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EUROPE'S MUSLIMS TREATED AS OUTSIDERS

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  • ummyakoub
    EUROPE S MUSLIMS TREATED AS OUTSIDERS Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post, 11/27/03 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16652-2003Nov26.html Fatima
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 9, 2003
      EUROPE'S MUSLIMS TREATED AS OUTSIDERS
      Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post, 11/27/03
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16652-2003Nov26.html

      Fatima Yaakoub, 24 years old, born in Morocco, living in the
      Netherlands since she was 12, says she wants nothing more than to fit
      in. She works hard, cleaning offices in the early mornings, going to
      college during the day, taking English classes on weekends -- trying
      to get ahead, trying to do what is expected of a good citizen in her
      adopted homeland.

      But three years ago, she began wearing a head scarf, the sign of a
      devout Muslim woman, and got a rapid education on how much of an
      outsider she remains.

      Whenever she left her largely Muslim immigrant neighborhood, she
      discovered that the scarf, known in Arabic as a hijab, marked her as
      a subjugated Muslim woman, a foreigner, or buitenlander in Dutch. And
      since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the discovery of
      al Qaeda cells among Western Europe's 15 million Muslims, Yaakoub has
      found that the scarf raises suspicions among native Dutch that she is
      a terrorist, a threat.

      "They treat me like trash," Yaakoub said…

      Yaakoub's experience offers a glimpse into the conflict between
      Europe's historically Christian, increasingly secular societies and
      the large -- and often alienated -- Muslim populations.

      Many of the Muslims were invited here three decades ago as cheap
      temporary workers who would one day go home. But they stayed on and
      became an integral part of European society, making Islam the
      continent's second-largest religion. Today it is common to see a
      mosque near a medieval church; Arab restaurants and food stores
      abound on inner-city streets.

      Muslims represent the fastest growing-group in Europe, a boom fueled
      by high birth rates as much as immigration. But on average they
      remain far behind the traditional populations economically and
      socially…

      While Europe is slowly moving away from its Christian roots, with
      church attendance in decline, many of its Muslims cling strongly to
      their faith and are asserting their right to live openly according to
      their religious beliefs. For governments that hold that religion and
      government must be separate, this can bring important policy
      challenges and accusations of favoritism…

      ---

      MUSLIM MOSQUE ATTACKED IN NORTHERN FRANCE
      Agence France Presse, 11/26/03

      Vandals tried to set alight to a mosque in northern France Tuesday
      night and scrawled two swastikas on its walls, police in the port of
      Dunkirk said.

      The attackers sprayed an inflammable liquid over the doors of the
      Omar al-Farouk mosque in Dunkirk town centre and set it on fire, but
      the blaze was quickly put out. No-one was in the building at the
      time.

      Police called to the scene found two upside-down swastikas on the
      outside wall.

      "This is the first time there has been an act of violence and an
      arson attempt against a mosque in Dunkirk. Whoever did it chose the
      end of Ramadan to make his point," said Bahssine Saaidi, president of
      the regional Islamic council.

      "But the friendly relations which we enjoy with the Jewish and
      Christian communities must not be allowed to suffer," he said.

      ---

      FRENCH SCHOOL EXPELS 12-YEAR-OLD FOR REFUSING TO REMOVE ISLAMIC HEAD
      SCARF
      Associated Press, 11/27/03

      A French school on Thursday expelled a 12-year-old girl who refused
      to remove her Islamic head scarf in class, a family acquaintance
      said.

      The girl of Moroccan origin was the latest pupil caught in a wide-
      ranging debate in France over the nation's separation of state and
      church and rules that forbid "ostentatious" symbols of religion in
      public schools.

      Thomas Milcent, a convert to Islam who has been advising the girl's
      parents, said a disciplinary commission at the Charles-Walch school
      in Thann, in eastern France's Upper Rhine region, expelled her
      for "aggravated proselytizing and disturbing public order."

      School authorities refused to comment. The school's regulations
      forbid pupils from wearing head gear, including berets and caps.

      Several girls have been expelled from public schools this year for
      wearing the scarves.

      Politicians are divided on whether France needs a law to enforce bans
      on wearing head scarves in schools and public offices.

      Some proponents argue that Islamic fundamentalists are encouraging
      women and girls to wear head scarves, chipping away at France's
      secular foundations.

      But opponents fear a law would marginalize France's estimated 5
      million Muslims, the largest Muslim community in Western Europe.

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