What has Happened?

Kathmandu, Nepal

Reading the news-headlines these days I get the impression Europe is in a state of war!

Police forces in Denmark and Germany claim to have prevented terrorist attacks and even in my home-city Vienna potential young Muslim terrorists were arrested! At the same time new videos of Osama bin Laden hit the Internet…

… and he appeared in ‘a new look’ with his beard trimmed and dyed black, a clear call for war… some experts say at least…

The German government wants to start observing Germans who have converted to Islam and demonstrators hit the streets in a district of Vienna to show their discontent about the planned expansion of a Muslim center.

What is happening? Is everybody going nuts?

That is ‘Muslims’ and ‘Christians’ at the same pace!

I remember ten years ago I lived in a relatively peaceful and tolerant city in a relatively peaceful and tolerant European Union! Or was I only a little naive kid who didn’t want to face reality?

I feel like things have changed slowly but drastically!

For example, ten years ago it was unusual and, therefore, irritating (for me at least) when I saw young Muslim girls and women with a headscarf on the streets of Vienna. Ten years later it not that unusual anymore and, therefore, even more irritating (for me at least) to see young Muslim girls and women with a headscarf!

What has happened?

I don’t know! I guess the way people treat each other has changed.

I guess people of different religions and societies treat each other with less respect and perceive each other shaded much more by prejudice than before.

Before I left Vienna for this trip a year ago I clearly felt a difference in the way people treated and perceived me. And even a few people who know me for a long time started treating me strangely.

It seems to me that at the latest since September 11th, a common subconscious Western perspective of the world-religions and their followers has evolved. There are those that are more or less good and then there is the evil and aggressive one.

Islam = Islamic fundamentalism = terrorism?!?

I personally I don’t think this is a matter of religion. I believe it is a matter of the way governments and society face and treat each other in every aspect of life…

People in the West are more and more in fear of Islam. I believe that fear is something that grows only when it is fed. So is it with terrorism! There is a reason why people are in fear and there is also a reason why people turn to terrorism!

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe the religion I was born with is inherently evil and aggressive and I simply don’t see it…

So this is how I perceive it and the way I start to feel like is that back at home in Vienna (the West), in the perception of those who don’t know me personally, I pose a potential threat!

Sounds like a very nice way to be perceived…