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A Collection of Texts from the ECPM Congress

Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Europe

30 November 2 December 2005, Leuven (Belgium) Edited by Silviu E. Rogobete and Andrew Otchie

Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Europe

A Collection of Texts from the 1st ECPM Congress
30 November 2 December 2005, Leuven (Belgium)

Edited by Silviu E. Rogobete Andrew Otchie

Foreword............................................................................................................................ 5 1. Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Europe .................................................................. 9

Tove Videbaek .........................................................................................................................9

1.1. Defining diversity and Europe..................................................................................9 1.1.1. Diversity ......................................................................................................................9 1.1.2. Europe .........................................................................................................................9 1.2. The Recent Situation in Europe Regarding Ethnic and Religious Diversity...............11 1.3. The Future .......................................................................................................................13 1.4. The Role of Christianity and Christians ........................................................................15

2. Some Reflections on Religion and Multiculturalism in Romania: Towards a Reappraisal of the Grammar of Traditions.................................................................. 17
Silviu E. Rogobete..................................................................................................................17

2.1. Preliminary Clarifications ..............................................................................................17 2.2. Religion in Eastern Europe: Against the Prophecies ....................................................17 2.3. Between Feudalism and (Post)Modernity......................................................................20

Predominance of National/majority religion ......................................................................20 State Control and Manipulation of Religious/ethnic Groups; Legal Issues .........................20 Data on Questions of Neighbouring; EU and the Changing Face of Neighbouring ............22 European Union: Challenges and the Limits of Multiculturalism in Romania.....................23 Traditions as Strong Identity Markers ................................................................................24 Future vs. Past Orientation of Tradition,............................................................................29 Preservation vs. Proclamation of Tradition........................................................................29 Religion, the Politics of Identity, and the Question of the Other..........................................30

2.4. Traditions: Pitfalls or Potentialities? .............................................................................24 2.5. For a Reappraisal of the Christian Tradition in Multicultural Contexts....................28

2.6. Conclusion........................................................................................................................31

3. Economic Integration of Migrants in Europe .......................................................... 32

Ram Gidoomal CBE ...............................................................................................................32

3.1. Dialogue Must Be Informed............................................................................................34

Ignorance...........................................................................................................................34 Prejudice ...........................................................................................................................35 Fear ...................................................................................................................................35 Insensitivity........................................................................................................................35 Over-simplification ............................................................................................................35 We need to re-examine our vehicles of dialogue .................................................................36 We need to re-examine the structures of dialogue...............................................................37

3.2. Dialogue Must Be Real ....................................................................................................36

3.3. Citizenship and Rights, Integration and Inclusion........................................................37 3.4. The Business Dividend ....................................................................................................39 3.5. A Tale of Two Cities ........................................................................................................39 3.6. Which Values? .................................................................................................................40 3.7. Six Principles of Christian Democracy ..........................................................................40

3.8. The Challenge How To?...............................................................................................41

4. Minority Policy Switzerland as an Example ......................................................... 42

Joel Blunier ............................................................................................................................42

4.1. Introduction .....................................................................................................................42 4.2. Definition of Minority .....................................................................................................42 4.3. Background and History of Switzerland........................................................................43

Background........................................................................................................................43 The political party system...................................................................................................43 Switzerlands history..........................................................................................................43

4.4. Minority Policy in Switzerland.......................................................................................45 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Language promotion......................................................................................................45 Federalism ......................................................................................................................45 Direct democracy ...........................................................................................................46 Council of States ............................................................................................................47 Majority of the States (Stndemehr) ........................................................................47 Consultation Procedure.................................................................................................48 Balance............................................................................................................................48 Guarantees .....................................................................................................................48 Autonomy .......................................................................................................................48 Power-sharing............................................................................................................49 Participation ..............................................................................................................49

4.5. Characteristics of National Minority Policy ..................................................................48

4.6. Ending ..............................................................................................................................49

5. Religious Tolerance on a Christian Basis ................................................................. 51

John van Eck ..........................................................................................................................51

5.1. The Values of the Enlightenment ...................................................................................51 5.2. Tolerance..........................................................................................................................53 5.3. The Truth of the Gospel..................................................................................................53 5.4. Tolerance on a Christian Basis .......................................................................................55

6. Answering Extreme-Right.......................................................................................... 57
Manuel Lub ............................................................................................................................57

6.1. Introduction .....................................................................................................................57 6.2. Extreme-Rightist Movements in Europe ......................................................................57 6.3. Further Analysis of the Extreme-rightist Movement....................................................59

Common ideological foundations .......................................................................................59 Profile of the electorate of extreme-right............................................................................61

6.4. Integration and Cultural Uniqueness?...........................................................................61 6.5. Final Reflections ..............................................................................................................62 6.6. Proposed Theses to Discuss in Your Country, City, Movement or Party....................64

Possible theses: our attitude toward extreme-rightist movements .......................................64 Possible theses: integration and cultural uniqueness..........................................................64

Discussion points you can use if you discuss this issue in your party ..................................64 Andr Rouvoet .......................................................................................................................66

7. Islam and Christian Politics....................................................................................... 66

7.1. Introduction .....................................................................................................................66 7.2. Islam in the Netherlands .................................................................................................66 7.3. A Christian Approach? ...................................................................................................67 7.4. Church and State.............................................................................................................67 7.5. Key-role of the Church....................................................................................................68 7.6. Theocracy.........................................................................................................................68 7.7. Freedom of Religion ........................................................................................................69 7.8. Christian Politics and Islam............................................................................................69 7.9. Separation of Faith and Politics?....................................................................................70

8. Young People and Ethnic & Religious Diversity in Europe ................................... 72

Andrew Otchie .......................................................................................................................72

8.1. The London 7/7 Bombings ..............................................................................................72 8.2. Riots in France.................................................................................................................73 8.3. Models of Integration ......................................................................................................74 8.4. Secularism ........................................................................................................................74 8.5. Is a Christian Perspective Possible? ...............................................................................74 8.6. What Can the Policies Be? ..............................................................................................75 8.7. Looking into the future ...................................................................................................75

Annex 1: Resolution on Ethnic and Religious Diversity ................................................ 77

Adopted at the 1st ECPM Congress in Leuven, 2 December 2005

Although the European project of modernity banned religion from public life, its return today is an obvious reality even for the most religiously-sceptical observer. The Enlightenments prophecies of the rational emancipation of man which would entirely eradicate religion are proved to be wrong by recent events. Religion in Europe is not and can not be a mere matter of private life. When taken seriously, religion inevitably becomes a public matter. And this is true both at individual and at collective, socio-political levels. At an individual level those who believe that a religion, a certain form of spirituality is true and valid for their own identity will automatically have their public behaviour shaped by such fundamental values. In a larger, sociological sense, those who share the same system of religious values and beliefs inevitably come together in communities pursuing similar goals and promoting similar ideas. Religious traditions always develop common views of what is right and just. Thus, with the return of religion in public life, a new set of questions arises: what is the role and the place of the Christian religion for contemporary Europe? Are there specific answers within the Christian faith for such pressing issues as coping with religious, national and/or cultural diversity? Can Christians offer relevant views on economic integration, minority groups, religious tolerance, and contemporary forms of extremism? The collection of texts put together in this work attempts to answer such questions. In fact, this volume reproduces the main contributions presented at the first Congress of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) held in Leuven (Belgium) from the 30th of November to the 2nd of December 2005. ECPM was established in 2002, when representatives of political parties from more than fifteen countries decided to examine new possibilities for Christian politics in Europe at the conference "For a Christian Europe" held in Lakitelek, Hungary. Officially registered in 2005 under Dutch legislation, ECPM is a growing political association of national Christian Democratic parties and organizations which are active at all different political levels in Europe. Its explicit goal is to reflect and work on the implications of the Christian thought for politics and social issues in Europe. Acknowledging the crucial role played by traditional Christian-democracy in the make up of modern Europe, ECPM considers that stronger emphasis should be placed again on the reflection on and the application of Christian thought in todays politics. Thus the ECPMs goal is to build and reflect on Christian-democracy in Europe and its implications at all political levels from an explicitly Christian theological and social point of view. Hence, the guiding reality that informs the ways in which ECPM members are encouraged to deal with political, social, economical issues is that as human beings we are inextricably related to God, to other human beings and to the whole creation around us. Such a perspective on the sacred character of humanity, far from being a hindrance to the process of building a fair and democratic society, it in fact provides the foundations on which such a society can be built. This, we hope, shall become obvious by going through each of the various contributions to this volume. Working under the overarching theme of diversity and ethnicity in Europe, the contributors brought into discussion their own specialised fields of expertise, yet always informed by their Christian values and perspectives. Tove Videbaek offers a realistic overall view on ethnicity and religious diversity in Europe, reminding us both that the issue is not at all a new one, since migrations have taken place during most of the centuries in Europe; and that only until very recently, for most of our history we have been fighting each other, killing each other,

suppressing each other, wanting to take the land and power from each other. Only recently did we manage to build a fellowship in Europe, where within the existing diversity it is possible to discuss and debate with each other instead of killing each other. Nevertheless, rightly identifying that at the heart of the overall topic of the conference (hence of the present volume too) lays the question whether today people belonging to majorities treat the people belonging to minorities fair? she answers: unfortunately, if we are honest, and we want to be that, we must answer no to this question. Such an honest answer in fact prepares the background for the other contributions dealing with more specific issues such us economic integration of migrants in Europe (Ram Gidoomal), minority policies in Switzerland (Joel Blunier) or religious tolerance and Islam (Johan van Eck and Andr Rouvoet). As a paradigmatic example of how the Christian foundations informed Videbaeks contribution, we shall note that following a brief but thorough assessment of the legal framework available at the various levels of the European institutions for dealing with minority issues, she presents us with a full section on the role of Christianity and Christians. Quoting the Archbishop of Canterbury, she notes that Christianity is able to welcome the stranger, including the Muslim stranger in its midst, as a partner in the work of proper liberalism, the continuing argument about common good and just governance. And continuing in her words, she summons us to go forward, to be at the front. We must show how to lover our neighbour, how to take care of the foreigner. In many Churches Christians are doing a lot. It would be fruitful to collect a lot of the best practices so that we may learn from each other. My own article is intended both to inform about the different context of postcommunist orthodox countries (particularly Romania), and to offer a realistic assessment of the potential the Christian tradition has in providing a new framework for multicultural/multiethnic cohabitation. Aware that religion can create community and it can divide communities, it can lead to searing self-criticism, and it can promote a pompous selfsatisfaction. It can encourage dissent and conformity, generosity and narrow-mindedness. Therefore, as it will be hopefully obvious from my text, I argue for the need of a significant change of our predominant views both on national/religious (Orthodox) identity rigidly understood in a ritualistic, essentialist way and on the way we perceive and interpret the core tenants of the Christian faith and tradition. My plea is for a fresh re-reading of the Christian tradition, as a religion of Love and Neighbourliness, oriented towards the future and the other rather than the past and the self, inspired by eschatological hope rather than blind, rigid allegiance to a code of fixed dogma. Ram Gidoomal, a successful entrepreneur of Indian origin living in the UK, directly involved in politics (run for Londons Mayor office) and also a practicing Christian, offers us an excellent lesson on economic integration of migrants from inside. Following a balanced presentation of the current ambiguous position on contemporary multiculturalism in UK, Gidoomal argues for dialogue and open debate. However, dialogue must be informed, i.e. it must avoid ignorance, prejudice, fear, insensitivity, over-simplification. Dialogue also must be real. This may often mean being costly, maybe forcing us to be moving right out of our comfort zone, but if dialogue is going to be sustained, we cant avoid them. Moreover, we need to re-examine our vehicles of dialogue and the structures of dialogue. And these lead him to the core of his topic. Talking about two cities, two parallel worlds in each of our major western capital cities: the Asian and ethnic economy and the mainstream economy, Gidoomal argues for a new system of values that would

alleviate such discrepancies. Such values can be extracted from what he counts as Six Principles of Christian Democracy. Joel Blunier brings to our attention the creative and largely positive example of dealing with minorities in Switzerland. Besides a clear set of well known facts about Switzerland (like a perfect place for winter-holidays, excellent cheese and chocolate, nearly perfect banking systems etc), Blunier brings into light other interesting facts about his homeland. Most notably perhaps is the fact that Switzerland has no historically grown identity. [The] country only grew together as a nation because of the integration of different minorities. Thus Switzerland is fit to be offered as a successful model of cohabitation and integration of diversity and multiculturalism. Following an interesting and rather detailed presentation of the history of the land, the author presents what he considers to be some of the key elements contributing to such success: language promotion, federalism, direct democracy, council of states, consultation procedures, power sharing etc. Most of these elements he considers to be Biblically based. Asked to lead a workshop on Islam, John van Eck decided to deal with the difficult topic or tolerance from a Christian perspective. Albeit somehow surprisingly, his starting point for a possible way to find common ground with people of other faiths living in Europe, he argues, can be found in the values resulted from the European Enlightenment. Aware of its limitations, he still wants to argue that such values like tolerance appeal to common sense, create an atmosphere in which people of different religions or ideologies can live together, guarantees equal rights to all people. If rational enlightenment provides the roof under which different people can meet, tolerance today seems to be fading away. This is because The values of the Enlightenment form the roof under which we meet each other but they cannot fulfil our need for truth. The answer for van Eck rests in honesty about ones beliefs and a proper appropriation of the core message of the Christian gospel for those who claim to have it as their foundational reality. In his own words: The Gospel preaches a love thats fully disinterested, a love that gives without asking, that waits until its freely answered. Therefore, I think, one can make it the basis of ones politics without being afraid of deterring non-believers. Along somehow similar lines, Manuel Lub contributes to this volume with a paper answering extreme-right. Thus the main question he addresses is how we as political and social organisations with a Christian vision, could answer the rising and presence of extreme-right movements in Europe. Following a succinct presentation of the geographical distribution of extreme-right movements all over Europe, Lub continues with a more detailed analysis of such movements. Concluding that such movements although desire to establish a monocultural society, a Europe exclusively linked to the Christian culture they in fact do not offer Christian inspired answers to societal problems but they are rather based on a blood and soil principle, excluding everything that does not fit within this framework. His own contribution consists in proposing a series of thesis to be further discussed on the role Christianity can play in counter-acting contemporary extreme-right movements. Andrew Otchie looks in his contribution at the question of youth and ethnic/religious diversity in Europe. Putting in the mirror two very concrete recent dramatic events: the 7/7 bombing in London and the riots in France, he goes on to offer a brief analysis of the two states models dealing with such issues: modern British multiculturalism and the French republican based colour-blind approach. However, from his perspective it is a secular

approach that it is the greatest difficulty to ethnic and religious diversity and it has already proved to be a disaster in Europe. His conclusion to this is that secularism, while giving the outward approach of reasonableness and humanity, actually does not understand the human condition except in narrow, nationalistic or hedonistic terms which have led to misery. Thus, a Christian perspective leading to the defence of Christianity and social responsibility can provide a way out this crisis. The seventh contribution for this volume raises perhaps some of the most important issues related to the question of Christianity and politics, Christian faith and being involved in politics, the role of the church, the question of theocracy, freedom of religion, Islam and the separation of faith and politics. Andrew Rouvoet, the President of the Dutch ChristienUnie party and an MP, argues from an overtly Christian perspective. Theocracy for Rouvoet is only valid at a personal, individual level: let me state very clearly that a Christian is a theocrat by definition. And this must be reflected in all aspects of his life: in his family, in church, in his work and in politics. However, theocracy does not imply an alternative form of state or government, to some other form of government, such as democracy. The state should stay neutral: it should give all religions equal protection. It is therefore not our concession but our Christian confession that should motivate us to create space for other religions, but never giving up the claim for truth. In conclusion, the separation of Church and state is [art and parcel of the Christian political thinking, while the separation of faith and politics is an impossibility and nothing more than an attempt to pf secular humanism to ban God and religion from public domain. How such paradox can be worked out in practice remains to be decided by the readers who intend to take their faith and their allegiance to God in the public sphere of political life. But certainly this comment brings us right back where I started the introduction to this present volume: to the question of the return to and the relevance of religion for the public life in contemporary Europe. Without claiming exhaustive analysis or offering final answers, we hope that this work will encourage further reflection on the issues raised. Moreover, it is our hope that going thorough each of its chapters will be an enriching experience that would contribute to a better understanding of your personal religious life and of the ways in which your religiosity can play a constructive role in the shaping of the ever more complex European family. On behalf of the ECPM Board of Directors Silviu E. Rogobete Timisoara, 2006

1. Ethnic and Religious Diversity in Europe

Tove Videbaek Thank you for the invitation to speak at the ECPM Conference. Its a great honour for me. I am also really delighted because as a Christian politician from Denmark, representing the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) in Brussels, I fully endorse the purpose, statements and policy of the ECPM. Once upon a time this is the beginning of all the fairy tale stories by the Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen. And in this fairy tale country of Denmark up north, which is my home country, once upon a time the population was very homogenous. But during the late centuries and especially during the 20th century also this Nordic country became populated by people of various ethnic origins and religions. In many European countries the story or the history is slightly different, because in most countries in Europe diversity came centuries ago. But before I start commenting on that, I will say that I am not here as an expert, knowing very much about this area, having made surveys and having researched for years on the topic. I am not here to give you an academic lecture on this subject suggesting solutions to all the problems in the area. No, I am here as a Christian and a politician, as a representative of EEA, who is interested in how we are treating each other in Europe. How majority groups are treating minority groups. And what is being done to improve the way we are treating each other. So look at me as one of you, focusing on the situation, watching what is going on, focusing on what the EU has done and is planning to do to solve existing problems concerning ethnic and religious diversity in Europe. And lastly asking: do we as Christians have a special responsibility? 1.1. Defining diversity and Europe Before I do start focusing on ethnic and religious diversity in Europe though, I will try to define the words diversity and Europe, so that we know what we are talking about. 1.1.1. Diversity Diversity has become one of the most often used words of our time and a word almost never defined.1 Diversity is invoked in discussions of everything from employment policy to curriculum reform and from entertainment to politics. Diversity is used in so many different ways in so many different contexts that it seems to mean all things to all people. Well the word diversity may be difficult to define, but in Chambers Everyday Dictionary it says simply, that diversity is a state of being diverse; it is about difference; unlikeliest; variety. So what we are talking about today is actually and simply the Ethnic and Religious variety in Europe today. 1.1.2. Europe To define the word Europe we will have to retell some of the history of Europe. If we go way back we know that several migrations have taken place during most of the

Thomas Sowell. Cultural Diversity: A World View

centuries in Europe. During the 2nd to the 6th century many Germanic migrations took place. We also can read about the Huns coming from Asia and the Eastern and Western Goths. Around the year 370 the Western Goths went down through Greece, later through Yugoslavia and to Italy. Later on, to Spain where they founded a state, which in 712 was taken over by Arab conquerors. In 375 the Eastern Goths went through Balkan, through Greece, Yugoslavia and Italy down toward Venice and Ravenna. They conquered Italy in 488-493 and stayed there until 774. The Huns from Asia passed Danube and went through Yugoslavia up to France and Germany. After the year 400 they established themselves in Hungary and tried to invade Italy, but gave up. The Frankish migration during the 4th and 5th century from the Rhine area went to France, where the Franks established the later France and Germany. And there were many more peoples we could tell about. But let us conclude - that many centuries ago the peoples of Europe had many good fights with each other, wanting to have power and wanting to have land from each other. But also in later centuries the story went on: Henry Bogdan in his book, From Warsaw to Sofia tells about some of the later stories of migration, and he says that: During the Byzantine period and later at the height of the Ottoman Empire, small groups of Armenian settlers came to the Balkans from Turkey. Their descendants still live in communities that are vital and aware of their Armenian origins. In Bulgaria they number 55,000 and a smaller number is found in Romania. Particularly in the 17th century, other communities of Armenians preferred to take refuge in the Austrian Empire, where some settled in Transylvania and were completely assimilated by the local Hungarian population. And then the Gypsies: Before World War I, the Gypsies were present in all parts of Eastern Europe, particularly in the Balkan countries. Their numbers were noticeably diminished by forced deportations between 1942 and 1944, and a sad fact of which very little note is made, is the killing of 500,000 Gypsies in German concentration camps during the World War II. 200,000 Gypsies still live in Bulgaria and Romania, and over 100,000 live in other Balkan countries. Elsewhere they are far less numerous. The Gypsy population remains very unpopular in Eastern Europe for both traditionally racist and ideological reasons, despite governments efforts to settle and to integrate them into the population. And we must mention the Jews: Before 1939 the Jews made up a substantial percentage of the urban population in the Central and Eastern European countries. They were most numerous in Poland with a population of over 3 million, about 10% of the total population. Romania possessed a Jewish population of about 700,000 and Hungary of about 500,000. Jewish communities in other Eastern European nations were much smaller. Nazi persecutions practically annihilated the Jewish communities in Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia. The Hungarian Jews were spared until March 1944 and as a result nearly 250,000 survived the war. Along with approximately 200,000 Jews in Romania, today they make up the largest Jewish community in Eastern Europe. Since 1945 tens of thousands of Jews have emigrated to Israel and the US, further reducing the Jewish element of the population.2

