Analisis Politik, Islamic Article

Islam, Migration and Integration: The Age of Securitization

Islam, Migration and Integration: The Age of Securitization
By Ayhan Kaya (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), xivþ249
pp. Price HB £57.50. EAN 978–0230516793.

Book Review
This book is not so much about the lifeworlds of Muslim immigrants in Europe,as the ways in which host societies have, over time, changed their  stances towards them. In particular, it is about the changing face of the nation-state in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands towards issues of Muslim presence presented in terms of securitization, Islamophobia and violence. The author holds that nation-states draw upon a constructed fear of migrants and of Muslims especially in a situation where they are unable to distribute justice and peace equally among their citizens. The controversies and debates on migration gloss over the most persistent structural problems related to inequality, poverty and discrimination.

The author points out that the general disapproval of migrants is being expressed at a time when net migration has fallen below zero in most EU countries. In the introductory remarks, Kaya clarifies that the term ‘security’ used to be defined during the Cold War period in terms of protection of state boundaries against external threat. Now its use extends to cover the alleged threat posed by migration, ethnic revival, Islamic revival, and identity claims within the nationstate. Kaya argues that this perception involving fear of ‘migrants’ and ‘others’ couples them with major problems like unemployment, violence, crime, insecurity, drug trafficking and human smuggling. According to the author, the security discourse observes the fact that ‘the ethnic / religious / identity claims of migrants and reluctance to integrate actually result from existing structural problems of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, [. . .] and racism’ (p. 8). The study treats popular views on migration as ‘discourses of danger’ that hide the actual sources of globalized social and political discontent. These discourses push migrant communities away from the mainstream of majority society and oblige them to engage in their ethno-cultural and religious identities. This book aims to show if ethnic and religious revival among the Muslim immigrants is a cause or an outcome of xenophobia, discrimination and conflict. From the standpoint of astate, the securitization of migration helps develop a technique the author calls ‘governmentality’: the statecraft of governing a population rather than aterritory.
Chapter 1 is a case study of Germany, home to approximately 3 million immigrants from Turkey. Turkish workers in Germany, the so called German-Turks bearing a hyphenated citizenship, have been addressed, in the officia German, as ‘Gastarbeiter’ (guestworker), ‘Auslander (foreigner), and/or ‘Mitburger’ (co-citizen)—terms which connote, in a negative sense, their ‘otherness’, ‘segregation’, and/or ‘displacement’. The country’s constitution recognizes two types of rights: the ‘general’ rightsthat are accorded to all individuals, and those rights ‘reserved’ for German citizens, which include the right of peaceful assembly, freedom of movement freedom of association and freedom of occupation. The state’s constitution does not specify how citizenship is recognized or conferred, but the criteria are based in practice on ethnic nationality which excludes ethnically non-Germans in the definition of German citizen. The new citizenship law enacted in 2000 allows that citizenship can also be acquired as a result of being born in Germany and accords to German citizens of migrant origin greater rights than before. But this
comes with a price: the German-Turks are required to relinquish their former nationality in order to become German citizens. The future of a liberal citizenship policy in Germany will hinge on how actively the state promotes diversity, and how far the German-Turkish Diaspora enjoys habitats of meaning which bear the imprints of the host society.

As there is an explicit legal barrier to political participation, the Turkish immigrants have organized themselves along collective ethnic and religious lines. Also, the lack of opportunities for political participation and representation in the host society make the Turkish immigrants turn towards their country of origin in matters of politics. This has in turn produced spaces that allow their political organizations to operate in Turkey as well as Germany. Chapter 2 on France is a story of how the state’s attempt to establish ‘politically equal citizens’ goes alongside social exclusion of French-African Muslim immigrants. The Muslim minority, facing the consequences of deindustrialization and rising inequality, feels alienated from the Republican project. In this context, Muslims in France turn to religion, ethnicity, language, and tradition, leading to the formation of parallel societal organizations. Often, these formations are misinterpreted by the majority as conservativeness and resistance to integration. The popular mainstream consciousness ignores the fact that parallel societies grow in an environment of structural problems related to everyday livelihood and lack of global justice rather than some security isse intrinsic to a community’s faith or ethnicity. The problematic representation of immigrants supported by carefully handled statistics (the author calls it ‘statisticalisation of immigrants’) securitizes the issue and turns ‘neighbours next door’ into ‘enemies within’.
Chapter 3 on Belgium represents not one but three different stories: Belgium’s three different linguistic and cultural communities (Flemish or French or Germanspeaking), charted in three geographical, political, administrative and economicregions (Flanders, Brussels, and Wallonia), present three different ways the state and the immigrant Muslim communities perceive each other. The experience of immigrants in the different regions also provides a basis to characterize the dominant attitude. For instance, Flemish-Turks speak about discrimination and racism, Brussels-Turks primarily point to the inconsistencies of moral and religious values, and Walloon-Turks emphasize unemployment. This has produced communitarian, religious and inward looking Flemish-Turks in comparison to Walloon-Turks; the former seem to be less in favour of integration than the latter. The Flemish-Turks tend to be more content with their ethnic enclaves and traditional solidarity networks. The study further points out how the increasing number of immigrants, as well as residential concentration of ethnic minorities, is gradually persuading officials to adopt a more multicultural stance.
Chapter 4 is a case account of the Netherlands. Dutch society is organized around the notion of ‘pillars’, religious and secular. In the local context these are the Protestant pillar and Catholic pillar; similarly, the Liberal and Socialized pillar. The Muslim origin immigrants have also been persuaded to organize themselves into a fifth, ‘Islamic’ pillar. The routine course of politics involving negotiation, compromise and tolerance involves interactions between these pillars. With democratization of the Dutch society in the mid 1960s, a process of‘depillarization’ ensued. At the same time however, Islam has become increasingly visible in the public space, a cause of anxiety to the majority of Dutch society. The visibility of the Islamic pillar includes about one million Muslims, around 500 mosques, 40 faith schools, and sundry employees’ organizations and media institutions. The response of the Dutch state has been to accommodate Muslims through the minority policy (Mindehetennota). This
policy implicitly denies the fact that Muslims have ‘immigrant’ status, preferring the term ‘repatriates’. The author argues that Dutch minority policies have created a strong ethnic minority industry, or integration industry. The latter has given birth to a large number of ethnic brokers, or minority brokers, mediating between the Muslim communities and the state. The importance of these brokers has increased considerably with the rise of issues of violence and terror. While the state policies are changing from those of tolerance to those of bigotry, the Muslim migrants and their descendants find themselves structurally excluded from the employment sector, education and proper housing.

