Introduction: Confessions

Sam Cherribi

in In the House of War

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199734115
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199866113 | DOI:


Introduction: Confessions

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The introduction focuses on the central thesis of the book: The trifecta of coercion. The trifecta is made up of the triple pressures of, first, Muslim orthodoxy’s expectations for individuals, second, Dutch—and European, in general—expectations for immigrants, and, third, the individual’s day to day challenges which are complicated by his identity as a Muslim immigrant in a non-Muslim culture, or, as the imams call it, “in the house of war.” The trifecta of coercion, a cultural dynamic identified by the introduction, acts as a pulverizing machine that destroys the individual who happens to be Muslim and reconstitutes him or her as someone who is only a part of a larger, alienated, monolithic entity, in this case the so-called “Muslim threat.” It is entirely possible to dismantle the trifecta of coercion simply by removing or substantially alleviating any one of the three sources of pressure. For example, by reducing the conflict between the religious message and the message of the larger society, or by diminishing the pressure exerted by radical unofficial Islam. Any lessening of coercions within the trifecta is like snipping a connecting wire in a bomb. Alleviate the pressure, and we can dismantle this apparatus that turns individuals who happen to be Muslim into people who see themselves, and are seen as, as merely parts of a larger alienated whole. For this, the Netherlands provides a kind of bomb-dismantling guide with cautionary tales of what not to do as well as some hopeful intimation of approaches that seem to work.

Keywords: trifecta of coercion; claims; composite; secular; configuration

Chapter.  8770 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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