Expat communities must act as multicultural role models

Let me start this Capital View by expressing my heartfelt condolences to the families of last weekand’s Paris terror attack victims and may the injured recover speedily.
In this context, I decided to embark on a commentatorand’s balancing act: Keep the regular topical layout of this column, yet incorporate a more political aspect as well.
While citizens all over the world, including our multicultural expatriate communities living in Turkey and everywhere else on our shared planet, show their sincere sympathy with the French nation during this difficult time, there are a number of expat-related issues. In a nutshell: As challenging as it is, we must ever more become role models for a multicultural way of life, and for that and”singling out the otherand” is a failed ideological concept of the past.
That said, the heinous and barbaric assaults in the French capital lead quite understandably to some of us arguing the case for immediately stopping the flow of immigrants to our European shores. Another viewpoint voiced would be along the lines of questioning the logic behind creating cultural melting pots that turn too big to handle — no longer delivering any positive results, no longer fostering society but dividing it. Then, while closely monitoring news sources from as many different countries as possible, it struck me that due to the fact that apparently some of the killers had lived in Molenbeek, an entire central part of Brussels could become stigmatized as a terror hub that was a comment I picked up that was aired online.
Can a complete neighborhood be a fertile breeding ground for terrorists? Is everyone who lives there a terrorist, either now or in the future? Is it wrong to meet as many different nationalities as possible and even live alongside as many of them as possible? That is, has multiculturalism failed for good? Is every refugee a potential security threat intent on destroying our democratic ways of life?
While it is correct to say that a shockingly high number of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadists and supporters, brainwashed into believing ISIL would be something worth defending, are actually EU nationals and now return home — unfortunately not repenting but as fully trained (suicide) killing machines — this does not mean that every individual hailing from either Iraq or Syria wants to plant a bomb in a European city.
For an expat with or without family in tow, we live in highly charged times, politically and ideologically. We cannot simply shrug it all off and continue to live the good life without analyzing events around us.
There is the personal safety dimension and, as I wrote about before, we must stay alert, in Paris, in the UK, in Turkey, in Germanyandhellip everywhere where our freedom-embracing way of life, which includes supporting people in other countries who are suppressed by dictators, is a target for jihadists and their criminal supply chain network (think hard cash, weapons, safe houses).
But then there is the role model aspect. As we know how cumbersome integrating into a foreign, unknown society can be, as this is what an expat life is all about, we must lend a helping hand to not only fellow expats but to everyone in our neighborhood who might face similar obstacles. Show how multicultural ideas can benefit a host nation. Teach about the one shared planet motto. Go out, meet and mingle, listen and only then talk. This alone will, of course, not erase terror but it will create a climate of trust and tolerance, and that will eventually do the job.
Vive la libertandeacute!


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