Ghettoisation and Its Discontents

 

Today, Norway turned away hundreds of Pakistani asylum seekers. Does this mean that our welcome has run out. If so that is sad.

Immigration is allowed in part on humanitarian grounds. Its based on a shared concept of humanity. No wonder then that many of the countries that lead in accepting immigrants are also the ones that push for human rights.

That was why many of Pakistanis were accepted to Norway and elsewhere. In the recent bouts of crushing surge of refugees from Syria plus the few incidents of religiously motivated violence by refugees in these countries, many of the host countries have started questioning who comes knocking.

One can not stop people from thinking what they do. In a civilised society, neither should we try. But its a bit more than that. How we think is shaped by all that we see and hear. Our societies have too long indulged in a “west-o-phobia” to misdirect how badly the society (actually the governments of our societies) treats people. Suppression of social, intellectual and economic freedoms is a given. The state seeks to mold how you think and only a narrow stream of beliefs is accepted with harsh consequences for dissent.

This has led to the use of religion to control minds. Hence the devastation of our curricula in schools, abandonment of millions of children to madrassahs, laws that exclude individuals based on religious beliefs and even more perniciously, the fanning of bigotry to silence dissenting voices. These have extracted tolls from the society. This is not helped by the fact that many of the young generation grows in households that were shaped by what they see in the Middle East which does all that we do and in spades.

Lets face it. We have a problem. Not because Norway wont accept those that we chase away. But because many of these were so poisoned that even in their adapted homes they seek to rebuild the society that they escaped from. This is the worst form of Stockholm syndrome. It is grounded in part by the need for our governments to control minds at home but also in what has happened due to these policies. Muslims today feel that they are superior to others and yet victimised unfairly by “them” (anyone who does not prescribe to the obscurantist form of religion that many of us are now prescribing to). We want to preserve ALL that is described as “us” with little questioning of whether it is helpful. This is called Ghettoisation and it totally afflicts the Muslim “Ummah”.

The question is whether we have the moral courage and intellectual capacity to find our way out of this mess. I hope so. Doing so would certainly require questioning the role of religion in running the society and there would be lessons to be learnt from Europe. This does not mean in any way to denounce the religion. It means that as many of us have adapted to the modern times in our individual lives while still following the religion as we feel comfortable, so should the society. I dont see an alternative to such as change. I dont think Muslims as a whole will die out or be relegated to footnotes of history. But the way out is difficult and really must start now.

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