Chapter 5, ‘Building Communities: Comfort in Purity’, deals with how Muslims and their descendants build communities as a practical response to manage the destabilizing effects of the new liberal policies of the state, which bring about poverty, unemployment, exclusion and racism. Similarly, the state’s ideology of multiculturalism boils down to a technique in governmentality, which keeps the ethnic and religious boundaries of the community intact. The focus on boundaries has given birth to certain social effects such as the emphasison marriages arranged from outside the homeland. Kaya argues that multicultural policies have in fact reproduced ethno-cultural boundaries and have reminoritized Muslim communities struggling to overcome the burden of minority status.

Chapter 6, ‘Accommodation of Islam: Individualism vs Institutionalisation’ discusses the ways in which Islam has recently been accommodated by the German, French, Belgium and Dutch states. The author argues how the western European states tend to a textual, fixed view of Islam that does not reflect the complexity of everyday reality. For instance, according to Kaya, what is generally linked to religion may very well be linked to structural constraints such as poverty, unemployment and exclusion. The revival of honour among Muslims is analysed in terms of a form of politics generated by marginalized transmigrants in response to their deprivation. Two mutually antithetical processes are seen among Europe’s Muslims: on the one side, an attempt to develop a personal Islam which in their view emancipates them from their local community culture; on the other, both that local community and the state compelling them to remain within the community boundaries, which the state uses to mark them in ethnic or religious terms as a different set of people. By way of general conclusion Kaya argues that the construction of the ‘enemy
within’ seems to be a tool in the hands of a ruling political elite deployed to mobilize popular support for ethnic policies. ‘Governmentality’ has brought about a shift in the modern state from ‘welfarism’ to ‘prudentialism’, which bases social policy on stakeholdership, the idea that individuals should be made responsible for themselves and empowered to become members of the club ofstakeholders. In this way, welfare is steadily turning into workfare—those without work are thus structurally excluded and the first losers of the states’ new economically liberal policies. Politicization of Islam connects to globalization, which in turn brings different lifeworlds into contact. When Islam in the Diasporaturns more scriptural, it challenges the first-generation folk-Islam which the immigrants brought from ‘home’. This study attributes individualism among Muslims to the growth of Islamic resources provided on the internet. The content and vehicle of authority changes as it is possible for individuals to go to the internet without having to consult im:ms who used to enjoy authority with the scripture. A parallel trend called ‘institutionalism’ is reflected in the establishment of Islamic organizations and councils to represent Muslims vis-a` -vis the state. This connects to the growth of ethno-cultural and religious identities partly related to the communities’ feeling of insecurity and an ambiguity stimulated by structural exclusions.

Kaya suggests that the current tendency of reducing integration to cultural assimilation and homogenization is challenged in two ways: firstly, the notion of integration fails to include the structural, political and other social and psychologica components of integration. Secondly, the integration of migrants cannot remain a one-way process in the age of globalization. The study proposes that integration too should be transnational, with the involvement of not only the receiving country but also the sending country and international organizations like the EU, Council of Europe and others. Kaya elaborates on ‘transnationalizing’ integration by saying that international migrants are both the subject and object of the process of globalization. Most contemporary international migrants have constructed a third, transnational space between homeland and host-land.Thus, the countries receiving immigrants need to connect to the state-run institutions, civil society organizations and other relevant agencies of the sending countries, and also connect to the migrant associations and international organizations such as the EU. This approach transforms the ethno-cultural and religious associations into, rather than obstacles, opportunities which provide migrants with the social capital for recognition. The growth of voluntary associations creates a basis for the development of both the social and political trust necessary for political participation.

This book brings a fresh perspective to the issue of the integration of Muslim communities in Europe by opening up the transnational space between the host and the sending countries. It is an approach that has the potential to reconfigure ethnic and religious associations into a positive resource for integration. The
book can be strongly recommended to scholars in the social sciences who are working on issues around migration, minorities and integration in host society.

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4 thoughts on “Islam, Migration and Integration: The Age of Securitization

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