Monday, September 03, 2007

Good intentions

Sweden's got a serious problem with unassimilated Muslim immigrants, so maybe Swedish authorities can get a pass this once for going a bit overboard in trying to prevent (or at least detect) female genital mutilation.
A girl was forced by Swedish social workers to undergo a gynaecological examination simply because her parents were Somalian, Sweden's Discrimination Ombudsman has ruled.

The social workers forced the girl, 11, to submit to the examination to see whether she had been subjected to genital mutilation (circumcision). The girl was collected by police from school shortly after returning from a visit to relatives in Kenya.
FGM is one of the uglier "traditions" practiced by some Islamic cultures, second only to honor killing. Countries with large number of adherents to dark ages traditions should be doing all they can to prevent it. But maybe grabbing kids for random gynecological exams isn't the best method.


ERS said...

Sweden isn't unique. The European countries in general seem to be struggling far more with assimilation than the U.S. Is it because so many of the European countries don't have a long tradition of taking in immigrants?

As for the handling of "honor" killings, it seems the Europeans are coming around to the view that laws need to be applied evenly, that, in countries that respect life and basic human rights, there is no wiggle room to allow such crimes.

Ellen R. Sheeley, Author
"Reclaiming Honor in Jordan"
(Available on

Eric said...

Thanks for commenting, Ellen. I think the problem is we (and especially Europe) have been so indoctrinated into never being critical of another culture that when a foreign cultural practice is revealed to us, we're reluctant to denounce it, no matter how incompatible that practice might be with our own culture.

I do think that Americans tend to be more welcoming of immigrants than other countries, but Muslim immigrants tend to self-segregate in nearly every country to which they've emigrated.

I checked out your book on Amazon, by the way. It sounds like a unique look at the honor killing problem, and I plan on ordering it with my next order from Amazon.

ERS said...

Well, we have our fair share of political correctness here, too, though in recent years people have begun to question whether yielding to the pressure is really wise or worth it. It results in a lot of intellectual dishonesty on all sides.

I read recently that Muslims in America, on average, outperform the wider population in income and career success, so now I am wondering if there is just something about our immigration policies that result in us attracting a higher caliber of immigrant in the first place, whether something about the culture and the life here eases the transition, whether something else is at play, or whether it is due to some combination of the above. It's a complicated issue.

Thanks for having a look at my book. I hope you find it insightful.

Eric said...

I haven't looked at this too closely, but one possible explanation for the higher success rate of our immigrants might be our policy on granting visas.

Many immigrants from the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia are well-educated professionals, and their prospective employers sponsor them for their visas. I think the H1B visa has some pretty high standards for professional qualifications.