Xenophobia in Europe

Swiss Right Seeks Ban on Minarets

Bardsley talks about xenophobic anti-immigration feelings in Switzerland, with relation to the recent attempt to ban minarets within the country.  The movement is sponsored by the right wing leaning Swiss People’s Party, and the related petition has been signed by over 114,000 citizens.  The reasoning behind the movement is the belief that minarets represent a desire of the Muslim community to live under a separate legal system from the rest of the nation.  The petition does not wish to destroy the three minarets already in existence, but to ban the construction of any more.

Bardsley, Daniel.  “Swiss Right Seeks Ban on Minaret.” The National Newspaper. http://www.thenational.ae/article/20080707/FOREIGN/321250465/1120 (accessed July 14, 2008).


Burqa and Citizenship

Zakaria reports on a recent case in France where a 32-year-old Algerian woman was denied citizenship because she wore a burqa. The courts claimed that this act showed a failure to integrate.  The media reported the story as a denial of sexist traditions, and praised the courts for refusing to allow the oppression of women.  This is the first time a woman has been denied citizenship in France based on “insufficient assimilation”, and creates a legal foundation for future cases.  Zakaria explains France’s xenophobia as a struggle to protect the country’s identity in the face of increasing immigration.

Zakaria, Rafia. “Burqa and Citizenship.” AltMuslim.com. http://www.altmuslim.com/a/a/a/2771 (accessed July 23, 2008).


The Integration Dilemma

This article compares the differing reactions to Germany’s two consecutive “integration summits”.  The 2006 summit was met with wide approval, especially from immigrants, due to the effort put into helping new citizens assimilate.  The 2007 summit however, was boycotted by several migrant groups, including four that were Turkish.  This reaction was brought on by Germany’s new immigration policy, which makes it much more difficult for immigrants to become citizens by requiring language tests and the acquisition jobs.  The Turkish community in particular saw the new policy as directed towards keeping foreigners out of Germany.

The Economist. “Minorities in Germany: The Integration Dilemma.” The Economist. http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_JVTGSND (accessed June 20, 2008).


EU States Back Plan to Stem Illegal Migration

The article describes the plan for a new EU immigration policy, which was proposed by France and has so far met approval from the other European states.  This policy would allow for more legal immigration, emphasizing the inclusion of “highly skilled workers”.  However, the policy will be much stricter on illegal immigration by allowing for up to 18 months in jail, and keeping deported immigrants from re-entering the country for up to 5 years.  While most countries have supported the plan, not all support the plan in its entirety.  Sweden wishes for an even more open immigration policy, and Spain is concerned about the reaction of other Latin American countries.

Reuters. “EU States Back French Plan to Stem Illegal Migration.” AsiaOne. http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/World/Story/A1Story20080708-75244.html (accessed July 8, 2008).


Mercosur Rechaza la “Xenofobia” de la UE

Seitz describes the Latin American reaction to the EU’s new immigration policy.  He reports on the Mercosur bi-annual summit, which spent time discussing possible responses to the policy.  By the end of the summit, they all agreed on an emphatic rejection of the new policy.  In contrast to the new European policy, the South American leaders announced that the Mercosur will permit traveling within their countries without passports.  The most radical response among the leaders present belonged to Venezuela’s Chavez, who threatened to cut the supply of petroleum to Europe if the new policy went into affect.

BBC Mundo.  “Mercosur Rechaza la ‘Xenofobia’ de la UE.”  Terra. http://www.ec.terra.com/noticias/bbc/interna/0,,OI2981565-EI10781,00.html (accessed July 17, 2008).