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Post-diaspora generations in Europe suffer from identity crisis: Prof. Catrina Kinnvall

“The second and the third generations of the immigrants into Europe, including UK, France, Netherlands and Denmark etc., are suffering from identity crisis and generation conflict. They have a sense of structural or socio-psychological discrimination and are attaching themselves to global Islam with an increasing pace”, this was stated by Miss Catrina Kinnvall, Associate Professor at Department of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden. She was delivering her lecture on “Foreign Policy: Multiculturalism, Return Visits and young Muslims in Europe” at Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), Islamabad on March 26, 2009.

While divulging upon the Diaspora politics and foreign policy she counted on three basic characteristics, which were, according to her, undermining the predominant models of citizenships in their host societies; first their issue-framing, secondly agenda-setting and thirdly network-building. She asserted that relationships of these migrant communities with their homelands and return visits have created a wide Diaspora space. They are taking much active part in their homeland politics, and their return visits are probably meant for achieving some sort of dual social viability. They are still pre-occupied with the myth of permanent return to their homelands.

While giving a comparison of state of Muslim migrants in different European countries she said that in UK they have generational differences and gaps. They are more comfortable with their Muslim identity rather than ‘Britishness’ and their return visits to homelands are very frequent. In France, the Muslim migrants have strong feelings of socio-psychological deprivations and have developed parallel communities or “banlieues”. In Denmark, identity issue is not as deep as in UK but these post-Diaspora generations feel that some ‘events’ can make them strangers suddenly.

Speaking on radical tendencies in Muslim migrant youth she said they are rediscovering the Islam and are becoming strict adherents of ritual, outspoken religiosity. Some of them have even developed a sudden fascination for extremist Islam, and frequenting jihadi chat rooms on Internet are also one example. While giving her concluding remarks she said almost all the European countries have adopted common narratives of Eurocentrism to assimilate these migrant communities, and these were accentuated by globalization, and anti-Islamic and anti-terror discourses. At the same time the immigrants were conceived as of separate entities.

Her lecture was followed by a question answer session.