tv Inside Story Al Jazeera January 8, 2015 5:00pm-5:31pm EST
l. commissioner. that is the news for this hour. you can get updates on what is happening in france on aljazeera.com. we'll have near bulletin 6 become eastern. "inside story" is next. thank you for watching. large numbers of muslims have dom live in western europe. france germany, britain, netherlands - have they come to terms with rapid changes. have muslims come to terms with what it means to live in very different societies. it's "inside story". hello, i'm ray suarez.
for a variety of reasons people have pulled up stakes in south asia north africa the middle east and headed to western europe to live and work. and for a variety of reasons countries welcome them in. now, decades on previouslihomo genius countries like norway and ploourallist ones like france are wrestling with what it means to incorporate people from different societies if large numbers, and many muslim immigrant families long after transplanting in the west are struggling to cope with life in a place where religion and daily customs play a smaller role where freedom of religions include the freedom to practice and mock religious faith. the murd erts at an editorial office by men who shouted they were avenging the prophet forces mutual suspicion to the front. >> reporter: flowers lined the
streets and pens filled the sky. they mourned the loss of 12 at "charlie hebdo", and stood up to an attack on secular culture and values. >> translation: it is extremely hard to talk right now. "charlie hebdo" represents a lot for us and all those in this world who ended up assassinated for nothing. in one of the worst terror attacks in decades, armed men stormed the offices of "charlie hebdo", and fled the scene in this car. >> a manhunt unfolded stretching into villages 50 miles north of paris. 88,000 police officers were dispatched around france. 10,000 in paris. one suspect turned himself in. seven were arrested. authorities are tracking two others on the run. french born brothers of algerian
descent, said kouachi and cherif kouachi. >> translation: we are doing everything to ensure that this investigation will be successful as quickly as possible. >> thursday morning, "plogs explosions go off in mosques in two cities. french president francis hollande asked his country to remain calm and tolerant. >> france defeated its enemy when it rallied behind its values. this is what i'm encouraging you to do. the unity of saul and everybody should be the answer. >> islamic studies professor spoke to al jazeera about the sense of rising islamaphobia in europe. >> it's as if there is normalization of discourse in the west today. not only coming from the far right, but all the parties are islamizing the problem, there is
islamaphobia. >> now we have the standardizition, normalization of discourse. >> multiculturalism took off in europe after world war ii. under tones of friction persist. are immigrants asked to give up part of their identity as they assimilate. in france where secularism is a matter of pride, a law was passed in 2004 making it illegal to wear a hijab in schools. it's controversial. european societies grapple with what it means to be glick, french generalman. last week 10,000 took to the treats in support of bagita. >> translation: the connection is simply. the demonstrators are fearful of development in europe related to
islam in islamism. now they experience islamist attacks. the connection is self-evident. you don't need to comment. as the french came to remember the staff, the ideas that their murders came at the hands of angry muslim frenchman renewed the debate about what france is and will be as its people become more diverse. in paris gunman killed cartoonists, in germany thousands marched to complain of the threat to their german way of life posed by islam. at the same time as a british muslim activist declares muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression. has europe failed at multiculturalism. in society's religion free and muslim at the same time do these 21st century citizens record each other, speak to each
other with mutual exemption. joining mear the "charlie hebdo" shooting to talk about pluralism, islam in the west is john bowen, a professor of anthropology in st. louis, and an author. senior fellow at the german marshall fund and representative to muslim communities at the state department and professor of public luke at iowa university and author. john bowen let me start with you. since we are at a moment where europe is in a breakneck rush to sec larisation empty churches more and more saying they have no religious affiliations at the same time devout muslims are growing, was this clash inevitable? >> i think the situation is so
different this each of these countries. in britain, on the one hand the queen is the head of the church and the archbishop of canterbury called for muslims to be able to draw on sharia if they need to that take care of church of england. france is different as you said. and there are important ways in which it is so different. one is that it's - the republic was structured and founded around a combat with the church. with schools, it was over expressions of relagy ofty. over 100 years ago a law was passed banning religiosity if officials felt it necessary. that nourished anti-clerical religious sentiment that you don't find in england or most other european countries. that's a feature of france. one other feature, and i'll talk about it more than you wish is france had an engagement with the muslim world that is longer
and intimate than is the case for britain and germany. algerians came to france to work and france after a long and bloody and heart wrenching fight in algeria over independents has never really left former colonies france is engaged economically and militarily where it once had power. in libya, syria, mallia they are bombing. it makes france enemy number two for the jihadists after america. >> it may be a triumph of geography rather than colonialism because the empire chock full of muslims was on the other side of the planet. i think we should be careful about generalising about french muslims, there are people of long duration in france of short duration in france people who are fully eculturated and
people who are part of a separate nation within a nation. >> absolutely. it's a very very diverse population and one thing - there wasn't much consistency when i studied muslim political activists. you found there were muslims that were economically conservative, some socialists left to right and in between. there's phenomenon that people do not think about, people in france who identify with muslim but are not practicing. there's a cultural afillfiliationaffiliation, membership. but they don't practice or adhere to the religion or the tep ants. this is a very diverse population but the one consistent thing that i heard from muslims who are french is fatigue with this question.
