be treated the same way they treat others. No Muslim majority country embraces secularism so its really unfair to demand Islamic rights after immigrating to another country and not respecting that country’s values. Why immigrate then?

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  • Devils Advice
    Nov 19, 2011 - 8:26AM

    Durriya Kazi
    We are Muslims so just get over it,
    It is extremely important to encourage the integration of Muslim societies in Europe and take measures to ensure that they are accepted.

    Let us turn this 180 degree

    We are JEW,Christian,Hindu So just get over it
    It is extremely important to encourage the integration of JEW,Christian,Hindu societies in ISLAMIC world and take measures to ensure that they are accepted.

    Let us discuss now.

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  • Ignorant Rationalist
    Nov 19, 2011 - 8:56AM

    @ Sidra Riaz: Your assertion that we should not expect Europeans to tolerate Pakistanis if Pakistanis are not tolerating minorities is a flawed argument. It assumes that tolerance is not possible without both sides reciprocating. You have not provided any evidence for this assumption. Moreover your argument assumes that both sides have similar laws, which again is not true.

    Europe has secular laws. So it is only NATURAL that Pakistanis/Muslims living in Europe demand their rights. While Pakistan follows Islamic Shariah, not secular laws. So to expect Pakistanis to tolerate Europeans, following the example of secular laws of Europe, would be violation of Pakistan’s Shariah laws. Now if you say that then Pakistan should reciprocate then that is not necessitated by any moral or ethical arguments.

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  • Ignorant Rationalist
    Nov 19, 2011 - 8:58AM

    Twit:Idiot. If you expect to treat Muslims based on the way they treat other religions, according to your give and take policy, then you are as fudged up as them. And if that is true, all the power to Muslims to further oppress minorities.

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  • Thehardtruth
    Nov 19, 2011 - 9:13AM

    @Cynical: the hard truth is, that immigration provides a vital component of Western world today. As much as you’d like Pakistanis to leave, you wont make a formal decision to stop immigration from Pakistan, or legislate against all Muslims allowed to immigrate to US or Europe.

    I’d say Pakistan is suffering because the best of us go abroad, put in their best, put up with racist crap, and drain our own country of top notch talent. Would love Europe and US to disallow Pakistani immigrants, and send everyone of Pakistani descent back to Pakistan.

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  • american
    Nov 19, 2011 - 9:51AM

    muslim minorities should be treated the same way minorities in islamic states are treated .

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  • Brit
    Nov 19, 2011 - 9:54AM

    Europe should institute apostasy laws whereby if any minority religion spreads or propagates his religion he should face the same punishment what a minority in islamic state faces.

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  • Manju
    Nov 19, 2011 - 9:57AM

    @Rational Mind:
    Otherwise protectors of Islam will finish them!!! Is it? So democratic!!

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  • Cynical
    Nov 19, 2011 - 10:16AM

    @Thehardtruth

    In that case you will end up having more cab drivers,cooks and other such professionals(?) than the country needs.

    Also if the west need them so much, why a vast majority of them take the illegal route?

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  • Maria
    Nov 19, 2011 - 11:01AM

    @Thehardtruth: Most of the Pakistanis you see in mainland Europe are not the “cream of the crop” but rather asylum seekers and people who used illegal means to smuggle themselves in. Yes there is legal immigration to North America ( Canada and the US) or Australia where you will find more educated Pakistanis but the Pakistanis you see mostly in mainland European countries are the refugee types you also get from Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka etc. I don’t think they we any great loss for Pakistan or any of those other countries either.

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  • Thehardtruth
    Nov 19, 2011 - 11:37AM

    @Maria, what I am implying is, that on the basis of a community, we the Expat Pakistanis should not be addressed based on those illegal immigrants. If we find an illegal CIA agent in Pakistan, does he/she make a representation of the entire US population or their nation? Similarly, there are so many educated, moderate Pakistanis living across the world peacefully as immigrants, but the Europeans only seem to notice the cabbies and the illegals.

