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vetting individual muslims insufficient - no Turkish community in Germany

Reader comment on item: Trump: You Should Ban Islamists, Not Muslims

Submitted by myth (Germany), Dec 15, 2015 at 05:51

I must disagree with the article that reducing Trump's ban from islamic immigrants down to islamists would be sufficient. Vetting individual muslims is insufficient. One must consider the sociological dimension in addition.

The total expected behaviour of islamic immigrants is a product of three factors: The individual, her or his islamic environment in the host country, and the host society.

Let me go into some detail from my experience:

The individual may be anywhere between a secular muslim up to a violent islamists. In any event he carries the baggage of the specific experience of being a muslim in his country of origin. The most distinctive characteristic however is the mother tongue.

To illustrate this observation let met rephrase it in another cultural context. Say the individual Italian immigrant is decent. Put this immigrant in an Italian neighborhood in New Jersey and you get the Sopranos. I do not intend to offend Italians with this statement but I do believe it illustrates my point. This is an observation I have made many times with muslims. I see individual muslim I know very well behave very differently when he is in an all muslim group. Such a group is immediately structured by islamic rules and as a result always moves towards more orthodoxy, not more secularism. Again, this is group behavior, not individual behavior.

The islamic environment in the Western host country may be very different from the country of origin. In the West is often more radical than in the immigrant's home country. They find radical preachers in Western mosques. These preachers were sometimes accepted into the West as asylum seekers because their host countries threatened them with imprisonment precisely for being radicals. Add to that the freedom of expression that amplifies radical ideas in the West that cannot be expressed freely in some places in the Middle-East.

Every host country's society has a country-specific relationship with its muslim immigrants. First it depends on numbers. Here in Germany the muslim population is above 3 millions. Where do they live? They live in the big cities in the West. Then there's the ethnic composition. The vast majority of muslims in Germany are Turks. As a consequence new immigrant Turks can easily connect to the 2.5 million Turks whereas Arabs for example will find themselves quite isolated. I would expect Arabs to remain very connected to the Arab world. Whereas Turks face a host population that is quite comfortable hearing the Turkish language, Arabic-speakers will get raised eyebrows form the average German with every word they speak.

The use of language describing the immigrants characterises the relationship with the immigrant groups. The UK uses the expression "asian community" for the Pakistanis, The Netherlands speak of the "Moroccan community". However in Germany, despite of close to 3 million Turks, I have never heard nor read anything of a "xxx community". We refer to them as Turks, no use of the word "community".

I conclude that Trump has a point looking at muslim immigration regardless of the individual. I would however look more closely at the experience of past decades. What is the total product of the individual from a particular country of a origin, of a particular religion and language, and in a particular Western country. One learns a lot comparing experiences from different Western countries and comparing different immigrant groups in the same country. Actually immigrants do this all the time for they usually have family in many Western countries.

To make this concrete: I agree with Geert Wilders stopping muslim immigration to The Netherlands if it concerns Arabs. On the other hand I am very happy with the Turks inside Germany and would make no restrictions on their immigration. Admitting half a million Syrians into Germany is madness if I compare Arabs against Turks inside Germany by my experience.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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