Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Feminist? Moi?

For the second consecutive time, a post of mine has appeared as part of the Carnival of Feminists! Hooray for me! But it is also a little befuddling, considering I can't remember the last time my blogging appeared on the History Carnival. (I swear: I am an historian!)

The Carnival of Feminists had developed quickly. The current edition is a wealth of fine writing, all of which I am in awe. One post should be read with great care. It is an interview with Muslim German intellectual Serap Cileli, who works on issues related to Turkish women in German, at Redemption Blues. Cileli touches on many issues, as well as personal experiences, but I want to note that she touches on how Germans misuse the discourse on the conditions of Turkish women (which I addressed a few weeks ago in this post). Although she talks mostly about women's issues, Cileli's analysis reveals insights into the reason behind 'cultural isolation', and she has strong ideas about why and how Muslims should integrate:
This multicultural idyll, as it were, is a mere pretext for violating human as well as women’s rights, an excuse for looking away, for not wanting to face up to the realities for reasons of convenience ... It is precisely this feeling, precisely this manner of upbringing here in Germany that has made the suffering of these women possible because people didn’t want to confront what was going on, it was ascribed to such and such a tradition, to their culture. The reaction was a desperate effort to accept the alien elements of other cultures, of other traditions just as they were, without questioning them and without criticising them. It was out of bounds, taboo. For years on end it was taboo ...

[Click here to read more of the quote]

I also ask myself, did it really have to take the murder of six women one after the other in the name of honour in the space of five months before German public opinion, German politicians stood up, showed the courage of their convictions and decided to do something about tackling the problem, to say these people live here, they are not just guests any more and each and every one of us, hand in hand, has to help these people and we also have to tell these people, in a spirit of frankness, that we have equal rights here, sharia laws do not apply and we cannot allow them in Germany, nor can we allow parallel worlds, parallel societies, parallel ways of thinking to be created here in Germany or here in Europe for that matter ...

... On the German side there has been a failure in putting forward integration measures, to include these people, to put activities on offer to young people born here either during school hours or in their free time. On the Turkish side, the German-Turkish community has not set up any lobbies here in Germany. There are around 1,600 clubs and organisations in Germany, of which about 800 are Turkish religious associations. The Turkish citizens in Germany have preferred to set up religious associations instead of founding clubs and the like for the next generation. They have not created a body to represent the interests of their own young people. What I have observed is that the lack of integration measures, be it on the German or the Turkish side, has led to Islamists stepping in and taking over these tasks. The fundamentalists have stepped into the breach and the mosques are now offering German courses. German courses for Muslims ...

[The parallel society] certainly does [exist]. There are various reasons behind it. Of course, the main reason, I have to say, is financial. People with no professional qualifications are forced to live in these areas, renting accommodation there. They can’t afford better. Unemployment is rife amongst the Turkish immigrant population in Germany. They don’t have any professional qualifications, the vast majority of the women are housewives and if their social and financial level is not sufficient they are forced to move into this council housing. Given that the majority, by which I mean the Turkish immigrants, have been affected by this, this is how the ghettoes came into being. I hear from a lot of Turkish people who live in these parallel worlds, these ghettoes, that they want to move out because they too want to offer their children a future, they want their children to get out, but it is simply beyond their financial wherewithal, they cannot afford to rent expensive flats ...

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