sabato 2 dicembre 2017

Anthropology of Globalization for Global Governance #14

20th November 2017. Islam is the name of the game for today's class. We had to complete a few more things about Appadurai's essay on Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (first 27 minutes), but then we had an interesting guest lecture by Abdel Latif Chalikandi.

He discussed the role of fake news and how islamophobia is related to the sistematic production by media of a distorted image of what Islam is and does.
Most of Muslims in the world act peacefully and don't have negative attitude towards "the West".
It is evident there are growing issues of communication and mutual understanding between Muslims and non Muslims in different parts of the world.
We came up with a long list of questions, issues and even more to think about.

The assigned reading for this week is al almost old (let's say seasoned) article by Ruba Salih on the emergence of a post-national and transnational Islam in Europe. But it presents an Italian case-study and perfectly fits my teaching needs.

Q. I don't have a specific question for this week topic, but you may want to share your view on Islam, after what you read and you listened, reporting on an experience of yours with Islam, whatever may it be.

59 commenti:

emmanuel Krah Plarhar ha detto...

Living in a community for about twenty years where the populations of Muslims are 17%, I had a great deal in respecting and appreciating the Islamic values. Not that I learnt it from books or other sources but I can say it was because of my Islamic friends. Although all my friends were not Muslims, I had the opportunity to learn more stuff from them. Basically in my country Ghana, Islam entered the country around the fifteenth century mostly in the northern part due to commercial activities with northern Africans (Berbers) and Middle East and Muslims in the country are Sunni Islam. Elementary Schools, Junior High Schools and even Senior High Schools in Ghana all learn about Islamic Religion because it is included in all education syllabus in the country. Everyone in the country knows there are three main religions which Islam is the second major religion. Islamic holidays are considered as national holidays and Islamic festivals are celebrated all over the country. Christianity being the main religion, Christians and Muslims have an excellent relationship. Activities of the Islamic community are regulated by the Muslim Representative Council and relationships between the government and Muslims is also a good one. Government supports the Islamic Community in times of pilgrimages and other Islamic activities and this shows how understanding they are. Many individuals believe most Muslims are trouble makers because of certain history they have but knowing them personally, one’s ideology would change.
An experience I would share regards Eid Al-Fitr which is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. It happened that during one of these festivals I was in high school (Boarding school) and students were not supposed to go off campus because it was a Catholic institution. Muslims had grand street parties outside the school and the only way to enjoy it was to sneak outside. The main purpose was to enjoy dishes made. Talking of food they had many of it which was even beyond our imagination. Cows, sheep, goats are the animals used in celebrating this festival. The Islamic Community organizes a street walk in which they go to most houses they come across to share dishes made. Also in the premises of the school Muslims were given special breakfasts and dinners because of their fasting and in order for one to enjoy these foods that individual had to have a Muslim friend which in my situation I had tons of them.
The first Quran I saw was through my Muslim friend and one thing I learnt was not anyone can touch it not even an unclean Muslim.

Mohammad Almulla ha detto...

Unfortunately, my opinion on Islam is going to be quite a biased as I am a Muslim myself and I come from a Muslim country but either way I am going to speak about the broader picture of media coverage.
To begin it is only fair to point out that in the Muslim world some components are also treated the same way with fake news and the persuade people to hate some components, but now moving on the main idea in my opinion Islam is treated very harshly in the western world and is being used as we saw and still seeing for political gain.
I am going to use the case of ISIS they say that they represent the Islamic world and they want to return Islam to its strongest point but really that's not the real thing, as they are described as outlaws and represent nothing about Islam, I will state one example of how they cant even cannot perform the simple act of praying they do not even know how to do that, the torture and kill, but Islam is really the religion of peace and the name means peace but still they are broadcasted as the real image of Islam.
I guess the case that I want to stress out is that Islam is a religion that promotes peace equality and many other things so, in my opinion, it is really unfair how this beautiful religion is put in the media.
I want to talk about the holiest month in the Islamic culture which Ramadan, where people fast for a month but the normal person would know that people fast but does not really know the beautiful reason behind it, there are many reasons but some of the important ones are that fasting humbles the human being as you get to feel the way poor people feel because they do not have food, it teaches you self-discipline and self control as it teaches you to control yourself and not do something wrong and control your desires, other than that it is actually good for your health. In Ramadan, everybody helps people and donates money, food, clothes,etc.. to the people he can reach and that's what makes it the holy month as the person spends his time praying and helping other people which raises the level of society in my opinion. At the end of this month, we have Eid al Fitr in which we usually buy new clothes and go to visit the family which gets the family closer to each other.
Concluding I hope I was not biased of course the world has many bad people at the end of the day we are over 7 billion people walking on this earth but the religion itself is pure and promotes to do good in this world although some people act against these promotions.

Cristina Bottoni ha detto...

Since the Islamic issue is really an hot topic nowadays, all the things that I could every write in this blog will never be a news but it will be only a repetition of the tons of things that are said everyday all around the world.
I will just give my opinion on it and provide some example of my daily experiences in dealing with Muslims and the Islamic world.
First of all, I declared myself agnostic. The term agnostic comes from the Greek worlds ἀ- (a-), "without", and γνῶσις (pron. gnōsis), "knowledge". In some sense, I am sure there is someone outside (or up) there which has the task of regulate the world’s equilibrium; I am just not sure about who he is, which shape he has, how he behaves. For this reason, I have quite an open position towards religions of any kind: people are free to profess any kind of religion, set of rules, set of behaviours, set of ideas they want, the only condition is that they do not harm other people who think in a different way or do not follow the same way of living. This is a behaviour that do not apply only on religion diversity but is a common rule for any social behaviour: your freedom ends when it meets the one of the other person. Only in this way, we can have a balanced and fair society.
My position towards Islam is the same that I have towards other religion. I do not treat Muslims in a different way from people coming from other religions. I treat differently people who believe in the superiority of one religion. As an example, I would like to share a quite personal fact of my life. I come from a very Catholic family and from this reason during my childhood, I was in some sense ‘forced’ to go to the church regularly and I received the sacraments. With the passing of time, I understood that Catholicism was not the ideal religion for me. Later on, I did further studies on religions and I understood that my ideas did not fit any kind of religion. My family did not welcome positively this decision especially my dad, which conceives Catholicism to be the best and only religion that has to be professed in the world. During the last years, I fought a lot with him because he did not accept the fact that I was not following the family path.
In my life, I have always been used to speak and live with people belonging from different religions, especially Muslims. I have a lot of Muslim friends and I have attended lots of Ramadan rituals and ceremonies. They are beautiful and colourful and full of amazing food.
I worked in Caritas in the migrants management field. Most of the people that come in Italy from northern, central and Western Africa are Muslims. They are afraid of radical Muslim groups in their countries and that is one of the main reason for migrating.
I have seen people scared of taking the subway, friends afraid of going out in very crowded places, other friends worried for their relatives abroad.
I do not think all Muslims are bad people. It would be crazy to think that. I think that media are not picturing the situation in the right way. The point is not to be afraid of Muslims, the point is to be afraid of religious radicalism. Religion has done terrible, terrible things in history, it has made more deaths than wars. It is the time to stop these atrocities and create one cohesive international community in order to fight fake news about Muslims. Together.

Ganna Korniychenko ha detto...

Thanks to global governance I had the possibility to know many people belonging to other cultures. During my childhood, when I have been living in Ukraine, I experienced the orthodox religion. My family, especially my grandparents, were used to go to the orthodox church and bring me there in order to teach me the attitudes. I was eight years old and at that age is not possible to have any kind of awareness about religion and to have a global vision. The choices are always taken by parents or relatives and children follow unconsciously the family’s activities most of the time. This is exactly what happened to me. At nine years old I moved to Italy and I found some troubles it terms of Catholicism due to different behaviors that have to be adopted in the Church field. A simple example could be the fact that the way to make the sign of the cross is different; right and left are chronologically inverted and many times before knowing that I was embarrassed in front of other Catholic people which looked at me with indignation :D
After some months, I understood that my completeness as person was independent from any kind of religion. This detached behavior brought me to a huge openness towards others and consequently to their religion. I respect all the religions and I am always curious about the cultural-religious differences but I think this can not be the reason for disagreements, competition or military imposition of one religion instead of another. Italy welcomes many muslims and I personally had always nice experiences with people coming from India, Egypt and Middle-east. Political parties and the use of force are completely far from normal people living there which also are afraid of extremist action. This is why I always see with the ‘same eyes’ any kind of religion.
My dear friend Amina invited me to her house many times and I found her family so welcoming and kind. I completely forgot about any kind of cultural difference because we all enjoyed the dinner together and no one of her family made issue of my country. We were only friends and it was one of the best amusements I have ever had which overcome any expectation.

Marco Siniscalco ha detto...

I found the article written by Ruba Salih entitled "The Backward and the New: National, Transnational and Post-National Islam in Europe" very interesting in particular because it describes meticulously some aspects and situations that were lived in first person by my cousin and my aunt, both Muslims.
As clearly stated in the paper, Muslim’s experience in the western world is engraved on, and moves across various socio-political and cultural identities. However, these operations of identity renegotiation are deeply hurtful and conflictual. In the last two decades, we have seen an Islamisation of political discourse and representations over Muslims, with media (hate speech, fake news and manipulative campaigns) misrepresenting what Islam is and does, thereby fuelling Islamophobia, as we deeply discussed in class with our guest lecture Abdel Latif Chalikandi. The nation-state is more frequently perceived by Muslims of second-generation, like my cousin, as acting through an exclusionary operation which neglects them access to citizenship but also does not succeed to acknowledge emerging new identities. My cousin, for instance, experienced a very similar situation to that described by Said, a young university student born in Morocco and brought up in Italy, with a noticeable position in the local, national and European public spheres as an active young Muslim. My cousin, born in Tunisia and brought up in Italy, in addition to having achieved very high academic results, has always been a brilliant mind. One day, during a demonstration against the various terrorist attacks that had taken place recently, my cousin wanted to give a speech offering his point of view. However, the guy who handed him the microphone introduced him to the crowd as "a different guy", a young immigrant with completely different ideas and perspectives just because he was Muslim. Therefore, we can clearly understand how the “west” usually crystallises Muslims as perpetual and essential “others”, even when they attempt to be considered “one of them” instead of aiming at expressing “difference”. According to the paper written by Salih, of course, there should be universal values of equality and respect for the individual despite differences of religion, class, gender and ethnicity.
My aunt experienced another humiliating situation. She was on her way back from Christmas holidays spent with my family here in Rome and looking forward to coming back to Tunisia. Before the plane took off, she called his husband just to tell him that the plane was taking off since he had to go and get her at the airport in Tunisia. Well, she was asked to leave the plane because of the “potentially threating comments” she made on board. This is really unacceptable. Usually, normal behaviour by Muslim passengers is seen as suspicious and many innocent people feel they are under suspicion solely because of their religion. It is time we silence this Islamophobia with facts.

Shahmar Hasanov ha detto...

I will try to be objective on this deeply sensitive point. Coming from the country which has majority of people considering themselves as Muslims, I more or less have some information and perception of Islam.
When I say that I’m agnostic (person who doesn’t believe in God, but also doesn’t deny his/her existence), people usually think I’m going to hate Islam or somehow undermine this religion. However, I consider many aspects of Islam being quite logical and sensible. Some rules are actually could be implemented in different societies, and might have positive outcomes. And when I say this, don’t get scared, I don’t mean putting hijabs on each woman/girl.
Note: I haven’t read the Quran yet, but I’m planning in my future. Consider this as an admittance of being possibly wrong or having false information or interpretations. My ideas are based on the living experience, intensive communications with the people practicing different branches of Islam and various digital, written sources.
Warning: if you are strong believer, and already inherited Islam as part of your identity, I highly recommend not to read remaining parts of the comment, if you will feel somehow insulted.
In my opinion, the foundation of Islam is based on political motive and Muhammed being main revolutionary figure in this. Starting from the 7th century Islamic political idea has taken control over Arabia. Now, it would be too long and unprecise to talk about the whole history of expansion of Islam, however I will set as an example the conjunction in the area of my current country, Azerbaijan. Informally we’re called “Sword Muslims” which basically derives from the fact that the people of this land have been “Islamized” not by consent but by military force of Arabian Empire. In fact, population in the region of Azerbaijan have been practicing different religions, rituals before. Islamic Arabia only came in the 8th century and faced abundant resistances during its invasion.
There are numerous cases and histories of countries, but I will formulate this theory by showing in practice why I assume it’s political:
The first thing coming to my mind is the notion of “Zakat”, which basically means you should give some portion of income to the poor, based on proportionate division of wages. Now I’m asking, don’t you see the direct similarity with the Welfare State? Btw, I’m also in favor of this statement.
Another case is the issue of hijab. When you hear how Islam supporters justify this rule, they mostly emphasize the fact that hijab is preventing the desire of men to sexually assault women. I’ve several times encountered how they show the high figures of rape level from Western or other nations. That’s actually kind of a policy to reduce the sex related crimes, from my standpoint. I agree partially, however, this policy might have inverse effect, but I’m not going to discuss it now, cause it’s completely another question.