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  • from void
    Nov 19, 2011 - 12:16PM

    @Thehardtruth:
    What you basically mean is the host nation should go and dig up all the facts of every Pakistani to ensure that he/she is good or bad which will then be called racial profiling and put pressure on the host nation.
    What do you wan’t the host nation to be called, either a force oppressing Pakistanis or racist??

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  • malik
    Nov 19, 2011 - 12:26PM

    I am a Muslim. I want you to subscribe my world view. I believe that my religion is the only religion in the world. Because, I know it. That is why, we want mosques in your country and we don’t allow your churches in our countries.

    I know Shariah is divine. I know that anyone who disagrees with me deserves to be beheaded (not shot or poisoned. Beheaded because that is what is prescribed for us). I know that alcohol and music and dance and chess and entertainment are banned in our religion for a good divine reason. Anyone who does the opposite of what I do deserves nothing but hatred from me.

    I know that women cause desire and make men to go astray. I know that women are worth half of man. I believe that women should cover themselves from head to toe to prevent evil men pouncing on them.

    I am Muslim not because I am a better human being, but because of these beliefs. I want to practise my religion inside the house and outside the house. Because I know my God wanted me to do so.

    I am a Muslim and I believe there is no need for me to integrate in your depraved, decrepit society. I think it is important and safe for you to accept my views !Recommend

  • Faisal
    Nov 19, 2011 - 2:09PM

    Christians and Hindus enjoy total religious freedom in Pakistan. I have never come across any official or any other kind of discrimination. There r many churches n temples here, infact there are three synagogues too.

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  • G. Din
    Nov 19, 2011 - 6:40PM

    @antanu: to GA
    “.and you know europian mindset never accepts second grade.”
    Thank God for that! Only those who have the herd mentality accept whatever is thrown at them and will happily accept it.

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  • Cynical
    Nov 19, 2011 - 11:54PM

    @malik

    You have said it all with those few words.You have pricked the bubble.
    Now wait for all sorts of nut cases to come up with inane and weird justfications.
    Wish there were more people like you who can see through this hypocracy and deceit.

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  • Abbas
    Nov 19, 2011 - 11:56PM

    @Faisal:
    Not sure which place you live in or if you even live here… If thats the case..why were hindu doctors 1shot or 300 shias killed in 3 months? How many Hindus are left in Pakistan..1% ? You know what that means? Instrospection is needed..

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  • G. Din
    Nov 20, 2011 - 1:13AM

    @malik:
    “I know that women cause desire and make men to go astray”
    You may be absolutely right. That is why Saudi Arabia in its infinite wisdom says:
    ” Saudi women with attractive eyes may be forced to cover them”
    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/205927/saudi-women-attractive-eyes-may.html

    Islam is all merciful and compassionate. That is why no gauging of attractive eyes has been decreed – at least not yet!

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  • Nothing but the Truth
    Nov 20, 2011 - 2:16AM

    @malik:
    It is self righteous muslims like you, who believe they are superior to the rest of humanity and hence should be treated favourably in non islamic countries while you treat non muslims in a totally discriminatory fashion in your Pakistan, who cause problems for Pakistanis in countries to which they immigrate legally or illegally! Any wonder that as soon as the green Pakistani passport is produced the individuals are looked at in a suspicious manner. Why complain against discrimination then?

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  • rehmat
    Nov 20, 2011 - 4:19AM

    @Faisal:
    “Christians and Hindus enjoy total religious freedom in Pakistan.”

    pakistan had 25% of its population as on-Muslims in 1947, now it is down to less than3%. IF there was NO discrimination, can you imagine why this happened?

    Nowadays it is not just Hindus and Christians who are discrimnated in your country but Ahmadis and Shias too. Burying your head in the sand will not change the actual situaion.