Henry Bogdan and Isvan Fehervary. From Warsaw to Sofia. 1988


And so the history goes on and on about the peoples that actually in some way we could call the pioneers of the Europe we know today. I would like to conclude this part of my speech by quoting the Archbishop of Canterbury who recently visited Brussels. He said in his address that: What we mean by Europe culturally speaking tends to be the complex of civilizations and language groups brought into political relationship by two factors the great Germanic, Turkic and Slavonic migrations that destroyed the Roman Empire, and the emergence of new institutions that sought to salvage the legacy of that empire.3 And we may add also that many centuries ago and also during the century we just left, the peoples of Europe have been fighting each other, killing each other, suppressing each other, wanting to take land and power from each other. But now we have a fellowship in Europe, where within the existing diversity it is possible to discuss and debate with each other instead of killing each other. 1.2. The Recent Situation in Europe Regarding Ethnic and Religious Diversity Having done a small bit of defining diversity and Europe I would like us to take a look at Europes ethnic and religious diversity today. I shall not go into detailed statistics concerning different countries I will leave that to the experts. But because of the migrations during the centuries, the ones I have mentioned, and the many I have not mentioned, and because of the fact that many European countries during the 20th century invited thousands of guest workers or immigrants for a long list of reasons, there are large numbers of ethnic and religious minorities in Europe and a strong diversity. And when we look at facts about different countries of Europe we see that there are a certain percentage of different ethnic groups and different religious groups in every country. In Germany for instance we have 34% Catholics, 39% Lutherans, 3.9% Muslims and about 20% others. In France we have 81.4% Catholics, 6.9% Muslims, 1.6% protestants, 1.3% Jews and about 9% others. In Austria we have 74% Catholics, 5% protestants, 4% Muslims and about 17% others. And this is just a very small picture of the situation in a few countries. And then the one million dollar question, do the diverse ethnic and religious groups live peacefully together in Europe? Do people belonging to the majorities treat the people belonging to minorities fair? Actually for me this is the heart of the question or the topic we are looking at here today. Unfortunately if we are honest, and we want to be that, we must answer no to this question. In Denmark for instance we have a situation where people from other ethnic groups who have come to Denmark with a high education cannot get the jobs their education should give them the possibility to have -just because they are foreigners. They may be highly educated and may have been Mathematic professors, engineers, dentists and so on in their home countries. What do they do now in Denmark? They make pizzas, they drive cabs, and they sell vegetables and fruit in their small shops and so on. I usually say that in Denmark we have the most well educated pizza bakers and cab drivers in the world.

The Archbishop of Canterbury in his address at the EPC. Religion culture diversity and tolerance shaping the new Europe. 7th November, 2005 Brussels.


Sadly it is so. And this situation is very frustrating especially for the immigrants. This situation creates tension, and sadly recently we saw what this kind of situation may build up to. Lately we have seen violent attacks and murders in public in some countries, riots in France and the burning of houses for example. Within the EU the politicians and the employees are working with these problems, trying to solve them. Within the EU, the 25 member states have confirmed with each other that we want a Europe where everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This is guaranteed in several legal documents, most importantly in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The right to manifest these freedoms is limited and only restricted in order to protect the fundamental rights of others. In the preamble of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of December 7th 2000, it is stated that the European Union contributes to the preservation and the development of common values while respecting the diversity of the cultures and traditions of the peoples of Europe and the like. In the Treaty of the European Union of October 2nd 1997, signed in Amsterdam, Article 12 states that any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited and in Article 13 that there will action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age. We must say that the UN, the EP, the EC, OSCE and other institutions really have worked hard these latter years to solve the problems, to protect minorities, to fight discrimination and establish equal rights for everyone. Thus the European Parliament in May of this year made a report on the protection of minorities and anti-discrimination policies in an enlarged Europe. Within this report the Parliament is stating lots and lots of problems existing in the member states for example, note 25 says that the unemployment and poverty observed in recent years at the heart of European societies have given rise to a specific situation characterized by inequality and discrimination 4. This reminds us of the very serious riots in some areas of Paris and other larger cities of France recently. In this report also the European Parliament urges the Council, the Commission and the various levels of local, regional and national government in the member states to: Co-ordinate their measures to combat all forms of discrimination including antiSemitism, anti-Muslim or anti-Roma behaviour, Homophobia and Islamaphobia and attacks on minority groups, including, third-country nationals and stateless persons, in order to uphold the principles of tolerance and non-discrimination and to promote the social, economic and political integration of all those residing in the Union. Furthermore the Parliament urges member states to do their utmost to ensure the effective integration into education systems of the children of refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants. The report also states that the Parliament considers that traditional national minority communities have specific needs different from other minority groups, that public policies

Report on the protection of minorities and anti-discrimination policies in an enlarged Europe (2005/2008(INI)) page 9


should be more focused and that the Union itself must address these needs in a more appropriate way, as with enlargement there is now a significant number of such communities in the Union. In the same report we have almost a hundred suggestions from the Parliament to the Commission and the Council to improve the situation of the different Ethnic and religious minorities in Europe. For example it says that: The Parliament calls on the institutions of the European Union, the Member States, all European democratic political parties and civil society and associations belonging thereto to: condemn all acts and expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim behaviour, the revival of holocaust denial theories, the denial and trivialization of genocides, crimes against humanity and war crimes condemn all acts of violence motivated by religious or racial hatred or intolerance, including attacks on all religious places, sites and shrines, Condemn the fact that discrimination on religious and ethnic grounds continues at various levels, notwithstanding the important measures adopted by the European Union in application of Article 13 of the EC Treaty. In a framework strategy of June of this year from the European Commission to the Council, the Parliament, the Commission says that: The European Union is committed to the promotion of fundamental rights, nondiscrimination and equal opportunities for all. For many years the EU has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle discrimination and to promote equality between women and men. More recently it has taken action to protect people against discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. 5 These efforts have produced results, including the development of some of the most comprehensive and far-reaching anti-discrimination legislation to be found anywhere in the world. However further action is required in order to ensure the full and effective implementation and enforcement of this legal framework. Personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation or disability continue to prevent some people from realizing their full potential. Discrimination blights individual lives. It is also bad for the economy and for society as a whole. Moreover it undermines confidence in and support for the fundamental European values of equality and the rule of law. 1.3. The Future What about the future? The EU has decided that the year 2007 will be the year of Equal opportunities. And by January 2007 a new agency will be opened called the Agency on Fundamental rights. The year 2008 will be the European year of Intercultural Dialogue. But we do not solve the problems of discrimination and inequality only by deciding to have

Communication from the Commission. Non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all a framework strategy June 2005


a year of Equal opportunities. Of course not! How do we solve the problems once and for all? Will we be able to do that? The Commission in its former mentioned communication stated that the effective removal of obstacles to employment, training and other opportunities is vital. Indeed, it will be difficult for the EU to achieve the ambitious targets that it has set itself for economic and employment growth, if some people are excluded from jobs and higher achievement on the basis of gender, disability, race, age or other grounds. The need to combat discrimination and to integrate disadvantaged groups into the labour market is reinforced by the demographic challenges facing the EU, which will see its working age population decline by over 20 million during the next 25 years. The recent summit meeting of European heads of state in October of this year was occupied with exactly this topic. Fortunately the last few years have witnessed significant changes in national law across the EU as a direct result of EU anti-discrimination legislation. It is also clear that in addition to legislative transposition further measures will continue to be required for some time in order to ensure that anti-discrimination legislation is effectively implemented and enforced across the EU. Within the Communication paper from the Commission of June this year it says furthermore that priority areas for action include: Targeted training and capacity-building actions for specialized equality bodies, judges, lawyers, NGOs and the social partners Networking and exchanges of experience between relevant stakeholders

Awareness-raising and dissemination of information concerning the provisions of European and national anti-discrimination law. In order to drive forward the agenda of the Commission for a more positive approach to equality, the Commission also as mentioned is proposing to designate 2007 as the European Year of Equal Opportunities for all. The European Year will help to raise awareness, focus political attention and mobilize key stakeholders. The year will focus on four main priority objectives: Rights Recognition Representation Respect

The Year of Equal Opportunities (2007) will aim to: inform people of their rights to protection against discrimination under European and national law celebrate diversity as an asset for the EU



Promote equal opportunities for all in economic, social, political and cultural

Co-ordination with the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2008 will be particularly relevant, in order to ensure that both years are mutually supportive in terms of their scope and the actions supported. The commission in the mentioned communication paper also says that it is convinced of the need to involve all of the relevant European and national-level stakeholders in order to ensure the effective implementation of the principle of non-discrimination across the EU. It proposes therefore to organize an annual, high level Equality Summit involving ministers, heads of national equality bodies, Presidents of European-level NGOs, the European social partners and representatives of international organizations. This equality summit would take place for the first time in early 2007 to coincide within the launch of the European year of Equal opportunities for all. I think this is very interesting! 1.4. The Role of Christianity and Christians But, besides all legislation, good initiatives and the purposes of the strategy of the Commission there are some questions that haunt so much of our discussion in Europe and that is the fear of a militant Islamic ideology that seeks to replace liberalism with a new theocracy. Islam is in its most robust historical form, both Church and State, and thus it is a challenge to any Muslim to make sense of living outside that unitary reality. The uneasy and sceptical relationship between the political community and the community of belief that has characterized the Christian world is at first sight largely foreign to Islam. When the Archbishop of Canterbury visited Brussels not too long ago he also said about the Muslim/Christian question, that the Christian tradition may make a central and very important contribution to a future European identity. It challenges the global consumer pluralism combined with insensitive Western promotion of a rootless individualism, disguised as liberal democracy. Christianity affirms the significance of local and international communities and their role in public life. It is able to welcome the stranger, including the Muslim stranger in its midst, as a partner in the work of proper liberalism, the continuing argument about common good and just governance. When it is allowed its proper visibility, it makes room for other communities and faiths to be visible. By holding the space for public moral argument to be possible and legitimate, it reduces the risk of open social conflict, because it is not content to relegate the moral and spiritual to a private sphere where they may be distorted into fanaticism and exclusion. For Europe to celebrate its Christian heritage in this sense is precisely for it to affirm a legacy and a possibility of truly constructive pluralism. For the church to offer this to Europe (and from Europe to the wider world) is not for it to replace its theology with a vague set of nostrums about democracy and tolerance but for it to affirm its faithfulness to the tradition of Christian freedom.6

The Archbishop of Canterbury, see note 3 above.


The purpose of the initiatives being taken in the EU-system and the European countries to solve the problems is good. But legislation alone does not solve any problem. We also need the population to take part practically. To take the responsibility upon themselves and to love their neighbour even if he or she has a funny sounding name and cannot speak the language of the country fluently. Even though he or she has some odd customs and funny clothing traditions. As Christians we must go forward, be at the front. We must show how to love our neighbour, how to take care of the foreigner. In many Churches, congregations and Christians organizations throughout Europe, Christians are doing a lot. It would be fruitful I think to collect a lot of the best practices so that we may learn from each other. In my own country we have lots of what we call Culture Cafs, where Danes and other Ethnic groups meet, eat and spend time together. In other places we have youth clubs and the like, that are open and generous to the immigrants and their families. I am convinced that in many other places you have initiatives or projects we all can learn from. If Europe is to be a place of peace, stability and equal opportunities for everybody, (and we want Europe to be just that) we as Christians have a great responsibility. We have the words from the Old Testament in Exodus 23, 9 saying: You shall not oppress a resident alien. Obedience to the law of Gods people is put to the test by their treatment of foreigners and powerless persons. In accordance with Jewish tradition of hospitality and the laws regarding aliens and integration, Jesus created the universal Christian commandment, the golden rule, to love ones neighbour by saying: Do onto others what you want others to do to you. If and when we exercise this, we will see a Europe where all the ethnic and religious groups will live peacefully together giving each other equal possibilities and opportunities. Let us prepare ourselves, our churches and our organizations to use the coming European year of Equal opportunities 2007 and the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 to show the population of Europe including all the ethnic and religious minorities, that we are not just Christians by name, but we want to live the words of Jesus regarding how we respect and treat each other and especially the less fortunate, by doing to others what we would want them to do to us! Mrs. Tove Videbaek is the Brussels Representative of the European Evangelical Alliance and former Christian-democrat MP in the Danish parliament.


2. Some Reflections on Religion and Multiculturalism in Romania: Towards a Reappraisal of the Grammar of Traditions
Silviu E. Rogobete 2.1. Preliminary Clarifications The thesis I would like to discuss in this paper is that as one of the strongest identitymarkers in Romania, the Christian tradition has a great potential to offer a constructive answer to the contemporary dilemmas of multiculturalism. However, for this to happen there is a significant need for a fresh re-reading of this tradition. The starting point of my work will be an overview of the data on the question of religion and ethnicity in postcommunist Romania. This will be followed by an assessment of the predominant trends involved in the building of the societal texture of Romanian contemporary society, with special emphasis on attitudes towards authority, otherness and dialogue. The ambiguous potential of traditions, both for destruction and for the healing of societal relations, will be singled out as an important characteristic of traditions. The work will argue for a reappraisal of the Christian tradition and its role, pleading for a fresh re-reading of its complex and pluriformed grammar. Emphasis will be placed on seeing Christianity and its implicit traditions as a Religion of Neighbourliness and a Religion of Love, oriented towards the future rather than the past, towards the other rather than the self, inspired by eschatological hope rather than blind allegiance to fixed dogma. Methodologically, my paper will fall in the area of conceptual analysis, partially informed by quantitative analysis and the data available from auxiliary sources. 2.2. Religion in Eastern Europe: Against the Prophecies The twentieth century, for at least its first seven or eight decades, was undoubtedly marked by a strong sense of suspicion and scepticism towards religion. The so called prophets of suspicion Marx, Freud and Nietzsche, who in some ways marked our modern age in undeletable ways, have not only predicted that, but also prophesised the final end of the age of religion. For all three, in one way or another, with the process of the emancipation of man, one thing was certain: the inevitable and complete fading away of religion from our lives.7 However, with the passing of time, our current context seems to prove such prediction dramatically wrong. It was wrong at local and global levels, in the West and in the East, in the Northern and in the Southern hemispheres. 9/11 is a proof of the global magnitude as well as of the potentially violent reality of what Anthony Giddens, a more astute interpreter of our times, predicted. Using Freudian language, he announced the return of religion as the return of the repressed.8 That religion is alive and here to stay is identifiable not only in the overall and diffuse spirit of the postmodern age, but also in more precise terms, quantified and reflected in current data offered by various opinion pools. What can be surprisingly noted from such data are the high levels of religiosity scored in areas where, for more than half a century

See their prophecies regarding the future of religion in brief in my article Between Fundamentalism and Secularization: the Place and the Role of Religion in Post-communist Orthodox Romania, in Devetak, S., Sirbu, O., Rogobete, S., (eds), Religion and Democracy in Moldova, ISCOMET, MariborChisinau-Timisoara, 2005, pp. 103-134, pp. 104-5. 8 Giddens, A., Modernity and Self-Identity. Self and Society in the Late Modern Age, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1997, pp. 202.


(and even in some places for almost an entire century) the population was under fierce and overt atheist indoctrination. Eastern Europe, particularly Romania, is singled out in the report of the latest findings of the GfK9 survey on religious attitudes in Europe and the USA (2004). Such data shows that an average of three in four people indicated that they belonged to a religion. At 80 per cent, the number of believers is above average in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In Western Europe, two in three people identified with a specific religion, irrespectively of whether they live in rural or urban areas. The same survey reports that the percentage of religious people is particularly high in Romania (97 per cent), Turkey (95 per cent) and Greece (89 per cent). While the majority in Greece (98 per cent) and Romania (88 per cent) belong to the Orthodox Church, almost all people in Turkey stated that they were Muslims. At the national level, as a relevant example, Romania provides us with some unexpected and particularly high levels of religiosity giving the fact that it has been under one of the most inhumane and repressive regimes during its fifty years of cohabitation with the communist-atheistic ideology. Let us briefly present some of the findings. Religiosity according to the latest National Census in Romania (2002) shows a shocking figure of 99.96 % of the population claiming to belong to an officially recognized religious denomination, while only 0.03 % declaring themselves as atheists and a 0.01 % claiming no religious affiliation. In terms of denominational distribution, the Romanian Orthodox Church has 86.8% of the Romanian population.10 In terms of the trust placed on religion and religious institutions, the church ranks at the top of the Romanians list, with 86% compared to other institutions, followed by the army with 69%. At the bottom of the list are political parties, the judiciary, the parliament, and the markers of the free market.

GfK Custom Research Worldwide on behalf of The Wall Street Journal Europe, Nuremberg/Frankfurt, 10 December 2004. 10 For a detailed presentation of the distribution see Rogobete 2005, pg. 106.


How much trust do you have in ?

not at all Church Army Media Presidency City Hall State Factories Police Banks Govern Foreign Investors Private Companies Justice NGOs Parliament Unions Political parties The balance up to 100% represents NS/NR very little little much very much

In terms of the daily practice of religion, scores are also very high by any European standards, comparable only with the Catholic Poland. Here is the information relevant to Romania using the same source as above. Besides attending funerals and baptismal services, how often do you go to Church?

Daily Several times a week Once a week Two, three times a week Once a month On Christmas, Easter, other holy days Once a year or less Never, actually

What are the implications of such high levels of religiosity? Is there any potential in such high figures? Moreover, if there is any, is it for good or bad? What conclusions can we trace from such data showing highest levels of trust in Church and Army and lowest in


some of the most important institutions related to modern democracy? To answer such questions, let us reflect a little longer on the contemporary situation of the Romanian society and subsequently the place of religion and its afferent tradition. 2.3. Between Feudalism and (Post)Modernity Predominance of National/majority religion

What constantly came out in the data of various opinion pools for the last fifteen years since the anti-communist revolution, was a striking and significant contrast between, on the one hand, lack of trust in democratic institutions (political parties, justice, government), while on the other, high levels of trust in pre-modern entities (church, army). Some commentators have rightly seen in this a lack of development, a deficit of modernity and thus a form of feudal approach to politics. Characteristics of such politics are an uncritical submission to and longing for strong leadership, lack of individual initiative resting on other higher institutions to provide identity and vision for the future.11 Within such context, religion and its implied tradition became one of the highest marks of identity, collective and individual alike. To this we shall return later. For the time being, we should note that such attitudes are well seen in reflexes requiring or uncritically accepting, at mass level, high and unjustified state intrusion in and control of the internal affairs of the individual, particularly at the level of his or her religious life. Moreover, Orthodoxy the majority religion is in a continuous attempt to monopolise the support offered by the state and to limit the presence of other potential rivals to the notion of defining Romanian identity. State Control and Manipulation of Religious/ethnic Groups; Legal Issues

As a relevant example is what elsewhere I called the unfinished odyssey of a new Law of religion.12 It is a well known and at somehow symptomatic fact that the hottest potato in terms of legislation after the fall of the communist regime in 1989 is the so much disputed new law of religion (Rom. Legea Cultelor Religioase, Egl. The Law of Religious Cults).13 What should be first mentioned is that to the date of the writing of this present article (February 2006), things are not settled and de facto the law in action is still the highly abusive Law of Religious Cults issued in 1948 by the communist regime. Second, the various proposals for new legislation issued by various governments in the last fifteen years, regardless of the political colour of the legal initiators, represent significant violations of religious freedom and major attempts to discriminate others while favouring the majority group. Since this is relevant within the newer context of the European Union and its implied multiculturalism of which Romania intends to be a part, such issues are worth our extended attention.