Shahmar Hasanov ha detto...
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Shahmar Hasanov ha detto...

Furthermore, some rules have also logically interpretative reasons. For instance, the prohibition of eating a pork is not because the pig was somehow shuttered. Quickly getting spoiled in hot, desert weather which would bring numerous diseases was the main reason behind this. Another example is the allowance to have 4 wifes for one man. During the expansion of Arabian Empire, there were many wars. Wars have been taking a lot of men out of a country which noticeably affected the gender balance. In order to find a husband for each woman (because being a grown-up woman without a legal husband was and still is being considered in many Islamic states) that rule has been added with the special condition of loving each of them the same.
The countries differ for the level of influence of Islam in their politics, but each of them are somehow affected. In Azerbaijan only morality and some socially acceptable behavior derives from it, while Iran has been strongly impacted by the Sharia law.
For the ones who are not quite familiar, Muslims are divided into several subgroups, mainly Shia and Sunni. In my experience, the Sunnis have been more open-minded and reasonable than Shias (which were extremely radical in many circumstances).
Coming to the end, despite having some harsh, controversial and debatable aspects, such as discrimination against gay people, giving too much pressure and importance to sexual intercourse, putting women somehow less valued in society, which clearly states it's not the best policy with its conservative view for this age, Islam could be really useful life-guide for various cases.
P.S. My perception might and might not change in future.

clara saglietti ha detto...

Islam is the faster growing and second largest religion in the world. In particular, its spread in the West in many controversial forms is raising the issue of Muslims’ role and recognition in Western societies.
According to Ruba Salih, such recognition involves a difficult process of identity renegotiation, that goes beyond both essentialist or self-defensive and relativistic or dichotomous understandings of Islam. The media are responsible of an Islamisation of the political discourse, representing the interaction between cultures as a clash of civilisation, caused by an alleged anti-modern Islamic conceptualisation of society, gender relations and terrorism, that fosters a contemporary xenophobia based on the “neo-colonialist and neo-orientalist image of Muslims as the ‘Other’ par excellence”. Of course, it is true that there are some violent or conservative branches in Islam and that some first- and second-generation Muslims may have reacted to displacement and marginalisation in Europe by refusing cultural assimilation, enclosing their Islamic identities within the private sphere and participating in the public political life from a minority standpoint. However, the representation of Islamic culture as incompatible and completely different from the one of Western democracies is a blind negation both of the past and of the present evolutions.
It is important to remember the huge influence of Islamic culture during the Middle-Age in the fields of art, philosophy, astronomy, music, maths, medicine, chemistry and alchemy, which make evident that we inherited a lot of knowledge from them and that our cultures share many aspects.
It is even more important to notice that this cultural exchange has not been interrupted in the following centuries and that there still a lot to learn from each other without suspicion or prejudice.
There is ongoing process of universalisation and transnationalisation of Islam in Europe that should not be ignored in order to avoid misunderstandings and take mutual advantage of possible benefits.
In fact, despite the diverse ideologies of Islam, there is an attempt of overcoming factionalism and reconciling the difference with universalism. In particular at a European level, they are trying to create a new supranational public sphere, a sort of avant-garde, based on new identities, jurisprudence, political and cultural narratives. For example, an interesting project is the EFOMW, the European Forum of Muslim Women, which has the aim of supporting empowerment and emancipation of Muslim women as full citizens of the European democracies.
The risk, however, is to transcend the national level up to the point that the public sphere of action is de-territorialised, whereas it is fundamental for Muslims to focus on the local dimension, applying there the international principles, proposing alternatives and acting as a force for modernisation and innovation of Europe as well. In fact, when there is the encounter between two cultures that at first superficial sight appear so different, there is not simply a process of assimilation in the prevailing one, but, fortunately, some aspects of the other one manage to bring their influence. It may seem that the Islamic culture is asked to integrate giving up or modifying some traditions, like in the case of the hijab, burqini and Ramadan fasting. Nevertheless, they are also giving relevant contributions to our culture, showing an example of how to deal with the religious sphere in a post-secular society. Hopefully, there will be a further exchange in the future, as happened in the past, because the Islam can still teach a lot (a provocative lesson to capitalism may be about solidarity and charity, thinking about the zakat, one of the 5 pillars). All this would be possible only through open-mindedness and reciprocal respect on both sides, the promotion of dialogue and “confrontation between and within cultures” to conclude using the words of Adbel Latif Chalikandi.

Federica Barbera ha detto...

During this course I found myself to be very sceptical when talking about the Islam even because we have never talked about what it is in reality but we only analysed the situation referring to the cultural problems that it has generated, most in European countries. By saying this I am not denying the fact that those problems do exist but I think that just promoting open discussions could not be the right way to solve it. In fact I consider this vision of solving issues too naïve for today’s society in which people don’t filter what they thought and just open their mouth and go straight to their point. I believe that this is what happened to Abdel Latif Chalikandi and to his wife while directing their open discussion in which a man say to her to go back to her country, not considering the fact that she was born and raised in Italy. Bearing this in mind I feel confident to state that issues related to Islam are more due to social behaviour than to cultural bias and education. However for this entry I was asked to express my personal view about Islam which is the following: Islam is simply a religion. According to me all religions must be respected both in the private personal sphere and in the public one. Moreover I believe that all the current issues that we face today are due to the fact that the Europeans have secularized so much their societies that now they don’t even know what is a religion anymore and therefore are scared about this powerful mean of association. Does it coincide with an individual set of moral values? Is it formed by the particular praying habits? Is it culture? As you can easily understand I have more questions than information to share on this blog but I believe that giving a precise answer to some of this questions could help to shape a more complex opinion on the current islamophobia or xenophobia problem. I believe that another big issue consist in the difference between tolerance and integration evolving in a clash on the political level. Are we, maybe, provide integration to people that want just tolerance? Unfortunately I don’t have enough knowledge about what is Islam excluding those few notions that a lacking education gave me(however I want to stress that maybe I neither have a deep knowledge of Christianity) in order to give a sensible description of my view on this religion and I understand that probably I should get more information in order to comprehend many current issues because in the last months I figured out that my knowledge is too marginal and inevitable full of bias. Moreover the fact that I didn’t have any direct experience does not help. However I don’t think that knowing a Muslim and participating to some of their ceremonies will change my behaviour towards the believers in Islam. However I have to say that I can’t wait to meet a true European Muslim, as the article define it, because I think that today the Islamic community is divided into those ones who decided to preserve their cultural environment thus becoming diasporas and those ones who has abandoned their cultural identity in order to fit better into the society. Thus we are in front of two extreme choices but neither of those help to build the European Muslim. Moreover I think that it will be interesting to create a discussion space in order to talk about the right to create a Muslim party in the respective nation for those who have obtained the citizenship and want their political ideas and values to be represented in Parliament.

Carlotta Frasca ha detto...

As I'm thinking about some of my direct experiences with Islam, I'm left doubtful. I don't think I have ever been closely touched by it, but as I am on the internet, I realize that i'm actually sorrounded by this topic.
We are bombed by informations, news, articles, speeches and journalists reporting about Islam and how it influences either negativetly, most of the time, and positivetly our lives.
Of course the idea of Islam has been distorted by a really small portion of it, that caused us to generalize and point our fingers to all of them, looking at them superficially, for their belives rather than their personalities and actions. A related mistake is perceiving Islam as a monolithic and threatening world power. Rather we need to think of it as a series of diverse interests manifested through nationalistic policies.
My boyfriend's mother has contacts with Islam, her friends are outraged and disappointed in how they are represented. People look at them differently scorning them because at their, well our eyes, they are a problem and a threat. The informations that we get from the media, from the internet, from the newspapers, and even from the schools we get our education from; make us think and react to this events in a certain way. People that do not look like us scare us. The refugees that arrive in Italy every day, for example have a different story, a different past that we don’t know about. The media doesn't tell us from what kind of situations these people are coming from, and if we get it, it’s really vague. Instead we get a very clear description of all the negative things “they” do. The media has this weird and very strong power of making a person an entire population: if one of them makes a mistake they all have to pay for it. I’m not saying that bad individuals do not exist, and that all of them leave their countries to look for a better future, but don’t we have bad and mean people in Europe too? The stability and richness of our countries made us new Gods, that can judge someone’s life basing it on their skin color and religion. I personally do not believe that we’ll see a change any time soon. Realistically due to terroristic attacks, deaths and killers; people look at these refugees as a threat. People are not willing to make a change because it is too risky and it’s not worth the time.

Riccardo Santini ha detto...

I have personally never had any impactful experience with Islam. I was raised with a Catholic background, so I know far more about Christianity than about other religions, but this did not prevent me from getting in touch with different environments. I am indeed studying with Muslim students everyday in our classes and in our University. In my neighborhood, there are many Muslim families who have moved to Rome (especially from Tunisia), whose children can be considered as ‘’second-generation Muslims’’ as Ruba Salih claims in her paper. There are some Muslim workers in the supermarket nearby my house, and I never paid much attention to their religion. Our relations are indeed not based on our religious differences, but they are based on us being humans who interact in the social environment. And as we said in our very first lesson, globalization did not lead to an increase of diversity, but to an increased awareness of the presence of diversity. I appreciated a lot the reading by Ruba Salih because she made me realize few things I did not really pay attention to before. By deeply examining the story of Said, a boy brought up in Italy and born in Morocco, I learnt the challenges that young Muslims like Said face with their identities: they are second-generation Muslims who are raised in countries in which Islamic communities are a religious minority, but they are at the same time exposed to their parent’s cultural backgrounds and to Islam. I indeed realized how the case of Said is veritably shared by many second-generation residents. And the question that I ask myself is: can we consider second-generation Muslims as integrated in our society or do we just ‘’tolerate’’ them? And to say it in Ruba Salih’s words, are they European Muslims or just Muslims in Europe? For real, the role of media in this regard is of paramount importance. Indeed, as stated by Mr. Chalikandi during our lesson, human beings learn when they are taught, not because of biology. What mass media present become a truth for most of us, spreading prejudice and ignorance. I would say that maybe the major obstacle which does not allow a proper integration for Muslims is the threat of terrorism. Nowadays, we are much concerned about the Islamic State, and its violence attitude towards the West. Does this mean that all Muslims have to be incriminated for that? No way. Most Muslims do not want to be associated with the ideological actions of ISIS, but yet they are Muslims, sharing the same religion of the few terrorists that committed ferocious crimes in Europe and elsewhere. Radicalized Islamists are to be condemned, but this should not and must not result in Islamophobia.

Tamoi Fujii ha detto...

I attended the Italian school from the 1st to the 13th grade always opting in for the Catholic religion class. It is there that I first had contact with the concept of Islam. Islam is a revealed, abramitic, monoteistic religion, they used to say. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are therefore the "good religions", because they only believed in one god. That doesn't make sense, but as a child I totally believed, that if you had more than one god you were somewhat a bad person.

Now I have got the honour to call my best friend a girl with Egyptian origin, and I learned to know a pretty conservative lifestyle, connected to Islam: her parents. It has always been a drag, not to be openly friend with her, but she also taught me some of the values she learned from Islam: mainly values such as Family and Charity.

But the most vivid encounter with Islam has to be the one I had this summer in Shanghai. So I was really curious about the religious sincretism of the city, and my British-Kurdish friend brought me to this mosque in the old chinese town. It was Friday evening and nobody was there, so we went to the "altar"(I don't know its real neame), we knelt down and he started praying. His voice soon filled the big empty space of the mosque, and his song totally overwhelmed me. It was a touching expression of spirituality of the Self, and one of the unforgettable moments ever.

Francesco Bono ha detto...
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Francesco Bono ha detto...

