Belgium: Belgium's integration problem

Belgium: Belgium's integration problem

Via New Europe:
In Europe, and especially in Belgium, most Muslims are part of the underclass. As immigrants, most have come from underdeveloped nations, many as economic and political refugees. As such, they have often lacked the skills necessary for success in the labour market. That reality, combined with discrimination by the native population, has led to sub-average economic conditions for Europe’s Muslims.

The social and civil status of religion is another key factor in the integration process of Muslims in Belgium. European secularism has traditionally meant that political power interacts in a neutral manner with religious institutions.

Three scenarios for the future of Muslims in Belgium are possible: acceptance, avoidance, or resistance. Professor Jocelyne Cesari of Harvard University says that these three possible Muslim attitudes subtend the multiplicity of discourses and actions in the name of Islam, whether they are oriented towards Muslims or non-Muslims.

Cesari explains that acceptance means that the dominant Western discourse is accepted by Muslims, and is accompanied by cultural amnesia and a definite will to assimilate. This trend is marginal among immigrant Muslims.

Lastly, avoidance refers to behaviours or discourses that attempt to separate Muslim communities from the non-Muslim environment by developing, for example, a sectarian usage of Islamic religious beliefs. Resistance means refusing the status given to Islam within dominant discourses and politics.

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