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Professor Felice Dassetto. YouTube

Researcher: Muslim youths are becoming more radical

A distinguished Belgian professor says there are fewer and fewer secular Muslims in Europe, because more have become radicalised.

Published: December 22, 2018, 1:55 pm

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    Professor Felice Dassetto, professor emeritus of the University of Louvain, told Italian daily Il Giornale that secular values do not interest contemporary Muslims. They are instead actually attracted to the most reactionary expressions of their faith.

    Dassetto underscored that at least 80 percent of Muslims currently living in Europe are religious. “There is no mass abandonment of the faith, the phenomenon affects at most 10 to 15 percent,” Dassetto explained.

    He said that during Friday prayers at mosques, younger Muslims, particularly those in poorer areas, were especially prone to radicalisation.

    “Salafism, more than the Muslim Brotherhood, is investing in the socialisation of children and women,” he said. According to Dassetto, radical Salafists “promote a soft Salafism” to entice and radicalise youths.

    Moreover, Dassetto believes integration is failing despite repeated attempts by governments. “Studies say that even the third and fourth generation youngsters, the children of parents born here, they maintain a certain hesitation about their belonging.”

    Similarly French sociologist Olivier Galland noted how young Muslims were drawn to radicalisation after a survey he had conducted that showed at least 20 percent of Muslim students feel comfortable with religious violence.

    A French advisory report highlighted in September this year how radical Salafism had a monopoly on Islamic thought.

    French-Tunisian Islam expert Hakim el Karoui from the Montaigne Institute, pointed out in his report how Islamic bookshops are dominated by radical ideas, according to French radio broadcaster RTL.

    The report noted the success of bloggers who advocate wearing a hijab as well as “halal” versions of French ridesharing app Blablacar , stating unashamedly “if you are a boy, the car will be driven by a man, if you are a woman, it will be driven by a woman,” and even a “halal” version of Airbnb.

    French author Gilles Kepel, has also warned non-integration would increase the possibility of civil conflict. He said schools should focus on integration.

    But from the start of the next school year, French students will no longer have the option of choosing subjects in the traditional sectors, since they were abolished by the reforms of the government.

    Instead, they will follow a curriculum based on a common core of courses and three specialties to choose from a national list of twelve. For the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, this new formula would allow students to follow lessons that “match their personal tastes” to “compose a course that will make their originality”, he told listeners of Europe1 on Sunday, December 16.

    His intention has missed a crucial detail: all specialties will not be accessible to every student, as not all high schools can offer all the classes.

    “We have been deceived,” said Professor of Spanish at the Robert Doisneau school, Valerie Frank. “The minister had promised a reform of territorial and social justice, she told Marianne .

    François Portzer, a former president of the National Union of High Schools and Colleges (Snalc), said “The great historical high schools, which have excellent baccalaureate success rates, are extremely well endowed, unlike those considered as belonging to the ‘bottom of the basket’. With this reform, we may reinforce social inequalities rather than giving new opportunities to students … the damage could be terrible.”

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