I was born and raised in the north part of Rome, midway from Ponte Milvio and Balduina. It means that my experience with Islam has been biased and limited, if not inexistent. People like me do not even think of how relevant the presence of Islam in our city is (today there are 1.400.000 Muslims in Rome, precisely 1.000.000 more than what stated in the essay by Salih, dating back to 2004). But I cannot blame us. With no real policies aiming to foster an integration among differences and with no attempt to create a political discourse aiming to spread awareness of the importance of mutual understanding between both side, that outcome is the only possible one. We cannot be ashamed to have still such a close-minded attitude. It is normal to be scared of the Otherness, and especially of the “Other par excellence”, if the political scenario revolves around “the maintenance of order”, which means preventing migrants (mostly Muslims) to reach our continent. States make a living reasoning the same way as they did after the Westphalia peace: they cannot reach the gap between their goodness in the past and their short-sightedness towards the deep connection characterising our world. They stopped questioning their prominence (as it seemed they were doing a few decades ago), and rather they are reiterating their fundamental existence for order and stability. Muslims struggling for normal lives in Europe show one of the several consequences of the current states’ behaviour. Whether thirteen years ago, Italy and the other European states were somehow excused for the relative novelty of the phenomenon, this does not absolutely hold true nowadays. Avoiding deep reforms in the sense already stated above strengthen the biggest socio-cultural disjuncture ever existing in our tiny world. Before reading the essay by Salih, I could neither imagine the dichotomy existing between first and second generation of Muslim migrants, nor the struggling efforts made by the second generation to gain full citizenship (both as nationals and as Muslims) in societies educated to ignore the issue. For these reasons, I can now understand better why the first generation of Muslim migrants is so scared of losing its identity in such an intolerant environment. Maybe, it is possible to say that they are scared of a full homogenization, as it would be a consequential path towards modernity and thus, towards the disruption of their neighbourhood. In this bleak landscape, the existence of FEMYSO, which seems to grant at least a European public sphere to Muslim migrants, is encouraging. However, given the nowadays’ consolidated crisis of the European Institutions, I am sceptical of its current reliability compared to what was in 2004. Getting to a point, I think intolerance and fanaticism ruling our times to be the main responsible for the apparent incompatibility, not only among different cultures, but also among what are meant to be different aspects of the same culture. We should learn to overcome the labels imposed to dived us, to act through a real openminded approach in order to create a desperately needed dialogue. I do not want to be perceived as a naive bleeding-heart person: I am perfectly aware of the existence of extremist Islamic groups with whom is not possible to have a dialogue; but those groups are not the object neither of the essay, nor of my comment and I am quite sure that they would not live so longer, if we would follow the recipe stated above. Rather I want to be perceived as PP (“persona per bene”, as the professor stated in his post in August) who is starting to get some benefits from his doubting. Although conscious of how utopian my point is, I am convinced that only overcoming labels which societies impose to us and starting to listen each other again, we will be able to engage in a civil disobedience and to create the fairer world our rulers cannot provide us.

Selene G. ha detto...

Many will probably think that for me Islam is something very far away and not part of my daily life at all. But that is exactly the opposite, growing up in a very multi-cultural city I had friendships and day to day meetings from people all around the world. Due to the many personal connections I have had, I would like to focus on these in this comment as well as talk about two movies in German TV showing how the state channel has been dealing with this. The first contact I had with Islam was probably in kindergarten, I honestly don´t remember it very well but I know we had a few kids that didn´t eat pork. In Stuttgart, my hometown, 45% of the population have a migration background and 25% are foreigners. This is not due to the refugee crisis in 2015 but manly due to the Turkish migrant-workers that came to Germany in the sixties and many Balkans who came during the war and still come now. Stuttgart has the second highest percentage of foreigners in Germany following Frankfurt in first place. To be honest, I am very proud of this. I love that my city and the environment I grew up in is so multi-cultural but still such a safe place to live in. When you walk on the main shopping street in Stuttgart you can´t see who is German and who might be a refugee that just arrived, we are a big mix of people. But enough bragging about my city and back to the actual topic; Islam.
Due to the multi-cultural environment in my kindergarten and school we had many different nationalities and also many Muslims. One of my close friends was a refugee from Kosovo who fled with her parents when she was just a young girl, they got deported back to Kosovo but after three years made their way back to Germany. Now almost 12 years later she is struggling to find a country she can call home. This doesn´t have to do with the different locations she has lived in but most of all with the traditions and religions. During her time at school her Muslim-religion wasn´t anything important to her. But during a volunteer year in Kosovo, she learned about values that she never connected with her religion. For her, who has never read the Quran and spend most of her time with people from other religions, Islam is a big question mark and something she is trying to find out what it means in her life. A complete opposite example is my ex-boyfriend, who I met in a refugee home where I worked in for six months before Global Governance. He had fled from Afghanistan in 2015 with his younger brother and left his family behind but took their values and religion with him. For him Islam was hope. It was his only chance to be able to cope with what has happened and the thought that Allah had a path for him and his family helped him to get through everyday and still does due to the fact that he got denied Asylum by the German state.

Last night I watched two German movies, both about radicalization or extremisms in religions. Both were based on real events going on in our world. The first one was about a German university student who doesn´t really know what to do with his life at the moment and he starts to join a group of radical islamists and joins the Islamic state to fight in Syria. He returns to Stuttgart after a few months and plans a terrorist attack there. He never actually conducts the attack because he gets caught beforehand. The other movie was about a catholic priest who sexually assaults young boys in his church group. Most striking about this movie was the protection of other priests for him and how they all decide to keep it an internal thing. In the end both characters end up in prison and this comparison of two ways to use religion in a horrible way shows that it isn´t the religion that is dangerous but the people and how they use it.

Grace Mageka ha detto...

Muslim transnational identity in Europe cannot be understood unless it is first contextualized and given specificity within the broad range of discourses and practices that collectively constitute the contemporary field of transnational Islam.The fact is that the Europe's Muslim population was created by the human mobility, labour migration and other forms of immigration by majorly the North Africans who emigrated to France, Turks sought employment in Germany and the Netherlands, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis who moved back and forth between South Asia and the UK.For many Muslims in Europe, Islam is indeed an important reference point for self-identity, but one whose strength and meaning are contingent on circumstance rather than fixed.The driving factors that have predominantly witnessed are from the economic and demographic, with religion figured less prominently.Muslims in Europe day in day out are seeking to make common cause across state boundaries often bring the baggage of their unique national experiences with them, making it difficult to unite around a shared sense of European Muslimness.
‘Muslims in Europe’ needs to be problematised and unpacked to ways in which the Muslim experience in Europe has varied considerably from country to country i.e how a muslim is treated in Italy is totally different how a muslim can be treated in Denmark. My experience with Islam friends is positive and when we interact i totally forget one is a muslim but we focus issues and try to find solutions or recommendations. Therefore the big Question we need to ask ourselves Who counts as a Muslim in Europe, and what is at stake in regarding European Muslims as ‘Muslims’?Rather than focus Muslim identity onto members of various communities, particularly immigrant communities whose histories connect at some point to Muslim majority countries of origin.

Giorgia Morucci ha detto...

I think that to speak about Islam, would be too vague. Islam comprehends a broad and infinite variety of shades, it cannot be either black or white. Islam is interpreted in completely different ways from place to place, and things that may apply to one population may not apply to another.
During the first year of Global Governance, we had a module on "introduction to West African Legal System" as part of the "Legal Traditions and Comparative Law" exam. this module was taught by a Nigerian Human Rights Lawyer, Hauwa Ibrahim. She explained us that in Nigeria the main law is the Shari'a Law (or Islamic Law). Hauwa Ibrahim has been awarded the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in 2005, because she helped (pro bono) people condemnded under the Islamic Sharia Law. Her most important case, was that of Amina Lawal, a Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for having committed adultery, according to the Sharia Law. Indeed, even though there is no prescription of stoning for adultery in the current version of the Quran, Islamic Sharia requires that adulterers be put to death, following Muhammad's predicament. This practice has so far executed an incredibly higher number of women compared to men, since the presumption is that women bear the burden of responsibility for sexual actions. Moreover, if a woman reports that the sexual action was nothing else than a rape, she can be easily convicted, if there is no evidence. The only way to prove that the action was a rape and not an adultery, under the Sharia Law, is to have 4 male witnesses who can confirm the victim's claim. Obviously, this is practically impossible, so it happens too often that women are executed for something that is not their fault. But this practice does not apply all over the Islamic world. Indeed, there are some countries that find this practice distasteful and do not apply it.
In May I took part in a youth exchange programme in Brussels, where we discussed about gender discrimination and multiple discrimination. Here, I found myself arguing with a Greek girl about the practice of stoning. She was convinced that this practice is fake, and that it is not true that in case of adultery women will be sentenced to death by stoning. From my side, I was putting forward my opinion, since I had the knowledge provided by professor Ibrahim. So basically she was saying that such practice does not exist, while I was arguing that it is absolutely true and that many women cannot save themselves.
The lesson that I learnt from this discussion is that we were both right and wrong. Indeed, the girl was wrong in saying that the practice is not true at all, but she was partly right because, in some countries this practice does not exist anymore or has never existed at all. For this precise reason I was also partly wrong, because I was not aware of the fact that stoning happens only in some places. I had given for granted the fact that, since I had some background knowledge on Shariah Law, that knowledge could apply everywhere, while actually professor Ibrahim had given us only the Nigerian perspective and interpretation of the Shariah Law.
Therefore, it is important never to generalize when it comes to Islam, but to religions in general, because every country is shaped by its population’s culture and habits and thus makes it difficult to trace a uniform and universal pattern of behaviors.

elettra schininà ha detto...

Honestly, I didn’t experienced some specific event to change my mind or my view of Islam. All that I know comes from different types of informations. It is normal, while browsing or in conferences or even in everyday life listening to event regarding Muslims.
What I think is that the article of Ruba Saliah, perfectly has explained what before I could only image (in a coarse way):
1.Muslim’s experience in the western world is engraved on, and moves across various socio-political and cultural identities.
2.Muslims of more frequently perceive the nation-state second-generation.
3.Discrimination. Every normal action of a Muslim is saw as intent of something.
I know the situation is this and right now I can’t change what happening but something will change. As is write in the article: The Italian Minister of Interior made this clear in an interview in the national newspaper La Repubblica (21 January 2003) when he launched a campaign for an agreement with `moderate Muslims', in order to isolate `extremists':
It is natural that the idea of the silent Islamic invasion creates anxiety also amongst many liberal souls and worries public opinion. I try to understand the Italian Islamic community in order to find within it valid interlocutors who could be representative and reliable. Certainly I do not want to leave it at the mercy of its several souls and I want instead to offer a national way to dialogue and recomposition.”

Badriyya Soltanli ha detto...

I was born in the society where the majority of the people is Muslim. I have seen myself as a non-religious girl, as we used to have the wave of atheists, deists, agnostics, pantheists. I was feeling more like a pantheist, rather than a Muslim. However recently I have started comprehending that I am a merely non-practicing Muslim (Shia), even if I am against of the existence of religions in the world. I see myself as a firm believer of Allah, and talking about Islam is quite hard as there are a lot of sides to mention. I am not very well-informed about the details, as I have not read Quran. However, the religion is being used in whatever way the governors want it to be conceived.
Despite all the negative attitudes being demonstrated, Islam brings peace, love. In some cases, while meeting people from other Islamic countries, there is a connection flamed from the first time, because we all share something in common. It is not just about utilizing the words, such as InshAllah, MashAllah. It is much further than this, the culture of sharing, values. Frankly saying, a few cultural traits that have turned out to be our people's mentality, and lifestyle does not satisfy me. I have mentioned in previous comments what I precisely give a hint on. Without going into the unpleasant side of Islam (at least for me), I would instead continue with an exceptional day for us.
Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, basically this started after what had happened to Ibrahim (Abraham). It is said that God has asked him in his dreams to sacrifice his son, as an act of obedience to God's command. Before Abraham sacrificed his son, God provided a male goat to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this, an animal is sacrificed and divided into three parts: one-third of the share is given to the poor and needy; another third is given to relatives, friends, and neighbors; and the remaining third is retained by the family. I am not sure if I feel delighted with the story, thinking how God would ask something like this, however; as a result, we have been left with a very human tradition of sharing. Every year, the ones who are capable of sacrificing (concerning money) practice it, and they do share the meat with neighbors, relatives, and people in need. Sacrificing sheep, cows, cattle is a very culturally experienced, not only during the Feast of Sacrifice. A few years ago, I had an incident, and my life was at risk. At that moment, my dad promised to sacrifice if everything could get better.
It may sound horrible for some vegans, or other animal lovers, but it is about the values that I appreciate very much.

gloria paronitti ha detto...