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  • Leila RaGE
    Nov 20, 2011 - 5:11AM

    @malik: Where in Islam does it say to behead those who disagree with you? Where in Islam does it say women “cause desire and make men go astray”? Desire comes from within oneself, some one else can’t impose it on you. Women aren’t the cause of all evil. And why shouldnt men be covered from head to toe as well? Can’t men “cause desire” as well? How on earth is CHESS Un-Islamic???

    Women are worth half of men???? Yeah. so then why did God say that anyone with four daughters who raised them with love and kindness would get janaah as a reward? He never said anything about people getting into heaven just because they raised their SONS well.

    Shame on you chaubvanist PIG

    Dear God, no wonder Pakistan is going to the dogs.

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  • Jameel
    Nov 20, 2011 - 5:17AM

    @Rational Mind:

    Every one should remember : Muslims
    should not compromise Islam no matter
    what are the consequences even if they
    have to leave Europe & America

    Problem is Muslims are dying (sometimes literally) to get to Europe and US. Kindly get them to reverse the trend. This would be a big favour to US and Europe.

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  • Jameel
    Nov 20, 2011 - 5:19AM

    @German Muslim:

    Everyone got a right to practice his
    religion and its life

    How many Muslims countries can you count who allow this freely? Even Muslims get the best conditions in the west.

    Recommend

  • Jameel
    Nov 20, 2011 - 5:32AM

    @Ignorant Rationalist:

    Europe has secular laws. So it is only
    NATURAL that Pakistanis/Muslims living
    in Europe demand their rights. While
    Pakistan follows Islamic Shariah, not
    secular laws. So to expect Pakistanis
    to tolerate Europeans, following the
    example of secular laws of Europe,
    would be violation of Pakistan’s
    Shariah laws.

    Two points immediately come to mind;

    You accept secular laws are better than sharia laws as secular laws treat humans equally; and with tolerance and respect. We must therefore strive to implement secular laws in Pakistan and other Muslim countries if we really do believe in good values. Sharia law as you accept can not even come close.

    Just like Pakistan and other Muslim countries are free to implement their restrictive laws so is west free to put restrictions where they feel appropriate (especially on those who are against secular laws and would like to implement Sharia law in Europe), to ensure secularism stays in place – for continuity of human rights which would be violated under Sharia law.

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  • Singh
    Nov 20, 2011 - 8:15AM

    Let me explain top notch brain drain to USA from Pakistan.
    85% Cab driver
    10% Gas Station
    3% restaurant
    1.5% Professional
    .5% Medical Professional

    Now out of 100% those 98% make noise about religion & balance 2% finance their ambition.

    Recommend

  • Zalim singh
    Nov 20, 2011 - 9:10AM

    @ malik

    pl read what you have posted and you will realise

    Your write up looks like a satire on Islamic view, but unfortunately not.Recommend

  • hedgefunder
    Nov 20, 2011 - 3:06PM

    @GA:
    Why do Muslims have problems everywhere? In their own countries as well as others?

    The answer is quite simple !!! They think that its their divine right to do as they please in host countries and are quite willing to abuse the social benefit systems however are reluctant to contribute anything in society, they further are reluctant to integrate socially too !!!
    can one blame the lindegenious population of resenting them, sadly they keep quite as they do not want to be classed as racist !!!!
    Such is the state of affairs right across Europe, and i do know that in UK, its getting worse too.Recommend

  • sarf
    Dec 5, 2011 - 11:32AM

    Islam is the most modern, logical and practical religion of all religions. Now most muslims of world are not educated and follow their customs and mix this with Islam. This will change in next decade as modern Islam is emerging on global scale. Just wait….
    on anathor note there are 15,000 Pakistani physicaians working in America out of total population of half million Pakistanis in US. Over 40,000 Muslim physician in America today as per AMA Stat … go do math.

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  • from India
    Dec 13, 2011 - 10:59AM

    @ Sarf – What do you mean by Modern Islam ? And, if its already superior than all other religions then how come its followers are poor and uneducated and struggling with poverty ?

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