Islam and disrupted childhood
This was the first programme in the series 'World Speakers' in Korzo Theatre in The Hague, organised by Winternachten and the Institute of Social Studies. The debate looked at traditions and Islam in the education of children in changing and hostile social environments. Participants were Elif Shafak, a writer from Istanbul and lecturer in gender studies in the USA, Rema Hammami from Palestine, lecturer in anthropology and women's studies, Dutch journalist Margalith Kleijwegt, writer of Onzichtbare ouders - de buurt van Mohammed B. (Invisible parents the neighbourhood of Mohammed B.) and writer Fouad Laroui, raised in Morocco, emigrated to Paris, now living in Amsterdam. Moderator was Pieter Hilhorst.
We compared three situations: immigrants in the jungle of Dutch cities, migrants from Turkish rural areas to Istanbul and other Turkish cities, and Palestinian youth in the 'war zone'. In these situations parents lose control of their children. They rely on school, neighbourhood and government to keep their children on the right track. But in these situations things get out of hand. The traditional Islamic organisations seem to provide a refuge: they give the children structure and a traditional religious education, in Turkey as well as in Palestine and the Netherlands. Rema Hammami's opinion is that the success of the Hamas in Palestine has to do with this kind of social support they offer.
The first part of the evening was a discussion with the four guests. The writers (Fouad Laroui, Elif Shafak, Margalith Kleijwegt) read from their literary work (in the original language, with simultaneous projection of the English translation). In the second part a panel of students from the ISS took part in de debate. The debate was in English.