A debate has been raging over whether Muslims in the West have gained in confidence or have sunk further with increasing Islamophobia.
On the one hand, Muslims are moving away from mere protests over direct threats they and their faith face, and are channeling their energies to rational debates and non-apologetic stances.
On the other hand, the lack of awareness amongst Muslims about the importance of their own history and values has led to the questioning of their own importance with regards to their own identity and belonging.
In the decades after World War II, many Muslim immigrants moved to Western countries to work. Whereas they struggled to differentiate clearly between the religious and their immigrant cultural values, their children, who know the difference, are grappling with balancing being Muslim and being European.
This is more so as many who fear Muslims perceive this simple struggle as radical and dangerous. They consider Islam as an outsider religion and think Islam should play the role of “the other.”
This has been compounded by the culture of compliance that afflicts many Muslim communities out of a fear of repercussions if they raise their head above the parapet. These two identities can be reconciled. A European Muslim can follow Muslim principles and be European by culture.