See Raport de analiz_ politic_. A_tept_rile romnilor de la statutul de membru al Uniunii Europene, Institutul Ovidiu _incai,, Bucuresti, Oct 2005: ncrederea ridicat_ acordat_ bisericii _i armatei n detrimentul institu_iilor democratice ale statului de drept demonstreaz_ un deficit de modernitate, dublat de nstr_inarea societ__ii fa__ de clasa politic_. 12 See Rogobete, S., The Unfinished Odyssey of a New Law for the General Regime of Religion in a South European Country: The Romanian Case, in Devatak, S.,and all, (Edts), Legal Position of Churches and Religious Communities in South-East Europe, ISCOMET, Ljubljana-Maribor-Vienna, 2004, pp. 129 143. 13 See also Pope, E. A., E, Ecumenism, Religious Freedom and the National Church Controversy in Romania, Journal of Ecumenical Studies vol. 36 Wint/Spr 1999, pp. 184-201


In this regard, I shall exemplify with some information related to the latest version of the Project of Law which is currently being discussed in the Deputies Chamber, after passing unchanged through the Romanian Senate (in December 2005, not by being discussed in the Senate but through a juridical procedural trick)14. Here are some comments resulted from the review of the above mentioned, latest Project of Law, offered by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.15 Despite its overall polite tone, the Commission identifies certain excessive interferences with the autonomy of the religious communities which include too many imprecise references to other laws. Expressions like in the conditions of the law or according to the law are frequently used, and without more precise indications, the law becomes subjective leaving far too much space for abuses.(III.11). Also, the procedures required for the registration of new religious groups include both excessively high levels of quantitative threshold requirements and potentially abusive substantialist interference with the content of the faith/doctrines/ teachings of the newly established religious communities. Some examples will follow: Membership of at least 300 Romanian citizens residing in Romania is needed for a religious association to be registered. This poses two problems: firstly, it may be difficult to fulfil for believers who belong to great religions of the world as Hinduism or Buddhism which may not have a great number of followers with Romanian citizenship residing in Romania. Secondly, the citizenship requirement seems at variance with the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of inter alia citizenship and national origin, a principle enshrined in a number of international instruments ratified by Romania. The membership requirement for religious cults according to Article 18 lit. c of the draft law is at least 0,1 % of the population of Romania according to the latest census. With a population of 22.3 million this provision means the presence of at least 22.300 members, all of which have to be Romanian citizens residing in Romania. The stability requirements are described in Article 18 lit. a and c of the draft law: any religious association which applies for the status of cult has to provide documentary evidence that it is constituted legally and has been functioning uninterruptedly on the territory of Romania for at least twelve years. In terms of what I would call substantialist interferences, the commissions comments are: certain provisions of the draft law can be viewed as questionable state interferences, whose necessity in a democratic society is not established. For example, according to Article 18 lit. c of the draft law, documentation has to be provided by religious associations seeking state recognition concerning the applicants own confession of faith and the organisation and functioning statute []; its structure of central and local organisation; the mode of rule, administration and control; [] the statute of their own personnel []; the main activities which the cult cares to undertake with a view to reaching its spiritual goals. There is no indication in the draft law why and for which purpose this information has to be provided by the applicant, how detailed the information has to be and for what use it could be for the Government in reaching a positive or negative decision on the recognitions application. The same holds true for Article 41, paragraph 2 lit. b. Article


The time frame within which the Draft was possible to be voted expired and thus it passed unchanged through the Senate, going to the Deputy Chamber to be discussed. 15 OPINION ON THE DRAFT LAW REGARDING THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND THE GENERAL REGIME OF RELIGIONS IN ROMANIA, EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR DEMOCRACY THROUGH LAW (VENICE COMMISSION), Opinion no. 354/2005 adopted by the Commission at its 64th plenary session (Venice, 21-22 October 2005) on the basis of the comments by Mr Giorgio MALINVERNI, (Member, Switzerland) Mr Hans-Heinrich VOGEL (Member, Sweden).


23 of the draft law, which deals with staff members recruited by cults, also seems too farreaching in this context. (IV.21., my emphasis) Some of the conclusions of the commission are directly relevant for our argument. Hence, the commission notes: These high and rigidly written membership and stability requirements combined can make it very difficult for religious associations to acquire the status of cult. (IV.16). Moreover, When dealing with the legal status of religious communities, it is of the utmost importance that the State takes particular care to respect their autonomous existence. Indeed, the autonomous existence of religious communities is indispensable for pluralism in a democratic society and is thus an issue at the very heart of the protection which Article 9 [of the ECHR] affords. (IV.20). Data on Questions of Neighbouring; EU and the Changing Face of Neighbouring Before providing our own conclusions, let us add some data on Romanians approach to others reflected in answers to questions on neighbourliness. This particularly bearing in mind that the majority religion is Christianity, a religion expected to have a high and positive view on such issues. Here are some data related to co-habitation with different categories of people. Would you be bothered having as your neighbours ? (BOP2002)
Muslims -17% 78%





Jehowa Witnesses -27%








Would you be bothered having as your neighbours ? (BOP2002)

-17% 79%








Rroma -47%

Where does such information place us in relation to the declared openness to and desire for joining the European Union? For it is also known from opinion pools that Romania is one of the most pro-European countries of Europe.16 How can we interpret such contradictory information and what is the role religion plays in this? First of all, one may suspect a significant lack of proper information about the European Union. Second, considering that other recent opinion pool places the European Union membership between the Church and the Army in terms of the Romanians trust in various institutions, we can conclude that all three are seen as somehow having a salvific character as well as being strong identity markers. However, what is very likely to present us with significant difficulties is the new multicultural and multireligious context in which Romania will have to find its place. It will be a context requiring the art of cohabitation with people, groups and individuals who are different. The European construct, a postmodern idea, is a new challenge Romania can not afford to ignore.17 To an assessment of this claim we shall turn next. European Union: Challenges and the Limits of Multiculturalism in Romania

One of the challenges the countries from the Central and Eastern Europe have to face constantly after the fall of communism in the 1990s is the internal and external diversity of the populations. The regrettable example of the ex-Yugoslavian space has shown that any attempt at questioning ones (ethnic, religious) belonging in the name of a presumed national homogeneity is a steady source of violence and open conflict. In the same time, the populations from this area of the world are remarkably mixed, due to the heritages of a controversial history. The Romanian example is most revelatory in this respect: apart from the Romanians, here live Hungarians, Germans, Roma, Jews, to name the most well-known nationalities from a list of over twenty. One possible way of dealing with the diversity is the multicultural solution, which has been embraced in many forms by states as different as the USA, Canada, Australia and so on. Multiculturalism as a politics of cohabitation represents a challenging way of managing not only the ethnic diversity, but also the other forms of diversity (the religious, the sexual, etc.). Yet, multiculturalism is by no means a unique way of responding to the identity solicitations of someone: the various types in which it comes multiculturalism of rights (Kymlicka), multiculturalism of recognition (Ch. Taylor), multiculturalism of fear

According to the INSOMAR opinion pool run between 16-21 Feb 2006, 64% of the Romanians are very interested or interested in EU membership. On the other hand, 46% think that after receiving membership the situation in the country will be much worse or worse and only 34% better or much better. 17 On the postmodern character of the European construct, see Cooper, R., The Postmodern State and the World Order, London, Demos, The Foreign Policy Centre 2000 (first edition 1996).


(Shklar) speak for many different ways of articulating the questions and the formulation of solutions. Some even speak of other labels interculturalism, trans-culturalism as being more or less appropriate to the same issues. Is it therefore possible to export multiculturalism in the Eastern European states? Or maybe to adapt it? Are there, on the other hand, internal resources to redefine the concept using the specifically given context of high levels of religiosity and trust in religious institutions? It is this latter question that we will concentrate on in our present work, only in passing acknowledging the other possible answers prompted by the first set of questions raised above. Thus referring specifically to Romania, the new European context in which Romania wants to find a home is a sociologically, ethnologically and religiously fluid context, with unprecedented levels of change. The national state metanarrative with its national religion, territorial and juridical autonomy are being challenged and in need of re-evaluation. Regions will play an increasingly higher role, the European Court of Human Rights already has a stronger legal say than the Romanian Constitution and the European Constitution will reduce its influence even more. Postmodernity, with its fragmentation and lack of coherence will be felt as an undeniable reality. In order to enter such a new context, as I will argue here, there is need for significant changes in mentalities, the way Romanians perceive their identity and the role the various identity markers play. Hence, the questions to which we shall turn now are related to the role religion, particularly Orthodoxy and its afferent discourse on tradition, plays in the new game of multicultural cohabitation the essential mark of the new European construct of which Romania will be a part. As announced earlier, my argument is that certainly there is positive and encouraging potential in religion and traditions, but only if we are first able to project a lucid and realistic view on their ambiguous potentiality. To such an assessment we shall turn next. 2.4. Traditions: Pitfalls or Potentialities? Traditions as Strong Identity Markers

As Alasdair MacIntyre among others so amply argued, traditions are crucial to the core definition of our identity.18 However, history ancient and recent alike, has proved that traditions, regardless of what their dogma says, are not necessarily guarantees for ethical behaviour19. They seem to be rather ambivalent or perhaps neutral from an axiological perspective. Traditions are strong and undeniable realities and as such they seem to have an inbuilt potential both for good and for evil, for construction and demolition, for integration and disintegration. Consciously or unconsciously, assumed or un-assumed, the decisive forces that can turn traditions one way or the other are complex and their detailed assessment falls beyond the scope of this paper. It is sufficient for us to understand that such issues require answers to questions of how traditions are transmitted, perceived, manipulated, explained or instrumentalised. This is important in the assessment of the role a predominant religion such as Orthodox Christianity can play in defining
18 19

MacIntyre, A., After Virtue,Notre Dame, Notre Dame University Press, 1985. At this point one major implication of MacIntyres thesis, i.e., that Aristotelian ethics are in themselves a guarantee for ethical behaviour, seems to be problematic. Our history is filled with examples of traditions being used in justifying/generating/maintaining conflicts, war and disintegration. The more recent ones are from the former Yugoslavia, the 9/11 attacks on the US, Northern Ireland, etc.


identities in countries like Romania, particularly within the rapidly changing context of postmodernity and European integration. Thus what seems to be the prevalent view regarding the Orthodox Church and its relation with Romanian identity is what can be labelled a substantialist, essentialist view. It is an interpretation whereby the Church with its Holy Tradition is seen as some kind of an essence, a substance which constitutes the main ingredient required for being a Romanian, for Romanianness.20 The Holy Tradition, it is claimed, was and it still is being passed down over the centuries under the form of the Legea Stramoseasca, the Ancient Law, the Law of the Forefathers. It is an unwritten law which combines the folk customs, language, and the so-believed unchanged/unaltered religious tradition which was always the Orthodox, the original and the right faith proclaimed by the Church Fathers of the first six centuries of the Christian era. In fact, having roots in the second half of the nineteenth century the times of the birth of the nation-state, such ideas reached their height in 1885 when the Romanian Orthodox Church gained its autocephalous status. That is, when it moved away from the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Constantinople) and it became its own head, building its whole identity around the idea of the Romanian nation-state, an idea to which it contributed in major ways indeed. However, such ideological construct which overlaps ethnicity and the Orthodox faith was labelled filetism and it was in fact already condemned as heresy by a Constantinopolitan Synod in 1870. Yet however again, although correctly foreseeing the dangers inherent to such positioning towards the question of identity, all Orthodox national-state churches without exception, could not, after all, resist the temptation of power on the one hand, and of the protection secured from the all-powerful sovereign state on the other. And such temptations proved hard to beat indeed, regardless of the prevailing ideology of the state. The positioning of the church both within the communist-atheist experiment as well as within the context of the newly established freedom is very revealing. The Church was and still is in a continuous game of harmonising with the secular power, while at the same time searching for a hiding place under its in the Romanian case at least, still very powerful all-protective umbrella.21 As Olivier Gillet observed, Contemporary [Romanian] ecclesiology structures the in itself the principles of submission and cooperation with the state, concluding: Thus, contemporary Orthodox nationalism is structured and closely connected with the concept of the Church. Through defining the equation: state-nation-confession, Orthodox ecclesiology determines the configuration of the national unitary and ethnic state, leaving no room for any concept of a multinational or federal state.22


See a more detailed analysis of the theology and history behind such view in the chapter entitled Orthodox Reflections on Tradition and National Identity: Nationalism as an Ecclesiological Foundation in Rogobete, S.E., Morality and Tradition in Postcommunist Orthodox Lands: on the Universality of Human Rights, with Special Reference to Romania, Religion, State and Society, vol. 33, 3, Sept. 2004, pp. 275-299; p.284ff 21 See also Ruth M. Ediger, R.,M., HISTORY OF AN INSTITUTION AS A FACTOR FOR PREDICTING CHURCH INSTITUTIONAL BEHAVIOR: THE CASES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN POLAND, THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN ROMANIA, AND THE PROTESTANT CHURCHES IN EAST GERMANY in East European Quarterly, XXXIX, No. 3, September 2005, pg. 299-328. 22 p. 272f.


And such conclusion becomes more and more realistic to an increasing number of contemporary commentators.23 Within the new context offered by the prospect of the European Union, sooner or later such a church-state relationship will prove to be a straight jacket making the life of both parties involved rather uncomfortable. In a strongly critical but lucid way, despite using a journalistic tone rather than academic argumentation, Petru Guran (a Romanian teaching at Princeton) has recently written the following in his article suggestively entitled The Romanian Nation will be History and the Romanian Orthodox Church will be a Provincial Sect: If 127 years ago the Romanian people were ready to pay with their blood on the battle fields for their political sovereignty, today, the same people, in its great majority, is ready and prepared to put an end to such sovereignty in the name of a new historical adventure. The Romanian people will be part of the greatest European people which will empower, in a near future, the European institutions with the prerogatives of sovereignty collected from each national state in part.24 Within this context, the relevance of such substantialist/essentialist views on religion/tradition and identity are going to be remote to say the list. Hence, Guran quite acidly predicts: in less than two years [2007] the Romanian political nation will be history, in less than ten, Bucharest will be the headquarter of a consular authority and in less than thirty, the Romanian Orthodox Church an obscure sect in a province as vaguely identified on the map as it is today.25 Talking about the possible implications for multicultural cohabitation, but this time with a more elaborate academic argumentation and in a more elegant tone, Earl Pope comments on the work of an influential Romanian contemporary theologian, asserting: He [Bria] finds it very difficult to articulate a significant role that the minorities can have within the Romanian society, given the prevailing Orthodox view of the unity of their faith with the soul of the Romanian people. For example, he has charged the Lutheran and Reformed churches as being prompted by confessionalism and ethnocentrism because of their opposition to the legal recognition of the Orthodox Church as the national church. This they would unquestionably deny. He has failed to recognize that it was the hope of these and the other minority religious communities that there would be a new understanding of the churches and their freedom in a democratic Romania. This would enable all of them (majority and minorities alike) to make their maximum contributions to the soul of a pluralistic Romania so that they could fully cooperate as equals before the law and the state to bring about the creation of a just, civil, and transfigured society.26 Despite at times talking about the dangers of nationalistic captivity for the Romanian Orthodox Church and also unmasking, as we shall see below, the profound crisis in which his church finds herself in our modern times, at the end of the day Bria did not point us to a clear way ahead; he did not leave a policy that would create real space for otherness, acceptance of differences, a sacrificial attitude towards those who are or can be

There are strong but rather singular voices from within the Orthodox lay intellectual circles warning along these same lines. See authors and editorialists such as H.R. Patapievici, Theodor Baconsky, Cristian Badilita, Mihail Neamtu. For a relevant example, see Neamtu, M., Bufnita din darimaturi. Insomnii teologice, Deisis, Sibiu, 2005. 24 Guran, P., The Romanian Nation will be History and the Romanian Orthodox Church will be a Provincial Sect, in Ziua, 7th of March 2005. The article was prompted by the sumptuous celebrations of 120 years of autocephaly and 80 years of Patriarchate of the Romanian Orthodox Church. 25 Ibid. 26 Pope, E., Ecumenism , Journal of Ecumenical Studies vol. 36 Wint/Spr 1999, p184-201, pg. 196. Note should be taken that Fr. Bria was an experienced ecumenist representing the Romanian Orthodox Church at the WCC for over two decades.


our neighbours even if they do not share our traditions. If such was the understanding of the older generation of the leading figures of Romanian eccumenists, Earl Pope also noted that the younger generation does not present us with more hope. Metropolitan Daniel of Iasi, a prominent younger figure perceived as the leading Orthodox ecumenist in Romania and a first runner to the patriarchal throne, strongly objected to the Romanian Baptist Unions protest regarding an unsuccessful attempt of the Orthodox Church to be legally recognised as the Romanian National Church (in 1994). With the same occasion he rebuked any other Christian group recently coming in our country to evangelise a country which is Christian since 2000 years ago (the Baptists have over 150 years history on Romanian grounds sic!), reportedly saying: The only right way to the truth of God is Orthodoxy and all the other ways chosen by one or another are wrong.27 What are the consequences of such positioning towards the Christian Tradition past to us over the centuries? Emphasising the unity between Orthodoxy and the soul of the nation, the insecurity of the present leadership of the Orthodox Church in a pluralistic world, and the urgent indeed, desperate need for additional and extensive state funds and support are obvious symptoms of a significant and far-reaching religious as well as civic crisis. Referring to Bria again, Earl Pope correctly notes: Bria unquestionably believes that the Orthodox Church finds itself in the midst of a profound identity crisis. There are moments when he has even suggested that his church may be at the point of selfdestruction. It is clear that there is an ecumenical crisis in Romania that has posed serious problems not only for the churches but also for the society for which they had hoped to become positive models of tolerance and ecumenism.28 Olivier Gillet is even more pessimistic in regard to the potential role of the Orthodox Church, if the Church still sees its main call to be the preservation of the essence of Romanianess. His final conclusion is that: such confessionalisation of the state leads to the exclusion of anyone who is not a true Romanian and any attempt to give rights to minorities remains an illusion, since the nationalist ideology of the Church and the state would automatically exclude any element which is alien from such historicity and such nationalist historic determinism.29 Therefore, together with Gillet we are right to say that unless some major changes will happen, the chances that the Romanian society will be a true democracy are rather small. Hence, the natural questions coming to mind, particularly to someone who still wants to take the Cristian faith and its tradition seriously, are: do such attitudes reflect a proper understanding of the Orthodox Christian faith and its tradition? Is tradition really being preserved in this way? Moreover, is preserving tradition more important than living out the essence of the tradition? What is at the core of the Christian tradition? Is such use of

Daniel, Metropolitan of Iasi, quoted in Pope, op.cit., p. 199. As Pope correctly mentions, Daniel had spent a number of years lecturing at the ecumenical institute sponsored by the W.C.C. in Bossey, Switzerland, and had returned to Romania the year before the revolution (1988). He had a meteoric rise within the Romanian Orthodox hierarchy and was an important member of a committee for the reformation and renewal of his church. He was considered to be the ecumenical leader who would represent his church to the international ecumenical bodies, a role that Metropolitan Antonie of Sibiu had filled during much of the communist era. Ibid. 28 Pope, E., Ibid. 29 Gillet, O., op. cit. p. 276.


