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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Intermediate Seminar 18

Learning about Muslims who have immigrated to developed countries

Kenta Teramoto
2nd-year student at the School of International Liberal Studies

This course deals with Islamic society, the specialty of Professor Keiko Sakurai. In particular, the course focuses on immigration by Muslims, which has been an increasing trend in the last 30 years or so.

The course which I took in the spring semester dealt with Muslim immigrants in Japan, America, France and England. A multifaceted analysis was conducted regarding the social position and lifestyle of Muslim immigrants, as well as conflicts with the culture in the host nation. Muslims who have immigrated to developed countries are sometimes placed in a tough position as a minority in the host nation. However, such conditions vary widely depending on the host nation. For example, compare the policy towards Muslims in the two European countries of England and France. England has enacted relatively lenient policy towards Muslims, who are forming their own independent communities separate from local society. In contrast, France has taken a policy of integration towards Muslims.

Even in developed countries, Muslim women wear scarves to hide their hair.
Photograph provided by PinkShot - Fotolia.com

The issue of Muslim immigrants is also pertinent to Japan. The foreign Muslim population in Japan is estimated to be about 60 to 70 thousand people. 70% of this population is comprised of Muslims from the 4 countries of Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iran. In Professor Sakurai’s course, we learned about the issue of education for second-generation Muslims in Japan. Many Muslims feel that it is difficult to raise their children as Muslims at Japanese schools. Furthermore, a variety of problems are caused by the misconceptions of Japanese people towards Muslims.

This seminar provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about Muslim immigration, a topic which is frequently debated by many developed countries in recent years. Professor Sakurai encourages students to actively participate through discussions and presentations. I felt that the course format deepened my understanding of themes.