Belgium: Moroccans more integrated, but also more discriminated

Moroccans in Liburg seems better integrated than Turks. However, they fall victim more often to discrimination and negative feelings from the ethnic population. A study by the communities of Genk and Houthalen-Helchteren reveals this paradox.

"It shows that integration is not a black and white sotyr, but one of grey tints," says promoter Johan Ackaert, political scientist in the University of Hasselt.

Moroccan immigrants in Liburg speak Dutch more often than their Turkish colleagues, participate more in local associations, have a more positive image of the locals and feel more Belgian. Whoever expects that Moroccans will loved more by the Belgians than the Turks, will be disappointed.

"Ethnic Belgians (from less than average neighborhoods) have a more negative picture of Moroccan immigrants than Turkish immigrants," write Maarten Van Craen an Kris Vancluysen, authors of "Beyond we and them? A measurement of the social-cultural distance between ethnic Belgians and immigrants. The findings are based on focus group discussions and a face-to-face survey in Genk and Houthalen-Helchteren.

integrated well and yet discriminated. The authors call it "the integration paradox". They see diverse reasons why according to the standard definition "less integrated" Turkish immigrants are treated friendlier than their Moroccan colleagues. Turks are more strongly rooted in their own community than Moroccans, but invest a lot in contacts with the local/ethnic community.

Social-economic factors also play a role: there are more untrained people in the Moroccan community than the Turkish. that could lead to that "ethnic Belgians from less than average neighborhoods perceive Moroccan immigrants as a greater competition." The authors suspect that also values play a role, especially religious opinions.

"The impact of this difference can, certainly after September 11, not be underestimated." The study teaches also more about discrimination. "There is talk of individual discrimination, but certainly the Moroccan community also has the feeling of being discriminated as a group," says Ackaert. It is striking that despite the negative experiences, both groups have quite a lot of trust in the institutions. Ackeart: "That threatens to change if we don't succeed in banishing discrimination. It's an additional reason to invest in integration."

Source: De Morgen (Dutch)

See also: Study: Moroccons more content in Dutch speaking cities

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