Politics & Society
July Mon 30, 2012
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“Muslims in Europe want to interact with other Europeans and participate as full and equal members of society, but regularly face various forms of prejudice, discrimination and violence that reinforce their social exclusion.” This is the conclusion of research conducted by non-profit international organizations, as reported by European Council on human rights. The statement continues by describing how anti-Muslim rhetoric has been used for political ends in many European countries, while there are few countries that have attempted to enforce “multiculturalism as a strategy of promoting intercultural dialogue while at the same time preserving cultural identities”.According to the Commissioner of the Council, therefore, “governments should stop targeting Muslims through legislation or policy, and instead enshrine the ground of religion or belief as a prohibited ground of discrimination in all realms”. He concludes by saying that “We need our own ‘European Spring’ to overcome old and emerging forms of racism and intolerance”. IlSussidiario.net contacted Massimo Borghesi, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Perugia, for his opinion on the matter.Professor, what do you think about the appeal launched by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe? The appeal seems correct to me for two reasons. It is correct because no one in Europe or elsewhere should be discriminated against for his religious beliefs. It is also true that there are xenophobic movements, typically on the right, for which Muslim has become synonymous with stranger, enemy. That said, though, I think the appeal of the commissioner, in his virtuous language, represents more of an operation of image than one of substance.In what sense? In the way he configures the problem. What does, “It is now time to accept the Muslims” mean? Of course Muslims should be accepted. Personally, and not just recently, I have always been in favor of Turkey's entry, under certain conditions, into Europe. The Muslims come to Europe first of all as people, bearers of rights and duties, and they should be treated as such. Otherwise one, even with the best intentions, does not favor integration, but religious tribalism and sectarianism. This is what happened in England with the intercultural model that resulted in the formation of fundamentalist pockets, on the borderline with violence.Has the process of European integration been concluded? Which are the exemplary countries in terms of this integration?
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