Brussels: Study urges for more tolerance

A study by the Institute for European Studies at VUB in cooperation with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies of Wayne State University in Detroit was published Thursday by Richard Lewis and Hannelore Goeman, concluding that more tolerance is needed in order to encourage integration.

Seeing that the Muslim population of Detroit, with 300,000 or 7.5% of the population is the largest urban concentration of Muslims in the US, the study claims that several parallels can be drawn with the situation in Brussels, which has 170,000 Muslims or 17% of the population and Brussels can even learn a lot from the tolerant approach of the Americans and Canadians.

The conclusions of the researchers are based on a study trip of to the American and Canadian Midwest in March and on the conclusions of a team of experts from Brussels and Detroit who are active on the local level in various policy areas connected to the integration of immigrants (and in specific of Muslims).  The researchers also visited the nearest Canadian city: Windsor, Ontario.

Muslims in Detroit appear to have a much smoother upwards mobility than their coreligionists in Brussels.  American Muslims often immigrate with a higher education level, and many come from the Middle East, while Muslims immigrants in Brussels are often from poorer, rural areas in North Africa and Turkey.

But another key to success according to the researchers is clearly the respect and tolerance with which they are treated in their new country.  Muslims in America therefore get the feeling faster that they have an in interest in engaging in society, and are therefore more loyal towards their new country.

On the basis of the study the researchers ask for three things which are very sensitive in Belgium.  They ask for full tolerance of the headscarf - an issue which in Detroit has never caused a fuss.  According to the researchers this leads to a more tolerant mentality which is much needed for successful integration.

Additionally they ask for bilingual education, that combines the new language with the mother-tongue of the children who have just arrived in the country.  After about a year they can switch over to the traditional, one-language form of education.  The system had been applied successfully for years in Canada and now also in Detroit.

Finally the researchers ask for more tolerance for the cultural and religious needs of Muslims, for example by providing them with a separate prayer area at work.

The report includes also a number of practical recommendations such as directly consulting the Muslim communities, attention to "interculturalism" in the training of teachers and social workers, the emphasis of the economical and cultural contribution of Muslims, for example with a museum, and investing in the neighborhoods in order to prevent decline.

Source: De Morgen (Dutch)


Anonymous said...

Detroit!?! Any Americans reading this post are probalby wiping the coffee off their compuiter screens right about now. They understand that Detroit is a civic disaster. It is one of America's finest examples of how NOT to do things.

FreeSpeech said...

Demands, more demands, and even more demands.

Anonymous said...

Bilingual education does not work. Dozens of studies have proven this over and over again. Bilingual education is effective, even necessary, but only when dealing with adults. With children, their development, both linguistically and mentally more generally, will be seriously stunted by forcing them to lose a year of legitimate eduation and L2 immersion. Kids pick up new languages overnight when immersed in them. For some reason Muslim immigrants aren't nearly as good at this as are Mexican children, but that's likely because Muslim parents are unwilling to try to learn the new language more than the Mexicans are because Mexicans actually get jobs, usually several, as soon as they can, and therefore have to learn English. I would posit that that could be because Muslim immigrants speak languages which are more different when compared to English than Spanish is, but so many of those immigrants are from Pakistan that I have a hard time believing that. Urdu is an Indo-Euro language too. Its writing system is different, but we're talking about kids who are so young as to be barely literate if at all. I would also estimate that roughly equal proportions of Arabic-speaking immigrants come to Belgium and the US, so the fact Arabic speakers rarely learn to speak English at a conversational level - even graduate students in my department - or even learn to conjugate 'do' and 'be' in simple constructions, or to grasp basic concepts like mass nouns vs. count nouns for that matter, also counts for nothing. Muslim students perform more poorly on standardized tests. This is because of their lack of immersion. I've been to Detroit. It's like Europe. Muslims do not integrate. Not even at the university level. Sure, Muslim kids don't board buses and beat drivers to death in Detroit yet, but that falls perfectly in line with the progression of Islamization of society. 10% is the breaking point. Look at India. Look at France. Detroit is no indication of anything. Furthermore, I wasn't aware that Muslims immigrate with a higher educational level to the US. They don't get better jobs than Mexican immigrants, so I have a hard time believing that. They just don't live on welfare indefinitely because the US doesn't allow that. I guess that's what the article meant by 'upward mobility.' Those kids already have about 45 strikes against them. Bilingual education is the nail in their coffin. It's inhumane stealing people's futures like that. And it's retarded applying studies based on adult subjects to children, whose cognitive faculties are still developing and operate very differently, and far more rapidly. It's retarded ignoring the overwhelming evidence against bilingual education. And it's evil to screw children out of the critical cognitive period, thus ensuring that they remain forever idiots. But I guess the welfare state will take care of them all somehow, huh, even when they comprise 90% of the 'work' force.