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The title of this article should be Islam in the European Union, not Islam in Europe, since you tackled only issues in the countries which are part of the Union. Or maybe on purpose you did not consider the rest of the European countries - for example the Balkans. Or maybe you think that only the Union countries are worthy of being considered Europe. Civilization in Europe started not in the West, but in the East.
As a Muslim, I treat all people as brothers and sisters. It was God’s wisdom to diversify this world and have us look different in all aspects, including religion. If we love God, we all must understand and respect his wisdom by loving, helping and living peacefully with each other.
A good job and well done. I hope some of those more rational voices of Islam get louder and louder, so that the rest of Muslims in the world hear them out.
Los Angeles, CA. USA
Europe is not America. Every state in Europe has its own nation, and own customs, if somebody comes to work and live in Europe then he must live like a European. This is not Arabia, Africa or Pakistan.
Novi Sad, Serbia
I am a regular reader of MSNBC news on the net. I am a physician of Muslim origin and based in USA. I am glad for the coverage to Muslims. And hope it helps to clarify some of the misconceptions about Muslims and Islam.
Ignorance of each other's religions is the problem. Islam and other faiths have historically lived side by side. Acceptance of pluralistic interpretations of any faith avoids interfaith tensions and assures peaceful coexistence of human race.
It interesting to watch the mass movement of Muslims to Christian countries but no such movement of Christians to Islamic countries. If Muslims are moving to Christian countries to have a better life for themselves and their children, then why would they want to keep the customs and burdens of Islamic life that caused them to leave in the first place? They need to adapt to the country they moved to. Not expect the country to adapt to them.
Castle Rock, Colo.
Instead of breast-beating about how badly the Muslims are treated in Europe/the struggles Muslims face in Europe. How about a study of Christianity or Judaism in the present day Arab world? That would be interesting.
Re: Islam in France
I lived in France this past year teaching English in a French high school. I lived through their riots, their strikes, and their cheese. I think it is very important that the Muslim youth go out and vote. That is something that I tried to teach my students when we would talk about the riots. I tried to explain that it was more important to have your voice heard through voting than through burning cars (but many disagreed).
Many of the problems France is facing are a result of their own policies. Immigrant Muslims — not all, but a large vocal number — have not integrated into French culture or accepted French law. Their religious law takes precedence — a situation which is volatile in a secular society. If the Muslim sector has no representation in the government, it may well be because they do not accept or recognize French government and law as valid or applying to them.
Thanks for the story on the immigrants in France. Very informative. I'd love to see you do more of the reporting that touches the heart.
Frances Hope Allen
The crux of this matter is radical Islam. Where on the globe have "moderate" Muslims been able to curtail their terrorist activities? They believe in sharia law enforced with violence. Period. Approaching this issue from any other perspective is silly and a waste of time.
It looks to me like the French do not know it but they have already lost France.
I found your article about the proposed mosque in Colle di Val D'elsa rather interesting. I have a few of questions. First, how large is the Islamic population of Colle di Val D'elsa compared to the overall population? Second, Has Mayor Brogioni addressed the concerns of the citizens or is he just playing politician and trying to score points with an immigrant population? In your opinion, if the mosque is built and it proves not to harbor or support the small militant factions of Islam, would the citizens relax their fears of Islam?
Paul A. Puskar
King of Prussia, PA
MSNBC.com reporter Jennifer Carlile responds:
The population of Colle di Val d’Elsa and its surrounding suburbs and hills is around 50,000. The mayor and the Islamic community say that there are around 1,000 Muslims in this area; however those who oppose the mosque say that there are only a few hundred.
The mayor has set up meetings with the local Italian population that lives in the La Badia area where the mosque will be built, and has facilitated discussions on integration and security between the Islamic community and the opposition. However, he has not budged on his position of allowing the Islamic center to be built in the San Lazzaro park.
If the mosque is built and proves not to harbor Islamic militants, the local community may come to fear it less. However, they may still resent having a large building that does not serve them so close to their apartments, taking over their parkland, and disrupting their views of the hills and countryside. Their response will also be negative if their homes depreciate in value. And much of their opinion is likely to be influenced by international terrorism and the media’s portrayal of Muslims.
Interesting story on building of the Muslim center in Italy. I would be curious to know whether in Arab countries the same is true. Suppose the town in Italy (or anonymous donors) collected money for a Catholic Church to be built in, I don’t know, Iran, Egypt, Syria – would they be welcome or face the same opposition? Reciprocity and openness would be a good thing.
Carlos Y. Maldonado
Yorktown Heights, NY
If I lived in this town I would be deeply concerned. "Good" Muslims, around the world, haven't stood up "strong" enough against all the violence. This new, much larger mosque would more than likely attract more Muslims, and likely the element no one wants in their own community. The mayor only is looking at this problem or concern in a micro-sense where the town's people are looking at it in a Macro-sense.
I think this article is full of orchestrated shots against Islam and Muslims in general. One story or few stories can't be handled as common mass problem as mentioned in your story, if we know that there are more than 3 million Turkish citizens in Germany. Sadly, domestic violence against women and children is something common in any religion, be it Islam, Christianity, or Judaism.
I understand that you are reporting something that is prevalent, but making a whole story about it and focusing in on how Arabs or Muslims with traditional views abuse their Muslim women is very misleading. As a Muslim woman myself, I feel insulted when people automatically think that I am oppressed or abused.
I work in Silicon Valley; there, the immigrants (Muslim and otherwise) are usually the top and most educated people from their home countries. When they arrive in the U.S., they are offered respect and a job in the higher salary ranges and are some of the most productive segments of our society. Contrasting U.S. and Europe: it's the difference between embracing immigrants and using them to do their dirty work.
If you marginalize a sub-section of society, they will behave in the same way. European Muslims are closer to the way we have treated our own blacks and the responses are the same: the black women, trying to escape the abuse, fully integrate into the rest of the society, but the ghettos remain.
I think all of us, as a society, might have to come to the difficult realization that integration may not be a possibility. Learning the language and respecting the customs of the host nation should not be an issue as they are the inherent responsibilities of the immigrant. Generations of living in another country and most Muslim immigrants have yet to achieve these basic rules of etiquette. The standards have been set and it is the sole responsibility of the immigrant to meet those standards; not to linger around long enough in hopes that the host nation will cater to their culture.
Americans hear very little about this challenge that other nations are facing - it seems we're not alone on this matter. The United States is dealing with the very same immigration, assimilation and integration issues German is dealing with. Understanding other cultures, our differences, similarities and ourselves will be an ongoing task for all of us. And we no doubt can learn from each other.