You know what, they're here. To our eyes (some) in unusual dress, and of another belief/culture. Bet you have had some nice Muslim friends or neighbors (I have).
Welcome to my house. I say it a lot to guests sharing our family meals. For decades those of us living in Europeanized countries (Netherlands, Norway, UK and America etc.) have been inviting in fellow-humans, guests from Muslim land going on to become fellow citizens over time.
I, we have decided our guests should be happy and fulfilled, at home I cook respecting custom/taste of the diners: inside democracies we offer Freedom of Religion
The Quran entered history as the direct revelation of Allah's (God's) words, through the Angel Gabriel, to the Prophet Muhammed in the 7th century AD.
Some obvious problems have emerged. Where first generation Muslim immigrants succeeded in finding the balance, wisely harmonizing secular life around them with deep Islamic conviction, their kids are getting in trouble. In the Netherlands next generation young Muslims are confronted with name-discrimination when applying for jobs, and in the night-life lots of clubs have begun rejecting North African-type light skinned ethnicities, associated with Islamic culture, on sight! Discrimination, exclusion and unfairness
exposes Muslim youngsters to the seduction of extremism, be it criminal gangs rejecting Dutch authority, or actually reverting to Islamic orthodoxy, word-for-word study of the Holy Quran, calling them (in their belief) to physical, military holy war against the infidel (Jihad). Similar things are seen in Europe, and in the US.
We have only ourselves to blame for relative ignorance/naivitÃ© about the original culture of our new citizens. Islam (like Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism whatever!) has its own unique set of problems. First, it holy texts, called Quran
, entered history as the direct revelation of Allah's (God's) words, through the Angel Gabriel, to the Prophet Muhammed in the 7th century AD and onward. In the Quran, God orders to offer conversion (to Islam) to unbelievers first, and if refused, to make war on them, and kill them, and to establish God's Law in their 'house', until all the world is 'at peace'. Methods permitted by God: overt warfare, diplomacy/treaties toward stronger infidel nations, and deception
. Thus the Quran allows a Muslim to pretend to be secular or modern, as long as AT HEART he remains true to God's revealed words.
I hope you see the fundamental dilemma this presents to Islam's children. To truly conform to Dutch/Brit/Scandinavian law, protecting gays, Islamic to Christian converts, equal rights & freedoms for females, PROSCRIBING all physical punishment for breaking God's Laws, equals the deadly sin of Apostacy (denying Islam)
, punishable by death, as Allah commands. So if our way of life makes them miserable, falling back into traditional faith and even a Jihad-mentality comes natural. (Rejecting one's Faith and God and family is infinitely harder.)
Is there a solution? An informed and wise WELCOME to Muslims which encourages them to enjoy the benefits of secular, democratic societies, practice their faith freely, contribute like, while setting limits to the ancient Islamic culture of religous violence, contempt for unbelievers/sinners, and the enticement into criminal, or even terrorist activities?
I do not know for sure, be my guest and tell if you do. But in a nutshell, I propose applying (as has been done already) the Freedom of Religion principles to Islamic gatherings, their individual duties (like daily prayers), and in general to all customs and forms of dress. Beautiful mosques ought to be welcomed (like great temples, cathedrals!), yet with some limitations on prayer calls, in the West they could be limited to bells if local sensibilities require this.
For public service personnel (secular), and for reasons of security, certain traditional religious clothing/uniforms, and coverings of face/head (esp. Muslimas) may be disallowed.
Now to the essence. The vital command of God, or Allah, is to bring peace to all the world, by establishing the Law of God everywhere. That's where I believe we draw the line. Be it in Europe or America, it is, and must be expressly forbidden to legislate (judge) or enforce divine Quranic law/punishments. If you come here to hopefully thrive, enjoy the Dutch Way of Life, each inhabitant of our land is governed by Dutch Law, period. No other law applies, even if directly from God
: this is the price of poker if you wish to live here. (Abortion clinic burning Christians take heed, same difference!!)
My final point is that democratic governments are responsible to proactively engage discrimination, oppression and unfairness targeting Muslims, and other strangers, likewise foreign guests and immigrants whatever their origin. Perceived injustices imo can be the final straw starting the fall back into ancient Islamic beliefs, and the call to Jihad.
The principle of Freedom of Religion should apply to general customs and dress as well as welcoming beautiful mosques, just as we do temples/cathedrals. Photo: The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.
I bid Muslim brothers and sisters welcome in my Home, may you find happiness and fulfillment, most of all the freedom to believe, yet all within the laws of my land.