Where is Europe’s ‘multiculturalism’ going?

  At present, there is an increasingly prominent and considerable concern in Europe, that is, the rapid increase of foreign immigration, of which the Muslim population accounts for an absolute majority. Immigrants bring unique lifestyles and cultural landscapes, forming what is often called “multiculturalism” or “multiculturalism” in European academic circles, public opinion circles and political circles.
  The biggest feature of “multiculturalism” is that immigrant groups can live in their own communities according to their own values ​​and lifestyles. However, this issue is currently causing more and more heated debates in Europe, and “multiculturalism” is in an awkward situation. Especially this summer, the riots launched by youths mainly from ethnic minorities in the UK, and the horrific murders committed by extreme right-wing elements with anti-immigration as their main appeal in Norway, have highlighted the current situation of immigration and “multiculturalism” from different sides. Complexity in the context of the international financial crisis. What is particularly noteworthy is that many people in Europe have come forward to sing “multiculturalism”, which undoubtedly adds uncertainty to the development of European society.
  Economic globalization is the background of the rapid increase in European immigration. As Fram Ellenberger, a well-known French political scientist, said: “The past 30 years have marked a major turning point in world history. Goods can go around the earth in almost 36 hours.” This is in terms of the world. As for Europe, it is more special, that is, the continuous expansion of the European Union promotes further population mobility; European countries generally have declining birth rates and aging populations. Seriously, there is an urgent need for labor; many European governments once adopted looser immigration policies.
  According to a report by the European Union: Since 2002, the total number of immigrants entering the EU has reached 1.6 million to 2 million each year. Of particular concern are Muslim immigrants, who currently number 20 million to 23 million in the European Union, accounting for about 5 to 6 percent of the total population. According to a study in the United States, this number is predicted to surge to 38 million by 2025. Countries with a large Muslim population in the EU currently include: France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, and Denmark. Among them, the current Muslim population in France exceeds 8 million. Of Germany’s 6 million people (of which about 4 million are Turks), a third of the population under the age of 18 is Muslim. There are 2.4 million in the UK, there are more than 600 mosques and more than 1,400 Islamic organizations in the UK. As for Belgium, the names of the seven most frequently occurring baby boys are: Mohammed, Adam, Rayan, Ayub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza. At present, the proportion of Muslim population in some major European cities is: London, Paris and Copenhagen are 10%, Brussels, Birmingham are 15%, Marseille, Rotterdam are more than 25%. Due to ethnic and cultural traditions and other reasons, the birth rate of whites in the EU is much lower than that of the Muslim population. One prediction shows that by the middle of this century, the Muslim population in the whole of Western Europe may exceed the non-Muslim population. will become a minority, and in Leicester it will be even earlier. This is what many call “Muslim Europe” or “Muslimization of Europe”.
  2 There is
  no doubt that a huge number of immigrants have made historic contributions to the economic and social development of Europe. However, in general, their living conditions are often unsatisfactory, especially immigrants from the Islamic world, most of whom are at the bottom of society, and their lives are relatively poor. The local people are reluctant to do physical-based jobs, and better jobs are not available to them. Tottenham, where riots occurred in London this year, is a well-known poverty-stricken area in the city. 55% of the local residents belong to the poorest fifth of the population in the UK. Here, only one out of every 54 job seekers can find a job. It is also a settlement area for overseas immigrants.
  Most of the European immigrants came from the former colonies. For example, the British immigrants mainly came from South Asia and Central America and the Caribbean, and most of the French immigrants came from North Africa such as Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia (not only that, there are many Gypsies in France). These immigrants have their own concentrated residential blocks in the cities of European countries, and often form quite independent societies. Here, people keep their own way of life almost unchanged, and they are unwilling or even refuse to accept the Western way of life, to the extent that Differently from outside the mainstream society. They stick to their own values ​​and way of life so much that they are often dismissed by the solipsistic mainstream society, regarded as “different” and “group”, and subjected to some sort of colonial and racial discrimination under the new conditions. Also because they are dissatisfied with the status quo of being marginalized by society, and dissatisfied with Europe following the United States and taking policy measures that harm the interests of the Islamic world (such as military strikes against Iraq), the mainstream European society is increasingly suspicious and vigilant towards Muslim immigrants.
