Society Debates

Burqa ban: Islam in Europe – a real problem

11 April 2011
Rzeczpospolita Warsaw

Check my photo. Muslim woman with passport during meeting with the Imam of Montreuil, near Paris. May 2010
Check my photo. Muslim woman with passport during meeting with the Imam of Montreuil, near Paris. May 2010

The debate about secularism organised in France by the ruling right-wing UMP party has been decried by the Muslim community as a brutal attack on Islam, while the Left has seen it as a disguised attempt to curry favour with the supporters of the National Front. But no debate at all is a victory for extremism, argues a Polish editorialist.

Abderrahmane Dahmane, President Sarkozy’s former diversity adviser, has announced that Islam in France has become the “object of stigmatisation” and, to voice his protest, has started to distribute green-star badges among his fellow believers, a reminiscence of the badges that European Jews were forced to wear during World War 2

The green-star campaign is not so much a proof of the stupidity of its originator, as of his utter insolence, especially that it is rather the indigenous French that can feel uneasy in certain districts of their cities, faced with gangs of Algerian and Moroccan youth. And the claims of “stigmatisation” of Islam sound grotesque when we look at how Catholics of the Seine, and of many other West European countries, are ridiculed. It was not in the Great Mosque of Paris, but in Notre Dame Cathedral that a group of gay activists staged a homosexual “wedding ceremony” six years ago, during which words offensive to Pope Benedict XVI could be heard.

Indeed, the debate about secularism focuses on Islam. But this is also a debate over the future of Islam across Europe entire. Sarkozy’s party is mulling over concrete issues that also affect Italy, Holland, and Sweden. How to deal with the Muslims who hold mass prayers in the streets of cities? Should halal meals be introduced in school canteens? How to deal with the problem of students from North Africa who protest against lessons about the Holocaust, treating it as humbug invented by Zionists. Should public swimming pools reserve separate hours for Muslim girls?

For the European Left any discussion over these issues is an expression of racism, for the Muslim radicals – of stigmatisation. But no discussion at all will lead to one thing: in a dozen or so years the majority of countries of the Old Continent will be ruled by the clones of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders.

Factual or translation error? Tell us.