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» Student Handout: "Test of Tolerance"

Reading and review of news segment from "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," November 4, 2004. The article provides background on the racial tensions in Europe over Muslim immigration.

The NewsHour features news and analysis with multiple perspectives on issues, moderated for balanced presentation. [URL: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/religion/july-dec04/dutchmuslims_11-4.htm]

Directions: Find the article online and answer the questions below. Be prepared to discuss these in class.

Reading Questions:

  1. The Netherlands is noted for its tolerance and liberal social values. How has this tolerance been tested as the country grapples with how to welcome and integrate the growing number of Muslim immigrants?

  2. What has been the reaction of many Europeans to Muslims who are unwilling to accept European cultural values, especially equality for women and gay people?

  3. What are the feelings between Muslims and Europeans regarding this pressure to assimilate to European customs?

  4. How have the train bombings in Madrid and the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh heightened these feelings between Muslims and Europeans?

  5. What remedies have some European leaders suggested must be implemented to address the pressures of increased Muslim immigration?

  6. Describe the view of Ayaan Hirsi Ali regarding Islamic fundamentalism in Europe and the reasons why it poses a threat to Europe.

  7. Describe the view of Dyab Abou JahJah regarding the forced assimilation laws in Europe and why he feels they pose a threat to Muslims living in Europe.

  8. Describe how more militant Muslims like Abou JahJah see a connection between the perceived oppression in Europe, terrorists' attacks in Spain and the use of violence by Muslim extremists to address oppression.

  9. Explain your views on Europe's tighter immigration laws and tougher policies to encourage Muslim integration as a response to recent terrorist activity in Europe. Do you feel these laws and policies are appropriate? Why or why not?

  10. Explain whether immigrants have an obligation to assimilate into the culture of their newly chosen country. What forms should this assimilation take?

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