I want to start by saying that I do not have a deep knowledge about religions in general. Usually I am not interested in this subject, however nowadays Islam is a very often debated hot topic. The problem is that in order to give opinions we should first be sure that our sources of information are reliable. Instead people usually rely on the words of mouth, creating misunderstanding. This problem becomes bigger when this reality is transposed to a wider scale through the media, so when media themselves rely on unreliable sources. In fact media are able to give shape to reality, concretizing the concept of post-truth that we debated in class. Mr. Abdel Latif Chalikandi reported a data from a survey made by the CAIR in 2016: $206 million have been spent to propagate Islamophobia in USA. This data is astonishingly terrible. Truth now is what media projects, and this is really dangerous. One of the consequences is the spread of ignorance: Muslims are having great problems because westerners tend to associate their religion with all the horrible events occurring in the latest years. Instead, if you read something about the life of the proponents of the latest attacks, like I did once during a trip to Nice, you find out that they were not used to prey anymore or to respect the Ramadan. They were not professing anymore. And actually I am really sorry that I ended up to talk about terrorism, since Islam is something completely different and there are millions of related interesting facts to talk about. But as I said already, unluckily I do not know much about the subject. However, I am aware of one point: the core of Islam is represented by the Koran, but then different Islamic cultures have developed through the centuries, due to the adoption of cultural features of the place where they flourished. Westerners usually forget or do not know this aspects. In fact, I remember I once read an article saying that when North-African Muslim migrants arrived to USA and Europe, people judged them because they were used to practice female circumcision. They automatically thought it was a feature related to Islam, a practice developed after a message in the Koran. Actually this was a just a local North-African practice, adopted also by some Christians communities in there. A similar practice in not found in the Koran. Unfortunately people tend easily to end up to wrong conclusions, this was just an example, and this is one of the reasons why we still rely on prejudices.

Zikang Zhang ha detto...

In the beginning, I knew the religion “Islamic” that was because, in China, Hui Muslims are the majority group, which lesser but significant populations reside in the region of Northwestern. Also, since I was in the primary school, junior school or high school, there would be a few Muslim classmates. How I know they are Muslims because the beginning of every year we had to report whether we are Hui Muslims or not. If we are, we would get a different lunch than others without pork so I could get the point that they don’t eat pork. At the same time, in these years of living with these classmates, I did not think there was any difference between us. We talked together, we dined together and did the same things together and so on.
Most people in China are atheists, so in everyday life, we do not very focus on or discuss issues of "religion." However, in the news, we can still see the news on religious issues, but also understand the problems in the Middle East situation. From my point of view, sometimes the media can literally deliver something to people, causing people panic. Media have to use hotspots to gain attention, and Explosive news received more attention than social news, so the image of the entire religion is getting worse and worse with the media's "over-representation".
I believe that Muslims are not all "bad guys". At the same time, while I acknowledge that there is a part of national radicalism. But we can not deny the entire religion because of only a part of "radicalism." This is not correct. During my time in Rome, I could see some Muslims open restaurants, snack bars on the street. They would write "halal" on the shop door, and when you entered, I would be taken by their Passionate infection, you will be very relaxed and chat with them and can enjoy a very happy meal. The food is also very delicious. I often go to their bar to eat and chat with them. Like once, I met at the subway station with the clerk in the Muslim snack bar I loved. We greeted each other, which made me happy feeling like we became acquaintances.

Nicolas Dietrich ha detto...

Being from the French part of Switzerland, I am heavily influenced by the French medias. Since the first terrorist attacks happened in France, the place of Islam in the society is a matter of debate and daily evocated in the media. A lot of (extreme) right-wing politicians use Islam for political purposes. In fact, by stressing the supposed dangerousness that represents Muslims for the collectivity, they take the risk of dividing instead of gathering people. However, it is to recall that more than 7.5% of the population in France share this religion and this large amount shows also the importance of this issue.

A recent event that illustrates well this issue was the situation last summer when some French politicians aimed to ban the so-called “burkini” in both swimming pools and public beaches. A burkini is a swimsuit used by some Muslim women that covers almost entirely their bodies in order to be in compliance with their values (their own interpretation of the Islamic precepts). I am not here to judge if the fact of wearing such a cloth is really asked by the Koran. I have not studied the Koran and I am unable to answer these questions. The fact is that some women decided to wear burkinis and, thus, this choice should be regarded. The reasons explaining the willingness to ban them are numerous and various. First of all, the hygienic aspect has been evocated, notably in some regions in Switzerland and France. On this point I can share this opinion because too long swimsuits have been also banned for the same reason in the swimming pools. Then, and here it becomes interesting, the argument of having an “appropriate” dress to swim in the sea was established in form of a political decree in Marseille. This had no other purpose than basically ban the burkini from the public beaches. This illustrates thus well the absurdity around this issue. By banning the burkini without giving a proper reason (I personally think that the term “appropriate” is not a good one), politicians tend to marginalize the Muslims. Indeed, even if burkinis are worn by a tiny minority of them and the ban does not directly affect every member, such a ban creates a division within the society and may reveal dangerous for the social cohesion. It is thus an obligation for the political leaders in France, but more generally in the whole Europe, to include Muslims in the society and not continue to promote laws against them because Islam is and will be part of the Western nations.

Francesca Scanavini ha detto...

Unfortunately, I may say, I have never experienced a serious and direct contact with the Islamic religion. As a young student living in Rome, capital of a state that is home of the 4th largest Muslim population in Europe, the fact itself that I cannot describe an episode related to Islam, says a lot about the reality of this religion in my city. Although, after having read the article by Salih Ruba “ The Backward and the New: National, Transnational and Post- National Islam in Europe” I have gained a clearer picture of the overall phenomenon. I believe that the absence of Islamic public sphere participation and expression in Rome is strictly related with the failure of Muslims integration in the city. But what are the reasons of this unsuccessful coexistence? The causes stand on both sides: on the Italian political leaders and on the Muslims national and transnational communities. As Said, a young student and active Muslim, says in his interview reported in the article, there is a spread backwardness in the conception of Islamic religion among Muslims themselves which see an opposition between their political involvement in the national public life and their religion. While Said expresses that “ the political, social and civil engagement with the society in Europe is the only path that can open up the possibility for a truly plural society”. Consequentially, another important reason which is slowing down the Muslims process of integration is their internal disagreement on the social- political role of Islam in a non- Islamic country. These conflicts, are, of course, hampering the achievement of the Intesa agreement with the Italian State that will enhance a formal recognition of Islamic religion in the country, representing, obviously, an important step towards integration. On the other hand, Italian and European political entities and culture is increasingly diffusing an idea of Islam that is anti-modern and secular and too different to be integrated, thus strengthening a dichotomous between European versus Islamic. A further fundamental factor, that Abdel Latif Chalikandi highlighted in his lecture, is the responsibility of media in the diffusion of images and sources of representations that hugely shape and construct social opinion over complex realities and that, in this case, are building a fake reality about islamic religion. After having tried to depict a rough general picture of the situation, to conclude, I would like to say that as all the current social phenomena that are occurring in this rapidly changing era, there is the need to approach them in a clever and sensible way, having in mind the shared sides’ ambitions and goals. For what concerns the case of Islamic integration in Italy and in Europe, hard work and commitment is needed from both sides by, as suggested by Zein Omar at the Femyso conference in Budapest in 2002, “ understanding each other better through an open dialogue between religions and cultures of the worlds”.

Melani Perera ha detto...

Before talking about experience with the Islam I would like to share with you how is the Islam in Sri Lanka. Islam had a good place in Sri Lanka. Because, when we talking about the Sri Lankan flag, the green band on the Sri Lankan flag represents Islam and the Moorish ethnic group and Islam is the third largest religion in Sri Lanka. About 9.7% of Sri Lankan population practices Islam. Talking about history of Islam in Sri Lanka, with the arrival of Arab traders in the 7th century, Islam began to flourish in Sri Lanka. By the 8th century Arab traders had controlled much of the trade on the Indian ocean, including that of Sri Lanka. Many of them settled down on the Island in large numbers, encouraging the spread of Islam.

When the Portuguese arrived during the 16th century, many of their descendants now called the Sri Lankan Moors were mainly traders and merchants with spice trading networks spanning to the Middle East. Because of the Portuguese colonists attacked, the Sri Lankan Moor settlements, many defeated Moors refugees escaped from the persecution to the interior in central Sri Lanka.
During 18th and 19th centuries, Javanese and Malaysian Muslims bought over by the Dutch and British rulers contributed to the growing Muslim population in Sri Lanka. Their descendants, now the Sri Lankan Malays, adapted several Sri Lankan Moor Islamic traditions while also contributing their unique culture Islamic practices to other Muslim groups on the Island.
The arrival of Muslims from India during the 19th and 20th countries has also contributed to the growth of Islamic in Sri Lanka. However, although most Muslims on the island still adhere to the traditional practices of Sunni Islam and Fassiyatush Shadhiliyya Sufi order.

In modern days, Muslims in Sri Lanka are handled by the Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Department, which was established in the 1980s to prevent the continual isolation of the Muslim community from the rest of Sri Lanka. Muslims of Sri Lanka, mostly from the Moor and Malay ethnic communities on the island with smaller numbers of converts from other ethnicities.
There are 749 Muslim schools in Sri Lanka, 205 madrasas which teach Islamic education and an Islamic university in Beruwala (Jamiya Naleemiya). Al Iman school in Colombo was the first Islamic school of its kind, teaching an integrated Islamic curriculum since 2008.

Talking about the current situation, in Sri Lanka, it is very sad to tell because, there are many religious problems in Sri Lanka between the Buddhist people and Muslims. They fight because of the Religious and ethnic issues. But, personally I am totally against to this kind of thoughts. I have many Muslim friends in Sri Lanka and we are work together very friendly and peace. When we are together we do not feel any differences between us as human beings. We have same feelings, we all are breath same way etc. So, it is good to spend our time helping each other and sharing our happiness and sadness with each other.

So, I think we all are humans but, we all have our personal and different thoughts. But, fighting with others because of the ethnic or religious reasons, it is foolish thing.

Silvia Marcelli ha detto...

Islam is one of the issues concerning the world at the moment. Unfortunately, I do not have a personal or direct experience with such matter, so the comment that I am going to make is based on what I read, seen and in a way studied throughout these years. What is clear is that right now we are experiencing a growth of the phenomenon called Islamophobia. Collocating this latter in the framework of Appadurai's landscapes, it is a clear example of ideoscape, implemented by the circulation of images, videos, and the news made by the media (mediascape). Islamophobia is mainly linked to the fear that the recent terroristic attacks have brought. Fear is such a powerful weapon, probably the most incisive to be used in a conflict. Such weapon right now has been used by the media in order to create a system of hate and anger toward the ISIS'attacks that somehow have been manipulated and transformed into fear and distrust toward Muslim people themselves. When something so catastrophic, such as the Bataclan events, happens people have the need to identify an enemy to reflect their anger and pain in (we have seen it already happening after the 9/11.) This growing pain and fear make people easily subjected to media's sources of representation, where the ISIS'founding system of credence and ways of action have been wrongly made look as the whole Islamic religious beliefs. Despite the fact that we keep saying that ISIS does not represent the Muslim religion and that making this mistake would mean to let them win, the fear that the terrorist attacks since 9/11 have brought has significantly affected the western world. Taking an example, about 2 years ago after the Nice terrorist attack, the French government had imposed a ban on wearing the typically Muslim outfit on the beach. Few days after the issuing of the ban, some newspaper reported images of a police officer forcing a Muslim woman to take away her burqa because forbidden. This example embodies perfectly how Islamophobia can easily grow in our society, despite every good purpose that we may have precedently made about the distinction between those causing meaningless violence and the Islamic religion itself. And fear is the means through which we enable media to manipulate the truth. If we think about it, this growing distrust arising in the western world is paradoxical, because if we look at the statistics Islam is the second most diffused religion in the western area, which means that our neighbors, acquired relatives or friends could be Muslims. Then does it mean that those people are "one of them"? Taking professor Chalikandi's wife as an example: she is a typical Italian citizen, born and raised in Rome who believes in the same credence of the Islamic religion. She is thus a Muslim, but this does not take away the fact she is Italian/Roman, she just believes in something in which we may do not. Just like football team fans who may like different teams but still look at each other as equals. If we try to make this distinction clear, also to ourselves, we may give an input to the slow down of this meaningless Islamophobia phenomenon.

Riccardo Poggioli ha detto...

“Muslim” which are the first words that immediately come in your mind? It could be an interesting question to start a critique thinking about this issue. Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah) and that Muhammad is a messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion and the fastest-growing major religion in the world, with over 1.8 billion followers or 24.1% of the global population, known as Muslims. My personal experience with Islam it started at high school when my professor of religion used to give us an overview of this religion since he wanted to give more details to the class about this religion which is not well know from the majority of people. Thanks to these “different” lectures that we had I could learn a lot of features about Islam that I ignored or interpreted in the wrong way. With the passing of time, studying abroad during the summer I had the opportunity to know some Muslims guys, who gave me the chance to acquire more consciousness about this religion. Because I had a bad way of considering Islamic people since through western social media I got a wrong description of the Muslims, because I was too lazy to gather and find different sources of information besides the common ones, it was like I was crushed by a lot of information, and I wasn’t able to handle with them, I had a passive attitude toward this topic. With my growth I decided to change my behavior in order to be “active” starting to look for the new regarding Islam on my own. Lately thanks to the multicultural environment in which I am at university I started to became really aware of the Islamic religion talking with my classmates. We all agree that in our western society we have the tendency to wrongly associate the word Terrorist with the word Islam, which is a very big mistake since the so-called terrorist which can be considered as the extremists do not represent the whole set of the Islamic people. Terrorists exploited and misinterpret the Quran(Koran) in order to justify their actions. Moreover what I found quite interesting was the article of Ruba Salih entitled The Backward and the New:” National, Transnational and Post-National Islam in Europe" in which the author tried to describe his view about the role of Islam within the European frame .

