In Europe, Muslim Women Face Multiple Issues

January 20, 2008

Author: Sylvia Poggioli

Source: NPR

As immigrants from the Muslim world continue to settle in Europe, governments are beginning to question the notion of multiculturalism, the immigration model that has prevailed for decades on most of the continent.

This model has often led to the creation of separate, parallel societies ignorant of one another, and also to a large Muslim underclass.

Berlin lawyer Seyran Ates, a Turkish-German women's rights activist, says that in Europe, "there are two societies with two different value systems living side by side, but separate from one another."

Officials are now beginning to focus on the status of women; there is a growing belief that the empowerment of women is a key factor in helping their communities integrate into mainstream society. But, at the same time, the closer Muslim women get to European secular culture, the further they move away from their traditions and families — a dilemma that often leads to solitude and alienation.