Slotervaart: a moderate Muslim's despair

October 8, 2006, Peak Talk

... the despair that even a committed, moderate and hardworking Muslim man experiences in his unrelenting attempts to make things work in his own community:

“I really want to impress upon you that it is five to twelve in this neighborhood. You have to realize that as an Amsterdam public official you can’t accept that we have a neighborhood in our city that is a homefront for radical youths and where there is no end to the number of broken families.

It is simply not true that hate ends where people know one another. These boys know their brothers and sisters, their neighbors and teachers. And they hate even them as unbelievers. You can’t approach them. I desperately need specific expertise to deal with this“
The Moroccan youths are well beyond reach of their families and the local imam, who apparently receives anonymous notes that he’s not sufficiently fundamental in his teachings. So religion it is, but there is an ethnic component to it too according to Marcouch:
Turkish, Surinam, Moluccan and Somali communities do not produce as many radical and hateful youngsters compared to the Morrocans. Why that is? I have noticed that in many Moroccan families boys are treated harshly, without any love. They are being raised to survive. They need to grow up quickly, if necessary harshly. They see how their mother is abused. If their father walks into the door, they walk out. That is a feeding ground for aggression ...
The deeper you delve into the interview, the more you begin to feel for the man who is regularly taunted as ‘a traitor’ by kids in the neighborhood that he seeks to stabilize. So, his projection for the future should not be that surprising:
He thinks it will last at least four generations before the sort of civil society that he envisions will have come to Amsterdam’s Slotervaart district.
It’s tempting to put an even more pessimistic view on the table. Marcouch’s scenario assumes that the civil society that still exists outside Slotervaart is able to contain the violence and radicalization brewing in his district. It may boil over well before civil society has come up with a workable solution.

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