Riccardo Poggioli ha detto...


In the article she stated, that essentialist and self-defensive attitudes towards Islam in the West, even if is understandable within the political context of that days, may lead and have indeed often led, to a kind of hands-off approach, favored by an extreme cultural relativism which ignores universal values as not valid for the Middle East and for Muslim communities in the West. In this structure a very important role is played by the FEYMSO, the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations, established in 1996, which can be also be described as “practical implementation of something like a European Islam”, a kind of point of reference for all the Muslims in the European continent. In the article written in 2004 there is explained the tendency a to envisage world in Manichean terms, formed by a composition made up of separate and independent civilizations, after the events of 9/11, in my opinion with the some differences it’s possible to make a comparison with the wave of terroristic attack which hit Europe in the last two years. After the tragic events of these two years there was a massive media campaign of harsh hate against the Muslims as a whole, like if the complete Muslims population was responsible for the actions of a group of extremists. What I found very interesting in the article is the perception of the mosque, that is to say a safe place where children can be socialized free from the risks of assimilation into the dominant culture. My conclusion is that we to pay more attention on what we define or mark as different from us, it is as if since we are not completely ready to live together with people who have different religion or culture from
ours, but different from which perspective, we should put ourselves in each other shoes in order to have a better understanding.
In addition to what I said I believe that the key for a better coexistence with Islam is to “open our mind” and to go out of our comfort zone, to break the boundaries that the society has imposed to us, even if it could seem as something too philosophical and theoretical, it would be a great starting point in order to begin.

martina forbicini ha detto...

During the second half of the last year of Elementary School, a new Muslim girl joined my class: she had just moved from Egypt, together with her parents and two youngest brothers. The teacher decided that she should have sat next to me, so we began to live in close contact: that was the first time I got to know Islam, a religion that was different from the one I used to experience everyday – Catholicism. I remember I was very curious about diverse elements of her cult: the fact that she used to wear the hijab, for example, made me wonder if it was her own choice or if it was a kind of constrain imposed by her family since in my ingenuity I could not understand which reason could have led her to cover her hair. Also, when I first heard about Ramadan, I was quite doubtful about the necessity of fasting as a way of commemorating a religious belief. Nevertheless, acknowledging certain traditions so distant from mine at that age helped me out to broaden my horizons since childhood: nowadays, unfortunately, I get indirect information through the net and television channels which are not an unbiased source as it was my friend back in the primary school. In fact, I do share the idea that Abdel Latif Chalikandi has discussed in class: grasping the difference between objective and subjective is quite difficult, especially when we talk about culture and religion, to the point we get very much influenced by what the media propose to us and end up considering it as the Truth. As it is argued also in the article by Ruba Salih, Muslims are subject of increasing Islamophobia and racism in Europe and in the West more generally: these issues derive from a miscommunication and weak form of mutual understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. The transnational presence of Muslim identities is considered as a challenge to the presumed secular and universal values of the liberal Nation-State: the extreme cultural relativism seems to exclude the validity of the before-mentioned universal values for Middle East and Muslim communities in the West. The news keeps portraying the divergence between a modern society where women enjoy freedom and emancipation and a more archaic one where individuals are depicted stereotypically not only as anti-modernist, anti-feminist but also as terrorists, warriors or conquerors. Nonetheless, the process of adaptation that Islam is undergoing in Europe is resulting in the so called “European Islam” thanks to the contribution of the youngs: these second-generation Muslims decide to abandon the national as the main arena where to operate, since they don’t want to be restricted to a “minority standpoint” but feel the need of contributing in Europe, in order not to be addressed anymore as the “Other” but as an essential part of the society. “A European Muslim rather than simply a Muslim in Europe”: that's the core of this new post- national Islam.
To conclude, I believe that only a continuous dialogue between one culture and the other can guarantee an exchange of perspectives which will ultimately lead to a peaceful coexistence.

Chiara Muzi ha detto...

I can’t really recall an experience of mine with Islam, maybe because I grew up in a very cultural homogeneous environment and I’ve really never had the chance to know too well someone being a practicing Muslim to dialogue about religion. My perception of Islam is therefore greatly influenced by media coverage, by “second hand” voices and opinions that I try to constantly filtrate through good sense and critical thinking, but still I recognize it could be a little biased. What I found really interesting and absolutely true in Salih’s article is the ongoing process of nation-states in crystallising Muslims as a permanent and essential “others”, process that creates a profound conflict in the society. This Manichean opposition tends to leave in a sort of “limbo” those who fail to identify with one of the two categories: it is the example of the so-called Muslims of “second generation” that feel both the belonging to national identity and to the religious identity, but being considered by the two factions as creatures “in between”. It is a situation that the French writer Magyd Cherfi describes well in his books and songs: he highlights how in the banlieu going to school or using correctly the verbs in a sentence was a reason for being isolated by the kids of his age. It was felt how a treason indeed to embrace the lifestyle of the “white French”. On the other hand, he was not regarded as true French from the other side either, condition that of course led him to question his identity. I believe that a proper integration should work like a sort of Hegelian “Aufhebung”: we have at the same time to “take away” our biases, starting from a deep understanding of the differences of different Muslims group, and to “conserve” or maybe to acquire the notion of individuals as complex and diverse beings constantly looking for an identity. I believe that only without the presumption of rigid classification we could really start a dialogue for a better and natural integration.

Sara di fabio ha detto...

In my life I had more that one experience with Islam mostly related to people I have met both in Italy and abroad. The two I remember the most, which are also opposite in many aspects, regard Muslims of second generation. Indeed, one of these two persons seemed to be very much against its (I am going to use ‘its’ because I don’t want to give any clue about who these persons are) origin, avoiding any possible association with its parents’ country. After having reading the article by Ruba Salih, I would say that this person did not identify itself with the Islamic religion. In some sense, it seems like this person wants a clear-cut which, as Salih said in the article, involves boundaries. On the other end, the other person is much more attached to its origins, not refusing its religion and trying to embrace it in the Italian environment. This person, I would say that is much closer to Said, in the sense that they both recognise to have a multiple identity, Italian and Muslim at the same time. Moreover, this second person is aware of the importance of its difference, thus the mosque became the safe, social environment where there is no risk of assimilation into the dominant culture. This does not mean a rejection or refusal for integration into the Italian culture, on the other hand, for me it expresses the willingness to escape from the ‘Muslim minority trap’.
I did not have too much confidence with the first person to ask the reason behind its attitude, but I think that past experiences may led to this refusal. As Salih said in the article, the fear of not being recognised and accepted within Italian society can led you to be reluctant and people end up sacrificing their certainties. However, I would say that I appreciate most the attitude of the second person, because for me roots and origins are an important part in shaping who you are. For instance, the article was saying that Islam is a natural and open religion which intimately suggests what is correct, indeed, someone may see religion as one of the pillars of his/her life.

Sonia Matera ha detto...

First of all, I would like to express a thought about the lecture given by Abdel Latif Chalikandi. During his speech, he talked about Islamophobia and the issue of mutual understanding between Muslims and non Muslims. It remembered me the book by Hannah Arendt: “The Banality of Evil”. I think there is a big connection between the two phenomena. All of us have witnessed or suffered some form of evil in our lives caused by other people. We want to know, on reflection, what caused the person to commit this evil. Most of the times, there is not a specific reason. People are Islamophobic without really knowing the reason why, they are heavily influenced by the social media and a distorted image of Islam. Here, it comes our responsibility to be more aware of the world we live in and eradicate the wrong conceptions which can be created by different sources of representations. A research by the University of Washington reports: “Arendt helps us to understand the weight of collective responsibility: if evil is banal, then we all have a responsibility to eradicate it in our everyday lives. We can’t simply point the finger at others.”
Now, thinking about an experience with Islam, I immediately thought about the great work done by our Law Professor Hauwa Hibrahim. She devoted her life to eradicate the distortions in the Sharia interpretation and, I must add, very successfully! She is the living example that one can fight “wrong ideologies” using their same tools.
To conclude, we should question more some of the main instruments we use to acquire information and have a critical approach to reality.

Iza D ha detto...

For what concerns Islamic religion, I have never been in contact with moslim people, at least not in a very relevant way. It is, though, a very fascinating topic and I have read many books on it, mostly written by people having direct experience of islam. As an agnostic person, my view is that religion (any kind of religion) is something that can really shape human life, culture and society, both in a positive and negative way. I think that in the way it has been used and strumentalized since the beginning for the pure sake of power, the influence that religion has is mostly negative (see all the wars in which religion - I say it again, any kind of religion - has been used as a pretext). It has always been used to put limitations to human beings, with the excuse of moral values. On the other hand, I think that everybody in the world is and should be free to have his/her own belief without being descriminated for this reason. I think that everybody should be free to be whatever they want and do whatever they want, unless they do not harm anybody. Having said this and having read the article I can say that what Muslim people are incourring now in the western world is detrimental for any possible form of dialogue. The heavy wave of racism and islamophobia the western world is passing through, the way media is biased and the way it influence people is a very negative and destructive attitude. On the other hand, Muslim people, especially those of second generation (but not only) living in western Countries should be as much as possible involved in spreading information and incouraging the dialogue, as for example the FEMSO quoted by the article. I think that there is a huge problem of communication between the western societies and islamic communities but I think that this happens, partly for political reasons and it is useful to certain political views in order to create ignorance and chaos. The most common errors that western media tend to do are: first, to consider muslims as an only, big and homogeneous community, while we all know that there are subgroups within islam (mostly sunny and shias with other subgroups and minorities) that can have also very different interpretations of faith, customs and ways of living and also with different attitudes towards western modern societies. Second: a massive spread of the idea that all muslims are terrorist, belligerent with the inttention to destroy western cultures imposing their religion and way of living. Moreover, many refugees and migrants in general, are very much against radicalized groups, not considering them "true muslims". It is also true that radicalization represents a real threat, not only for people of the first but also for those of second generation, especially in condition of discrimination and marginalization.

Alend Hawar ha detto...

being a Muslim and coming from a Muslim country i think what i am going to say will not be something you will hear everyday, lets start with the community, our community doesn't have the freedom of people to chose a lot of things in their lives, they cant change anything, they are born Muslims and MUST stay Muslims, Islam doesn't say that but over time communities made up the a lot of things and forbidden a lot of things and generation by generation they became something as Islam said so, i know a lot of people in Muslim countries that they don't believe in a lot of things they are doing - things according to Islam - but at the end they kind of have to do because even they have the prove that Islam doesn't say so they have to stick to them because your whole community says so, and if you don't do so you are going to be a very strange not loved person in your community.
even taking it to another perspective that you another group of people that they believe in Islam in a different way, well that is not allowed in a way, and if you ask who are those people who believe in Islam in a different way, well from what i saw n what i see those people are mostly the young generation who are open minded and reading a lot of books and actually gave a lot of their time to do their researcher and not have the doubt of what they are doing in their daily life and they get to the point that wont believe in some of Islamic rules, eventually this leads them to live a two personality life , that in front of their communities they do what community wants to see them do but deep inside they don't believe in that.
from all of that am not saying that Islam is bad but also i cant say it is perfect in all ways, yes it is the religion of peace and religion of amazing things for human being but you have the history of it and if you go deep down the history i cant say it is perfect but the "community" says it is perfect. and that also same as i said before that because of communities are doing things what they were told to do from their previous generation.
i respect Islam but i am also from those people that i believe it in a different way

alice occhilupo ha detto...

