The Integration Of Muslims In Europe

The Integration Of Muslims In Europe


Integration results. There are two standards against which the incorporation of Muslims in Europe can be judged: economic (how people are doing in terms of earnings and employment); and attitudinal (how people feel).

In both France and the United Kingdom, Muslims' economic integration has been poor. In both, unemployment is high (above 20% and sometimes approaching 40%) among Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and North Africans. Earnings are also weak: According to 2000 data, male Bangladeshis were earning about three-quarters the average wage.

As regards public attitudes, a more complex picture emerges, according to Pew data gathered in 2006, depending on the group examined:

--Non-Muslim French. Most French people were particularly positive toward French Muslims, viewing them as generous and honest; a large minority saw them as tolerant.

--Non-Muslim Britons. Attitudes toward U.K. Muslims were less positive, but better than among many other Europeans: most Britons viewed Muslims as honest, although only a minority saw them as generous and tolerant.

--French Muslims. Most French Muslims viewed non-Muslims in France as respectful of women, generous, tolerant and honest (but not devout); only a minority viewed them as arrogant, violent, greedy, immoral or fanatical. Equally importantly, almost 80% of French Muslims support secularism, one of the Republic's intellectual cornerstones.

--U.K. Muslims. Attitudes toward non-Muslim Britons were thoroughly negative: Clear majorities viewed them as selfish, arrogant, violent, greedy and immoral, and a substantial minority as fanatical. Only a minority of U.K. Muslims viewed their fellow citizens as respectful of women, tolerant, honest or devout. However, a majority thought non-Muslim Britons were generous.

--Islam and modernity. Finally, U.K. Muslims were the most likely in Europe to see a basic conflict between Islam and modernity--47%. The figure for French Muslims was 28%.

Where a common, non-religious identity unites Muslims and non-Muslims, the result is better public attitudes and a shared sense of a national project. Where religious divisions are emphasized, the result is mistrust. However, cultural integration is only one part of the equation. Economic integration, whereby Muslims enter work, earn wages and pay taxes just like their fellow citizens, is equally important; in this, both the United Kingdom and France have failed.


Source: Forbes, Oxford Analytica (English)

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