In rich countries the conditions for immigration and citizenship are now being tightened: it is now necessary to embrace the host country’s values. Denmark has an examination; France and Germany are making preparations for the same and in Norway the Progress Party has also proposed this. In Sweden, a five-year stay is long enough to obtain citizenship.
Much of this is fine: new citizens need to know about laws and rules, have a reasonable command of the language and know about the beliefs in the new country. But there are two sides to a contract. What can the immigrants expect?
Interest and respect: We live in a globalized world, other nations and beliefs are coming in closer contact with us all. Immigrants provide an opening to a new world that tourism seldom manages. Let them talk at schools and organizations about where they come from, about the good and also the evil that drove them away.
Let them present their beliefs as they see them, be curious, how do they view war and peace, love and sexuality, and life and death? Sense their truths and ask yourself: do they have a truth I am missing? And vice-a-versa. Dialogue, mutual learning. Delight yourself in mutual enrichment. That leads to the question: do we then have a right to say what we think about their beliefs too?
Freedom of expression? Yes, but like all the other norms and acts, it does not tell us about the reason alone. Freedom of insult also exists. We can dislike politicians’ opinions and actions, but stick to the subject and avoid the person.
Maybe we do not share our parents’ beliefs, but we respect them. We can dislike Israel’s actions, but we cannot renounce what is established by law, considering the suffering of the Israeli people. The same applies to other races. There is a pain barrier. But for Islam this is unknown and unwanted.
The borderline needs to be defined between the freedom of expression and the freedom of insult, and the immigrants can show us part of the way. There are two sides to a contract. Peace is equality, unless violence is what we want.