Tue, May 17, 2011 | Rubin Reports | By Barry Rubin
Belgium: Half of All Muslim Immigrant Children Are Antisemitic
The Flemish-language newspaper De Morgen (link only in Flemish) has a major article about a survey of Muslim students in Brussels high schools. The professor who conducted the survey concludes that half “can be described as antisemitic which is a very high rate.’’ Five times higher, in fact, then among Flemish-speaking Belgians, who historically have been relatively anti-Jewish.
Incidentally, what was being measured here was not antagonism toward Israel but traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes. No doubt, the former attitude is even stronger.
The anti-Jewish sentiments among Muslims don’t vary depending on education level or living standards. Obviously, they aren’t getting it from Belgian society.
“The antisemitism is theologically inspired,” says the sociologist, Professor Mark Elchardus. “There is a direct link between being Muslim and antisemitic feelings. Catholics, too, are negative toward Jews too, but their sentiments are by far less strong.’’
I think the following points are reasonable to assume:
— These students don’t learn anything in school that is going to change their minds. Note that these are overwhelmingly people born in Europe and are native-speakers of the local language.
— Regarding the local media, given the hostility to Israel it is probable that antisemitic stereotypes and feelings will be reinforced rather than diminished.
— It seems reasonable to assume that this statistic basically applies to other European countries.
— Hostility to Jews is likely to climb as this sector of the population grows. It is estimated that about six percent of Belgians today are Muslims, climbing to ten percent in 2030. However, the fact that these people are disproportionately living in big cities increases their influence on the society.
— Even though only a small proportion of Muslim immigrants will engage in anti-Jewish violence, the level will increase sharply. So will discrimination plus other activities against Jews grow as these attitudes influence other parts of society or, which amounts to the same thing, non-Muslim institutions try to appease that sector of the population.
— Pretending that this problem doesn’t exist and that only neo-fascist white skinheads exhibit antisemitism is not going to help deal with this issue.
— I’ll bet that antisemitism and not Islamophobia is actually Europe’s number one “hate” problem but very few politicians or leaders are going to say that.
About the author,
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/ His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is http://www.gloria-center.org. His PajamaMedia columns are mirrored and other articles available at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/.