traditions which sets one apart and against the other the only one interpretation available to us? In other words, are there alternative ways of interpreting the teachings and the legacy of the Orthodox and for that matter of the Christian tradition in our rapidly changing world? And to return to the concrete situation of Romanian religiosity described in the first part of this work, can religion and the high levels of trust placed in its institutions at popular level in Romania play a positive role in the new context which forces us to face diversity, differences and otherness? Let us address such questions in the final part of this work. 2.5. For a Reappraisal of the Christian Tradition in Multicultural Contexts From the day we speak conservatively of tradition, we no longer have it! (Moltmann, TH: p. 292.) As mentioned from the beginning of this paper, I would like to argue that Christianity still has a major place and a major role to play in Romania within the new context of European integration, with all its challenges discussed above. However, as it is obvious from our arguments so far, for this to happen there is need for significant change. What can be some alternative interpretations to the ways described above in which the Christian tradition is being approached? What is the potential inherent in its teachings and practices? Can we approach religion and the Christian traditions afresh, without changing its core teachings and thus remaining within the boundaries of what can still be called the right faith, the orthodox faith? I am aware that this is a sensitive issue for many, but I am more and more inclined to think that unless we are willing to address such questions leaving behind any politically biased views, Guran would be proved right saying that in a few years, within the new context of the European family the Orthodox faith will be a small sect or a historical curiosity of an archaeological type. In my attempt to address this final part of my work I am significantly indebted to Jurgen Moltmann and his theology of hope. Discussing the role and the place of the Christian tradition for the modern man and woman, Moltmann identifies the profound crisis as well as the need for a fresh reading of the pluriform grammar of the Christian faith: the Christians mission is to seek in practice the relevance of Christian life for the world, for others, and solidarity with man in his threatened and betrayed humanity. A church which cannot change in order to exist for the humanity of man in changed circumstances becomes ossified and dies.30 Highly relevant for us today in Romania, one main presupposition identifiable in Moltmanns work is that the Christian faith and its complex traditions are not the equivalent of a singular text requiring one rigid interpretation, often almost of a Gnostic type, expected to be performed solely by those who are institutionally initiated into it. Institutionalising the process of the preservation and interpretation of the Christian traditions has too often ended in controlling and manipulating its content under the driving force of the will to power. The Christian tradition is a complex reality speaking of something both past and future, which is somehow beyond our capacity to capture entirely into a codified, literary or rigidly understood, ritualistic system. It is a rather complex reality speaking of past events which, however, have at the core of their message predications about the things to come in and through the crucified and the resurrected Christ. Therefore the main emphasis should be placed on its present and future-oriented message rather than its past-time forms, on its self-sacrificing ethos rather than its rigid

Moltmann, J., The Crucified God, London SCM Press, 1974, pg. 12.


dogma, on its core eternal values rather than its temporary form.31 Opposing the usual types of perceiving/approaching religion with new and fresh perspectives, Moltmann is concerned with not changing the content of the Christian faith and yet he is able to offer us tools to reach towards the core of its message and thus to make it relevant for today. Let us look at some proposals inspired from Moltmanns thought which I found relevant for the Romanian Christian churches today. Future vs. Past Orientation of Tradition, Preservation vs. Proclamation of Tradition

Moltmann correctly observes that contemporary readings and interpretations of the Christian faith and its traditions are often very similar with the ways in which traditions were perceived and interpreted by the classics in ancient times.32 This is a way in which the past is being venerated and it is seen as the only source of regeneration: the passing ages are regenerated in the times of sacred festivals. Each festival and each liturgical season brings once more the time of the beginning, the time of the origin, in principio. History here means falling away from the origin and degenerating from the holiness of the beginning. Tradition means the bringing back of fallen life to the primaeval age and the first origin. For this conception of the tradition truth is always bound with the old. The prerogative of tradition is expressed in the phrase from of old.33 Anyone familiar with the dominant ways in which the Christian faith, its practice and traditions are perceived in Romania today would recognise such approach as described by Moltmann here. The main events of which the Tradition speaks as well as the best ways to put in practice such events, are things of the past. The past is venerated as an un-altered, pure and holly reality, the Holy Tradition which needs to be preserved this way. Thus the past needs to be protected from any modern influences and passed on to future generations unchanged. The further we move from the events of the past the more prone we are to make mistakes. Thus the language, practices and the rituals given to us from old need to be kept unchanged. This leads, as we mentioned above, to the existence of a group of intiated people who have the tools to access the past and to pass it on to us as it was given from old. Particularly when such an approach is combined with politics of nationalism, the relevance of the Traditions teachings is endangered and the temptation to dominate is real. Foucault lucidly proved that knowledge is power and those who control the systems of signs are the ones most tempted to dominate the others.34 However, joining Moltmann we can rightly ask if the risen Christ can be proclaimed in such terms. To answer, he warns us, we need to be aware that What tradition is, and how it comes about, all depends on the matter to be transmitted. (Moltmann, TH: 297) The core of the Christian faith, although connected with the past, surpasses the past and charges both the past and the present with the power and the vision of the future. Due to its very matter that forms its essence, Christianity has an intrinsic, inbuilt capacity to point us to the future and to make us see the present as well as the past in

See for example Moltmanns relevant discussion of the meaning of tradition and history in Moltmann, J., Theology of Hope, London: SCM Press, 1967, the Chapter on Eschatology and History. 32 Moltmann acknowledges the influence of Mircea Eliades studies of the history of the sacred at this point of his argument. 33 Moltmann, TH: p. 295f. 34 Foucault, M., (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977, edited by Colin Gordon, Harvester, London.


the light of what it can and what it should become. And here lies the great potential of the Christian tradition, if properly appropriated in our modern times, but only if a new reading of the complex grammar is put in place. It is one centred on the many facets of the claim of the Resurrection and the Return of Christ which informs and changes the present by its potential future. In Moltmanns words, This tradition of promise turns our eyes not towards some primaeval, original event, but towards the future and finally towards and eschaton of fulfilment. (p. 298) Christian tradition is not a tradition of wisdom and truth in doctrinal principles. It is the announcing, revealing and publishing of an eschatological event. It reveals the risen Christs lordship over the world, and sets men free for the coming salvation in faith and hope. (299) Thus the interpretation of the Christian Tradition needs to move away from a rigid reading of past events often instrumentalised to justify national identity over against other identities. It should instead reflect the power of love which can change the present in the light of the announced new life which is to come. It should alleviate pain, individual and social fractures, inequalities and injustices of all kinds here and now. For, as Moltmann puts it: Theological concepts do not run leaping behind reality, looking at it with the night eyes of Minervas owl; they illuminate reality by displaying its future. Their knowledge is founded not on the will to dominate but on the love for the possible future of things. ... Engaged in a process of movement, they call for change and for practical action. A new horizon is formed. (Moltmann, TH: p. 298). The Christian Tradition, founded on sacrificial love rather than the love of power should therefore lead to a new understanding of otherness, which leads us to another crucial point regarding the positive role of the Christian religion in our increasingly complicated multicultural world. It is the question of how we relate to those who are different and with whom we are expected to live side by side. Religion, the Politics of Identity, and the Question of the Other

Christianity, a religion of Promise and Love, should lead to new hope, to a new goal, even as far as the resurrection leading to a new identity, but as a contemporary commentator notes, never without or against the other. (Thiselton p. 78). Christianity and its Tradition is a religion not merely of good Neighbourliness but also of conscious efforts to self-sacrifice for the sake of the other. The question Who is my neighbour? is fundamental for people who claim to have their identity rooted in the Christian tradition and the answer was already given by Jesus himself. Ones neighbour, we are taught (Luke 10:29-37) is neither the one who shares the same views on life, coming from within the same religious tradition, nor the one sharing ones national identity, neither the one capable to reward for good deeds nor the one with a high social status. It is rather the one who has compassion towards anyone who is in need, it is the one who goes where the needy are and who is ready to self-sacrifice without expecting any reward. Lukes record of the Good Samaritan story shows how Jesus contrasted mere religious dogma with true love and compassion. The priest in the story saw a robbery victim in a half-dead condition but passed by in order to avoid braking a religious law that would have had him unclean by touching a dead body (Leviticus 21: 1-4) and thus making him unfit to perform the ritual. The Levite, another religious character, also decided to stay away. Jesus audience might have been expecting the third character to be a Jewish layperson. But Jesus added a twist by making the one who showed love a Samaritan a racial minority despised in Israel. In this way, not only that he contrasted mere religious beliefs with true love, but he also redefined social relationships. New foundations for social cohesion and cohabitation between 30

minorities and majorities were put in place. Such foundations are based on love and selfsacrifice rather than co-nationality or co-religiosity. Christianity seen in this way is expected to be a religion of Love, based on the power of pove rather than the love of power. Although in human terms it may seem idealistic and thus utopic, self-vulnerability is expected to be the true mark of the Christian tradition rather than political power of any sort. The Will-to-Power which was so often the temptation to which the Eastern Church as an institution succumbed should be de-centred, transformed and re-centred in promise and love. 2.6. Conclusion By way of conclusion, I shall only suggest here that such an understanding of the power of the Christian tradition as described above may lead to new definitions of/or approaches to the question of contemporary multiculturalism. Living with difference should force us, in the predominantly Orthodox Eastern Europe, to rethink our own identity. It may mean willingness to give up the privileged protections secured by the always risky positioning under the shadows of the powers of the national state. It may even mean preparing ourselves to be vulnerable and ready to meet the others and to see in them the object of our love and compassion. Meeting those who have a different face, different roots, and different religious beliefs, right were they are, should not only prompt us to give space to be themselves, but it should motivate us to be there for them. Beyond offering mere freedom and protection, a good Christian community should also offer love and compassion, understanding and acceptance. And all of these not only at a declarative level but also transformed in active social, economic and political policies. Through this present work I intended to suggest that maybe a fresh reading of the so much valued Christian tradition can offer us some hints into the question of multicultural cohabitation in Eastern Europe and, why not, even beyond. Silviu E. Rogobete is the President of the Areopagus Centre for Christian Studies and Contemporary Culture and Head of the Department of Politics at the West University of Timisoara, Romania. His areas of academic interest include Human Rights, Religion and Politics and Moral Philosophy.


3. Economic Integration of Migrants in Europe

Ram Gidoomal CBE Not a day goes by without comment of one sort or another on issues relating to the challenges of the economic and social integration of migrants in Europe. And what is striking is how the debate switches seamlessly between multiculturalism to immigration, refugees, asylum seekers and illegal immigrants ignoring the fact that the EU has evolved over millennia as a result of successive waves of migrants including refugees, asylum seekers and illegal immigrants! My speech will inevitably focus on the UK, but as one who has lived in Switzerland and France for over eight years and done business with many, if not nearly all EU member states, I believe that my comments could easily translate across the EU and be appreciated by those from other EU nation states. One UK headline that caught my eye recently was Choosing between integration, multiculturalism and isolation. It followed Trevor Phillips (Chair, Commission for Racial Equality) attempts to catalyse an open and public debate about the state of community relations warning that Britain is sleepwalking towards segregated communities. He called for a new consensus on Britains racial sensitivities, including discussion on whether minorities should take offence at being called coloured and raising questions about the desirability of official documents being printed in several languages and the universal recognition of religious holidays. This brought the inevitable backlash from community leaders across the political spectrum. The editorial of one ethnic newspaper accused Trevor Phillips of falling into the same trap as much of New Labour. The head of the CRE uses all the right words, with catchy sound bites, to capture attention in the media. But is he aware of the real mood on the street in parts of Britain with large Asian populations? A former CRE Commissioner Mohamed Amran, the youngestever commissioner in his time, accused Trevor Phillips of creating more tension between communities by talking about ghettos and not offering solutions. A right of centre think-tank, Civitas, joined in the debate, claiming in its latest report The Poverty of Multiculturalism that multiculturalism is a divisive political concept that has fomented racial hatred and may even have helped to produce the July 7 suicide bombers. The report criticised what it called hard multiculturalists who insist that no culture is better than any other and that society should celebrate difference. We are witnessing the revolt of the civilised against civilisation, the report says. The fruits of 30 years of stateendorsed multiculturalism have seen increased inter-racial tension and inter-racial sectarianism The fact that the London suicide bombers were born and bred in Britain, and encouraged by the state to be different, illustrates that hard multiculturalism has the capacity to be not only divisive, but decidedly lethal. Patrick West, the reports author, discusses how Londons emergency services recently decided to employ linguists to translate calls. Three million of Londons eight million inhabitants do not speak English as a first language... If everyone did speak English such money could be invested in the emergency services and save more livesIt is time that we respected our own culture as Westerners and Britons.


On the other hand, an American journalist, Jeff McAllister, writing in Time magazine, highlights the positive contribution of immigration and argues that it works far better for Britain than Britons realise. Taking a hard look at the facts, he refers to the success stories of rags-to-riches refugees and asylum seekers like Farhad Montazedian, an asylum seeker from Iran who has started a pizzeria and is also studying for a PhD in Metallurgy. McAllister points out that the UKs National Health Service would screech to a halt without foreign staff (in 2000, 27% of health professionals were foreign) and concludes that cooleyed analysis suggests that on balance, immigration is good for the UK - and by extension Europe. Something that the IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research a left-of-centre thinktank) highlighted in an earlier report which found that while immigrants made up 8.7% of the population, in 2003-2004, they accounted for 10.2 percent of all the tax collected! But Sir Andrew Green, former British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who heads Migration Watch UK, an advocacy group that is sceptical about current policy, disagrees. He points out that those official immigration projections have underestimated actual flows for a decade. His think-tank argues for a policy of zero net immigration (immigrants and emigrants balancing each other out) on the grounds that present levels are putting British society under intolerable pressure. Green argues that in areas of concentrated immigrants, like London, pressure on already creaky public transport systems will increase and make affordable housing even more difficult to find. According to Green every major study shows the increase in wealth for the host community from mass immigration is very small indeed. And the cost is more traffic jams, more runways, and more infrastructures that must be built. All this arguing has of course generated a lot of heat and very little light. So it was with great delight that I accepted the invitation to a colloquium in Israel on the subject: Multiculturalism - does it have a future? Professor James Mayall, Professor of International Studies at Cambridge University, in his keynote address defined multiculturalism as the doctrine that actively values groups whose religious and cultural beliefs and practices are different from those of the majority population, rather than attempts to force them to conform to a way of life that they may not initially understand. He went on to stress that respect for fundamental human rights requires that the state do everything it can to ensure that no-one is discriminated against, or harassed, on account of who they are, the clothes they wear or the God or Gods they worship. But he went on to ask what should be done about cultural practices that seem to offend against the inviolability of the person in one culture but are deeply engrained in the social and moral order of another? The most notorious example is clitorectomy, widely regarded as a major abuse in Western societies, but as a rite of passage to womanhood in many Islamic and African societies. Other examples include sati and polygamy. Much is said about mutual accommodation - appreciating and respecting our differences and diversity, to build the society that so many of us want, to which all contribute what they are and from which all receive what they need. The challenge is to balance rights as citizens against cultural sensitivity and political correctness. It will inevitably involve a trade-off: I yield my right so that you may have yours, and vice versa. If mutual accommodation is going to be a reality, it demands dialogue and open debate. What kind of dialogue do we need? 33

3.1. Dialogue Must Be Informed Our dialogue must be based on who people actually are what they actually think and do not merely on our preconceptions. On 15th August 2002, I chaired a conference in London to discuss abuses of human rights in India surrounding the massacres and persecution between Hindu and Muslim communities in Godhra and Gujarat in February and March of this year. I was taken aback by the quantity of misinformed abuse that I and my colleagues received. We were offering an opportunity for dialogue between the warring communities. It wasnt exactly a secret. The publicity and the conference programme both announced that Muslim, Hindu and Christian leaders would be sharing the platform. But an Internet site maintained by extremists from one of the communities pronounced the conference antitheir-community and urged its members to come and disrupt it. I received personal threats, some members of the audience had clearly made their minds up in advance and didnt want to be confused by facts (or even by listening to what others had to say), and after the conference my staff received telephone calls so abusive that when female personnel took the calls they refused to repeat to me what had been said. All this came from a wilful misreading of the clearly-stated aims of the conference. The abusers were attacking what they perceived the conference to be, not what it actually was. As a result they missed the opportunity for dialogue. Selective deafness and ignorance have plagued relationships between communities in multicultural societies for years. People whod heard about the communion service accused the early Christian church of cannibalism. Today all faith groups and ethnic communities are liable to similar misunderstandings. Why do such barriers to effective dialogue exist? I think there are five main reasons. Ignorance Often there is a plain lack of knowledge about neighbours. It will often not occur to parents, sending their children to schools with a high proportion of minority ethnic community pupils, to find out a little about the culture and ideas of those alongside whom their children will be learning, and by whom they may be taught. Ignorance is two-way, however. Many members of minority communities have almost no knowledge of RomanoBritish history, or the history of European thought and so on, and even how their own community was first established in the countries of Europe. As a consequence some of the young Moroccan and Algerian rioters throwing their petrol bombs in the French suburbs this summer declared they did not feel French but could not identify with their parental home countries either. An all too common theme across our continent is that children have been taught no history, sometimes they have been brought up with a biased view of history. But exactly the same is often the case with members of the majority community. Many, for example, do not know that the post-war Caribbean and West Indian immigrants were actually invited by the British government, or that the East African Asians (including myself) were accepted into Britain by Edward Heath despite the opposition of Enoch Powell. I was a trustee of the Institute for Citizenship. When the Bradford riots happened, a colleague said, "We must arrange citizenship classes for them". But we need training in citizenship for everybody, including the majority community. That includes addressing the 'historical knowledge deficit'.


Prejudice Many people form their views of other communities from prejudice, outdated opinions, attitudes of parents and a willingness to accept hearsay evidence. Among those opposed to immigration, estimates of the percentage of the British population that is from an immigrant background can vary enormously. Guesses of 25-40% are common (admittedly estimates can be affected by the part of the country in which those whose opinion is asked live). It is actually about 8-9%, of which 4% are immigrants. There is a widespread reluctance to check the facts. A Mori Poll of May 2002 asked what percentage of the worlds refugees was living in the UK: the average response was 23%. The actual figure was 1.9%. And few know that the two largest receivers of refugees in the world are Pakistan and Iran. I hazard a guess but I wouldnt be surprised if similar figures were found in other EU states. Fear Ignorance and prejudice often breed fear. At an International Colloquium in Toronto on Immigration, Multiculturalism and Citizenship, which I attended in November 2002, many delegates reported a growing suspicion of refugees in their own multi-cultural societies. They were perceived as queue-jumpers, cheats, and a threat to security - often with links with terrorism. Along with that, a growing fear of difference was reported, sometimes allayed by attempts to coerce alien cultures into conformity with home-grown ones. Dutch delegates reported that current immigration test questions reflected an idealized version of Dutch society. In that sense, to become Dutch citizen meant embracing those aspirations and ideals. Insensitivity Many pressures are due to insensitivity. It is not difficult to educate oneself in the cultural sensitivities and social and business conventions of other ethnic communities. Some make limited attempts to do so: a businessman with Japanese contacts will sometimes know a little about business etiquette. He will treat a Japanese business card with proper respect. But he will load accidental insults and embarrassments on the wives of his business colleagues from other communities. It is a longstanding problem. For example, Irish and Jewish jokes are often told with the implication that any Irish or Jewish person objecting is a 'bad sport'. Over-simplification The failure to acquire elementary cross-cultural awareness often leads to oversimplification, whether it comes in the form of trivializing issues that are highly complex and technical (such as the theological issues in the Satanic Verses controversy), or in the form of blurring cultural identities. Differences between Muslim Indians and Hindu Indians, between the various strands of Islam, between Chinese people from mainland China and the Malaysian Chinese, for example, are often ignored. Millions of people are lumped together - as if the British, Dutch, German and French were a single cultural and ethnic group. This failure to achieve a relatively easy familiarisation is not just a failure of the present generation. Many of them have been brought up to perpetuate their parents' tensions and conflicts. Of course, dialogue is crucial and must be encouraged. But education must come before dialogue. And - conversely - that does include self-education, for much ignorance is wilful or the result of laziness. Nor should the responsibility of government be minimized. So many myths and misconceptions are in circulation that a concerted educational programme would have great value. 35

