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The Alienation of European Muslims

Al-Hayat, London, Originally Posted in Arabic on November 28


Over the course of the last two weeks, French and British newspapers published several studies of attitudes towards Muslim minorities in Europe. The results varied greatly, with some claiming that Islam is a source of extremism and violence, while others calling for greater outreach to Muslims.

Either way, there is no doubt that first-generation Muslims faced a great difficulty in integrating into society, as they first arrived in Europe. Surely, Islam is a religion that regulates one’s life – from birth to death. The exposure to secular societies, which do not interfere with one’s set of beliefs, was a great shock to many of them. This form of cultural and civilizational shock is what pushed many of them to live together in segregated neighborhoods, where they could protect their customs and abide by their traditions. But it is not only their fault.

The French, for example, always treated Muslims with suspicion. In certain places, Muslims were viewed and portrayed not as individuals, but as one monolithic entity. Segregated ghettos soon became hotbeds for incitement.

In fact, many European Muslims still consider themselves citizens of the countries from which they came and, despite living in Europe, view the West’s involvement in the Middle East as a direct attack on them. Second generation Muslims are still struggling to fit into society. European Muslims are surrounded by cultural isolation. – Mustafa Zayen