Thursday, November 11, 2004
Really dealing with the problem
Europe risks becoming a breeding ground for Islamic extremism and the problem has to be dealt with urgently, a Dutch official said yesterday.
"In all of Europe, young people are becoming more radical," said Justice Minister Rita Verdonk, whose country holds the presidency of the European Union. She was speaking at an EU conference on immigration and integration being held in this northern Dutch city.
But at the same time, they may have to do some rethinking about how to deal with it.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who visited a primary school destroyed by fire Tuesday, told parliament that he would work with organizations representing the almost 1 million Muslims who make up nearly 6 percent of the population.The problem comes when you are dealing with people who don't agree with your right to freedom of religion and speech.
"We must not allow ourselves to be swept away in a maelstrom of violence," he said. "Free expression of opinion, freedom of religion and other basic rights are the foundation stones of our state and our democracy. They are valid for everybody, always."
Mrs. Verdonk said "Europe must not become a breeding ground for Islamic terrorism.
But the problem is, Europe has already become that. Now the real question is how do you deal with that? France is busily trying to assimilate by using state sponsored services like schools and medical services be absolutely secular, which IMHO feeds the fire, and interferes with some basic freedoms. The Dutch method has been to sponsor religious schools for all faiths, not trying to assimilate people fully, but perhaps trying to create a broader culture that these pockets of ethnic culture fit in.
Will either approach work? All over western Europe, there are gangs of Moroccan youths, often allied with or already radicalized, making life miserable for others.
The question is will people be able to step out of their ideologies enough to reevaluate things as they really are? Time will tell.
Source: Washington Times