3.2. Dialogue Must Be Real In our pressurised multicultural societies dialogue can be costly. Sometimes we will have to talk with people to whom traditionally we prefer not to talk, or who discourage dialogue and force us to take the initiative. When I ran for London Mayor as the Christian Peoples Alliance candidate, we also won a seat on the London Assembly. But we were not given it because of a rule that was applied to the PR results a rule originally devised to keep out parties like the far right BNP. It seems ironic that the one seat in the Assembly that might have been held by an Asian was given to a white candidate because of an anti-BNP rule! But maybe we are looking at it wrongly. Should our strategy be solely to keep racist parties such as the BNP from winning election? Or should we rather be seeking to enter into dialogue with them? It will be costly. Even for the white majority, it will involve moving right out of the comfort zone. For those in the ethnic minority communities it may seem impossible to have meaningful dialogue with people who reject your right to be members of your own society. There is an ominously consistent logic to the arguments of far right groups such as the BNP. But if they wont dialogue with us, let us dialogue with them! There are practical problems as well as ideological ones. Who should we dialogue with? Ideally, the community leader. But its sometimes difficult to identify leaders. Who speaks for a particular minority? Is it the old folk the headship of the extended family, the accumulated wisdom of age, and the last direct links with the mother country? Or is it the young generation often those most at ease with the host culture and language, those with enough money to make their voices heard those who have given thought to achieving a synthesis between the culture of their home country and their adopted country and therefore are most inclined to enter into dialogue with the majority community? Or is it another group entirely the leaders of the faith community for example, or those who run the minority media channels? Professor Weinfeld of McGill University suggests that we must engage in dialogue with everyone who claims to be a leader Even, Lord Dholakia adds, those leaders who say, Take me to my followers!. That still leaves the question: Who are the leaders in the majority community? Who corresponds to the local temple priest, the family patriarch, the young successful entrepreneur, the editor of the Daily Jang? These are difficult questions. We cant avoid them, however, if dialogue is going to be sustained and if our dialogue is going to be sustaining. It will involve a radical paradigm shift in how we do dialogue. We need to re-examine our vehicles of dialogue The media, for example, frequently seem to be engaged in debate and discussion. But very often we are actually being presented with opinion and attitude. Many daytime TV audience-participation discussions-shows such as Jerry Springer and the like - and many conversations in the new 'Reality-TV' phenomenon appear to be balanced discussions. But the mechanics of media rhetoric are familiar to any first-year Media Studies undergraduate. You can steer an argument by selective interviewing, by 'tuning' your audience, by skilful


editing, even by choice of camera angle. Television only sometimes conducts objective debate. Part of sustaining dialogue involves scrutinising this and other vehicles of dialogue. We need to re-examine the structures of dialogue The under-representation of minorities in many areas of European society creates extreme pressures upon our multi-cultural societies. In my mayoral campaign I was horrified to find that many in the ethnic minority communities in London's poorest boroughs do not know they have a right to vote. Some of those communities have so many ethnic minority members that they should certainly be represented on the local council and could well end up running it. But in fact members of other communities are taking the decisions and maintaining an unjust political situation. It is so throughout Britain. There are no ethnic minority members in the Scottish Assembly - despite the fact that it is elected by proportional representation. The first Asian in the London Assembly was only elected last year-despite the fact that there are a million Asians living in London. In Stoke Newington, 1 in 5 voted for the far right BNP. Can we afford not to have dialogue? This kind of covert, structural racism is endemic throughout British and European social, business and administrative structures. It is changing, slowly. But let me give you a personal example. In 2001 I was invited as a keynote speaker at a conference of the Federation of Small Businesses. I was to follow William Hague and Labour Minister Barbara Roche, addressing the 600 delegates in plenary session. My speech dealt with the contribution of British South Asians to the British economy and the strategies needed to ensure its continuance. After William Hague and Barbara Roche had spoken, all 600 delegates left the room. I was left facing an empty auditorium. The organisers had to bribe delegates to return by announcing free champagne in the hall during my speech! Afterwards, a few said to me privately, "We are glad we heard your impressive account of what the Asian community has achieved. And to think that until a few years ago, annual resolutions were passed at this conference-'Send them back home'!" 3.3. Citizenship and Rights, Integration and Inclusion One reason why Europes multicultural societies are under pressure is that ethnic minority communities often have very little sense of belonging. They have rights of abode, civil rights and other rights too. But they feel outsiders. Sometimes it is a question of power how can you belong to a country if you are not aware that you have a vote in its government? Sometimes it is cultural; in many parts of Britain and Europe society has not made much progress since the 1960s, when my mother did not know how to use a Western bank, even how to write a cheque, and there were no Hindi-speaking bank officials to show her how. Today, in some London boroughs, English is being taught as a foreign language to third-generation immigrants. So what hope is there for integration in this context? And what does integrated mean? Does it mean, as sections of the controversial 2000 Runneymede Report seemed to suggest, that we should all blend into a kind of cultural/ethnic blancmange, in which every minority loses its distinctive in order to achieve a homogenised, integrated society so that I become a brown Englishman? Certainly not! I am proud of my British citizenship and immensely grateful for all that my adopted country has done for me and enabled me to do


for myself. But I am proud too of my Indian heritage, of my cultural and ethnic background. I want to celebrate my Britishness but I also want to celebrate my Indian-ness. But across Europe how far should that process go? How much integration is enough? Somewhere there is a balance to be struck: between young Muslims in many countries in our continent who have become associates of al Qaeda or the young Britons in the north who signed up as conscripts for the Taliban in the Afghan conflict to fight against their adopted country, Britain and at the other end of the scale the Indian family in the BBC TV comedy Goodness Gracious Me! -whose family name is Kapoor but want people to call them Cooper. The British government is actively working on the issue of integration. The Minister, Tony McNulty, speaks of cohesion; the Home Office is constructing integration indices to determine levels of integration. This is a positive move, but I wonder whether it is going in quite the right direction. Britain is not the only multicultural society represented today which is increasingly fragile. Pressures come upon it from all sides: globalisation, the competition for skills, the need for border controls and the prevention of abuse of the immigration process, disagreements between countries as to the correct way forward in a world where refugees and asylum seekers are an increasing proportion of the movement of ethnic communities. Will integration make us more secure? Personally I would prefer to see the introduction of indices of inclusion. Factors that increase fragility are not necessarily the opposite of cohesion. Inclusiveness, however that drawing in of a diverse people into a functioning society by the application of trade-offs of rights, the celebration of citizenship, the universal application of rights and of education into those rights (by such means as education in citizenship) will make a society strong. Such strategies cannot be left to happen by default. Often the absence of visible conflict is taken to mean the presence of an illusory peace. Let me illustrate that from my own story. Fifty years ago, my family lived in the Hyderabad Sind in India where Hindus and Moslems lived side by side. Then came Partition, and massacres, and many fled to Africa. There are many who would say that the pre-Partition communal relationship was artificial, that it never really touched deep issues and so could not survive the trauma of Partition. Then in East Africa citizenship became the issue. We had no rights or status and we didnt belong. We fled to Britain, where most of us had rights and status but few of us felt we really belonged. Superficially we were accepted and integrated but the seeds of much bitterness were already planted. Today we see similar tensions. Is the young Asian in Rotterdam a citizen of a multicultural society? Was pre-war Bosnia, where Orthodox, Muslim and Catholic lived side by side, truly multicultural or was it like pre-partition India? And what does that teach us about the Paris suburbs? How fragile are our multicultural societies? How will it withstand the pressures especially following 7/7 and 21/7? Or indeed the French riots? Recently I visited Amsterdam, as part of the UK delegation attending the third Apeldoorn Conference. The Mayor of Amsterdam, Bob Cohen, in his keynote address said


that a very significant percentage of the population in Amsterdam would be non-Dutch by the year 2020. My comment to him Could he not foresee a city, indeed a country, where by 2020, the definition of Dutch would have changed to such an extent that he would proudly be able to say that 100% of the city was Dutch! 3.4. The Business Dividend The issues of social integration and multiculturalism are a crucial part of the debate of the integration of minorities in Europe. The Civitas Report, and the Migration Watch Report which I mentioned as I began, cast doubt on the contribution of ethnic communities to the British economy. I can only answer that my business life has been spent first in the ethnic minority business community and then as a facilitator of, and commentator on, that community. The contribution is substantial, I can assure you. Around 1.6 million South Asians in Britain generate between them over 5 billion. They have a huge disposable income, and enviable links to a world-wide Diaspora with commercial and financial links and networks from which the British economy has greatly benefited. It is not just a handful of famous Asian names in the Rich Lists. This is a community with enormous retail flair it owns three-quarters of all UK independent retail outlets enormous entrepreneurial flair over two-thirds of all business start-ups in at least one West London constituency are by South Asians and enormous technical flair let me spell that out in three syllables BANG-A-LORE. And it has enormous professional aptitude: 50% of all dentists in training are from ethnic communities. I wont load more statistics on you, nor talk about the Japanese, the Africans, and the other ethnic communities that are contributing to our business economy in so many ways. You yourselves can judge the contribution of Asians in your own countries. But I can say if not now, in due time you will find their influence just as important. These communities must be included and welcomed into Europes multicultural societies. If they are not, it will be costly for both the minority and the majority communities. If they are, we will all be richer for it; however you define rich. We are talking sustainability here. And, as I have argued, dialogue and the sustaining of dialogue are vital elements in achieving sustainability. Os Guinness, an English commentator now living in Washington, writing about 9/11, said that there is a difference between Being in America and Being an American. In Britain, many have British Citizenship but feel that they belong elsewhere. 3.5. A Tale of Two Cities There seems to be two parallel worlds in our capital cities and beyond: the Asian and ethnic economy and the mainstream economy. Ethnic businesses still struggle to tap into sources of finance and continue to rely on mutual guarantee schemes between same members of the family for investment projects. I give many examples of this in my recent books, The UK Maharajahs and The British and how to deal with them: Doing business with Britains ethnic communities.


These parallel worlds are manifested too in the fact that so few black or Asians are in the FTSE 100 company boards and senior management teams. We see too in London the fact that ethnic workers are twice as likely to be qualified but half as likely to be employed - with particular problems facing African Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin communities. The new arrivals from Somalia and Eastern Europe make this issue even more complex. We cannot talk about creating bridges between the two economies and sharing business practice and values without acknowledging real exclusion from both mainstream patterns of business growth and political structures. Political values and business values do not exist in separate worlds in the same way that ethnic business and mainstream business have to trade in the same market place. There is always crossover. 3.6. Which Values? So I have to ask, which set of values can we draw upon that allow synchronicity and that can be drawn together? As an Asian I am relaxed about drawing from faith values. I was delighted to hear the British industry Minister, Stephen Timms MP stress the importance of faith values. This was at a recent meeting in London where we both shared a platform. I am an advisor to a Muslim bank in the City of London and am impressed with the fact that verses from the Koran are read and prayers said at the beginning of every meeting. Not so long ago, many great businesses in London and other cities of the United Kingdom drew upon their Christian faith for their corporate values and the virtues of hard work, honesty, trust and thrift that saw all these Cities grow and prosper. Those values of honesty and trust - which Fukyama points to as underpinning all economic systems that persevere - continue to survive. The city of London motto Meum Dictum Pactum (my word is my bond) - sadly no longer can be relied on. Regulation and rule making will not change corporate culture without some other drivers for change. So I would point to the best of the faith traditions for some values. 3.7. Six Principles of Christian Democracy As a Christian Democrat influenced by social models of growth and governance in Europe, I would suggest Six Principles to underpin the ethos of ideas and act as a framework as we seek to connect disparate agendas - social justice, active compassion, reconciliation, empowerment, respect for life and stewardship of resources. These principles underpinned my policies and manifesto in the 2000 Mayoral race and in a blind internet poll conducted by the New Statesmen magazine , my policies came closest to the aspiration of Londoners and I won the Fantasy Mayor Poll! These policies call for innovative and radical solutions if we are to seriously work at connecting agendas to strengthen partnership. Take the environmental agenda, as one example.


I was invited to speak at the official opening of a country park in Southall that had been cleaned up by local volunteers organised by A Rocha, an environmental charity. What struck me at the launch was that in an area where over 90% of the community is Asian only a small percentage of those present - representing volunteers and supporters were from the minority communities. 3.8. The Challenge How To? The challenge, of course, is how to? Especially in the diverse communities that now make up Britain. Good corporate citizenship demands that we work across and between communities, but this will need radical innovative solutions. Any initiative has to work two ways, push and pull factors must come from both communities if we are to see agendas connecting successfully, so that community cohesion improves, community fragility reduces and race relations are enhanced. The consequences of ignoring these cross-cultural issues threaten the very fabric of our societies and economic sustainability. But if we come across the ethnic bridges together and harness our drive, skills and cultural experiences, then local economies and communities will flourish. And EU plc or EU SA will grow from strength to strength in the globally and increasingly competitive and diverse environment in which we operate. Ram Gidoomal CBE is Chairman of South Asian Development Partnership and former leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance and stood for this party as candidate for the Mayoral election of London


4. Minority Policy Switzerland as an Example

Joel Blunier 4.1. Introduction I dont know how familiar you are with my country. Compared to other European countries, Switzerland is rather small and contains 41,285 square kilometres. In comparison, France is about 13 times as big as Switzerland. I assume you dont know a lot more about Switzerland than the following: Its a good place to visit for the winter-holidays. Our cheese and chocolate are extraordinary. Swiss banks administer about 10% of worldwide finances. Switzerland is well known for its watch industry. We are one of the last non-EU-countries in Europe. The tennis champion Roger Federer is Swiss citizen. The national Swiss soccer team has qualified for the world-championships.

What you probably dont know is that Switzerland has no historically grown identity. My country only grew together as a nation because of the integration of different minorities. So if we want to discuss the problem of how to handle minorities in Europe, Switzerland is a good and successful role model so far. In a first part of this lecture I want to present you some historical backgrounds that lead to the foundation of the Swiss Federal Confederation in 1848. Secondly, Im going to talk about the instruments of Swiss minority policy. In a third and last part, Im going to try to develop a list of proposals for a successful minority policy. 4.2. Definition of Minority Generally, depending on which point of view were talking about, everyone is part of a minority, maybe someone belongs to a majority in his home country concerning his skin colour. On the other hand he could be part of a minority concerning his religion or his political thinking at the same time. Someone can also be member of a minority in daily questions such as his occupation, his hobbies, his culinary preferences or his way of living. Officially, minorities are defined as follows: A minority is a demographic group in a certain territorial unit (country, region,), which differentiates from the majority of the population through certain characteristics such as for example language, race, religion, moral, social functions or others. Frequently, minorities are excluded due to prejudice or they are victims of violence. 42

The reason for the development of minorities is the settlement of a country. That can lead to the fact that the native population becomes a minority and they have to adapt to the values and standards of the majority. This can go so far that the right of existence of minorities is no longer recognized. For example, the native Indians of North America. In the conventional sense minorities are ethnic or national minorities, which means populations which live in a territory, in which another group of people is the majority, that thus have "power". 4.3. Background and History of Switzerland Background

Switzerland is called a "nation of the will", because an avowed will was the basis for uniting the different cultures and languages to a Federal State. It is a definition, which describes my country applicable and which confirms the programmatic name "confederation". Switzerland has: ..................................................................... A surface of about 41,000 square kilometres, .................................................................................A population of seven million people, .......................... A share of about 20 percent of its population that are not Swiss citizens,

four official languages: German with over 63 percent, French with 20%, Italian with 6.5 percent and Ra

26 cantons (states) with an own constitution, own parliaments and governments, who are all elected direc has a parliament, which was copied from the US-system in 1848. The national council with its 200 seats The political party system

Switzerland does not know a classical two-party system, where government and opposition alternate the responsibility in more or less regular intervals. The party-political composition of the parliament offers a sometimes confusing variety of 12 parties. Since 1959, the four largest parties are represented in the federal council, the government, and form a so called concordance government. This means that approximately 80% of the parties represented in the parliament are involved in the government. Despite their different political programs, they come together to find solutions that should be supported by the majority of the parliament. In this context it is important to understand how Switzerland was founded. Here is a summary about the history of my country. Switzerlands history


Switzerlands geographical position with its transit routes over the Alps made it a desirable possession for European great powers through the ages. Switzerland developed slowly over many centuries, as more and more regions came together to form a loose confederation whose members gave each other mutual support. At times their different interests stretched the bonds between them almost to breaking point. The year 1291 is traditionally regarded as the foundation of the Swiss Confederation, when three rural communities made an alliance to protect their freedoms against encroachments by would-be overlords. The 14th and 15th centuries saw this group expand to a loose confederation with both rural and urban members. By the end of the period the Confederation was strong enough to have a serious impact on the balance of power in Europe in wars where their troops gained a fearsome reputation for their skill and courage. Expansion proceeded in several ways. In some cases new members joined the Confederation as equals; other communities or territories came by purchase or conquest. The rights of the inhabitants of the Confederation still depended both on the place where they lived and on their position in society. The Confederate members administered their own affairs, but also held frequent diets to discuss issues of common interest. The new constitution was drafted at the beginning of 1848 and approved by the Diet. It was then passed by the 22 cantons. The thrust of the new constitution was to give Switzerland a more centralised government, which took over many of the rights and duties which formerly belonged to the cantons. This favoured its economic development and ended any possibility that Switzerland might break up. The most important innovations were the establishment of an elected two-chamber Federal Assembly, and of a Federal Council, the government, consisting of seven members with a rotating Presidency. The new Constitution gave citizens a number of rights and freedoms, including freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the right to choose their place of residence. Another innovation gave citizens the possibility of changing the constitution by popular vote. However, as everywhere else in the world at that time, only men had the vote. The revised constitution was passed in 1874. Its provisions have been little changed since then. It laid down the principle that if enough citizens demand it, all new legislation can be put to a nationwide vote. This remains a cornerstone of the Swiss political system today. Living together peacefully in this fragmented country was only possible by a decentralized federal structure of state, in which solidarity between the individual member states are very important. In 1999 the constitution was fundamentally revised. At the conclusion of the preamble we read an important sentence: And that the strength of the Swiss people may be measured by the prosperity of the weak This sentence at the end of the preamble may seem rather unimportant. Nevertheless, it has an enormous meaning, because it gives a clear rule how the strength of the people must be measured. In the economy this procedure is called benchmark. One compares its organization with another comparable and successful organization in order to eliminate the so called minimum factors. Therefore, Switzerlands welfare is only as good as the welfare of the weakest in the country. However, the weakest are often part of a minority in a


country. Thus, the protection of minorities of the Swiss constitution already takes its beginning in the preamble. 4.4. Minority Policy in Switzerland Switzerland consists of many culturally different and territorially clearly separated groups. Thereby, the main distinctive feature is language. The dominating German language group is again divided into different cantonal dialects. However, the largest cultural differences can be found between the French, Italian and German-speaking part of Switzerland. For example, this can be seen in the political behaviour, where every now and then the German-speaking part of Switzerland wins against the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In addition, differences exist between urban and rural areas too. Here, the main cleavage is progressive vs. conservative". The stronger religious anchorage of the rural population plays a crucial role. In contrary to former times, today protestant and catholic cantons do not fight each other anymore. The cultural differences though are visible up to this day. The rural and conservative cantons as well as the French, Italian and RaetoRomanian language-groups form a numerical minority in Switzerland. As in other states there are several other social groups with minority status in Switzerland: farmers, Jews, foreigners, handicapped people or believing Christians. What does the Swiss government do in order to protect minorities and/or grant them participation? 1. Language promotion Four central steps are responsible for the protection and for the integration of the linguistic minorities in Switzerland: a) Constitutional guarantee: in the 4th article of the Swiss Constitution the four main languages are legitimized. This should be a hindrance against the growing domination of the predominant language group. b) Federalism: the federal system guarantees the political autonomy of the cantons. More details later. c) Proportional representation of the language groups: in all committees and boards of the Swiss state there are formal and informal rules, which ensure an appropriate representation of the linguistic minorities. In addition, national associations, labour unions, parties and even in the economy know this principle as well. d) Language promotion: In article 70 of the constitution the promotion and the protection of language variety is specified for linguistic minorities. This may contain financial support as well as multilingual publications. 2. Federalism In 1848, the modern federal state of Switzerland was founded by a loose confederation autonomous canton. Different cantons, which had fought each other before in the so called Covenant War (Sonderbundskrieg), had to be combined to a nation. In this short war the progressive protestant cantons won against the catholic conservative cantons,


which were united by a covenant. The peaceful co-existence in the common territory was only possible by building federal structures, in which non-centralization, subsidiarity and solidarity took over an important role. In a federal system the tasks and sovereign rights between central state and member states are divided. Thereby, the autonomy of each member of the federation is guaranteed. The three most important features of Swiss Federalism are the following: a) Non-centralisation: The exact division of tasks between the federation and the cantons is regulated in the federal constitution. The federation has only special competences when they are clearly assigned. If a task of the cantons is to be transferred to the federation a change of the constitution and thus a popular vote is needed. After the Covenant War the catholic cantons, which were a minority compared to the protestant cantons, fought against the establishment of a central federal authority and against federal competences. They wanted to preserve as much autonomy as possible for the cantons and municipalities. The liberal majority however supported a small federal authority and a clear division of tasks. b) Subsidiarity: As to federalism in Switzerland, the principle of subsidiarity means that only those tasks are to be taken over by the central government which exceed the possibility of the lower level (for example the cantons). c) Solidarity: In contrast to American federalism in which the competition between the federal states play an important role, Swiss federalism is based on solidarity between the cantons and regions. Of course, there is a certain competition between the cantons (for example in tax policy), but a balance between weak and strong regions/cantons is guaranteed by different transfer payments. 3. Direct democracy The people have two possibilities of directly intervening into politics, which is promoting or preventing the adoption of law: Popular initiative Any Swiss citizen has the right to propose new legislation by launching an initiative, although normally initiatives come from pressure groups rather than individuals. If they manage to gather 100,000 signatures in support of the proposal, it must be put to a nationwide vote. Initiatives have been held recently on matters such as cutting military spending (rejected) and limiting the foreign population to 18% (rejected). Referendum The Swiss use the term "referendum" for a popular vote called to challenge a piece of legislation already approved by the Federal Assembly. If any person or group opposed to the new law manages to collect 50,000 signatures within 100 days of the official publication of the proposed legislation, the voters as a whole are given the chance to decide.


