The Tundra Tabloids dear colleague, ESW, sends the following report concerning her observations of multiculturalism in Vienna that she captured on camera. KGS
This is multiculturalism in Vienna
One of this day’s highlights was not the rain that followed days of heat here in Vienna, but a visit to the center of this city’s multiculturalism. By chance, we stumbled upon a gathering of a Turkish cultural asscoiation as well as an Afghan stand near it.
On our way from the car park we passed through a food markets whose sights and smells catapulted me back to Iran and Kuwait. There were halal Turkish butchers who were immediately suspicious of our photographing; there were also butchers who sold pig’s feet (out of which a tasty soup is made) and it was not clear whether they sold halal meat. There was also a stall selling all sorts of spices and halloumi cheese.
We then moved to the square outside the market. Headbanging musical sounds greeted us. However, what made this scene surreal was the presence of a group of green-and-blue haired, pierced and beer-drinking punkers blasting the event with their – well – loud music. A closer look at the punkers’ demands was well worth it: Capitalism is the source of all poverty; €1,200 per month for everyone paid by the government (even those without a job!); free rent and electricity for all. Why does one bother to work and who will finance the 1,200 euros? No answer to be found on the flyer.
The Turkish stand merited a closer look. It was manned, actually womenned. All wore a headscarf, some older one were squatting on the floor, preparing the dough for the bread that was baked then and there, and filled with all sorts of vegetables and meat. There were many other Turkish culinary delights, save the tasty Turkish beer (“Efes“), which was not offered. Tea was available in abundance. Christian and I walked around admiring the hijabed women, young and old, admiring the Turkish food, and asking questions.
The banner behind the toinling women sported the name of the association: “Solidarity-Patriotic Association, Cadirli Haci Yusuf Köyü“. This is apparently the name of the village, located south of Ankara, these people are from. The money collected from the sale of food and drink, however, is not to go to their village, but to be used for their association. I asked one of the youth what they are planning to do with the money. “It’s for the football team and the poor in our group.“
“The poor“, I replied. “What about if an Austrian came and asked for food?“
“They never come“, was the answer.
Christian also asked whether they have had contact with the nearby church parish. No, never, although they been inside the church.
Since the young men did not speak good German, we were then led to an older man whose German was quite good. He told us he’d been in Austria for more than 20 years, ten of which as an Austrian citizen. He went on to say that he believed people should integrate and learn German, so that they could get a job. He himself was unemployed, but he was unhappy about it and didn’t like receiving welfare payments.
We also asked him about the many hijabs. Has he seen a change in the number of headscarved women? Yes, he admits, but these women have recently moved here from Turkey. The ones who have been here for a long time do not wear a headscarf. Does his wife wear one? Yes, he admits again, grinning, although he doesn’t like it. That’s why he is getting a divorce, but not only because of the hjab, but also for other reasons. His daughter, he proudly points to her, does not cover. I ask, But what about when she gets married?
“That’s her husband’s decision, no longer mine.“
He adds that the hijab does not measure a person’s religious feelings as these come from the heart. Christian then asks him and his friends about the Quran. Do they know the sura about women, that they can be beaten? No, they don’t know about that. They read the Quran in Arabic once. Did they understand it? No, but their teachers explained it to them.
As Christian and I sat there munching on our tasty lahmacun (Turkish meat pizza without cheese) and asking them questions, I was wondering about these men. They manifested a sort of people’s Islam, a cultural Islam, a traditional Islam in the sense of traditions passed down, without knowledge of where these traditions come from.
The men definitely live on two worlds, and they truly do not know where they belong. However, I would even go as far as saying that they are not even Muslim in the religious sense, but rather in a cultural sense only. They do not know the Quran (their faces were blank when Christian recited a sura), they admitted their drinking beer and wine, they did not go to mosque on Fridays.
In any other country outside of Europe they’d be executed or imprisoned for apostasy. Yet they seem to know nothing about that, the core tenets of the religion they claim to be following. The question that I ask myself is what to do with this knowledge. Is there a way to get to these people? To educate them? To show them that there is another world out there? Perhaps the readers could also weigh in.
NOTE: TT Flemish reader, Flippinheck, has this to say: All in all, this is nothing surprising. I live in the Flemish municipality of Ghent, probably the most Flemish city of all. (because it is oozing Flemishness from every pore in the historic center) The readers of Tundra Tabloids are probably not aware of it, but Ghent is among the largest Turkish immigrant community in the whole of Belgium, and we see these things on a day to day basis. Which means exactly EVERYWHERE, as in local supermarkets etc.
Plus, even stranger: a while ago, I was driving through my own neighbourhood, when I saw Turks being parked en masse in the same street for what appeared to be a wedding and guess what ? They all went to a house in this street that had a Turkish flag hanging from the first floor balcony ! I couldn’t help wondering “How on earth can a wedding be inextricably linked to Turkish national pride ? Why make a point of Turkish nationalism for everyone to see when you are going to a private function ? What would be the point ?”
Call me strange, but I thought that was pretty odd to say the least !