  Regarding European immigration and its “multiculturalism”, there is another trend worthy of attention at present: since last year, European officials have spread pessimistic views one after another, trying to adopt more severe policies, stepping on the brakes for “multiculturalism” and returning to Europe A traditional unit culture centered on Christian values. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Vorbach all appeared together to sing down Europe’s “multiculturalism”. Among them, Merkel said: “The efforts to build a multicultural society in Germany so that people from different backgrounds can live happily together have completely failed.” Cameron also believes that “multiculturalism implemented by the state has failed.” Even in the Netherlands, considered the most liberal and liberal, its deputy prime minister announced this summer that he would “change the multicultural policy”, arguing that “too much recognition of the freedom of different cultural societies will lead to mutual alienation and indifference.” These official policy announcements with a clear attitude have objectively inspired the extreme xenophobic and far-right forces that originally existed in society. They take a more hostile attitude towards local immigrants, especially Muslim immigrants, and despise and demonize white people with their superiority. They wantonly spread racist rhetoric. Especially in the case of the financial crisis and economic downturn, they even use immigrants as scapegoats, accusing these immigrants of taking their jobs and enjoying their social welfare, but unwilling to follow the mainstream social values ​​and lifestyles. .
  The resurgence of narrow nationalism in European society has been attacked by many people of insight. They believe that: in order to maintain social development, Europe must coexist well with immigrants; European exclusivity and nationalism once led to the tragedies of the last century, and only after the Second World War did they develop on the basis of reflection on this. The lessons of history should be remembered; the diversity of European cultures is a historical necessity, and there is no reason to assert that attempts at “multiculturalism” have failed.
  4. Where will
  Europe ‘s “multiculturalism” go in the future? This is not a small problem, it is related to the future economic and social development of Europe, and whether the region can maintain harmony and stability.
  First of all, regarding the “Islamization” of Europe, there is a lot of hype in European society now, and there is even anxiety about it. But some non-European scholars think this is too exaggerated and exaggerated. But in any case, with the passage of time, due to the high birth rate and other reasons, the Muslim population will continue to grow, and the proportion will become larger and larger. I am afraid it is a general trend, which is unavoidable and difficult to change. This should be viewed with common sense.
  Second, the vast number of immigrants, including the Muslim population, will continue to contribute to the development of Europe. They are engaged in many unskilled or less skilled jobs, and the locals are generally reluctant to get involved. Some people even say that without them doing sanitation Without them as cashiers, supermarkets would be closed; without them as security guards, many places would be in chaos. Moreover, their traditional culture and way of life will continue to enrich the original European culture. For example, the annual Notting Hill Carnival in the United Kingdom is a grand event that focuses on immigrants from the Caribbean region and showcases the unique culture of the region. It attracts thousands of tourists every time. And it is beneficial to promote local tourism.
  Third, many governments in Europe will further evaluate and adjust existing policies on immigration. This includes tightening immigration policies. For example, the UK requires immigrants to make “contributions” in the economy: stipulating that if you invest £10 million in the UK, you will get permanent residency after two years; if you invest £5 million, you will get permanent residency after three years. . At the same time, there are stricter language requirements for new immigrants. Then there is the requirement for immigrants to integrate into the local society. In Germany, immigrant children are required to take religious courses (Christianity) as much as possible at school. In the UK, all immigrants are required to speak English in public, and all schools, including immigrant schools, must teach students British culture. Of course, some overly coercive measures have also caused dissatisfaction and backlash. For example, in France, Muslim women are not allowed to wear the burqa, Jewish men are not allowed to wear large crosses and Yamok hats, and what is more, the practice of driving gypsies on the grounds of security has been widely criticized.
  In short, Europe’s “multiculturalism” is at a crossroads and faces a severe test. If you don’t handle it well, something will happen. In the final analysis, it is a question of how to straighten out the relationship between different ethnic groups and religions. It is said that all ethnic groups are equal, and the harmony of ethnic relations is an important basis for social harmony. Religion is an important carrier of human civilization, and different religions should respect each other. The “Clash of Civilizations” proposed by American Samuel Huntington is unreasonable. Although different civilizations are different, they can coexist harmoniously, perfect and develop through exchange and integration. The key is to reject prejudice and discrimination. The West has always been accustomed to presenting the face of a teacher to the Chinese. In fact, there are many aspects of us, including dealing with ethnicity and religion, which are worth pondering and learning from.