An anthropology of Muslims in Europe - A modest attempt by Martijn

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Archive of posts published in the specified Month

Radicalization Series V: Freedom Fighters, Conflict and Culture Talk

It is important I think to see how Breilvik’s ideas (but not his actions) not only are derived from bloggers and politicians but also who they resonate with and are grounded on a grassroots everyday level. I also think the Netherlands can give some clues to that and is relevant here since Breivik partly derived his inspiration from Wilders’ Freedom Party ideology. In this blog therefore I will present some material of the Dutch section of the Ethnobarometer research in which we held focus group discussions on issues of security and culture after 9/11, the murder of Van Gogh and the French riots and Muhammad Cartoons. It shows how people struggle with tolerance on the one hand (seen as an important part of Dutch identity) and fear of Islamization and Muslims on the other hand expressed by different modalities of culture talk. While in the case of Bawer, Breilvik and Wilders the presence of Islam and Muslims are seen as the cause of conflict and by definition leading to conflicts, the Ethnobarometer research also revealed mechanisms that can de-escalate conflicts.

Cultural Identity and Human Security in Europe

In this chapter of A world of insecurity: Anthropological perspectives on human security edited by Thomas Hylland Eriksen and Ellen Bal, we (your blogger, Edien Bartels, Oscar Salemink and Kim Knibbe) take up the discussion of cultural identity as a dimension of security. We show how minority identities may enhance the internal sense of security in the group, but may lead to anxieties and (subjectively experienced) insecurity in greater society. Both majorities and minorities are inclined to feel insecure about their belonging and sense of identification in contemporary Western European societies.

Belief and Violence: Anders Breivik and Wilders' Freedom Party

Is there a link between Anders Breivik shooting spree in Norway and Wilders’ ideology? There is of course no direct link between ideology and violent action, not even when the ideology condones, supports or even calls for violence which is not the case in Wilders’ Freedom Party ideology. It just doesn’t work like that. Nevertheless, as far as we can tell now, we should also not treat violence as something that is completely inseparable from ideology; ideology can legitimize violence and can give meaning to it and can give a particular direction.

Niqab en de morele ambities van de PVV

Fractie-medewerker van de PVV Sam van Rooij plaatste de volgende video onder de kop ‘Scheveningen anno 2011: kiemen van achterlijkheid’ op YouTube. Hij zette het filmpje eveneens op zijn Facebookpagina en noemde dames daar ‘tuig’. Er is al veel over te zeggen, maar hier twee zaken. Komen de dames eigenlijk wel uit Nederland? En, waarom valt Van Rooy de dames lastig als hij ze eigenlijk toch wil bevrijden? Het antwoord zit ‘m in de morele ambities van de PVV. Deze zijn zo sterk dat ze de veiligheid van gesluierde vrouwen kunnen bedreigen.

Srebrenica – Neither Here Nor There

The film ‘Neither Here Nor There’ is a portrayal of the struggles of the Selimovic family from Srebrenica, Bosnia, who resettled in Missouri after the worst single act of genocide in Europe since the end of World War II. The film traces the difficulties refugees have starting over in America, and how ties to the past remain an important, unbreakable part of their lives, especially for war refugees.

Campus Watch, but better – Freedom Party and politics of obstruction

On 20 & 21 June the Maurits Berger, professor of Islam in the contemporary West, was the convenor of a conference ‘Applying Sharia in the West, where participants discussed the (im)possibilities of implementing Islamic rules (‘Sharia’) in Western societies, with a focus on rules pertaining to family relations. Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party seized the opportunity to ask questions in parliament. Some of these questions based upon faulty assumptions and others were unclear as to what they were actually about, unless read as an accusation that the central questions of the conference were a ‘sign of progressive Islamization in education. In this blog article Maurits Berger reflects on the controversy arguing that the PVV uses a method that is as effective as it is perverse in using lies and distortions that eventually leads to an all pervasive self-censorship among academics.

New Book: Local Battles- Global Stakes

Together with my colleague Edien Bartels I have written a chapter called Submission and a Ritual Murder; The transnational aspects of a local conflict and protest in a volume edited by my colleagues of VU University Amsterdam: Ton Salman and Marjo de Theije. In this volume Local Battles, Global Stakes. The Globalization of Local Conflicts and the Localization of Global Interests the authors challenge the often held assumption with regard to conflicts around the world that ‘the local’ and ‘the global’ are clearly distinct realms.

Voorbij de vrijheid van meningsuiting van Wilders

Een rechtszaak als die tegen Wilders is te zien als een soort van ritueel; verschillende spelers nemen deel aan een juridische dans die een bepaalde gestandardiseerde vorm kent met voortdurende herhalingen en die een soort integratieve functie heeft. Complexe conflicten worden geritualiseerd: in een rechtszaak tot een oplossing gebracht waar alle partijen zich bij neer dienen te leggen. Het proces was niet noodzakelijkerwijze een slecht idee en kent wel degelijk positieve integratieve kanten. Niettemin kunnen we ons afvragen of strafrecht wel de beste bescherming is van minderheden tegen haatspraak van meerderheden. Kunnen we ons niet beter toeleggen op het verbeteren van de politieke participatie van minderheden?


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