Bekir Bündoğmuş: "The potential power of Muslim youth in Europe's future"

Bekir Bündoğmuş: "The potential power of Muslim youth in Europes future"
Date: 13.9.2021 16:00

Milli Gazete columnist Bekir Gündoğmuş writes on Muslim youth and Europe's aging problem. Here is the full article.

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Political concerns for the future lie on the basis of the fact that the phenomenon of migration, which is actually a humanitarian activity, has turned into a fear for Europe.
In short, demographic data clearly shows that; European society is aging rapidly. Since 2004, the population over the age of 65 has a higher percentage than the 0-14 age group in the total population ratios.
As a matter of fact, if the relatively high rates of Eastern European countries are not taken into account, marriage and birth rates are gradually decreasing in almost all European countries.
The age of first childbearing for women across Europe is at least 30-35. Although these rates vary between EU member states, couples with or without one child make up the majority of households.
This nature of demographic data makes it imperative to focus on the future of young populations in European societies.
Because the continuous decline in the young population brings with it social, political and cultural changes/transformations that are not limited to economic effects.
The need for labor, especially in the labor market, is met by importing labor from other countries through immigration. The increase in the proportion of migrant workers in the general population, on the other hand, raises the concern of "cultural siege" in host societies.
Since the high birth rate of people who dress, speak and have fun differently from themselves means that they will grow in numbers in the coming years, European societies tend to position themselves in the face of "potential danger".
Of course, this state of mind deserves to be addressed and resolved as a psychological problem. On the one hand, an approach that demands from countries with different cultures and backgrounds for the workforce it needs, and on the other hand, forces the workforce that comes in line with this demand to resemble itself unilaterally, should be considered as a harbinger of anxiety disorder.
However, the experience of labor migration to Europe has a significant accumulation to be utilized. This situation can be easily noticed even when the story of our people who go to Europe from Turkey and participate in the working life is taken into consideration.
While nearly five and a half million people live in the European countries where our first workers went 60 years ago, more than 90% of this population was either born there or has been living there for more than 10 years. In other words, the social structure that we are used to living in is now the structure of the countries we live in instead of Turkish society.
From the point of view of language proficiency, which is one of the most important means of integration with the host society, post-1980 generations, which are referred to as the third and fourth generations, are able to speak the language of the countries they live in to a large extent at the mother tongue level. While the education level was at a very low level in the early years, a significant part of our young people living in Europe today either receive quality vocational education or at least go to university at the undergraduate level. However, it is easily noticed that they take an important place in working life.
Not limited to these, our young people also experience an active process in terms of social and political participation and provide important services through non-governmental organizations.
I think it would be useful to mention here what I witnessed recently on this subject.
In the past days, a series of seminars, interviews, etc. We were in Austria for a while due to academic studies.
During this time, we had intense contacts with the valuable managers of the European Youth Association, which was established in Vienna to carry out activities throughout Europe, especially the Chairman Arif Şen.
We had the opportunity to meet and chat with many young people in the book cafe (MGV Book & Coffee), the first of which was established in Vienna. We have observed closely that the young people, almost all of whom were born in Vienna, have a good command of Austria and its culture on the one hand, and are aware of the developments in Turkey on the other.
In my opinion, this structure of the European Youth Association, which enables the training of qualified young people across the continent, also has great potential for the European society.
For this reason, European countries have to look for ways to come together with the Muslim community of 50 million and benefit from their qualified staff in order to get out of the social and cultural depression they are in, instead of walking through the tunnels of fear.


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