In most cases, a referendum is only called if those who feel strongly about the issue manage to collect enough signatures. However, the authorities are obliged to hold a referendum if the legislation involves an amendment to the constitution initiated by the government or any proposal for Switzerland to sign a major international agreement which cannot be rescinded. In the case of an initiative or a mandatory referendum, there has to be a "double majority" for it to pass, meaning a majority of the people as a whole, and a majority of the cantons must approve it. The right of popular initiatives and referendums give minorities in Switzerland a possibility to fight against a decision which has been taken by the majority. Even smaller groups are capable to collect 50,000 signatures. If pressure groups publicly uphold the threat of carrying out a referendum parliamentarians are reminded of the fact that there are still other-thinking people in the Swiss society. Therefore, they try to avoid extreme positions in the legislation process in order no to provoke a referendum. Thus minorities have a direct influence on daily politics. A popular initiative is a possibility of letting new ideas flow into the political process and/or of setting topics on the political agenda which have been neglected or forgotten by the majority. Beyond that, cantons have the right to carry out a referendum if 8 cantons fight against a federal legislation. The following campaign leads to a broad public discussion of a request of a minority. In June, for example, the Swiss voters had to decide on the adoption of the new Federal law on the registration of homosexual partnership. The Christian parties EVP and EDU, which together had only 4% in the last elections had started a referendum. In the end of the campaign 42% of the population could have been convinced of voting NO to the new law. Unfortunately this was too less to win. 4. Council of States Switzerland has a parliamentary system of two chambers, which is similar to the US. Beside the National Council whose 200 seats are distributed to the cantons according to their population, the Council of States represents the cantons. The National Council and the Council of States have equal rights and equal power. Each canton has two seats in the Council of States. Each canton can decide individually how they are occupied. Today all members of the Council of States are elected directly by the people in each canton. The second chamber gives a super proportional meaning to the small cantons which leads to a balance of power. 5. Majority of the States (Stndemehr) For a popular initiative, which intends to change the federal constitution, two majorities are needed. The majority of all votes on the one hand and the majority of the states on the other hand. Because of Swiss federalism the democratic principle of "one man, one vote" has been transformed to the rule of "one state, one vote". However, the smaller German-speaking cantons get a kind of a "veto", over the majority of the states. Therefore it is possible that an initiative be rejected, even though the majority of the voters accepted it. Thus the small, sparsely populated cantons have a super proportional influence. Zurich, the largest canton, with its 1.26 million inhabitants has as many seats in the Council of States as the smallest canton Uri with approximately 34,000 inhabitants. Compared to the total


population a person living in the canton of Uri has a 37 times higher influence than a voter living in Zurich because for the majority of the States, every canton has only one vote. This mechanism prevents the densely populated and urban cantons continuously outvoting the small mountain cantons. 6. Consultation Procedure Switzerland knows the so called consultation procedure. That means, before the Federal Council submits its requests to the parliament, it carries out a written public opinion poll for the interest groups. The employers organizations, the labour unions, the parties and all cantons are always invited to publish their opinion. Additionally, environmental associations, shooting associations, farmers, vine-dressers, bee breeders or the "association of divorced yodels and unmarried cow-milkers" - if the latter would exist - also have the possibility of submitting a statement. With this procedure the government wants to find out first whether it has a chance passing legislation through the parliament. Thus, the consultation procedure offers minorities a unique opportunity to make their opinion public. 4.5. Characteristics of National Minority Policy Switzerland surely is a special case. Not everything that is successful in Switzerland can also be applied to other countries. Nevertheless I finally would like to list the most important characteristics of national minority policy, which could also have an importance in an adopted way for other conditions or circumstances. 7. Balance If power lies in the hands of a few people, the suppression and discrimination of minorities are pre-programmed. Therefore, a democratically institutionalized balance mechanism is needed. The two-chamber system is one of the central elements. In a federal country the individual member states are represented in the second chamber, which relates the power of the First Chamber. Laws always have to be accepted by both chambers. 8. Guarantees The minorities living on a territory dominated by a majority should be given specific rights which guarantee that the minorities are not outvoted and/or excluded continuously from the political process. This can be reached by guaranteed seats in parliaments or committees, but also by constitutional legitimisation of a minority group (languages, ethnics). In Switzerland for example, that would be the language guarantees by offering regional language television programs or the informal rule that 2 to 3 representatives of the French and Italian language group must always be represented in the seven-seat government. 9. Autonomy In order to keep up the social peace, it is important that minorities get a certain amount of autonomy in clearly defined ranges or territories. Federalism renders possible to preserve autonomy on clearly defined area or territory. Thus the cultural peculiarities can be taken into account. It also prevents efforts of secession.


In the canton of Berne, in which the majority speaks German, there is a Frenchspeaking minority which has its own regional parliament (Conseil Rgional du Jura Bernois). They can decide on specifically regional topics. 10. Power-sharing The integration of important minorities into the political decision-making process leads to the fact that the government responsibility is divided and all have a vital interest to keep the system running. Therefore, self-interests are kept in the background in order not to lose the participation in power because of an extreme position. This concretely means that one doesnt fight the opposition but try to integrate it into power in order to lower the conflict potential. The result is a higher political stability but also lengthy legislation processes and a lack of innovation. 11. Participation The most important element of the protection of minorities is their participation in political decisions. If minorities are excluded systematically from the decision-making process or discriminated within that process the stability of a fragmented society is in danger. If everyone has at least the feeling that their opinion is taken into account, everyone may contribute to the decision-making process, although they might nevertheless lose at the end. That contains a psychological component: the possibility of being able to express an opinion freely - in hope that it will be heard - works against resignation over political defeats. Participation and the freedom of expressing its point of view is an important element of individual liberty. In a direct democracy different coalitions of minorities are formed in each popular vote. Sometimes one belongs to the winners, another time to the losers. Therefore, minorities feel less disadvantaged and discriminated. 4.6. Ending I presented the Swiss political system as role model. I hardly ever mentioned something about the disadvantages. This will be the subject of the following discussion. I know I presented to you ideal democratic conceptions. I did that with a clear intention, because sometimes "pure conditions" are necessary to generate broadly accepted models. The fact that in reality there are also disadvantages should be clear for you and me. Personally, I wish that each country would consider the protection of minorities as a task of absolute priority. It is by measures of promotion and protection or at least through the creation of a climate of equal rights and chances for all ethnic and religious communities within a territory. In the Bible, God supported the oppressed, the ill, the weak, the ostracized and the poor over and over again: The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed. (Luke 4.18)


He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free (Psalms 146.7) and in this context one could call them minorities. Therefore, I clearly regard the protection of minorities as a duty/obligation of each Christian. I ask you to fight for this obligation in your own country. No matter if you belong to the majority or to the minority. Joel Blunier is General Secretary of the Evangelical Peoples Party of Switzerland


5. Religious Tolerance on a Christian Basis

John van Eck The title Islam, which has been given to this workshop in the program, is too general. I am not an expert in that field, far from it. I am a Christian who has some thoughts on religious tolerance on a Christian basis. These thoughts I want to share with you. As a chaplain in the Dutch army I meet young Muslims every day. I talk with them about their plans, their ideals, but also about their cultural background and religion. They are always willing to discuss social and political items. Many of the things I learned, I learned from them. The theological tradition in which I stand is the Calvinist one, more specifically, the Calvinist tradition as it has developed in the Netherlands, with their own tradition of religious tolerance. And, of course, I am a child of the Enlightenment, as we all are in Europe, whether we want to or not. Its this double tradition, Christianity and Enlightenment, that makes the question of religious tolerance in Europe so complicated. This complexity even pervades our every-day relations, as is shown in the following personal story. One of my good friends is a Muslim. He was born in Morocco. He studied philosophy in Casablanca and afterwards eastern languages in Utrecht. We share many interests but with respect to religion for a long time we felt certain uneasiness. We talked about it politely, with mutual respect. We noticed some differences between the Bible and Koran but we talked about these books as we did about the literary works we liked. We spoke about our religions in general terms, like children of the Enlightenment, as if we were not personally engaged in them. After a time I felt a kind of discontentment with this way of talking. Why, if we were friends, should I keep silent about my relation with Jesus, the most important thing in my life? So, when he asked me one day about the exegesis of Pauls letter to the Colossians which I am working on at the moment, I took the opportunity to tell him about whats most precious to me in Christian faith, namely that God came down to us in Jesus. In Him, says Paul, the fullness of the godhead dwells bodily (2, 9). Not something of God but God himself dwells in Jesus, in his fullness, as Paul puts it. Bodily, this means that it is not beneath Him to live with us human beings. It was not even beneath Him to be crucified (1, 20). He died among those who were considered to be the worst of all criminals. God in a crucified one. Thats the complete reversal of our natural thinking on God or godhead. But the Christian who met God in Jesus cannot think otherwise of Him. That means that God dwells in the midst of uncleanness, which is in Islam impossible, my friend said. The Koran denies the crucifixion of Jesus. But for you its the centre of your faith. The differences had become clear but that didnt harm our friendship in any way. On the contrary. There was no distance between us any more. We could meet each other as believers.

5.1. The Values of the Enlightenment


I do not want to speak negatively about the Enlightenment. Its values form the roof under which my friend and I met each other. Equal respect for all religious opinions and equal right for all to express these opinions. These are values that we cannot give up without giving up Europe itself. No religion or ideology is able to claim the public area for itself alone. It has to be divided equally among all according to rational principles. This is the heritage we got from the French Revolution, a heritage from which even the enemies of the Revolution take advantage. The values of the Enlightenment form a roof under which the adherents of different religions and ideologies can meet each other freely and live with each other in peace. It is the task of governments to protect these values and to defend them if necessary. But they have to withstand the temptation to turn these values into a public ideology. They form the roof under which people meet each other, the wall which keeps them apart if necessary, but the room underneath the roof must remain empty so that people can freely meet each other there. When Enlightenment becomes a public ideology, it leaves no room for other serious opinions and causes new inequality. After the Revolution the French political system has spread over Europe. It has many advantages: ............................................................................................................................................... It appeals to common sense. It creates an atmosphere in which people of different religions or ideologies can live together. It guarantees equal rights to all people, even to those that reject it.

It has also its disadvantages. It is superficial; it treats faith as an opinion among other opinions. Nobody looks at his own faith in that way. Compared with the ardour of religious conviction its values look rather pale. But, when attacked, they have to be resolutely defended. The existence of Europe depends on them. The vast majority of the Muslims living in Europe accept this system. When they are politically active, its within this system, mostly even within the existing political parties. That proves that the values of the European Enlightenment appeal even to people who didnt share its tradition from the beginning. Muslims have to be treated the same way as Europeans of other religions or convictions. Especially now, after 9/11. There is tendency among governments to treat Islam as a special case, as a religion which intrinsically aspires to political supremacy and therefore does not fit into the European system. May I mention the fact that in the confession of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, it is stated that the political authorities not only have to defend true religion, but that they also have to eradicate all idolatry an false religion (Dutch Confession, art. 36). No-one ever asked me whether I really think that way. A party which has made theocracy the basis of its political program has two respected representatives in the Dutch parliament. It respects the system of which it takes advantage.


They speak about us as if we are all terrorists, a young Muslim who serves in the Dutch Army said to me. Its not easy to change the opinion of the man on the street but politicians have their own responsibility. They should speak politically correct. Even in colonial times Dutch governors spoke of Dutch subjects which adhere to the Islamic religion. Today political correctness seems to have become a term of abuse. It stands for softness, for keeping the eyes closed to the danger that lingers in Islam. Of course our democratic system has to be protected. With violence even, if necessary. But politicians who give up political correctness endanger this system from within. 5.2. Tolerance So far, much about the roof. Now what about the people underneath it, who are supposed to live there in tolerance? In itself tolerance is a problematic term. What kind of relationship is there between people who tolerate each other? What do I mean when I say to somebody: I tolerate you.? That doesnt sound very friendly. I tolerate you means: it would be better if you didnt exist, but I have to live with you. From a political point of view its a great good when people live together without beating each others brains in, but its not what we generally call tolerance. Tolerance as the Enlightenment saw it is a more positive attitude. It is based on the conviction that every individual has an equal right to have his convictions and to express them. I have the right to think what I think and you have the right to think what you think. Or, deeper: I have the right to have my faith, my conviction and you have the right to have yours. You can even go a step further, then tolerance means: Even if I dont share your conviction, I will always defend your right to have it and even to express it, just as I have the right to express mine. Thats Enlightenment at its best. This kind of tolerance formed the basis for two centuries of lively debate on religious, philosophical and scientific topics in Europe. The debate went between faith and reason, between old and new science, between liberalism and socialism. It was a hot debate. The background of it was the deep conviction that there was a truth to be found about mankind, society, the world, even God perhaps. It was this conviction that held the participants together. My impression is that nowadays this conviction is fading away. The right to have our own conviction seems more and more to become a license to ignore other ones. I think what I think. Who do you think you are, that you contradict and disturb me? Freedom of speech without the obligation to listen, thats the end of tolerance as the Enlightenment saw it. Whats left then is a big crowd of talking people and no one listening. Tell me, when was the last time you saw somebody change his mind in a discussion? 5.3. The Truth of the Gospel The values of the Enlightenment form the roof under which we meet each other but they cannot fulfil our need for truth. To make clear what I mean by this I remind you of the story I told about me and my friend. Our first talks about religion were in an atmosphere of interest and mutual respect, typical Enlightenment values, as we noticed. But there remained a distance which is also typical of the Enlightenment. We talked about our religions as if they were not our own.


There was a relationship between us when we talked that way, but this was a relationship as exists between two scientists who observe each other with mutual curiosity. We really met each other when I told him of the truth which forms the basis of my existence: that God choose to dwell among us in Jesus, even in the midst of uncleanness, to quote my friend. Surprisingly this truth did not put up a barrier. On the contrary, it took away the last obstacle between us. The truth of Gods love in Jesus breached the quasi-objectivity that held us captive. It was as if a light broke through. There was something like a clearing between us in which we could meet each other as the believers we are. We can now speak freely about our deepest convictions without being afraid to hurt each other. The gospel preaches a love thats fully disinterested, a love that gives without asking, that waits until its freely answered. Therefore, I think, one can make it the basis of ones politics without being afraid of deterring non-believers. In my opinion Christian politics have become too much politics of Christian values. Thats natural, for values are easily put into a program. You can defend them against people who support other values. You can try to get them realized by making concrete proposals, as all politicians do. With the gospel of Gods love in Jesus its not so easy to do these things. Is it possible to turn this love into politics? Certainly not in a direct way, as we do with Christian values. In the love of God one can only believe. Belief is more than an opinion; its more even than a conviction on religious matters. Its something between God and man. It cannot be directly turned into political action, it works indirectly. It influences the way we think, act, look at things, but not in such a way that it can be put into a program. It constitutes the spirit in which you do things. When we turn the spirit into a letter, its not the spirit any more. But it makes a difference whether we see human beings as just human beings, or whether we believe God created them. God wanted them to exist. Therefore we respect them. That goes deeper than the equality the French Revolution preached. The belief that God dwelt among us in Jesus makes even a greater difference. He did not only create the world and the human beings who live in it. He wanted to live among them. He even wanted to be one of them. He who created heaven and earth, wanted to share human existence, bodily even, with all its daily annoyances. The daily life of people, their daily bread, their illnesses and other sufferings were a matter of highest interest to Him. Do not think of high things, but live among the low (things, people) (Rom. 12, 16). Low things, Low, common people. Thats the orientation point of Christian life as the apostle sees it. It should be the orientation point of Christian politics also, at least when you want it to reflect something of Gods love towards man. I go one step further. A God who dwelt in the midst of uncleanness cannot be a God of Christian values alone. Nothing against Christian values, but Gods love in Christ goes deeper. It reaches into the realm of sin and death, far below any Christian or even moral level. Truly Christian politics, therefore, cannot restrict itself to the promotion of Christian values in society. It shows also compassion with those who do not live up to this standard. Gods love in Christ is love towards sinners. A Christian politician should never forget that. Its up to you to make politics out of this. Its worth trying. After two centuries of relativism Europe is waiting for some truth.


5.4. Tolerance on a Christian Basis When truth comes in, tolerance is in danger. Thats what politicians generally are afraid of. Thats why some want to demand from Imams who come to Holland explicit approval of the constitution as if it was given on Mount Sinai! Thats also why politicians hesitate to introduce truth into political discussions. It doesnt fit into the usual political practice. It may put up barriers to people you want to cooperate with. To take away that fear, finally, Ill show you that truth and tolerance are not incompatible. Rather, that the Christian truth can provide a stronger basis for tolerance than Enlightenment thinking does. To show you this I go back to an Old Dutch tradition. Perhaps you know that in 17th century Holland predestination was a hot item. Perhaps its the most Dutch of all Christian dogmas. It didnt become very popular in the rest of the world, as far as I know. Faith is a free gift of God, is the idea, and not the choice of the human being. Calvin in Geneva developed this thought in the 16th century but in Holland it became part of popular theology. On a practical level it leads to a tolerance in religious matters that was unique in 17th century Europe. If faith is a free gift of God, was the argument, its useless to force a religious conviction upon someone. Faith is a free gift of the Lord, forcing the conscience is tyranny, was the opinion of the man on the street35 and the authorities thought the same way. They were not much concerned about their duty to eradicate idolatry and false religion and so Holland became a land of many churches. Not only Christians of all kinds, also Jews were free to practice their religion. That does not mean that people were indifferent to questions of religious truth. On the contrary; Holland is also the land of the theological disputes. Violent disputes often. But exactly that violence betrays the intense commitment with which these disputes were pursued. When, at the beginning of the 19th century, the ideas of the French Revolution spread over Europe, in Holland religious tolerance had been practiced already for two hundred years. Things changed only on paper. Holland remained the land where Christians of all sorts and Jews lived peacefully together. It had its own tradition of tolerance and hardly needed a revolution. Official theology didnt spend much thought on the issue. Tolerance was considered to be a practical question, not a theological one. In 1956, after the Second World War, A. A. van Ruler, who taught dogmatism in Utrecht, wrote an article on the subject36. For him the basis of Christian tolerance lies in the fact that God himself is tolerant. I give a few quotations: The other is more than a thing. He is something different from a piece of the world, which I always think I must turn it into my world. He is there for himself, also a human being. He is put here by God. The most important basis for tolerance as an inner disposition lies in the fact that, according to the testimony of the Bible and every-day experience, God himself treats his human beings like that. He has thousands of pots simmering on the fire. He plays and fights with every human heart.


A. Th. van Deursen, Bavianen en slijkgeuzen, Kerk en kervolk ten tijde vanmaurits en Oldenbarnevelt, Assen 1974, p. 216. 36 Theologisch werk, deel I, Nijkerk 1969, p. 191-215.


