Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is Islam bad for the economy?

Recently the director of the scientific institute of the ChristenUnie Gert-Jan Segers wrote a short introduction to a congres on the Islam which the party is organizing the 4th of april.

In this introduction he gives his answer to the above question. He considers culture a crucial factor in the development of the economy of a country. One of the aspects of Egypts culture in his view is the fatalistic worldview of Egyptian muslims which has in his view a bad influence on the economy.On the other hand he considers, in line with Max Weber's famous analysis, protestantism to have a positive influence on the economy.

he continues by stating that Islam contributed once to an impressive civilisation and economy of international commcerce. In his view muslims in North-West Europe therefore have two options: either to Islamize Europe, or to Europize Islam (forgive my english). He thinks the last option should be more appealing.

This line of thinking is very common among dutch politicians today. The consensus seems to be that migrants should not impact dutch culture and if dutch culture is influenced by migrants this is qualified in a negative way, that is nothing new. It's the view Jan Peter Balkenende used to win several elections when focusing on the European Judeo-christian culture.

I am concerned with the fact that those who claim this are mostly from Christian parties that have a long, mostly antirevolutionary, tradition of thought. And I haven't found this idea of the superior Judeo-christian culture at the core of the Christian political thinking of Abraham Kuyper at all. The question of society to which Abraham Kuyper gave an answer in his time was "the social question". This defning issue and the answer to it from an antirevolutionary point of view is expalined thorougly in his speech "Maranatha". I wish everyone that is participating in the debate on Islam and dutch politics would read it. Because when we consider it in it's context it will also lead us the way in answering important questions of today.

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