Outlooks of Muslims in the Netherlands

Two new studies on the outlooks of Muslims in the Netherlands.

The first to appear, earlier this week, is a research by Motivaction showing that about half of Dutch immigrants have modern values.

I find it sad that values such as religion and family are considered "bad", while hedonism and materialism are considered "good". Having traditional values does not mean being anti-democratic or anti-progress, and I think that even today people can find a good "middle ground" between the two.

Back to Motivaction.. The research was conducted among 600 Turks, Moroccans, Surinamese and Antilleans, and show that there are generally five groups:

(1) Religious family-oriented (23%) – values religion and family and finds family honor more important than personal happiness. Sees no importance in material goods.

(2) Conservative work-oriented (19%) – combine traditional values of religion and family with a materialistic lifestyle.In a similar overall Dutch study, the researchers found that about 20% of the Dutch are conservative, though they are still more progressive than the most conservative immigrants.

(3) Modern status seekers (21%) – distance themselves from religion and family. Independent and materialistic, dreaming of riches and glamour, but not doing much to attain it and prefer to stick to secure work.

(4) Status-oriented carrier makers (18%) – very ambitious and devoted to luxury, but especially to achievement, success and social recognition.

(5) Ambitious developers (18%) – want to get ahead but find self fulfillment and development more important. This group is composed mainly of highly educated Surinamese and Moroccan women.

The first group being of the older immigrants and the latter 3 of younger people.

The research showed that Turks and Moroccans are generally more conservative than Surinamese and Antillians. About 60% of Turks have a conservative lifestyle compared to 48% of Moroccans.

According to the researchers the group being researched was rather small and further studies will have to be made in the future.

The next study comes out in a new report “Radicals and democrats” by the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (het Instituut voor Migratie en Etnische Studies, IMES). The study shows that 40% of Moroccan youth reject demoracy and think that Muslim and European lifestyles are hardly compatible.

The youth have little confidence in politics (which I assume is a worldwide phenomenon, really). A majority is against the right to freedom of expression if it allows offending speech, and especially if it concerns Islam. They feel politicians are afraid of the religion and want to suppress it.

The youth are ready to defend their faith. A large majority by legal means, while about 6%-7% will resort to violence if needed.

Most Muslims feel discriminated against, both radical and ‘democratically active’ Muslims. There is a difference between the two groups on the social economic field. The democratically active want to build up their future in the Netherlands while the radicals don’t see their prospects there.

The report brings three motives for radicalizing: (1) exclusion and discrimination (2) a need for meaning, a religious quest (3) a feeling of lack of understanding by both Dutch society and their own parents.

Sources: Reformatorisch Dagblad (Dutch), Volkskrant (Dutch)

See also: New book on Muslim youth in the Netherlands

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