are they integrated are they french enough. this is app unnecessary question. i remember one interviewee tells me why would anyone ask the question, i was born here i grew up french. would you ask the question of one whose first name is francoi [s], the idea being the question of integration is the wrong place if people are intregiated. the real question is why is the rest of france not convinced. why are they uncomfortable and suspicious of this population. our other guests in their various ways expressed one of the cruxes of the conversation. the suspicion, the hostility toward the idea that you writtening a lot of who you were and where you came from with you when you immigrate. >> true and what has been brought to focus with the recent attacks is that i think france is still grappling with the
issue of integration in a real sense, not just integration where yes you are welcome, come through the borders, set up shop. are you integrated part of the fabric of french society. this is a europe wide problem, issue. and a europe that is 10-15% foreign board. first, second generation. foreign generations. these are issues that europe has not had to deal with in a long time. >> the united states has been 10-15% foreign born. we have tensions over it. why is the manifestation different? >> you know i hear this all the time when i was at the department. the american model. it is a dream for many countries. you guys figured it out. what is the secret. what have you done. the answer is the same.
it's not that we figured it out. but long ago the political leaders decided the direction that the country would go is multicultural, military ethnic and face. that's a tradition of separation of church and state. there are systems, a framework put in place that i think supports that kind of approach. these are issues that many european governments have yet to grapple with. there are certain governments - belgium, france among them that have not fully politicly absorbed what they are dealing with. i think, you know with all due respect to the integration, not integration debate. french muslims, to some extent are integrate. they are 20% of the population. >> they are also in - they are in compartments within france many of them.
they are not - we talk about integration, are they part of the fabric or the main stream. >> we'll be back after this break with more "inside story." when we return a cultural storm. the inability to discuss the responsibility of a small number of muslims encouraging blood shed paired with the inicty of western leaders to talk in a straight-forward way about the history, the footprint of europe in the united states in the muslim world. stay with us.
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welcome back to "inside story" on al jazeera america. i'm luis suarez. you may remember at critical points over the last 30 years americans asking why do they hate us. if you try to answer the question you may find yourself accused of sympathizing with terrorists as any attempt to explain why so many terrorist acts in the last 20 years have been committed by muslims may be followed by a charge of islamaphobia. as we n continue the conversation results from an economist magazine, according to the poll public estimates of muslims differs from reality. in belgium, muslims believe they make up 29%, the reality is 6%. britain 21%, reality 5%.
germans believed 90% of the population is muslim as opposed to 6%. in france 31%. the percentage is 8. professor, how do you explain that that? >> well earlier we talked about how it seems that there's a problem with muslims living separately in france. and that is an interesting perception as well. because a lot of muslims live because that's where french policy puts them assigns them to live when they came during periods of large immigration. problems and perceptions are not always matching one another. an interesting stat that is interesting to look at and think about is the perception of islam versus mus elements. limbs -- muslims.
the french are three-quarters supporting of muslims, but suspicious of islam, which is a discrepancy hard to explain. >> that's a fascinating dichotomy. when you hear that what do you make of it. i guess if we did a similar poll in the united states we may have different numbers on the two labels as well. >> i think you get similar numbers. people think there must be 50 million muslims in america. the way it is present in the media or the press - it's true. perception and reality are - there is a big gap between the two. the problem is that when incidents such as this take place, and obviously integration is a long-term process, an ongoing process, not something that you can snap a finger at. when incidents take place perception takes over reality. becomes the driver.
