- In this week’s readings, we read about how Muslims, over the course of history, have tried to integrate into European culture. It was explained that, at first, the Muslim people came as migrants to European countries in the 50’s, and they were taken rather well at the time by their host countries. The Muslims were different than their hosts, but their ability to fill jobs that were at a lower wage class gave them the ability to “fit in” to the culture, as it were. However, later on in the 70’s Muslims faced the issue of the cold war when they immigrated to Europe, and were then considered as refugees, which is a condemning stereotype that set Muslims apart from other Europeans. This is considered as the “failure to integrate” as was prescribed by Zemni and Parker.
The failure is not on the part of the Muslim community, however, but on the part of the Europeans. There is a mindset that forbids the European frame from accepting that which is different or is a pariah from their norm. The lesser-thinking over the Muslims that the Europeans have is a learned practice built upon the platform issued in the above paragraph. The European view as Muslims as an infection, or as an unwanted group has stuck to this day, and severely limits the Muslims to rise the ranks of European society, both politically and socially. Muslims have recently been alienated in this way in seeing the head-scarf ban in France, which specifically alienates Muslims and Islamists.
- The French gender system differentiates from the Muslim one in that the French view women as an equal body to man, socially or politically. Muslims on the other hand, in there society, treat women different than they do men. Women can often be lesser objects to men, and are revered differently across generations. This difference is a contrast, and is noticed by both communities. The headscarf is something that the French view as an oppressor to Muslim women, and the ban on headscarves is an attempt to “save” these women from this form of oppression. In their eyes, the French government thinks that they are doing the right thing, and thinking radically. The French believe that their women should feel free to express themselves openly, and should not be oppressed by outside social constructs. The laïcité enforces that religion be separated from government and other social dealings. In other words, it is a belief that religion should not be openly practiced. This is the other side of the coin concerning the headscarf ban. Headscarves can also be seen as an act of religious practice, and this is frowned upon due to the laïcité, which is another proponent of why Muslims are still put down in the societal ladder. Though the French may think they are preserving their own morals and values and trying to help a “problem”, it is not difficult for outside eyes to see that the government itself is the oppressor to the Muslims, and not the headscarves.
In my opinion, we outside eyes cannot blame the French for them trying to do what they think is right. Their philosophy is different than ours, and it takes that frame of mind to understand what is really going on. I personally do not think that it is right to oppress a group in such an unfeeling way, but it will take a reform of philosophy rather than a collective scolding to right the wrongs that the French government have made to their Muslim population.