His sovereignty is the ground of all things. The sovereignty of God realises itself in the freedom of man. The theocracy of this particular God therefore leads to tolerance. Tolerance as respect for God, who goes different ways with different people and will all bring to the destination (pre-destination!) He has in mind for them. To end with, Ill tell you about a contact between Dutch Christians and Muslims which took place in Banda, one of the Moluccan Islands, in 1602, long before the East Indies were a Dutch colony, before the foundation of the Dutch East Indian Company even. The contacts between the Bandanese and the Dutch tradesmen were friendly. They entered into a trade agreement. The first paragraph of the written document runs as follows: In the first place each shall serve his God according to the faith God gave him, without hating each other, or causing discord. Then they shall treat each other from both sides in all friendship and leave the rest to God, who is Judge of faith and conscience.37 This text was not written by a theologian but by a captain, a practical man. He knew that without religious tolerance a society couldnt exist, so its the first thing he lays down in the contract. He was a faithful Calvinist, as we hear in the words according to the faith God gave him. He was also willing to learn something from the Muslims he negotiated with: the idea that God will pass judgement on the differences between believers comes from the Koran38. This text deserves to become a European classic in a time in which religious tolerance is put under pressure. Religious tolerance on a Christian basis an old tradition. Will it have a new future? Dr. John van Eck is military chaplain for the Protestant Church in The Netherlands. He also published about the political aspects of Acts. In 2003 he published Living with the Islam as a model of living with the Islam as reality in Western-Europe.


Original text in: P. Moree, Dodos en galjoenen, De reis van het schip Gelderland naar Oost-Indi, 1601-1603, Zutphen 2001, p. 108-109. 38 Sura 2,113.


6. Answering Extreme-Right .........................................................

Manuel Lub 6.1. Introduction In this workshop we dwell on how we as political and social organisations with a Christian vision, could answer the rising and presence of extreme-rightist movements in Europe. What is our attitude towards extreme-rightist movements and parties? What do we think about their vision regarding foreigners? Tonight we try to answer these questions and to come to a basic attitude towards extreme-rightist thought and practice. 6.2. Extreme-Rightist Movements in Europe The rising extreme-rightist groups in Europe troubled the continent and Great-Britain a lot in more recent years. The most cited example is Austria, where the FP with Jorg Haider, its leader at that time, was brought into government in 1999. The Belgian minister of Foreign Matters at that time, Louis Michel, cancelled his planned Austrian ski vacation immediately. Other persons ask particular questions regarding the extreme-rights quality as a party. In any case the FP was strongly punished in 2002 and the party continued to decline in 2003. Meanwhile, Haider had left the party to establish the BZ (Pact for the future of Austria).


In Germany extreme-rightist groupings are not yet significant enough at the political level. The three political parties which can be categorised as being extreme-rightist (DVU, Die Republikaner and NPD) compete with each other and are not strongly developed. In Denmark and Norway weve been seeing parallel developments during the past years. A minority-cabinet was supported by an extreme-rightist party and this had consequences for the asylum-policy in those countries. The immigration-laws became more severe, the family-reunion more obstructed and the naturalisation-laws became more strictly. Furthermore, the Committee for Ethnic Equality was abolished, together with the expenditure for environment and development aid, which were decreased strongly. The strict asylum-policy brings in a lot of study-trips towards Denmark, even by our present Belgian minister of Interior Matters Patrick Dewael. In Norway, during the elections of September, 2005, the present coalition was broken but the extreme-rightist parties forced a breakthrough with 22% of the votes (Fremskrittsparteit, Developments Party). In France the popularity of the FN (Front National) with Jean-Marie Le Pen reached a culmination point during the presidential elections in 2002, where he received 5.5 million votes. In Italy the AN (Alleanza Nazionale), the foreign MSI (Movimento Sociale Italiano) was brought into the government by Berlusconi in 2001 (4 ministers and Fini as vicepremier). Furthermore, Liga Norte of Umberto Bossi was accepted into the first and second Berlusconi governments. In the Netherlands we can speak about a pr- and post-Fortuyn period. After the assassination of Pim Fortuyn in May 2002 the LPF was the second party of the Netherlands with 17% of the votes. Due to internal quarrels, the LPF fell apart. Its participation within the Dutch government only lasted a few months, as a consequence of the split. Leefbaar Nederland captured 2 seats. With the new elections in 2003 the LPF felt back on 8 seats and the LN didnt exist anymore. At this moment we see again some small initiatives from what the purpose shall be tested in the next elections the next year. The city of Rotterdam is actually being governed by a very strong Fortuyn- related party (27 %!) In Switzerland the extreme-rightist party UDC (Union Dmocratique du Centre) rise sharply in 2003 to 26.6 % of the votes and doubled its ministerial portfolio within the government (from 1 to 2). Especially Belgium does not have a good reputation regarding extreme-rightist movements. Particularly in Flanders, the extreme-right is a strongly present factor in the political landscape. Only the cordon sanitair (a protocol-agreement, in which the political parties engaged themselves, promising to establish no collaboration at all with extremeright) has held back the party to govern. The Vlaams Belang is actually the biggest political party in the Flanders and has canvassed the votes of a quarter of the Flemish votersaudience, within a period of continual growth for 25 years. Because of a condemnation of the court of justices cause, connected to the infringement of the law of anti-racism, the Vlaams Blok had to reform its party. The court of justice judged that an amount of statements and publications of the Vlaams Blok violated the penal law, because they distributed one-side information systemically and were furthermore inciting the population with their slogan-language in connection to foreigner-hatred. They finally encouraged the people to favour their proposed measures of discrimination. The VB party had to pay a


large fee but was not banned; even governmental subsidies were not taken from them. The party chose to change its name to Vlaams Belang, and wrote a new foundational declaration. It was not judicially forced to do that, neither was it obligated. They only did it because they thought that the name Vlaams Blok was criminalised now. The new name did bring no change regarding the contents of the party. Even the chairman of Vlaams Belang guaranteed that the party would continue to proclaim the same program. Wallonia In the French part of Belgium, Wallonia, the extreme-right has always been a small factor in politics. The party FN, Front National, inspired on their big brother in France was established in 1985. Only in 1995 did the party gain more significance. In 2004 the party jumped to 8, 1% of the votes. The FN is mainly an (industrial) urban phenomenon. Mainly in the big cities, were a vast number of people with unemployment benefits live together with single persons who are confronted with the social problems and an aged industrial system, are people tempted to vote for this extreme-rightist movement. Regarding Eastern-Europe, we can see that a few new member states, such as Poland, Czech en Slovakia have fairly strong extreme rightist parties, due to poujadism and an anti-European attitude. Geographical Conclusions: Countries with the most severe fascistic en national-socialistic past (Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal) are actually nations where the extreme-right or the national-populist movements dont win (except Italy?). We can detect a clear zone of ultra-rightist sympathy in the middle of Western-Europe: Austria, Switzerland and the North of Italy. In the North: Denmark and Norway. And there are the lowlands-zone including Flanders, the Netherlands and France. A point to consider is that extreme-rightist movements have been strong for some years in the most prosperous parts of Europe: Denmark, the Netherlands, Flanders, the Elzas, and the Azure coast, Austria, Switzerland and North-Italy. 6.3. Further Analysis of the Extreme-rightist Movement Which general tendency do we see in the extreme-rightist political movements? Common ideological foundations The present extreme-right populist movements characterize themselves with the following ideological foundation: They are reductionist / simplistic; their solutions excel because of the simplicity, send back the foreigners, be repressive against criminal behaviour, They have a liberal economic talk, clearly something else than the fascistic ideology of the thirties, They reject the European unification: the national-populist parties dispute especially the role of the European Commission, Since 9/11 they incite to attack the aggressive Islamic, There is also a strong anti-American undercurrent in what they see as Israel being provocateur in the Middle-East (not always).


Conclusion: there is no necessity for a decent political program: mere mobilisation against fictitious enemies. Urs Altermatt, a prominent Swiss political scientist and philosopher, tried to sum up general marks of the extreme-right radical parties. The phenomenon has some fixed elements, but they are manifesting differently, depending on the country, region and even the individual politician. The elements: Aggressive nationalism and/or ethnocentrism that expresses in xenophobia, Racism founded on biologically coloured worldview recurring in ethnic/cultural discrimination, Anti-Semitism that translate themselves in a open or covert hostile attitude towards the Jewish people and the relativism of the Nazism-crime of the past, Authoritarianism looks for a powerful leadership style and a strong State, An anti-equivalence worldview in which a hierarchic, organic order dominates, Emphasis on cultural homogeneity and a national(istic) community, Contra-pluralist conceptions regarding politics and society; mistrust in relation to democracy, Acceptation of violence to settle social and political conflicts, Demagogic manner of speaking stain political enemies, Absolutist claim on truth, Strongly obstruct the social tolerance. A lot of scientists, philosophers, sociologists, analysts, politicians and others have searched after the cause and occasion why people choose for the extreme-right and why extreme-rightist movements still grows or continues growing. Ill restrict myself to a few reasons, which can be of importance in the extreme-rightist voters taught: Social-economic reasons: poverty, unemployment, bad or dangerous living and working circumstances, the demolition of social security, privatization, the adverse effect of purchasing power, the internationalisation of capital currents, a growing split between the poor and the rich, intercultural conflict due to migrations, fear for growing minorities, criminality. Political reasons: years of savings, negligence of government tasks and public clearance, sale of urban economy at multinational concerns, depose against so-called responsible groups for all disasters: the traditional parties. Extreme-rightists anticipate in a very populist manner to these problems and propagate so-called solutions of the common sense: which are unbalanced, one-sided solutions, which many people experience as logical. From a sociological-philosophical perspective, the German social-psychologist Erich Fromm declares that in our society many people are conditioned and characterized by the anti-authoritarian family, consumptive egocentrism and an attitude of indifference, which we call hedonism. These types of people will hardly show any resistance against extremerightist propaganda. People become more independent, more critical but even, and also more isolated, lonely and frightened. As isolated and powerless creature, the individual is an easy tool for


purposes outside of himself, because hes alienated from himself and others. This situation undermines his personality, it weakens and frightens him, in order that he may submit to a new form of obeying and gets influenced. The France philosopher and sociologist Alain Bihr pointed out that we live in a time of crisis of meaning; reference-systems were falling away. And exactly these did we need to give meaning to life. We live in a time were points of view are being sold out. The gaps that exist because of the lack of reference-systems are an opportunity for extreme-rightists. On the political level, we see that the traditional parties have lost credit. On the religious level, we see a massive decrease of influence by the Church, by which we have lost a save community and world view. The world is no longer a confidential place; there is restlessness now, the public lives within a threatened reality. Leaders of extreme-rightist movements know how to cultivate the resentment of people: it is ruminating reverses, complaining without end, living with grudge and a mix of hatred, jealousy, rancour and lust. The loss of the social security system that took care for people from the cradle till the grave makes the voters more uncertain. Many tend to blame the immigrants for that cause. Extreme-rightist movements want us to believe that the indigenous peoples become injured and harmed because of the presence of foreigners in their society. We can link this analysis also to the profile of the extreme-rightists electorate. Profile of the electorate of extreme-right Extreme-rightist movements include all categories of ages, but especially the youngest and elderly people. Low-schooled persons are a substantial part of the electorate. If we take a look at the professional situation, we see that schooled and unschooled labourers especially vote for extreme-rightist parties. Furthermore: the not clerical, edgeclerical and liberals do vote in favour of extreme-right. These voters are rather not members of other societal associations. 6.4. Integration and Cultural Uniqueness? The strategy of the extreme-right is to link the presence of the foreigners to unemployment, social security benefits, to criminality; such that a great part of the people will gain the idea that the cause of all these problems is the presence of foreigners. This and other stimulating conditions, which we acknowledged before, cause people to run into the arms of extreme-rightists. Extreme-rightist movements in Flanders experience the presence of foreigners in our society as a problem. They propose, within the frame work of their slogan adapt or return! the following measures: persons, A waterproof immigration stop, Western values have to stay the foundations of constitutions, A drastic tightening of the possibility of family reunion, A human but firm expanding of non-recognised asylum seekers and illegal


No second nationality allowed, because of loyalty problems, Only rights to vote for full (Flemish) citizens, Same rights and obligations for foreigners who adapt themselves, learn our language, and respect our laws and norms, No foreigners on governmental levels, Forced integration with citizen-test and loyalty declaration. Due to the permanent linking of foreigners to problems and of general annoyance, we see that above the mentioned measures are easily accepted. The logical solution regarding this point of view is: total adaptation or obliged return to their homeland. This philosophy is more and more accepted by civilians, but also by political parties. The question is how we as Christian political parties and organisations observe the presence of foreigners in our society. Where do we put limits? Do we also talk about a saturation point when talking about foreigners in our society? Which own values and norms may foreigners still cherish and on to which extend do we want them to integrate and do some water in the wine? How easily may a foreigner receive the nationality of our countries and what are the conditions? Do we give the non EU-citizens a right to vote? When do we say that a foreigner is integrated, civilized? How do we look at Islam; do we consider the Islamisation of the EU: is this fact or fiction? How do we regard the extremeright as a movement and political party? How do we react, as Christian political parties and organisations to the developments in connection to extreme-right and its vision regarding foreigners? As I told you before, Flemish political parties made an agreement (cordon sanitaire) to not cooperate with Vlaams Belang. With this statement they want to make clear that there was no reconciliation possible between the principle of exclusion and the principle of the maintenance of liberties on the other side. The past few years the cordon sanitair (CS), is more and more criticised. Some say that the CS doesnt work because extreme-right is still growing. Others point out that this is not the objective of the cordon; it is a principal choice to abstain from any cooperation with extreme-rightist movements. Based on experiences abroad, some say that it about time to let extreme-rightist parties come into power. It seems the only possibility to stop them growing and let them be burnt by reigning. To exemplify this: look to Austria and the Netherlands. But a lot of people are afraid of the consequences to let extreme-rightists come into office. For they get the chance to practice their policy of demolition and obtain the possibility to continue being in power. The principle of own people first will be applied and their anti-social and anti-solidarity measures will follow. Diversity, trade unions, education, and the cultural sector will change or disappear. The safety policy and the right of asylum will become tougher. There are also examples of bad consequences connected to extreme-rightist coalitions; think about the cities in the South of France. To erase these consequences, years will pass. 6.5. Final Reflections How should we relate to extreme-right movements and their vision about foreigners? What do we answer?


Extreme-right movements do not offer Christian-inspired answers to societal problems but they are founded on a blood and soil- principle. Everything that confirms the nation community and ones own culture has to be continued and elaborated. Extreme-rightists desire to establish a monocultural society, a Europe of nations/peoples, which is exclusively linked to the Christian culture. There is no place for other cultures and habits. Extreme-rightists shall exclude and erase everything in society that does not fit within this framework. We conclude that we do not choose a society such as proposed by the extreme-right, because it leads to discrimination, racism, condemnation and discrimination of minorities and the weak. We have to give answers and present alternatives for problems we face when talking about foreigners, living together in diversity. The problems within foreign communitys which are characteristic for a global and multicultural society must be admitted frankly and must be discussed in the open. On the other hand: exaggerating certain facts and systematic stigmatising of foreigners brings us further from a real solution. Each citizen wants to be heard and respected. We saw these past few weeks in France, where it leads to, if certain communities are discriminated and get no help. We are in favour of counselling to make their integration successful. Merely tough and repressive action doesnt seem to work for good. There is (in these situations) a need for an integrated inclusive approach with principles of justice, which triumph but meanwhile help and coaching is needed. The societal midfield within society: long-term club life (responsibilities of members), good youth movements and school communities, good districts work and well organized trade unions and national health services with a healthy educational offer, are important stimulators against extremism. The ethnic-religious diversity of our society has strongly changed over the last few decades. More than ever, we want politicians to find answers at questions we face regarding living together in diversity. In Europe there is a growing a tendency to act more and more tough and repressive. The upheavals in Paris and France and the terrorist threats feed these tendencies. Its important to stay empathetic, despite threats and tensions, to not blame foreigners for these evolutions.

We as Christian political parties and organisations have to work on points of view and policy regarding foreigners and multicultural society. We can give a surplus value proceeding from our Christian vision by giving relevant answers to the problems we face due to living together within the framework of ethnic-religious diversity. One of the themes that matters a lot to us, is the field of tension between the different rights and liberties, such as religion, reunion, education and freedom of speech. If we would not get involved in this debate, certain Christian liberties en visions will be restricted soon. Consequently, we can not say what we think any more based on our conviction (for example: a point of view about homosexuality or euthanasia).


The foreigners, the asylum-seekers, and the fugitives, who stay in our society, have to be treated, based on law, justice and charity. We would have nothing to do with the whims of the time when we make policy but we may work within the framework of wisdom and thoughtfulness and the peace and rest that God gave us (because of the hope and salvation we have and know) when we draw out the lines of policy. In these times we need citizens and politicians who keep their heads cool and keep on modifying the vision of extremerightists. Who will not be led astray, being misled to talk populist language as extremerightists do: in a one-sided and populist manner. 6.6. Proposed Theses to Discuss in Your Country, City, Movement or Party Possible theses: our attitude toward extreme-rightist movements

We choose not to collaborate with extreme-rightist political parties, because we can and want not to be associated with a policy that debars, and discriminates people. We are not in favour of extreme-right to get into power, because of the negative consequences for parts of the population and because of the great damage it can cause. We will not collaborate with the extreme-right because their foundational vision doesnt match with our Christian fundaments: its values and ethics. We want to support policies which answer societal problems and which extreme-rightist movements misuse to canvass for voters. We choose to favour a respectful approach of the weak, deprived and less wealthy citizens in our society. We want to dispose the neglect and to strive after opportunities for development fit for all citizens. We acknowledge the need for a strong societal grassroots network of organisations, were people meet each other and take responsibility and furthermore receive opportunities to grow. Possible theses: integration and cultural uniqueness

We eagerly advocate a balanced equilibrium between several constitutional liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, association and education. We prefer a balanced integration policy regarding immigrants. Civil rights as well as duties must be emphasised (for all citizens!). We want to look at issues connected to the presence of immigrants in our community/society in a balanced way. We must avoid cheap populism and look for viable alternatives. Immigrants within our society should be able to count upon basic governmental and civil attitudes of justice, righteousness and mercy. We want to encounter ethnic-religious diversity in our society as a challenge and surplus value, without closing our eyes for societal problems emanating from this diversity. We want to present relevant Christian solutions for societal problems, which emanate from the living together of different cultures and religions. Discussion points you can use if you discuss this issue in your party


What do we prefer? To exclude extreme-rightists from power or allow them to get damaged? Why exclude them? (Advantages and disadvantages). Why allow them to receive legislative power? (Advantages and disadvantages). The borders of cultural uniqueness (autonomy) and the obligation to integrate? The relevance of our Christian vision? How would we describe solid foundations for integration policy? At what point do we consider a person to be integrated? Manuel Lub is integration official for the city of Sint-Truiden, coordinating, carrying out and following up the local ethnic-cultural minority policy of the city of Sint-Truiden. This minority policy is mainly developed on the Flemish level of politics. He is also board member of the Flemish CAxent.