when president francis hollande reassures reassures national messages are televised, they are important things when leaders call for calm not jumping to conclusions. taking things into their own hands, the vigilantes and so forth. at the same time the incidents, sadly, will happen and will continue to happen. it's unfortunately not the first time we see an net -- incident like this and will not be the last. what we see in between is important and connect reality to perception and close the gap. programs that promote social inclusion and community resilience and programs that promote in a real way, not just hi you are here you are a citizens but you have the right to live in this country, but
programs that promote - you can be a part of our society, we will learn from you, you will learn from us. a process, basically social development programs. that's the key. it's a game to close a gap between perception and reality. in this case this is a time when it's so dangerous, when the programmes are not paid attention to. . >> can we get people on to the same ground to talk in commonly understood terms about the nature of the problem. can we engage muslims in these countries, from which people are getting on planes flying into turkey sneaking into syria to fight with the islamic state about the problems inside these communities that make that effect? >> well the problem with the phrase muslim communities is that it suggests the communities are defined by religion 99% of
muslims in france. french people happen to be muslims, wake up and are concerned about jobs, kids will police harass me on the streets. many people of immigrant background i don't think about jihadis, i think about ferguson, missouri. and those people have problems of jobs exclusion, and the way the police treat them. when there's riots in france protests in november 2005 of people that teel combined to the poor ring issues. they are about those issues nothing to do with religion. on the other hand we have a small number of people tempted into jihad. they don't have a lot going for them. and the way is made easier for them. fighting for the brother and sister. how you deal with that is one thing. it has to do with education and
mobilization. maybe some of the work done in the past will be good. the other problem about exclusion, economics is harder. there's a tem takes in france -- temptation in france instead of focussing on the difficult problem of jobs and making everyone feel like they are part of a national project, they lash out at muslims, that's what the far right is doing. i watched an address, and it was said let's not confuse islam with the work of a bunch of jihadist let's not have the issue keep us seeing what is going on fundamentalist islam is a problem. her lieutenants took it into other issues. that's is a danger we are facing. we'll be back in a moment with more "inside story." the hashtag "jes suis charlie" is a worldwide phenomenon. have you heard of "je suis akmed," that officer was killed
you're watching "inside story" on al jazeera america. i'm luis suarez. we are talking about religious faith, life in a pluralist society this type on the programme. i didn't want to finish without mentioning akmed, a policeman shot to death. as put in a tweet "i am not charlie, i'm akmed a cop, "charlie hebdo" ridiculed my relagon and culture, and i died defending their right to do so." is an opportunity missed in talking about what an important person akmed is. a civil servant. someone protecting the people of paris, someone that accepted the
values of society to such an extent that he wore the uniform and took an oath to perform his duty. >> akmed's story is told over and over a gain. it's a great story. it's a 2-way street. the government has a role to play in the face of this attack to call for calm to put in place programs that do in a genuine way promote social cohesion leadership in the communities, social integration in these communities with the large e-community. they have a role to play. the communities have a role to play. community leaders have a role to play. i want to go back to something john said. it's not about islam per se. i completely agree. in an environment where identity are formed where people are figuring out what it means to be muslim and frenchs, to be first
generation muslim and french muslim heritage second generation - whatever it may be. when religion comes into it and you have an active force, you have groups nefarious groups using social media to drive that identity you need a pull a framework saying this is what a - an identity at peace should look like. >> is there a smart way to do this - make the most of the fact that there's a level of integration and culturation. that there are millions who see no space between being muslim and french without making it sound precious pandering or tokenism? >> well the issue, of course is the french have a good system as long as they are consistent. most muslim leaders i talk to
ordinary people have no problem with the separation of church and state. with the requirement that you have to follow certain models in france. they object to inconsistency. on the one hand everyone is treated the same but they are not. on the other hand every religion has the right to have help from the state to set up schools, but only catholics seem to give the money. it's about hypocrisy, that's what makes people crazy. >> what do you make of it professor? >> how do we lead forward? if i pitch that to france a country with aspiration for grandeur. if you want to lead the way, teach europe to be multicultural. this is a strange assignment because france does not believe in the multicultural model. i would teach europe to be a place to have ploourallism and diversity. there are the voices there.
there are marvellous leaders, people of colour muslim. who are ready to lead the way. possibly it's a question of getting out of their way. >> professor bowen, what do you think of that idea or is the idea of frenchness so narrow that it can't be as inclusive. >> here is something to consider - france is the country in europe with the largest percentage of people of immigrant background. a third of french people have one grand parent bornel respect in the world. it has -- born elsewhere in the world. it's taken a long time for them to do something - i hate to say it - more like the u.s. does and celebrate immigrant origins as a source of strength. that could be very good. >> wow, great to have you all with us. thanks for the conversation. that brings us to the end of this edition of "inside story". thank you for being with us. the programme may be over the
conversation continues. we want to hear what you think about the issues raised on the programme. log on to the facebook page there are interesting comments after the programme concerning the attacks on "charlie hebdo" in paris. we'd like to hear what you think, and i'll sign on and take your questions. you can follow us on twitter, our hand is ajinside story. we'll see you for the next time for inside story in washington i'm ray suarez in washington.
>> the first stop for many child migrants to the united states is this border patrol facility in mcallen, texas. >> "good afternoon, welcome to the rio grande valley processing center..." >> it opened this summer in response to an influx of unaccompanied minors from mexico and central america. >> do you think this is an immigration issue or a refugee issue? do you think some of them will be granted political asylum? >> we're not talking about criminals. these are innocent
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