The Struggle of Accepting Multiculturalism in Europe

Sara Dix

Since the event of 9/11 (and even prior), there has been a widespread fear of Muslims and increase in xenophobia throughout the West. But, any sort of multiculturism in the West has recently been seen as a threat and this is shown clearly in Onishi’s article about the writer, Renaud Camus, and Dan’s article as well. Coman’s argument regarding the role of churches within the multiculturism debate also highlights the predicament that churches are in, specifically in Hungary.

Not only do far-right extremists in France believe that they are currently undergoing a “great replacement”, but this is occurring in many places within the West. Camus believes that immigrants are “colonizing” France and making its cities and towns unlivable. It’s unfortunate because by having a multicultural society, I feel there is more understanding between people because there are discussions to freely ask questions that helps create empathy. There is a general misconception of how easy it is for immigrants to come into a country, but it’s really tough and a lengthy process that people who have never experienced it just don’t understand.

Stone focused on Holocaust memory and Europe’s refugee crisis. I also found myself confused where he compares the attitude of the British government towards the Jewish refugees and Muslim refugees. The former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth argued that the British government should “allow at least 10,000 refugees into Britain in a modern version of the programme that brought some 10,000 Jewish children fleeing Nazi persecution in 1938-1939.” I thought that was really interesting because why shouldn’t they help refugees who are fleeing to save their lives and how does the preconceptions of these refugees affect whether a country will take them in or not? What made Jewish children fleeing Nazi persecution different than Muslim refugees fleeing the chaos in Syria?

One Reply to “The Struggle of Accepting Multiculturalism in Europe”

  1. Judaism definitely does occupy a unique position in European political discourse, as you point out – on the one hand, included in discussions of “Judaeo-Christian” (rather than ‘Abrahamic’ or ‘Christian’) values, but on the other, excluded through clear anti-Semitic sentiment. (The very use of ‘Semitic’, a geographical region, to refer uniquely to Judaism, is also a curious use of words.)
    As to why Muslim refugees are treated differently: I think there’s something to be said about the history of the conflicts between the religions. Other than modern Israel and a long-dead statelet (Semien) in modern Ethiopia, there haven’t been many examples of Jewish polities. And thus, there haven’t been many examples of Jewish nations conquering lands occupied by Christian nobles; there haven’t been Christian refugees fleeing these conquered lands; and there haven’t been these Christian refugees weaving a new tale of intercultural clashes that have survived through the years – in great contrast to the advance of the Ottoman, Abbasid, and other empires that conquered polities that claimed to be Christian. To paraphrase Renaud Camus, ‘observation takes distance’ – and I think we need lots of historical distance to properly observe the evolution of the intercultural relations now at play.

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