Last year I took a course of Arabic Language, it was way harder than what I thought, but apart from that, it was curious to see how many common expressions, used in the Arabic language, refer to peace and to invocation of God’s blessing. The teacher of the course was from Morocco and she was super-sweet to people even if she was mad for the fact that people would associate her with terrorism. I remember her telling us: “we do not like those terrorists as well, they do not truly believe in what I believe”. Also, I discovered how much is important for a woman to wear Hijab, is not a male imposition, at the contrary are the mothers who often impose to their girls to wear it. Another approach with Islam culture l had it when I was in Indonesia, teaching English. One of the student of mine, became my friend, and she was Muslim. Once, I saw her really sad after lesson, so I went and talked to her, and she confessed me, that she was sad because her mother, wouldn’t give her the possibility to move away from home and have a decent life, she was 21 and she was forced by her mother to stay home and cook basically she told me the only moment that she could hang out was when coming to English class. Moreover, she told me that her mom would torture her, she told me a story, once she was dancing in the backyard (she is a really good dancer) and her mother told her to get back in, started cutting her with a blade and rubbing chilly on the wounds, I have seen the scars. I thought that her mother was doing this because of religious belief but actually I asked her, and she said: “no, she is just crazy”. Sometimes we just blame religion but actually the fault doesn’t lie in the religious concepts itself, but on the meaning that a single individual gives to a specific belief, and how s/he interprets it and use it. However, after this talk with her I had to go in the water to babysit little kids and I asked her to come with me, she came but she only soaked her feet in the water, she told me my mom doesn’t want to swim, I said okay we can just stay here then, and after a while I went to the bathroom and when I went back I didn’t see her anymore, but actually I did not recognize her, because she took off her Hijab and she was swimming in the water screaming “Miss Alice, I am hereee” while smiling. OMG I wanted to cry from happiness, I run towards her and I just got in the water with my clothes on, I couldn’t waste time taking them off, I wanted to live that moment, we swam all together and we helped the little kids surfing small waves and it was just one of the happiest memory I have from my time spent in Indonesia.
For what concern the class and the intervention of our special guest, Abdel Latif really made me reflect, I have never associated all Muslims to terrorist of course but maybe often some of their negative behaviors to it. He gave me a book entitled: Le nozioni di “pace” e “pluralismo” nell’Islam. I just read the first few pages, but it is really interesting, basically talks about 5/6 concepts that are based on peaceful thoughts of the Islam. It starts by saying that in every religion there are peaceful concepts. An interesting fact is that by analyzing the etymology of the word Islam we can learn that comes from slam, slim and salamah which mean security and pacification. I learned the concept of Jihad which means pacific self-discipline, well I think that terrorists are part of those individuals who are just not ready or able to “auto-disciplinarsi” in a pacific way, or they simply do not want to.

ALICE97 ha detto...

To be sincere I feel particularly agnostic about this topic. Moreover, I consider it a really delicate and hot topic, so I would prefer to do only general considerations about it.
A recent study has stated that about 80% of the media coverage about Islam and Muslim portrays them in a negative way. If you ask to an average Italian to talk about Muslims like a tumor in the society, ready to destroy us, or if not that, for sure you will get an answer like “I respect freedom of religion, but Islam has definitely something wrong, something violent, that relates to oppression, control and intolerance”.
I do not think that Islam is just an oppressive religion like a vast majority would think, in which women do not get to decide if being believer or not but are just forced to be so. I have met girls of my age coming from Muslim countries who just decided to wear the hijab without anyone influencing them. I think it is not always a mere passive acceptance of the religion.
In the world of mass media and rampant disinformation it is hard to deconstruct all of these stories that we hear. And sometimes instead of individualize them, isolate them, we tend to paint a group of people with a broad brush, up to the point when we don’t even need to know other people’ stories, realities, because we already gave it to them.
We end up caging masses of people under a name that says “dangerous”, even if they are nowhere near. That is why a group such as Isis cannot be casted as the representatives of a religion that represents 1.6 million people and generalization and misinformation are the main couses of this huge prejudice.

Sara Marcucci ha detto...
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Sara Marcucci ha detto...

I don't have any Muslim relative, I'm not a Muslim myself, I haven't read the Quran. Luckily, though, I am educated. I read, I learn, I analyze. This often allows me to use what I see and what I read to create my own opinion on things.
However, having a strong opinion on Islam is probably one of the hardest thing.
The dynamics shaping the Islamic issue are not black and white. Things are made of infinite shades of different colors.
What I appreciated the most of Salih's article is that she takes those shades into account. It is not one of those articles that easily track the sharp line between the "good" and the "bad", and where either Europeans are racists or Muslims are terrorists.
Things are not so easy. There's no good or bad.
Again, I don't have any relevant personal experience with Islam, and I think that taking a conscious position on the topic requires a deep and strong knowledge of the topic, which I don't have; what I'm about to write is simply my overall opinion on what I have seen and read.
I think that the issue regarding the inclusion of Muslims in the European society is a vicious circle; a vicious circle made both of Western prejudices and of the Muslims' lack of adaptability.
The responsibility belongs to both parts. It's the classic chicken-and-egg dilemma, whose resolution doesn't really matter though; the point is not who started the circle. The point is how to break it.
I think the answer lies in the education. Education is what destroys bias and prejudices. We all need to be educated in order to have a dialogue, which is what we need to reconcile and break the circle.
Salih writes about the difference between being a Muslim in Europe and being a European Muslim; There is indeed a great difference.
Including the European Muslims in our society is possible.
What is not possible, instead, is including the "Muslims in Europe", in the European society.
And it is not possible for the "Muslims in Europe" to adapt to a society that doesn't include them, either.
See? Vicious circle.

Said is a perfect example of European Muslim:
"Being a European Muslim, rather than a Muslim in Europe, demands a higher level of negotiation".
"I try to compromise my identity".
These are just a few quotes that perfectly describe what I mean when I say that adaptation strongly depends on the will do adapt. People are not going to include you, if they feel you don't really want to be included.
The conservative view according to which Muslims can’t merge their religious beliefs with the European society, is outdated. It doesn’t consider the changes that the world is experiencing, and that Said irrefutably embodies: "Islam is a `natural' and `open' religion which intimately suggests to the individual what is correct: if you feel like doing something, it means that Islam allows you to do so.".
Nowadays inclusion is not only possible but also necessary, and I believe it will inevitably happen, sooner or later.

Uroš Ilić ha detto...

My high school years were spent in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is a very multicultural society in which over 70 nationalities are represented. Most of these nationalities have an Islamic background. In order to analyze my experience, I must first separate the original Islamic idea from what I myself have seen. Islam is inherently the religion of peace (the word Islam itself means peace). I have never experienced a greater level of hospitality and acceptance then with the Arab culture. A few years back, while living in the UAE, an American friend of my mom who suffers from bulimia switched to Islam. When my mom asked her for the reasons behind her converting she responded that when she walks into a mosque (as opposed to a church) nobody judges her on her physical appearance. I found this notion very powerful. There is a good reason why Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Islam is not just a religious teaching, it is a way of life. What and what not to eat. How to dress. How to face challenges. How to give back to the world etc. Then again, for a lifestyle of peace, the Islamic world is full of conflict and to prescribe them all to western influence would simply be unjust. The conflicts between Sunni and Shia Muslims have been present as much as the catholic-protestant conflict in the Christian world. The neveri888i8i8i8888hhhhhhhhyyyyhending animosity and conflict between Iran and the Arab states is another example. I notice that the strong desire, or idea rather, for peace and its interpretation bring forward conflict. However, in many cases Islam did not seem to evolve much with the times. The control of an entire lifestyle was used for various purposes in history and engraved certain parts of Islam deep into the minds of the believers. One perfect example would be the Charlie Hebdo incident. Not because Charlie Hebdo is tasteful in any way. They could have just untastefully drawn Jesus but the point is, Jesus wouldn’t get much of a reaction. The image of the Prophet being disrespected and it’s following reaction are too severe. Mind that I speak of the general population there are many exceptions to the rule.

Rebecca Biraschi ha detto...

The encounter with Abdel Latif Halikandi has been vary stimulating to me, and made clearer a phenomenon that nowadays is affecting relationships, visions and encounters between different cultures.
Halikandi is an Indian Muslim, coming from Kerala, the Indian state with the higher level of alphabetization. He told us about his experience, together with his wife, in trying to encourage debate about Islam, to promote an objective knowledge of what Islam is, rather than the subjective idea that is spreading in the western part of the world. Indeed, people, when dealing with what Islam is, and what it does, tend to perceive these information, events, creeds, on the basis of emotions and sensations, without making an analysis on the concrete truthfulness of the reality. This is a widespread attitude in our society, which can be perfectly described by the term post-truth, according to which the reality is less important in shaping the public opinion than the emotions and the personal convictions.
This tendency towards post-truth is the cause of the so-called “islamophobia”, the fear, hatred, or prejudice against, the Islamic religion or Muslims, seen especially as source of terrorism. In this context mediascape is a source of representation of an ideoscape that provides the wrong projection of the truth. This phenomenon is bringing our society to a point in which communication between cultures is disappearing. People tend to exclude what is Other than their community, their cultures and their beliefs, rejecting an external communication, admitting only an internal communication between similar. That is why islamophobia affects all of us, and not only believers since it is shaping the public society.
It is of inspiration to me, the battle that Halikandi and Sabrina Lei, are carrying on against the ignorance and the prejudice of people about Islam.
At University, I had the fortune to know a person as Hauwa Ibrahim. She is a Nigerian human right lawyer, winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in 2005. Known for her activity in defending people condemned under the Islamic Sharia laws, she committed herself, her life and work, in trying to give people the real messages that lie behind the Sharia and behind Islam, against misinterpretations, prejudices and ignorance.

Iva Budakova ha detto...

Before reading the article of Ruba Salih I have never thought in a deeper way, how Islam is considered in Bulgaria. I think is because we never had conflicts regarding their nationalities or any fear of stress of their actions. They have small organizations in which accepting the way of living in Bulgaria is perfectly fine with their understandings.

According the article, Europe is a place which involves a high level of risks and compromises but Said puts a different look and shows Muslims a different way in which they can accept and cooperate with Europe. Obviously, most of the conflicts arrive over divergent ways of conceiving oneself as Muslims in a non-Muslim place, pitting the question “Are Muslims too different to be accepted in Europe?
Said perceives himself as the “Other”. He talks about the importance of the involvement in the local publish sphere that should complement the active participation. His idea and what he asserts is really the key of acceptance of the Muslim people. The position that he defends is showing that respecting “the difference” is not the only option but also identifying the universal values. Said also reveals a very dangerous trend with the story of the British-Pakistani girl who considers herself as a just Muslim, spending her time on the Internet, writing reports about situations in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

As I said before I don’t really have a specific example because I haven’t seen that confrontation in Bulgaria, for which I’m really happy about but I also don’t have that much communication with Muslim people, apart from some of my classmates. My opinion on this topic is quick understandable but for some people in Bulgaria I can say that it is negative. Nowadays the young generation is set sceptically but as Said says thought political and social participation, with acceptance of universal values, living as a European Muslim will be much easier and it will give them the respect of Europe which they considered as needed.

Lavinia D'achille ha detto...

The lecture held by halikandi was really interesting and aroused my curiosity towards a topic which is quite debated nowadays,that is the role of Islam in the western landscape and the consequent spreading of a phenomenon called Islamophobia.
What is clear to me,especially thanks to what Haliakandi told us,is the fact that I found out that I can not have a strong opinion about the real meaning of Islam because being born and raised in Rome I did not already had the chance to get closer and deeper thought this religion,a part from what I read or learnt at schools.
But Habdel latif halikandi and the article of Ruba Salih helped me to better understand something more about Islam.
Halikandi and his wife Salih are two indian muslim who want to share in the western world the right values of Islam through continuos debate,which in my opinion is something really needed in Western sphere nowadays.
What emerged in reading the article of Salih is something that ,in a way or another, is clear to everyone: lack of information is strictly link with Islamophobia. The spreading phenomenon is based on the association made by westerners between muslims and terroristic attacks happened in Europe recently. But going a little bit deeper in the matter, what emerged after various attacks is the fact that the majority of terrrorists,even if they considered themselves as muslims, did not interpreted the koran in the right way and most of them simply did not believe in anything. So Islam has nothing to do with terroristic attacks happened in western world.
Disinformation ,of course, is not completely attributable only to people but mostly to media who ,most of the time, spreads fake news or news that have the only goal of fuel anger and hate toward a different culture.

JINGYUAN LI ha detto...

Although I’m atheist. Talking about Islamism, I have to say that I’m more familiar with it than the other religions. Cause there are 25 million people in China practice Islam, among them most of them are “ Hui Muslims”, which is the second biggest nationality among 56 nationalities, just after Han nationality. Since I was in elementrary school, in every class i was in, there were always 4-5 Hui Muslims. And also the province where I was born, Henan, is one of the main provinces that have more Muslims. But all I know about it was its taboo and some mysterious custom. But then, my knowledge was enlarged by a visit to an Chinese ancient Mosque.
Till two years ago, I went to Xi’an city to go to university, there was a class of Tourism interpenetration of Chinese culture, we were given task to introduce the places of tourists in XI’an by interpretation to classmates. One task that I got was Xi’an Big Mosque, thus I visited it personally. That mosque was built in 788B.C.( Tang dynasty). The tour guide himself was a Muslim resident in that zone who told me Islam was peace and chasing for a harmony of human body, there was an old stone monument wrtting the disciplined cycle of human body. Every September, Muslim won't eat too much and eat fruits according specific timetable. In that ancient mosque, I found the peace of Islam.
However, recent years since the appear of ISIS, some extreme Muslim caught the attention of everyone, that made even the world who don’t know this religion well scared and frightened. They are exasperating with irrational conclusions on this religion by saying it is related with “terrorism” by the news press. In my opinion, specific facts need specific analysis. We cannot say it in an extreme way but all we can do is to know it by our own practice and rational thinking. Terrorism is existing, we really hate it but we can not say because this we refuse to know this religion itself, and we deny it all. That’s ignorant.

