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Europe's Muslim population triples in 30 years

03 September, 2012

KARACHI: Europe's Muslim population has tripled over the last 30 years. Many European see Islam as a threat and Muslim fundamentalism as a challenge to their values, particularly those related to women.

These views were expressed by eminent scholars and speakers during a workshop on "Multiculturalism in Europe in the light of International Developments after 9/11" organised by University of Karachi Area Study Centre for Europe in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, here the other day.

In the opening remarks, Prof Dr Moonis Ahmar threw light on the concept and prospects of multiculturalism. He posed a question that to what extent multiculturalism may succeed or not succeed? In his views, multiculturalism requires tolerance and respect.

Dr Rashid Ahmad Khan, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences and Law, University of Sargodha, paid gratitude to the director Area Study Centre for Europe for organising this thought provoking workshop.

He said that ethnicity and faith are very important issues and the politics of ethnicity and faith in the 21st century has increased. He said that ethnicity in 21st century has new meanings and is used with new applications at national as well as international level. Account to him cold war is the most important development that paved the way for ethnicity and related issues. He gave the example of former Yugoslavia and former Soviet Union where people became active about ethical values after the end of cold war. On the topic of international migration, he said that the process of globalisation increased international migration.

Dr Rashid cited various definitions of ethnicity and said that the common factor in all the definitions of ethnicity is the element of having common decreased.

Hans Juergen Paschke, Head of Mission, Consulate of Germany, Karachi, said that seven million foreigners are living in Germany many migrants have been awarded German nationality. He further said that immigrants should be integrated in German society as Germany does not want it citizens to be deprived of their basic rights. He threw light on immigration management policy and integration policy of Germany.

Ambassador (r) Shahid M Amin in his presentation highlighted the cultural division in Europe since 9/11, its problems and prospect. He said that there is an impression in the Muslim world that the west is targeting Muslim countries one after another. According to him, the events of 9/11 intensified many things that were growing before it. Islamophobia caught enormous attention after 9/11.

In the last 20 years, lunatic fringe groups have appeared who are critical of Muslim immigrants. In his view the Muslim immigrants have problem in integrating fast enough in western societies and this creates problem with overwhelming non-Muslim population. After 9/11, the European governments did little to achieve integration and the European attitude hardened towards Muslims. Furthermore, he added that the content of international news media is becoming anti-Muslims, he added.

The workshop was followed by a lively question-answer session. At the end of the programme, Director, Area Study Centre for Europe, presented a shield and a set of publications of the Centre to speakers and Dr Uzma Shujaat, Assistant Professor at the Center presented a vote of thanks.

End.

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