The theme for this week was the idea of a multicultural Europe. Given anti-immigration sentiment that has been on the rise in Europe, this idea of a “proper European identity” has emerged, as if there were never integration from other countries. As our readings this week demonstrated, specifically with the influence of Islam in Europe, this simply is not true.
After an examination of the readings and the first responses, the main issues that were prominent in our discussion was the role of ethnicity and religion. While they can both be categorized under ‘identity’, they both present different challenges, as one does not necessarily link to the other.
Furthermore, one of the readings discussed anti-immigration sentiment in Europe as a result of a combination of the weak traditional elite, the refugee crisis, and recent terror attacks. In my opinion, this critiqued the structure of that the European Union, which was my leading question. The group responded with recognizing the importance of the EU structure in creating unity within countries, and emphasized how context [i.e. Euro Crisis] plays a role in larger events like the refugee crisis. This also developed into a conversation about the cultural schism in Europe between Western and Eastern Europe, given how Eastern Europe is more aligned with the Middle East given influences with Russia and immigration statistics.