Gates of Vienna recently posted about why they blog, which made me think about my own blogging.
Why do I blog?
I don't blog for the money, and a good thing too, since this blog is not really profitable. However, I do blog because I enjoy it. Blogging about Islam in Europe is my hobby. If I wouldn't enjoy it, I wouldn't put so much time and effort into it.
The next big question is, why does this topic interest me?
The large Muslim community in the West poses dilemmas for liberal democracies. These problems are much more apparent in Europe, as it is made up of nation-states. I became interested in how Europe intends to solve these problems, and I was also curious how the 'clash of cultures' will affect the Jewish community. Covering one's head, holidays and Sabbaths, kosher slaughter and kosher food, among others, are all aspects of religious Jewish life that Jews in Europe have had to deal with for centuries. How will liberal democracies deal with the dilemmas posed by such a large group of immigrants, with different understandings of freedom of religion and freedom of speech? How will the 'old-timer' Jewish community be affected by the ongoing changes?
Even putting aside those issues, large-scale immigration is never easy. The Muslim immigrants to Europe face difficult choices, and their host countries face serious problems. Immigration, acceptance, integration, language - I am fascinated by these topics.
I was also interested in the Europe-Israel equation. How do European demands from Israel compare with how Muslims are treated in Europe itself? What are the differences between the two cases?
I follow up on these issues because they interest me. I hope my blog informs, but it isn't meant to convince. I have my own opinions, and I sometimes express them, but I try to mostly let the stories speak for themselves.
Unlike Gates of Vienna, I doubt my blog helps supports any specific ideology. Furthermore, my blog offers a service, translation from non-English news sites, and it is based almost completely on those news sites. I am thankful for the mass media and the internet which enables me to read newspapers from across Europe, without moving from my computer. If the mass media decides to ignore or hide a story, I usually won't get to see it either.
I admit I'm sometimes surprised to see which posts catch people's attention. I sometimes hesitate before posting stories. Not every psychopath should get worldwide attention just because he's Muslim, not every detail should be repeated or translated and not every opinion should get 'air-space'. But in most cases where I've hesitated, the story didn't really get attention and is by now buried deep inside my archive. Instead, some of my most popular posts are direct 'cut and paste' from the English language media - available to anyone who googles for them.
I also admit that I sometimes post in a way that is common or populistic. Not every riot is an intifada or civil unrest, for example, even if I use those words in the headline. I strive to translate as-is, but I post for my own fun, and my posting depends on my mood.
Thought it might not look like it sometimes, this blog is a personal effort. If I post something that might not seem related to my blog subject matter, that is my prerogative. And if I sometimes make a mistake, I hope my readers understand that I'm only human.