荷兰海牙应用科技大学教授 郑美•范德维尔德 （赵一帆 摄）
荷兰乌特勒支大学人权研究院院长、教授 汤姆•茨瓦特 （赵一帆 摄）
但这些正面的研究成果在公共话语中并未起到任何作用。这可能是由于一个事实：宗教在自由主义现代社会中往往被视为非理性的东西，不应当在理性的社会中发挥作用。宗教的消亡是传统社会向现代社会发展的一环，这一点看来是不可避免的。年轻的穆斯林则正在挑战这一设想——他们在参与现代社会的同时，也珍惜自己的宗教身份。此外,尽管看似矛盾,但西方人生活的自由世俗世界也是由基督教信仰所塑造的。这意味着伊斯兰教和基督教之间的长期对抗可能对此产生影响。 但如果年轻的穆斯林认为，他们的信仰与现代社会参与是可以相结合的——有充分的证据证明他们已经成功做到了这一点 ——那么政客和媒体就该接受这一点。
Harmonising Muslim identities and West European societies
Mi Jung van der Velde , Tom Zwart
This paper outlines a project that is being developed to harmonise Muslim identities and West European societies. It is being carried out by a consortium consisting of the The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Free University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University.
For the purpose of this paper, Muslims are considered those persons who consider Islam an important part of their identity. As is the case in China, 'the' European Muslim does not exist. Although Muslims share the same faith, they are diverse in many other respects. In addition, the term 'majority' actually stands for an amalgam of groups and individuals with different characteristics, distinct values and various backgrounds. Nonetheless, to be able to present the issues clearly, for the sake of discussion throughout the paper we will rely on the minority-majority binary.
Politicians and the media create the impression that the social and political participation of Muslims leaves a lot to be desired. They often assume that being a Muslim and taking part in a democratic society under the rule of law cannot be combined. Underlying this assumption is the idea that Muslims have distinctive views on the position of women, homosexuality and the separation of church and state, which stand in the way of participation in a democratic society.
In this view, participation in society is the prerogative of those who hold certain values. To enter that category, Muslims should abjure certain values and adopt others to replace them. Therefore, participation requires assimilation. In a speech before the Munich Security Conference, the former British Prime Minister Cameron related this duty to assimilate to as 'more active, muscular liberalism'. According to Prime Minister Cameron, a liberal country ought to stand for certain values and to promote them. These values include freedom of speech; freedom of worship; democracy; the rule of law; and equal rights regardless of sex, race and sexuality. These values define a liberal society, and to belong there is to believe in them. This need to assimilate also underlies the participation declaration which immigrants in The Netherlands will have to sign from 2017 onwards. The values contained in this declaration are similar to those laid out by Prime Minister Cameron.
Some politicians have called for a ban on certain Muslim organisations, especially Salafist ones, based on the assumption that they are not open to interaction with society and are vulnerable to radicalisation and extremism. Those politicians call for the introduction of a 'resilient' or 'militant democracy' which actively opposes challenges to its existence. Although the German constitution has established such a militant democracy, the concept is alien to the constitutional system of other European states.
Assumptions about the incompatibility of Islamic and democratic values are based on prejudices and have no factual foundation. Research conducted in the U.S., Australia and various European countries shows that many Muslims do take part actively in society by way of 'civic engagement'. They show their commitment by engaging in relations at work, by doing voluntary work and by investing in their neighbourhoods.
In addition, many Muslims take part actively in their religion-based community associations, such as Quran study groups, schools and sport clubs. Critics argue that these kind of self organisations lead to isolation and ghettoisation. Although it is true that there is such a risk, research shows that these organisations also contribute to the social participation of Muslims. They increase the skills of their members, who can rely on those to take part in other organisations, and they tie the Muslim community to the rest of society.
Research also shows that Muslims often are highly motivated to take part actively in society and that their religiosity acts as a driver. These Muslims strive to be good Muslims and good citizens both at the same time. In their view, being a Muslim and an active citizen are perfectly compatible. They do not see any contradiction between the two, because their faith encourages them to take part in society.
These positive research outcomes do not play any role in the public discourse. This could be the result of the fact that in liberal-modernist societies religion is often regarded as something irrational, which should not play a role in rational societies. As part of the development from a traditional to a modern society, the disappearance of religion is seen as inevitable. Young Muslims challenge this assumption because they take part in modern society while cherishing their religious identity. In addition, although this may seem paradoxical, the liberal secular world Westerners live in is a world shaped by Christian beliefs. This means that the longstanding antagonism between Islam and Christianity is likely to play a role here as well. But if young Muslims believe that it is possible to combine their faith with taking part in a modern society - and there is ample proof that they succeed in doing so - the time has come for politicians and media to accept this as well.