While browsing the Internet looking for interesting debates on a variety of different topics, I came across one that stuck in my mind. The motion being argued for and against was, “Europe is Failing its Muslims.”
The four debaters, two on either side, were:
1) Tariq Ramadan: Swiss academic, writer, and professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University
2) Petra Stienen: former Dutch diplomat
3) Flemming Rose: Danish journalist, author, and person responsible for the controversial publication of the Muhammad cartoons
4) Douglas Murray: British writer, journalist and commentator
It’s not a recent debate (it took place a couple years ago) and there have been many other debates about Islam such as “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?,” “Does the Media Target Islam Unfairly?,” etc. The reason I chose this one is because the very question seems absurd. While watching the debate, the question in my mind throughout was, “Why is this debate taking place?” I couldn’t understand it. How can Europe be failing its Muslims? Why on Earth is it Europe’s job to appease them?
Here are a couple of facts about Europe, for those unaware. Europe is the birthplace of Western culture and is culturally defined as the lands of Latin Christendom, through the confluence of Germanic traditions and Christian-Latin culture. So basically, Christianity played a big part in the continent’s beginnings.
Despite Christianity still being the dominant majority religion in Europe by far (though not as big as it was centuries ago), Europe has now become more of a secular continent. The thing is, it doesn’t make a difference whether people see it as a Christian continent or a secular one; there’s one thing it isn’t, and that’s an Islamic one.
Yes, there are areas of Europe where Muslims are in the majority—generally in the Balkans and Eastern areas—but does this mean the European parliament should be working on ways to make Muslims feel more at home? Are their rights being trampled on?
Let’s look at it another way. How many rights do non-Muslims have when they visit Muslim countries? How about the non-Muslims that live in those countries? Do these minorities have their rights respected? Let’s be real—of course they don’t. Listing the amount of rules you have to adhere to would take so long, it can be saved for another article. The bottom line is that non-Muslims have very few rights in Islamic countries. When you go over there, you follow the rules and show their culture respect, or else! If you live somewhere such as Egypt and want there to be a Christmas tree in the town center, forget it.
One participant of this debate surprised me most. It was Petra Stienen and her stance on Islam. You’d have thought that since she was a human-rights campaigner with a particular interest in women’s rights, working in the Arab world would have turned her off to Islam completely. It did no such thing! She actually argues in favor of Islam and doesn’t feel that Islam is mistreating women or other non-Muslims.
Here are five examples of Islamic laws women have to adhere to in countries that are bound by Sharia law:
Want to go out in to town wearing that nice dress you bought? Well, you can’t.
Want to marry a Saudi man and live with him in Saudi Arabia? That’s your choice. Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to leave the country without his permission.
What if you’re an unmarried woman in an Islamic household? Want to go on vacation? You must have the permission of the head of the household—who is, naturally, a man—to leave the country.
Are you a Muslim girl who has just inherited property, money, etc.? Do you have a brother? Well, this isn’t America, honey. You get half of what he gets.
Been raped? Want to report it? Well, you’d better make sure you have four male witnesses willing to testify for you, or you could be imprisoned or even killed for adultery.
If you’d like to see verses from the Quran in relation to women, take a look here and try to convince me that Islam is not just a bunch of rules invented by men and for men.
It’s good to see Petra Stienen arguing for such a “pro-female” religion, isn’t it? Oh, wait—the women will tell you that they don’t mind these rules. Forget everything, then; they must be happy.
There are other double standards. Take, for example, visiting a place such as Saudi Arabia. You can’t bring a Bible with you or wear a cross around your neck. Why on Earth? It offends the Muslims. So why is it OK for Muslims to walk about in their religious gear in Western countries? We let them, because we’re tolerant. We’re not that easily offended.
How are Muslims treated in Europe and Western civilization, then? Let’s take a look at some of the things they want or have wanted in the past and see if it was allowed.
Want to wear the hijab, niqab, or abaya? No problem.
Want to nip out of work to pray five times per day? Go on then.
Don’t like that Christmas tree? We’ll take it down. (This has actually happened in some places.)
Want your own Islamic courts? We’ll give you some. (Britain has many Sharia courts.)
Want to build a mosque at Ground Zero? Hmmm…that’s an iffy one…OK, fine.
Who are we kidding? The very idea for a debate like this is insane. If presenting a person of sense this question, it wouldn’t need a debate, the answer is obvious. No, Europe is not failing its Muslims; it is Islamic countries that are failing non-Muslims.