7. Islam and Christian Politics

Andr Rouvoet 7.1. Introduction The subject of this conference is Ethnic and religious diversity in Europe. I am supposed to lecture on the issue of Islam and Christian politics. Let me first clarify that I am not an expert on Islam. I am a Christian politician, a Dutch MP, who has to take a stand, to determine his position, on issues related to Islam in the Netherlands. Therefore, a slight change in the title of my contribution to this conference would be appropriate: Christian politics and Islam. I would like to focus on two main issues. First, the present situation of Islam in the Netherlands and the recent developments that brought unto the surface some rather problematic aspects. And secondly, a Christian approach to Islam, related to the issue of the separation of Church and State, or in general the issue of religious diversity in a democratic society based on the rule of law. 7.2. Islam in the Netherlands Let me start by giving you some facts and figures. Worldwide there are estimated 1.3 billion Muslims. In 56 countries Islam is the majority religion; only two of them have a democratic system. In the Netherlands there are estimated 1,000,000 Muslims; this number might be overestimated: unlike Christian churches and denominations, mosques dont have the custom of registered membership. It is important to notice that there is an enormous diversity within the Muslim community: Turkish, Moroccan, Arab and others. The Muslim is as clarifying on the position and convictions of any individual Muslim as The Christian! One of the major issues related to Islam is the problematic integration process we face in the Netherlands and other European countries. Along with it goes the realistic threat of subcultures, of citizens of foreign origin living apart from and maybe even growing apart from Dutch society and having their own problems like the language problem, unemployment and the reality of new generations living between two cultures. It turns out that this context gives fundamentalist imams the opportunity to have a growing influence on young (often highly educated) Muslims. So we see how an extremist version of Islam steadily spreads, especially via the Internet. Incidentally this leads to extremism, violence, young Muslims portraying the West (especially the United States of America: the Great Satan) as decadent, hostile to Islamic values and lifestyle, and sometimes even to the call for jihad in the really violent meaning. After 9/11 (New York) and 3/11 (Madrid), we in the Netherlands envisioned two political murders: on Pim Fortuyn and on moviemaker Theo van Gogh. Both were very outspoken in their criticism on Islam, which they viewed as a backward religion. The first was murdered by an animal rights activist. The latter was a religiously motivated assassination, performed as a ritual slaughtering, and brought about in our society a broad sense of fear, uneasiness and alienation from (distrust towards) both the Muslims and the political elite, that had no answers to these acts of violence. At the same time, as a result of these developments, many members of religious, cultural and/or ethnic minorities feel out of place in our country, where they have lived for years or even decades; they feel 66

unaccepted, distrusted, treated with hostility. Many Turkish or Moroccan fellow citizens feel being considered as potential terrorists. Recently, there was great national distress when a train passenger alarmed the police by mobile phone, because two Arab-looking men acted rather suspiciously in going to the lavatory one by one, carrying mysterious bags. The train stopped, all train traffic in a wide region was derailed, Special Forces entered the train and found out these two men were just two simple train passengers with no plans for any terrorist action. Alls well that ends well, we could say. But in the following days many internet sites and chat boxes boiled with indignation about the scandalous treatment of these two brothers. Many spoke in terms of war and revenge! 7.3. A Christian Approach? How do Christians respond to the rise of a new religion in the Netherlands and in Europe? How about the uniqueness of Christianity, of the faith in Jesus Christ? What about the concept of theocracy? Isnt that a Biblical concept? Is this compatible with the separation of Church and State and freedom of religion? Does the Bible teach a Christian understanding of tolerance? First of all, let me say I myself, as a Christian, see with pain in my heart the rise of Islam in my country and in Europe. In some cases, unused churches have been taken into use by Muslims as Mosques. But instead of blaming Islam for using these former houses of Christian prayer and worship, we should blame ourselves for leaving these churches empty! The biggest problem we face in our days is not Islamisation, but secularisation! The coming of Islam to our part of the world poses a huge challenge for the Church to preach the Gospel and proclaim the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to all people! But our issue today is not what the Church must do, but what the State must do. Therefore, we must consider closely the character of the relationship between State and Church (or: religious communities). 7.4. Church and State The history of Christian politics tells us that there has been continuous attention for the issue of Church and State. How do they relate to each other? To what extent are they able to influence one another, directly or indirectly? Is the Church on a higher or rather on a lower plane than the State? Till this present day these matters have kept Christians separated in church life as well as in political life. In the light of a Christian view of Society, the relationship between Church and State should first and foremost be defined by their distinctive nature and responsibilities. The Church is the congregation of Christ and is to be characterised as a religious community, whereas the State is a public legal community of government and citizens. With Groen van Prinsterer and other Christian political thinkers I contend that with the New Testament as our guide we can and must vindicate a separation of Church and State, in the sense of discrimination. The State's concern is public justice, whereas the Church's is justice through faith! So here we have distinctive offices, from the basis of which we must conclude that the State cannot be reduced to the Church or vice versa. They do not relate to each other in terms of super ordination and subordination, but in terms of co-ordination. In the exertion of their


respective offices they are basically independent. They do not derive their competence from one another, but directly from God. By the way: strictly speaking, whenever we speak of 'the Church', we imply nothing beside the Christian church. Indeed, the word 'church' derives from the kurios, Lord, by which the Bible refers to Jesus Christ. However, whenever we speak of the church as a societal sphere, the extent of reference increases, encompassing all religious communities without exception. 7.5. Key-role of the Church Given the basic idea of Church and State being co-ordinate to each other, as are all societal spheres, we must make an additional observation. For this basic idea could be an invitation to believe that the church is 'just' a sphere like any other and is therefore level with the spheres of company, school, or marriage. As for the Church, we should note that being a community of faith by nature, it holds a special position in society. We could say that the Church holds the key-role in society. This central position of the Church follows from the fact that the Church has been entrusted with the Word of God, whereas the authority of the Word of God is not confined to the Church. God's revelation bears decisive relevance to all domains of life and so to all spheres. It is the Church nurturing the believer through the preaching of the gospel, and preparing the believer to his office in the various spheres that he belongs to: as a father or son, as a member of the congregation or an elder, as an employer or an employee, as a citizen or politician. 7.6. Theocracy When we focus on the concept of theocracy, we must notice that this concept has different meanings. One meaning is derived from the literal translation, i.e. divine government. But theocracy is also seen as a legitimate for engaging the worldly powers to fight idolatry and false religion. Christian politics can not accept this concept of theocracy. The sword that Paul speaks of in Romans 13 was not given to the State to arbitrate in spiritual matters. Faith cannot be instilled by the sword: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit" (Zechariah 4:6). Whoever judges otherwise, believing that the government; being the servant of God, should 'hence' use its derived competence -including the power of the sword, in spiritual matters, overcharges government, because it overlooks its vocation to serve public justice. Indeed this would require the government to resist not only all non-Christian religions, but also liberal preaching in the Christian Churches! Let me state very clearly that a Christian is a theocrat by definition. He is so by virtue of his positive acknowledgement of God's reign over all aspects of life. When we read the Psalms, we find innumerable passages making this divine government the object of praise (for example Psalms 24, 33, 47, 96, 97, 99). From this perspective, the recognition of God's reign should be reflected in all aspects of the Christian's life: in his family, in church, in his work and in politics. Indeed, what we are dealing with here is sanctification of life! This theocratic inclination is also characteristic of the Christian politician in his daily duties; that


is in performing his responsibilities in his office as a servant of the government. Theocracy does not imply an alternative form of state or government to some other form of government, such as democracy. Nor does it imply a calling or responsibility for the government to resist and eliminate false religion. In this limited, non-ideological sense we can agree with characterizing the State as neutral: it gives all religions equal protection. So within the public domain there is room for everyone to act according to personal judgement and responsibility. 7.7. Freedom of Religion An essential element in Christian political thinking has always been that government should be prevented from putting restraints on the conscience at all times. Of all institutions, a government realising from whom its authority descends will have to guarantee the freedom of thought and conviction of all citizens. In other words: a Christian State and freedom of conviction for everyone must be associated by definition. Safeguarding freedom of thought and freedom of religion is part and parcel of the responsibility to serve public justice. But then: what exactly do we understand by freedom of religion? What does it imply in political practice, how far does this freedom range? We feel that the word 'public' provides us with a helpful and major support for establishing our position. It designates a key characteristic for government performance. The safeguarding role of the freedom of religion can only apply to the outward aspects, to the outside of the various denominations and denominational institutions. It is the government's responsibility to create public infrastructure enabling the citizens to perform their religious activities. Constitutional freedom of religion is to be considered an aspect of infrastructure. This prevailing interpretation of freedom of religion would require the government to realise this freedom (equally for the various religions) on the one hand, and to refrain as much as possible from interfering with how these denominations use this freedom on the other. It is crucial to point out that religious communities themselves decide what makes up the contents of their confession. This does not suggest that there are no limits. Not anything goes as long as it is tagged 'freedom of religion'. Such limits may have been stipulated in the legal order (particularly in the penal code, e.g. the ban on polygamy and the restrictions on ritual slaughtering of cattle). However, limits may also have been set in order to maintain public order (e.g. rules concerning church bell ringing and summons to prayer, the ban on processions, clauses regarding licences for outreach campaigns, etc.). 7.8. Christian Politics and Islam What are the consequences of all this for the issue of Christian politics and Islam? As said: we accept and tolerate the presence of a growing number of Muslims in our society and we defend their fundamental rights. But after what I have said about the relationship between Church and State, freedom of religion, you will understand it is crucial to realize that this is not just a matter of being practical, but of principle. We do so as a consequence of Christian political thinking: not by concession, but by confession! That is what I meant by a Christian understanding of tolerance. No mistake: real tolerance does not imply indifference about the truth. But it does mean accepting that others have different convictions about it and for that reason think, believe and behave differently. Indeed, real tolerance hurts. If not, it is probably indifference.


At the same time, the rule of law includes the obligation for Muslim citizens to act in accordance with the law, to abstain from violence, discrimination and acts of hatred. Freedom of religion is exercised within the framework of the Constitution and the national laws. In the present situation of growing extremism, violent fundamentalism and the promotion of a certain kind of violent jihad, it is not unnecessary to underline this. We must not be naive! Such excesses must be fought. Misuse or abuse of fundamental rights can not be tolerated. But in a State based on the rule of law, the answer to some extremists perverting their religion and abusing their rights is not to deny those rights to all Muslims. 7.9. Separation of Faith and Politics? As a result of the feeling of uneasiness in society, that I spoke of earlier, connected with the relatively new phenomenon of a foreign and growing religion, a vehement debate on the thus far generally accepted principal of the separation of Church and State has been launched in Dutch politics. The trouble is that in this debate some libertarian, anti-clerical parliamentarians as well as populist newcomers are eager in playing the Islamic card and in doing so endangering long-time cherished fundamental rights like the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech and opinion. To my astonishment I hear self-proclaimed democrats and liberals plead for limiting the fundamental rights of specific groups of citizens. Freedom of religion is still acknowledged, but more and more religion-based convictions and opinions that do not fit in mainstream, secular thinking, are considered to clash with the separation of Church and State.

And as a result of this, we see a tendency towards an interpretation of the principal of separation of Church and State as the separation of faith and politics, which is of course something completely different. In my opinion, this tendency is a result of the fact that the original humanism of the first stage of the Enlightenment (which was relatively moderate in its appearance, not in the least because many leading humanists had a Christian background and still considered themselves as Christians), gradually developed into an outspoken and especially in our times even aggressive secular humanism. Lets look as an example at the issue of the Pre-amble of the European Constitution: in the Draft-version the Enlightenment and the importance of humanistic values were outlined, but reference to the Judeo-Christian roots of European civilisation was intently left out! The European Union was to be humanist and secular or it was not to be at all. This tendency of banning faith from the public domain must be strongly opposed. Let me say this from a personal experience: it is in simply impossible to do my political job while leaving my Christian life- and worldview and my biblical convictions back home! Beside that: I wouldnt know why this form of voluntary schizophrenia would be asked only of Christians or generally speaking religious people. What kind of a democracy would that be, where all kinds of life- and worldviews, including humanist, secularist, atheist belief systems, are valid and acceptable as source of political choices, except religions?!


In conclusion: the separation of Church and State follows from a Christian understanding of tolerance and with that is to be considered part and parcel of Christian political thinking, while the separation of faith and politics is an impossibility and nothing more than an attempt of secular humanism to ban God and religion from the public domain. We cannot allow that to happen! Andre Rouvoet is ChristenUnie MP and leader of this party.


8. Young People and Ethnic & Religious Diversity in Europe

Andrew Otchie Dear Christian Democrats, It was a great pleasure to be nominated to the board of the ECPYN (European Christian Political Youth Network) and I enjoyed very much our last meeting in Lunteren, the Netherlands. I arrived a few dates late to that conference and the date of my arrival was the 7th July (7/7). This takes me straight to the very serious topic for discussion: Ethnic & Religious diversity in Europe. Friends, I say that this is a very serious topic and we face a crisis. In the English Language that word, crisis, would often be taken to mean really bad situation, however from my own theological understanding the word can equally mean a Turning Point. In this talk I hope to address the very serious questions and decisions that rest upon us. 8.1. The London 7/7 Bombings The Events this summer, namely the 7/7 bombings are exactly what I mean when I say we face a turning point. The fact is that the deadly attacks were perpetrated by British citizens, young Asian men who (as they have admitted on their own volition) carried out the attack in the name of Islam. An attack which meant that those British men identified more with the suicide fanatics of Iraqi insurgents than the British troops currently deployed in that country fighting in their name. Questions and the solutions to ethnic & religious diversity are now being sought as a matter of urgency The distinct and obvious problem is that many young people of their cultures do not feel British, or is it? With many competing interests in society: Money, Nationality, Religion, Football Team, is it any wonder people, and especially young British people are being confused as to where their allegiances lie? Yet, the United Kingdom is no stranger to these debates. Many have had to ask: are we Scottish or British? Christian or Catholic? Still, there are further questions to ask. Do we celebrate our differences or mourn the loss of a distinctive British, Christian society? Should any alternative Anti-British way of life and foreign criticism of our affairs be ruthlessly wiped out? The streets of London saw considerable tension in the weeks after the 7/7 Bombings not least when a copycat attack was attempted some two weeks later on 21/7 and the innocent young Brazilian was shot dead at an underground station in south London being mistaken for terrorist attacker. London is often described as World City and indeed, the whole world has been watching and debating the approach being taken to the terrorist threat in my country. Our reason for being here however is that we must also consider things from a European point of view. Significantly the rejected EU constitution would have enshrined the following values with some form of legal status: human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, pluralism, nondiscrimination, tolerance, justice and solidarity. Although the constitution was not ratified and surprisingly rejected by France and the Netherlands, there is nevertheless a case that it is the absence of these values that we most need. With the constitution in tatters and an opportunity for European reform upon us -we 72

must put to our politicians that these intangible words should be given substance. That substance can be found in centuries of European Christian thought and teaching and I submit to you that it is our time to really make our voices heard in these debates -as Christian democrats. At this point, I must mention where I think the blame lies, not with those that are regarded as the minorities, but rather the majority. Our leaders: politicians, ministers and statesmen. The problem is particularly bad again, in my own home country of Great Britain. We shun public religion and promote a theory that all matters of faith must be kept private. Multiculturalism is dangerous as it often takes the place of the Christian religion in public affairs. Dare we forget the huge outpouring of grief at the funeral of Diana, princess of Wales? This was such a time when hardly a person in the land was ashamed to claim some kind of connection with a church and a form of spirituality. The death of Pope John Paul II this year proved that such sentiments are apparent in the populations of the masses all over the world to this day. Not to mention the deep feelings of love and respect many of us feel in the important and dear Remembrance Day services that many of us have also recently attended in our various home countries. Thus, we have not loved our national religion -Christianity enough! We have taken for granted that millions are spiritually hungry and there are so many answers to hurt and broken lives to be found in the dying sacrificial love of our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The demons which would stand as an obstacle to the promulgation of this truth must be fought in any way, or shape or form in which they appear. With a small personal note, I am from an immigrant background and most strongly stand against any form of hatred or animosity toward those of other faiths. Indeed, the biggest challenge in our day is not from those with a life started in another land, a different colour of skin to us, or a different name to a being that is called God, but rather from that which we so benefit Christian faith and it being undermined by equation to anything else to which it simply cannot be compared. It is thus while we welcome some degree of ethnic & religious diversity, it is to a matter of degree and it is our responsibility to be weary of Christian decline. That attitude that imagines: I cant say Im a Christian because it might offend other- must go. 8.2. Riots in France More recently debates on European ethnic & religious diversity have been centred on the riots in Paris. The troubles were of course not limited to Paris at all and in fact caught on like wildfire all across France and even spreading as far as our host country Belgium, I believe. The actions of politicians in Frances right wing government have been under close scrutiny and a certain Monsieur Sarcozy has become a first rate saint or sinner depending on where you are coming from. However by most estimation, the riots in France have proven the most pessimistic were not even correct and the feelings of resentment and anger in the ghettos were worse than many had expected. France has been put to shame. It was once boasted that the republics ethnically colour blind model of society, which refuses to record ethnic origin, was superior to the Anglo-Saxon approach we have just examined. This is not true and France must continue to re-consider its approach to ethnic & religious diversity in Europe. As President Chirac has put it, the Sons of the Republic must be made to feel such and not conveniently threatened with deportation when they were even


born in that country. But furthermore, our common European understanding is what must drive us to solutions for this problem. I take the view that the fact many of rioters were from Muslim backgrounds did not play a major factor in their motivation for the carnage. The experiences of poverty, looking in to an empty fridge and knowing that there will be nothing there for the next 10 days, being labelled as scum by your country` s interior minister -will make many a young man angry, and did indeed make many young west Indian men in Londons Brixton riots angry 20 years ago. 8.3. Models of Integration We now turn to models of integration and I believe that this is the major issue that should receive all due attention at this conference. We may all have our own recollections and ways in which we process the events as described above in both Britain and France but as politicians, or at least we who are those aspiring so to be with a distinctive Christian message, what are the policies we then try to promote? The difference is between the confident, modern British multiculturalism and the French republican based colour-blind approach to addressing the same problem. It is that which was created by the two countries colonial histories that give rise to the question, where as the other major player in this challenge: the United States of America can definitely not offer any quick fix magic wands to cure such problems. I regret to remind you the events of hurricane Katrina, only last September and the proof that in that land amidst such wealth, the difference between being rich and poor can still definitely be that between life and death. 8.4. Secularism Nevertheless, I submit to you friends that it is a secular approach that is the greatest difficulty to ethnic and religious diversity and it has already proved to be a disaster in Europe. Commentators have already pointed out the fact that Frances prohibition of womens Hijabs was a contributing factor in the riots. Not only were the fiery young Muslim men alienated and unemployed but the sisters, wives and mothers that they returned to were angry with the state for disrespecting them. Secularism, while giving the outward approach of reasonableness and humanity, actually does not understand the human condition; except in narrow nationalistic or hedonistic terms which have led to misery. 8.5. Is a Christian Perspective Possible? What then is our Christian position? In dealing with the question of what it may be, the twin objectives of Christian democracy provide direction: Defence of the Christian religion Social responsibility

Delegates of this conference will have to attend the presentation by Ram Gidoomal Britain` s first prominent Christian democrat politician. The Christian tide is turning. I have done my homework and in reading Ram` s latest pamphlet `The soul of Europe Christian


directions for the European union` there is much to get excited about. Also the gathering of the European Christian political movement goes from strength to strength. Our youth network will provide a pool of well experienced, enthusiastic politicians dedicated to noble principles in the newly expanded European Union. It is our friends from Eastern Europe that also provide much of the vision and fervour for Christian orientated politics. 8.6. What Can the Policies Be? So what can our policies be? People of Christian faith will realise that it is the internal being of a person that is in need of reform in the bettering of any society. Any emphasis placed upon the governments ability to do this and create centres of artificial happiness is flawed. Efforts must be made to ensure that this fact is not lost sight of and that human beings are actually spiritual creatures. The external structures of government: parliaments, supreme courts and civil servants should be made to recognise this. We must remain optimistic that we can promote and live in countries with a strong central Christian culture and yet have ethnic and religious diversity. A spirit of magnanimity or noble fair-mindedness, this comes from a man I am extremely grateful to and very thankful for his new appointment the new Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu. He is a man with whom I share the same experience having an African background from a British Commonwealth country, training in the legal profession and sharing a passion for the Lord Jesus Christ and his Church on earth. 8.7. Looking into the future My final topic for discussion is the Olympic Games, at this point seven years away in the year 2012. What are we to make of the fact Britain is to host such a major, international event, become the focus of the worlds attention and spend billions of pounds in preparation for a sporting event that lasts for about 3 weeks? Wonderful! We have to remember this we have been given the opportunity to play host and beat the French in doing so! The games were awarded to London on the basis that its bid was inspiring and visionary; the international Olympic committee (IOC) came to London and liked what they saw. What they did see was a diverse and vibrant society, yet shattered the very next day by the terrorist attack. The ability of man to forgive, build and promise is astounding. Rousing speeches from public figures including Tony Blair and the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, proved most visibly that the spirit of London was certainly not broken. It is upon courage and foresight we must depend for the games to be a success. No amount of money will do. Again, our Christian heritage as a nation has a great role to play in the tremendous task ahead and I invite all ECPYN friends to be with us in London for such a show as the world has never seen before. In fact, sport should be looked at again and seriously. The human being is truly amazing and with God-given grace, we can believe in a time such as this that the united and rejoicing France that we saw in 1998 could be back again. It is exactly that: the young French working-class men playing football together in an array of harmony and good spirited competitiveness that can redeem. As Christian democrats we are compassionate. We do wish ethnic & religious diversity because it is convenient or because of fear of the consequences of discord. We can


see human life in all its fullness and wish happiness upon all others no matter our differences. Andrew is the Young member of the UKs Christian Peoples Alliance Federal Executive and stood for the Parliamentary constituency of Northampton North in the 2 0 0 5 G e n e r a l E l e c t i o n .


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