Md Ashique Ali ha detto...

Islam is always close to me. I born in a Indian Muslim family. What I do believe in Islam it's personal, here I'm going to express, what I think.
I always find distinguish bettween the common minset of public towards Islam and Muslims.
Islam is a peaceful religion, there is no doubt, the Quran and Hadid are the proof, thereally is need to study and understand them, the point is to identify the religion accordingly Muslims, that could be wrong,partially right or right, but true face is what is into those holy books,and it's not about only this case. Let's talk on Hadid, it's basically a unique quide books/notes on human lives, as example "food"; which types of the food, the quantity, the ways, and the all possible details we may find there on food, and if we see scientific aanalysis on those or to apply logics, we find the ways gives benefits to life and health. We may take other examples as well as. There are explanation about even little and tinny issues, the Islamic bank, it's really a safe and beneficial way on economy and lives, During the last world recession, many countries were safe with this banking policy. I'm just try to point out, the followers (Muslims) could have various faces (Shia, Sunni, and others) and their interpretations of Islam, that doesn't change the basic and face of the religion. Terrorism (ISSI, Al-Quida, Bokay Haram), it's always be connected to Islam, that's wrong, terrorists could be Muslims, that what we see but it's nothing to do with Islam, they use the name or follow wrong interpretation of It, or even it could be a political propaganda to target a specific religion, group or people, the support by western countries and ISIS, Osama Bin Laden, it's known he was built by IAS to support Taliban at the time of Afghanistan - Russia war, and after 9/11 it took another shape, even who did the attach, its still invisible, and now it has fitted in mind, Terrorism means Muslims and they follow the Islam, that's worse doing to get political or economical benefits, to target a group or a country is different but here's being targeted a religion, a huge one, that would find more or less in every countries of the world. The world can't erase memories of Hitler, the hate,the Jews, the wars, deaths, and disasters. How all jews could be culprit, how whole Germans could follow Hetler, because of a political policy in the name of religion or state. Untouchables and India, how that could be possible? Just because of political propaganda in the name of religion, and most important about "slavery" how it could be even imagined to target a human race just because of skin colour,it was of course political and economical propaganda, there are numerous examples around us and in history, in the conclusion, Muslims are human, they could be right or wrong, being targeted, could be target others but it doesn't change them or their religion in other forms.

Marianna Sabatini ha detto...

I do not have any relevant experience with Islam except that I had a classmate in primary school who was from Bangladesh and Muslim. I did not notice any difference from me or the other classmates except that he did not eat pork meat.
Nowadays we hear about Islam all the time since media has been reporting about terroristic attacks in the name of Allah. However my impression is that in the West world people do not know anything about this religion but they think they do simply because they watched the TV news and clearly this is not enough. Religions like Islam - and also Catholicism and Hebraism - are so wide that we can not expect to get to know them simply by knowing the background of a terrorist who has done an attack. We tend to be superficial and we usually do not go deep in researching information. Islam has many facets and in its principles we find love and peace, however - since its holy book is very ancient - there are also overcome principles that we would consider unacceptable in the modern society. We have this anachronistic concepts also in the Bible since it is a very old book as well, however the Pope is revolutionizing many old principles of Catholicism transforming them in modern terms. What I am afraid of is that Islam is not going through this modernization because its "leaders" are usually very conservative, so it is up to the single believer to try to reconcile Islam's principles with the modern world. Another big issue is that people do not know that often those who organize terroristic attacks do not even know the Koran, but have simply been brainwashed with distorted ideas of what Islam is in reality.
As the article says, there is a problem in Europe of cultural assimilation with Muslims and this is in part due to the image that media pictures of Islam. Of course the majority of Muslims has nothing to do with terrorism and lives a normal life in European cities.
The article mentions "Femyso" which is Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organization. I had never heard about it before but I think it is an interesting initiative because if there is someone who can change the current situation for Muslims in Europe that is the youth because they are the proof that it is possible to have "European Muslims" and not just "Muslims in Europe", as the article says.

elisa felici ha detto...

I have already talked about one of my very few "close" experiences with Islam. And as I previously said I say few not because of a lack of interest on my side, but because I have never really experienced the islamic dimension in first person. All of my encounters were passive, indirect not really or deeply lived. But for few that they were, least of all I experienced them.
During my last two years of high school I was studying in a french school here in Rome. And it was when I was there, during the times of Charlie Hebdo and other bleak events, that I found myself faced with the issue of the Islam/Occident controversial relation. And as dividing as this topic is, I found myself disorientated on what I thought and felt was the right thing.
Something that slightly used to bother me in school was the way french people presented and taught the principle of laicism in civic education. I am not against, not at all. I believe that from a political/neutrality point of view is The rational choice. But then socially speaking, when it comes to individuals sensibility and personal dimension, especially in a bipolar multicultural dimension such as France, a so to be defined “right choice” may turn out to be disruptive.
In class I felt somehow indoctrinated, and I feared/perceived I was receiving that knowledge in kind of a dogmatic way. It was the philosophy professor teaching us civic, and I really appreciated her intellectual attitudes and teaching approach. But when it came to the topic of “Laïcité” her openness was no more there, and what the principle imposed, since its practical implications in France are huge, was there to conceal all other interpretations.
Islam is the second-most widely professed religion in France. With an estimated total of 7.5 percent of the national population, France has the largest number of Muslims in Western Europe. And yet France is the place where the principle of Laïcité rules and any religious symbols, or generally any symbols, can’t be shown in the public dimension. And this of course may hurts the sensibility of many believers which may see their “freedom” to express their individuality denied. In a time like this the issue of “security” comes along. And this is exactly what the french government has been stressing since January 2015, letting a controversial discussion arise, from burkini to muslim misconception.
When in class I was struggling with these two contrasting realities: the one of the rational choice, the right impartial thing to do, and the real living dimension made of people, flesh, sensibilities in which the “sovereign good” find its application. Within the french dimension, Abdel Latif Chalikandi’s wife could never lightly live her religious credo, and this can be seen as much as a privation, as well as a violation. We had a muslim girl in class and she was very active during civic lesson since, of course, she felt primarily involved. She always had to take off her light veil covering her head before entering the school and I had never really known how to feel about that. An imposition? Was it her free choice? Also, entering a certain dimension you may be required to adapt, and there is no wrong in requiring so. Radical thinking may lie in both directions in the end, and what may be the consciously good, may also represent a loss for someone else.

Ilaria Miligi ha detto...

'The lecture by Abdel Latif Chalikandi had been truly inspiring for me. Nowadays, since the fear of terrorism is widely spread among Europeans especially, the society tends to associate so strongly Islamic people with terrorists. This is a connection completely done by the common sense, by the common thought made on the basis of a wrong association between a phenomenon and an entire population.
This is an other case in which the attitude of someone towards someone else is rooted in personal convictions and personal prejudices. This brings in a bitter world where isolation among people different for their culture substitutes the true and the good communication. The fact that media has an enormous power in shaping the image and the conceptions of people around Islam, and not only it, is having a great influence on the society. Of course being terrorists is different from being Muslims, the faith and the religion whenever they reach the extreme form, are something dangerous and extremely bad. Some years ago I was attending a conference where there was an islamic journalist which was writing articles about satiric cartoons on islamophobia in situations of everyday ( in the bars and public transports). The fact I had been thinking is that there are different faces of the same thing, Muslims are aware of that and try in every way to fight these prejudices with the purpose of being integrated in the society. Despite the fact that I am completely aware of the dangerous consequences related to a limited, wrong, distorted reality, I am even completely aware of the fact that extremism is a source of dangers and bad consequences too. In conclusion I hope that something in the society will change positively and that we will reach a better social situation based on interaction, communication and integration because nothing is more precious than cultural exchanges.

Rossella rao ha detto...

Unfortunately I wasn’t present in this class due to health issues, but having read the paper and listened to the lecture, I can share my view on Islam sharing an experience.
In Ethiopia, Islam is the second most popular religion professed among people, Orthodox being the first. In my view, in Ethiopia we can feel the strong Christian presence and there is a lot of reference to Ethiopia as “ the first Christian country”. Islam came after Christianity, and the acceptance of the religion was slow and peaceful. Nevertheless, in my experience, I have never felt tension among the two religions coexisting. In Ethiopia we can witness the two religions coexisting in our daily life. For example, we have Muslim and Christian supermarkets (due to the fact that both believes eat meat that has been blessed in their respective religion) there is an easy access to mosques and churches meaning that it’s not hard to find a mosque nor a church in your neighborhood and last but not least, in my experience I have never felt that there was a criticism towards the hijab, or Muslim dress code, while in the western world there is a huge debate ongoing about this issue (for example, the French banning full face veils from being worn in public, or the burkini etc.). The struggle of Muslim women around the world is not something we are unfamiliar with. While the hijab is making headlines in western countries and as a result is associated to the oppression of woman, not so much is said on Muslim women in Ethiopia. The only explanation I can give for this, is that I believe that religion is not thought in political terms. In my school, both religious festivities were respected and no issues rose when some of my friends wore the veil.
I believe, as the guest speaker mentioned, there is not truth in the world we live in, the media extorts facts so much that islamophobia is starting to be “institutionalized”. But I hope I gave an insight of my home country: where despite differences, as long as religion is not being driven by political influences, religions can coexist and integrate.

Giorgio Severi ha detto...

I grew up in an homogeneous environment where there was no melting pot and Islam in particular was barely present. Nonetheless I had some experiences with this religion thanks to travels and to some visits to the Mosque in Rome.
I went to many different countries where I had acquaintance with Islam but during this travels I had different experience not just a single one, indeed the culture and history changed from places to place although some common features.
Moreover me and my friends during Ramadan always go outside the Mosque to enjoy traditional Middle East dishes and that is even a possibility to meet many people from the Muslim community.
Without going deep in the religion and its rituals, my personal idea from this two kind of experiences, is that Islamic culture is not so far from ours, indeed the borders are really blurred.
On the countrary, as the article by Ruba Salih "The Backward and the New: National, Transnational and Post-National Islam in Europe" underlined, Muslim and in general Islam is seen by the European society as the "other", as a far and incompatible culture.
In this, the mass media played a huge role in spreading islamophobia. Especially after the terrorist attacks in the different countries of Europe, it was no more important an objective vision of reality but much more the post-truth, meaning that facts became less relevant than emotions, subjective opinions, fears and hatred.
In this context therefore are increasingly important the lectures like the ones of professor Chalikandi and his wife. The promotion of the dialogue and the confrontation with cultures, against ignorance and prejudice, is a key to solve the issue of mutual understanding.

matteo sarcinella ha detto...

When I was living in london, I had the chance to share my room in the hostel with a french girl called Sabine, from Paris to be precise, even her parents were French from generations, despite her european Heritage she was muslim, she decided by herself when she was 15 to embrace the islamic religion. Before I did not have so many "Islamic experience" and to be honest I never got so much interested in the topic, I had a classic Ideas of muslims with long beard coming from far away having a close mind whithout respecting woman but when I found myself in front of a 22 Parigine girls my stereotipe of islam just collapsed immediately and I don't know why but I was a bit more interested regarding Islam..
Sabine taught me a lot about islamic religion and one thing that still remains clear in my mind was that she suffered exclusion and racism by her europeans friends after she made the decision to become muslim. Even in her family she had hard times and had to face all the stereotypes created from the media that Abdel Latif Chalikand was mentioning.Sabine in my opinion belongs to a new wave of Muslims which are hybrid because their cultural Heritage is european but they decided to become Muslim, and I do believe they will play a key role in destroyng the stereotypes and creating links between the two blocks, especially because they experienced both the european culture and the islamic ones.

Arianna Patrizi ha detto...

