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Why is 'integration' necessary?

Last update - Thursday, May 6, 2010, 13:28 By Qasim Afridi

What do you understand by the term ‘integration’? Some people state that integration does not equal assimilation. Well, we at Glór Moslamach would like to ask: if it’s not assimilation, then what is it? After all, a lot of people are going around saying this word without clearly defining what they mean by it.

Ireland has always welcomed immigrants from many countries and people from many nations have found it relatively easy to settle here. So what has changed? Why is there a need to use the word ‘integration’ so often now? Is it identity confusion? Should immigrants disconnect themselves from their roots and adopt a new identity? We have always wondered about these questions.
And what is an Irish or European version of Islam? Is it about Muslims in this country not bothering about other Muslims being bombed in Pakistan or Afghanistan, or being tortured in Uzbekistan or Iraq? Does one even have to be a Muslim to feel upset when they come to know about such incidents?
Is it that Muslims in Ireland should celebrate their festivals separate from the global Ummah? Are we allowed to criticise the rulers over Muslim lands, demanding them to stop their evil ways and live with the justice of Islam? Can we not criticise the politicians of this country and abstain from voting for any of them because we are not willing to give them the right to legislate on our behalf?
These are questions that go far beyond the stereotypes of an integrated Muslim as the one who drinks alcohol, because we know many Irish and non-Muslims who are also teetotalers.
We think that it’s always good to generate debate in general, so we would be happy to receive your comments about our columns. Please write to us with your questions and comments and we shall be happy to reply.

Qasim Afridi is a  member of the think tank Glór Mos-lamach

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