Integration of Refugees into European Societies! Required Conditions?

Local armed conflicts in some countries cause waves of displacement and asylum. Lives, security and livelihood of the population are threatened by these conflicts. Therefore, these waves of locals heading outside their country find themselves confronting new conditions in the country where they have settled. All of that so they can start a new life.

In this case, the refugees would find themselves in front of a new society that has its own system, laws, customs, traditions, concepts and culture. At the same time, their own customs, traditions and culture would still be engraved in their minds as well as the image of the regime that rules their country from which they emerged as refugees.

Refugees are compelled to gradually adapt to the host country lifestyle. For that, the most important thing they can do to help them fit into the new society is the language of this society. Refugees have to learn the language of the country in which they became refugees because there would be no vital interaction between refugees and hosts without language.

Language is a roadmap to reach harmony with a new society as it is used for understanding in all areas of daily life, such as communication with government institutions that are responsible for refugee affairs, shopping, studying, and interaction with society. Eventually, this map might lead to obtain a job opportunity which would not be easy to get without speaking the language of the new community.

The refugees would find out that they are facing a culture and civilization different from what they were used to in their country. This distinction is all about various customs, traditions, concepts and culture of the new society that are widely different from what they were brought up on and formed a collective culture for them. Therefore, it seems difficult at first to adopt a new social system that relates to all corners of Social, political and intellectual life.

For this, refugees need to find the appropriate way to deal with social cultural differences, such as the style of child-rearing, sexual relationships, or other matters.

The refugees would find themselves in a state of cultural contention with host community’s culture and with its different style of thinking. To achieve harmony, this requires knowledge exchange and social rapprochement based on learning the language of host country as no one can create a perception of the values ​​of a new society without knowing its tongue and culture.  It is for this reason the language here will play the role as a bridge of acquaintance that contributes to each party’s knowledge of the other regardless of the differences between their cultures.

The ability to speak the language of host country would help create a kind of interaction between the refugees and the host community which would, as a result, facilitate finding housing, pursuing education, seeking jobs, and other things.

In addition, becoming familiar with and using the language of the host community would empower the refugees to learn about the meaning of national identity of the host country as well as the nature of the political system, its customs and traditions, the values ​​of beauty, morals, and respect for laws and regulations.

The refugees would start to compare all these matters with their counterparts in their countries and discover that European society has no sacredness in politics, social or intellectual life. Everything there is subject to criticism, and they have a true existence of citizenship based on duties and rights stipulated by the country’s constitution and respected by the authorities.

Furthermore, the refugees would find that the European society has wide freedoms that are protected by the constitution and seem strange to their beliefs and social and religious systems. The new society respects and regulates the relationship between the two genders out or in the institution of marriage and gives women political, economic, social and personal rights equal to men’s rights. This results behaviors which the refugees’ mentality cannot suddenly accept. However, the refugees might open up in some aspects that do not contradict religious convictions, such as understanding the mechanisms of opposition to the political system, or ways to obtain rights according to the law.

The refugees would know that respect for laws and regulations is an important thing in European community life. This respect is one of the social values ​​that are visible in daily life. Moreover, they would know that there are child’s rights, so the child can develop in a scientific and psychological way that is balanced. A way that respects children’s perceptions, develops their abilities, and prevents physical punishment (beating or others) against them.

European laws stand for women’s rights regarding their right to ascribe a child to them, their right to property, or their material rights in the event of divorce or separation from the husband.

Accordingly, the process of refugee integration into European society appears to be a cumulative process that requires time, especially for elderly refugees.

Refugees in the new European society are looking for their human dignity, and they realize that this dignity begins with finding a job opportunity to secure their needs, so that they do not remain in a state of dependence on social assistance provided by the host country. This opportunity would not only be money but also a human dignity that helps refugees to consider themselves as serious contributors to the host country economy and to its overall development.

A relationship between the cultural, artistic and intellectual elites of the refugees and the elites of European society would undoubtedly strengthen the social and cultural relationship between the two parties. If that happened, it would mean building bridges of knowledge, cultural and social exchange that fill the psychological, intellectual and cultural gap between the two sides and, thus, remove the European community’s wariness of those coming as competitors in matters of life and details.

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