Honestly, i don’t have any relevant experience with the Islamic reality to tell, since it never happened to me to have a close encounter with it, while unfortunately, i constantly have to deal with a strong and rooted feeling of Islamophobia in the society. Every time that Islam is superficially associated with terrorism, a further step towards a divided world shaped by fear and cultural distance is made.
“Usually the term phobia refers to the psychological fear of the human mind from something that poses a threat. But when a species starts using the term fear against a biological portion of itself, there is nothing more demeaning than this.” ( Abhijit Naskar, The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance).
We all recognize with a universal day the horrors of the Holocaust, because of the unfair persecution of a group of people, but we don’t hesitate a moment to point the finger to a new one.
The association between Islam and terrorism and the consequent spread fear, has easily born and growth, because of a general ignorance of the occidental world about the Islamic part of it.
Of course, this general poor knowledge of the Islamic religion could be in some way justified because of its extended distance from our reality, physically and ideologically.
What can’t be justified it’s that this ignorance do not crash with the movement of informations, but instead, is fueled by it:
The data say that most of the media coverage about Islam and Muslim put them in a bad light.
What we can do when the same sources of information, which should act as tools of education, constitute the first and same cause of disinformation?
In my opinion, a great role is played by globalization, which allows us to have always more direct contact and confrontation with Muslim people, who can detached and distinguish themselves from what is an extreme fundamentalist group, just through their respectful and peaceful way of living and practising their religion.
For example, is the commitment of people like Hailakandi, who dedicates his life for the promotion of an objective and not corrupted by prejudices image of Islam, who can and are really make the difference for moving from a globalized society towards a truly integrated one.

Claudia Schiavelli ha detto...

To give a viewpoint on a religion is tricky, if not absurd. On the one hand, we have the reason why we are wondering about Islam as a topic of reflection, and the core of Abdel Latif Chalikandi's lecture: fake news and terrorism creating a process of identification of religious beliefs with political and social actions. It easy to claim that generalizing and associating a whole people with the actions of few is substantially wrong, but humans tended to persevere in making such a mistake for a long time now. The reasons why Islamophobia boomed after terrorist attacks are pretty superficial and mainly consisting of fear-driven judgments but that still does in any way explain the integration problem that Europe is posing to "them". The subtle difference and an element that might surprise also those who are victims of it is that the process of discrimination or classification is based on religious matters and not associated with a country of origin. In my opinion, that is somehow more disrespectful and more unsensed too since the triggers for racial behaviors come from something sacred and that people embrace spiritually. "Us and Them", apart from being a great song, expresses perfectly the great lack that at least Italy has in accepting its now multicultural composition. As Ruba Salih writes, there is a need for normalization of the presence of Muslim in Europe, coming from the effort of both European and non-European. There is a multi-layered clash between first-generation Muslims and European societies; the former with the second generation and this latter with the struggle to live in accordance with their own generation although the State does not guarantee that. All these elements could be harmonized through dialogue and awareness spread not only on this different religion that can no longer be ignored for its dimensions in Europe. Since I don't find any relevant experience to share, I am going to use the example of the Pakistan origins- Norwegian director Deeyah Khan. After being obliged to leave Norway because of the growing threats she received from both her religious community and the white people, she decided to talk about "what it's like to be a young person stuck between your family and your country". In interviewing convicted terrorists,
jihadis and former extremists she found that they were wounded human beings that "were torn apart
from trying to bridge the gaps
between their families and the countries that they were born in". She then points out that extremism is a very attractive alternative to the feeling of marginalization and the reason why she, having experienced it herself, chose instead to "pick up a camera instead of a gun" is that to her understanding was the answer, not violence.

Elsa Maria Festa ha detto...

The problem of identification, of understanding and of accepting who we are or we feel we are is one of those existential questions that have always interested humankind, especially philosophers. Identity is not a delimited box where to insert ourselves, the boundaries are blurred because identity is blurred, there is no a univoque way of feeling who we are. Understanding who we are becomes more and more complex when others start imposing you who you are supposed to be. There are people that try react to imposition of ideas and stereotyped concepts: for example Said, a young university student born in Morocco and brought up in Italy. He is a great example of how second and third generation Muslim experience and perceive living in Europe. Said works hard in trying “to resist hegemonic attempts to reduce their identities to essentialised ideological identities, and seeking to destabilise these hegemonic representations”.There is an explosive speculation about Muslim identity, a speculation that does not get rid of a backward and unreal narrative. The conservative outlook in which people are divided between two different Cultures, the Western versus the Islamic one, represented a real struggle for first generation Muslims, for whom ethnicity and traditions imported from the countries of origin formed the basis of identification. This narrative is not valid for people like Said, for whom Islam represents one of multiple identifications. Second and third generation Muslims undergo a profound inner ambiguity and a conscious contradiction in trying to stabilise an equilibrium between the multiple loyalties and identities. In Said’s view what seems to allow to break free from reified mainstream construction of Islam is” to overcome the narrative of minority standpoint (often seen as the only acceptable space for political and cultural action) and articulating the islamic identity with universal values, rather than just claiming respect for difference. “

Elsa Maria Festa ha detto...

In the article The Backward and the New: National, Transnationald and Post- National Islam in Europe, the author, Ruba Salih, reports also some observations of the mother of Said, Zubida. She is an assiduous presence in the mosque of Reggio Emilina and she expresses her concerns about Said. She fears that her son in the future would abandon Islam as a principal identity reference, she “fears a dissolution of their difference”. What we can learn from the story about Zubida and his son, is a sort of “generational misunderstanding”, two completely different points of view. In the view of Said's mother the mosque provides a safe, social environment where children can socialise free from risks of assimilation into the dominant culture. I had the possibility of analyzing this idea of what a mosque represents for children when I visited the Torpignattara Muslim Center. The people you find inside are mainly Bangladeshi adults that, while trying to maintain a connection with their country of origin, also try to insert themselves in the place they live, for example by learning the Italian language. The mosque is populated also by their children, second generation Muslims that arrive after school to spend their time playing in a place of cultural relevance. The particularity is that, while they run and play, vibrant and clear Italian ( or roman) words echoes in the room. I wonder what will these children feel about their identities; I wonder if, when growing up, they will develop a consciousness similar to the one of Said of what being Muslim in Europe means.

Oliver Tomassi ha detto...
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Oliver Tomassi ha detto...

During my experience teaching Italian in the "Mosque" in Rome, I believe I witnessed different trends among the participants of the Italian class. A few men go to the Mosque to pray, and once they are there they also take on the Italian class, whereas the great majority come to learn Italian and then may stay for prayers, or even go straight home. This subtle difference is greater than it may seem: it shows that for most students learning the Italian language which can also represent integrating in our society is one step above the need to be recognised as part of the local foreign community. Similarly, the will and identity Muslim parents can be seen through their children. The children go to public schools where they integrate with other Italian pupils and do not restrict themselves from integrating which would entail exclusion from society and therefore to some extent also harm.
However one must be careful when approaching this argument: it is often the case that Muslims inside a foreign country feel pulled between two extremes. On one side they are pulled by the desire or duty to be part of their traditional Muslim community which has evolved and developed in new forms in the new local home. On the other they might feel curious or compelled by need to integrate into the local society to be able to benefit from it. More than often the individual must decide between these two alternatives, as the choice of one almost certainly excludes the other.
Another aspect that must be analysed is appearance. The way Muslims dress is also closely related to their will of belonging to one side or the other. For instance women wearing a veil do not simply express the desire to belong and show to belong to a Muslim community, aware or not, they also send a message that can be read as a desire of not being culturally integrated in the new western society. Therefore when Muslims move abroad they are faced with this terrible dilemma of being almost forced to choose where to belong. For local societies it is usually harder to acknowledge that they belong to both spaces which increases the feel of necessity that these people have when choosing an identity.

Lucia von Borries ha detto...

Even though I grew up in an international environment and traveled a lot with my family I have to admit that I never really came in contact with practicing Muslims until the recent years. Maybe it’s because my family is not really practicing religion themselves, we are part of the Protestant Christian belief, but apart from Christmas we don’t really go to Church. My parents have taught me to pull my strength and belief from wherever feels most comfortable to me, so I have never regarded religion as something that could be a definitive factor in life. This probably is very reflective of the western individualist culture I grew up in and I just want to state that I don’t really feel comfortable because of this to form an opinion about Islam and the issues involving the current image depicted by the media. I think this is exactly the issue Abdel Latif Chalikandi spoke about: the issue of identification of religious belief with certain social actions due to media coverage. Considering that everyday people practicing their belief can go about society completely unnoticed, the media coverage of terrorist attacks and ISIS was probably the first time many Germans (I will only speak of my own country) actively thought and spoke about Islam ever. Appadurai also spoke about this idea when talking about media-scapes. Media has the power to allow us to attach feelings and ideas to things we were never confronted with in our daily life. So suddenly there was Islam, this apparent source of terror that is somewhere out there, that could have the possibility to be harmful in some way. It is easier to hate people you don’t personally know. I am not trying to defend the Xenophobia and more specifically Islamophobia amplified by the media in the recent years, but I think to be able to create a dialogue it is important to understand the motives and especially fear underlying the hate. I had an argument with a guy about terrorism and Islam where he said at some point: “Right now if you had a white woman in front of you and a woman wearing a Hijab, who would you be more afraid of”. This question really dumbfounded me which at the same time made me realize how simple and mostly illogical fear is. In German history we have very different kind of terrorism. During the 70s we had a leftwing terrorist group called the RAF which followed anti-imperialistic ideologies. They actually killed my dad’s former boss during one of their attacks. In 2016 we probably had more attacks on refugee homes by Xenophobes and right-wing supporters than attacks by refugees. This comes to show that fear is something highly irrational that is fueled by being uneducated and lack of confrontation. I know that in Germany volunteers have been trying to create spaces for Germans and refugees to interact to be able to put faces to beliefs and destroy this alienation created by mass-media, but I am unsure of how to reach the people that are unwilling to go out of their homes and confront their biases. I guess this response is a little off-topic but I wanted to share my thoughts on the current issue of Xenophobia in the world.

RIAS UDDIN ha detto...

We do speak sourcing from the limited knowledge we have. And we do have a change in our thinking with the change of time, the reason behind the knowledge increases. It goes right that we are tiny in the sphere of knowledge. And it is quite logical not to comment before knowing precisely.
Islam? Three questions come one's mind so far I have seen around when someone doesn't know precisely what it tells, is: Terrorism, Hizab, anti-Alcohol.
Terrorism? A terrorist is a person who causes terror.
The moment a robber sees a policeman he is terrified. A policeman is a terrorist for the robber. Similarly, every Muslim should be a terrorist for the antisocial elements of society, such as thieves, dacoits, and rapists. Whenever such an anti-social element sees a Muslim, he should be terrified. It is true that the word ‘terrorist’ is used for a person who causes terror among the ordinary people. But a real Muslim should only be a terrorist to selective people, i.e., antisocial elements, and not to the common innocent people. Who is ISIS then? It is actually Anti-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Those who label themselves as Muslim must be doing Quran says. In no where Quran stated to kill innocent people. History tells that Hitler killed 6 million Jews. Hitler was a Christian. It doesn't mean Christianity tells about killing people.
Hizab? The status of women in Islam is often the target of attacks in the secular media. The ‘hijab’ or the Islamic dress is cited by many as an example of the ‘subjugation’ of women under Islamic law. It is not degrading but holding women rights. Earlier civilization explains how women were treated.
Babylonian Civilization: The women were degraded and were denied all rights under the Babylonian law. If a man murdered a woman, instead of him being punished, his wife was put to death.
Egyptian Civilization: The Egyptian considered women evil and as a sign of a devil.
Pre-Islamic Arabia: Before Islam spread in Arabia, the Arabs looked down to women, and very often the female child was buried alive.
I was wondering at the case took place in French years ago, that the lady brought the case to court claiming she was raped. Court investigation found both of them had consent before intercourse. The lady explained she didn't want to be pregnant, but she had been. As it consented that doesn't relate to rape, the court had no way to solve the case. I say that it is a personal choice of one, that how one tends to shape the life. No one loses or gains at others misery or happiness.
Anti-Alcohol? The human beings possess an inhibitory center in their brains. This inhibitory center prevents the person from doing things that he considers wrong. For instance, a person does not normally use abusive language while addressing his parents or elders. If he has to answer the call of nature, his inhibitory center will prevent him from doing so in public. When a person consumes alcohol, the inhibitory center itself is inhibited. That is precisely the reason that an inebriated person is often found to be indulging in behavior that is completely uncharacteristic of him. For instance, the intoxicated person is found to use abusive and foul language and does not realize his mistake even if he is addressing his parents. Neither do they talk nor walk properly.
I grew up with the neighbor of Hindu and Buddha community. We still in huge ties. I answer to them those who argue about religion that how much you did that goes for much humanity, and if there is GOD, for sure the GOD lose nothing if we disobey. Instead, HE could do whatever HE wants.

Alessandro Germani ha detto...

My experience about Islam is a recent discussion with a friend about Jihadist terrorism. I would like to mention only a point but very clear: where does it come from? It is the historical product of the aid by the United States to mujahideen insurgents against the secular Democratic Republic of Afghanistan military supported by the Soviet Union. The word "mujahideen" comes from the same Arabic root as jihad, which means "struggle." The current “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” is functional to the destabilization of the Middle East and the successful or attempted overthrow of governments such as in Libya and Syria, in the context of competition between economical and geopolitical interests of United States and the emerging Russia and China.