European Muslim Antisemitism: Why Young Urban Males Say They Don't Like Jews

European Muslim Antisemitism: Why Young Urban Males Say They Don't Like Jews

European Muslim Antisemitism: Why Young Urban Males Say They Don't Like Jews

European Muslim Antisemitism: Why Young Urban Males Say They Don't Like Jews

Synopsis

Antisemitism from Muslims has become a serious issue in Western Europe, although not often acknowledged as such. Looking for insights into the views and rationales of young Muslims toward Jews, Günther Jikeli and his colleagues interviewed 117 ordinary Muslim men in London (chiefly of South Asian background), Paris (chiefly North African), and Berlin (chiefly Turkish). The researchers sought information about stereotypes of Jews, arguments used to support hostility toward Jews, the role played by the Middle East conflict and Islamist ideology in perceptions of Jews, the possible sources of antisemitic views, and, by contrast, what would motivate Muslims to actively oppose antisemitism. They also learned how the men perceive discrimination and exclusion as well as their own national identification. This study is rich in qualitative data that will mark a significant step along the path toward a better understanding of contemporary antisemitism in Europe.

Excerpt

Antisemitism in Europe has increased dramatically since the beginning of the twenty-first century. Antisemitic parties, although still a minority, are now members of the European Parliament and some national parliaments. Antisemitic stereotypes meet with high approval rates in surveys, and in some countries the majority of the population shares these views. Antisemitic acts have increased and become radicalized; violence has become more frequent and many Jews in Europe feel under threat. in recent years, the most violent antisemitic acts have been committed by individuals of Muslim background. However, little is known about their views of Jews and why many have negative views of Jews.

In 2004 and 2005, I was involved in educational projects in Berlin, Germany, that aimed to combat antisemitic attitudes. We worked with students from different backgrounds, including many Muslims. Young Muslims were not the only students who exhibited worrisome antisemitic attitudes, but my colleagues and I knew the least about both their views of Jews and their rationales and motives. I was professionally interested in the kinds of tropes young Muslims use so that we would be able to work on them with the students. I participated in meetings with other educators from across the country – and even from other European countries – to learn from their experiences. Many educators have come to deal with antisemitism among Muslim students. in these years I emerged as one of the few “experts” on antisemitism among young Muslims and was invited to inform German president Horst Köhler on that matter before his first official trip to Israel.

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