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Should immigrants be required to assimilate into western society, and embrace our values?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 653 times Debate No: 97841
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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In my opinion I think immigrants should be required to assimilate into society, and embrace our values. I'm not saying that an immigrant should abandon their culture entirely, however immigrants should embrace our values and language, and heritage if they want to be an American, and stay here.

In Europe for example muslim immigrants are somewhat of a hassle on society as many refuse to integrate, and many children of immigrants from non-western countries tend to perform lower on tests, and many don't have nearly as many job oppurtunities as their native born peers. I believe the reason for this is that due to the fact that they refuse to integrate it lowers their oppurtunities by preventing them from being able to effectively contribute to society. Many Turkish immigrants for example in Germany and Austria prefer their children to speak Turkish at home instead of German.

Many immigrants particularly muslim ones often have very different views compared to us. I find it wrong that people would bring a culture of women being oppressed and oppression of homosexuals. If immigrants want to come to the West they should embrace our values and integrate instead of trying to change our cultures.


The first point I take issue with concerning Craig's thesis is the implied superiority of western society.
Craig cites Muslim immigrants as a 'hassle on society' in Europe. Not only will I prove that's nothing but scapegoating below, but I'll also prove immigrants feel they are unable to integrate due to racial stigmas.
I'll also prove Craig's insistence on all immigrants sharing different values from what we perceive as the norm are unfounded, beginning with the presupposition that Muslim immigrants oppress homosexuality and reinforce patriarchal values more than American society at large.
The final argument I'll contest is also Craig's final point - the implication that immigrants inherently seek destruction of american society.

First, on the inherent goodness of Western society. I'll open this with a callback to Henry David Thoreau, considered by many to be the defining American author. His two primary works, Walden and On Civil Disobedience, have inspired nonviolent resistance and fostered a greater relationship among countless Americans.
At its core, Walden is an American novel. It deals with the now-standard but then-groundbreaking heroic nonconformist - except in the case of Walden, the protagonist was Thoreau himself. His account of life in the woods by Walden Pond is centered around his close readings of both Greek and Hindu texts - the very Eastern philosophy Craig seems to take issue with in his attack on Turkish immigrants preferring to speak their native language at home. In embracing our heritage, immigrants should feel secure in their diversity as our national philosophy was centered on it circa the 19th century. The thesis of this paragraph reads something like this: the only reason Western society is good, even great, is because it is accepting of difference. Even "armchair philosophers" like Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida have come to realize - without influence from the East, the West would be nothing.
Next, the issue of Muslim immigrants and the "burden on society" they've apparently become. I'll open this paragraph with a quote from an article by Edward Said:

"Hundreds of young Arab and Muslim men have been picked up for questioning and, in far too many cases, detained by the police or the FBI. Anyone with an Arab or Muslim name is usually made to stand aside for special attention during airport security checks. There have been many reported instances of discriminatory behavior against Arabs, so that speaking Arabic or even reading an Arabic document in public is likely to draw unwelcome attention."
(Edward Said, 3/6/02, "Thoughts about America;" published in Al-Ahram Weekly, 2/28-3/6/02, issue No.57;, accessed 12/8/16 at 10:00 PM;
Now, to unpack the quote: rather than the immigrants becoming burdens on society, society actively represses these immigrants, targeting the oriental 'Other' out of a racialized, westernized fear of that which they do not understand. This concept applies to the thesis of Craig's argument: the concept that an immigrant should submit to the norms of a foreign country they have only recently been accepted into is premised on racial notions of western superiority, implying if not directly saying that immigrants hailing from the Middle East are inherently less capable or willing to integrate into society. The Said quote above proves the opposite is true - they feel repressed and unable to participate in society due to a chilling effect promoted by a pressure to 'just be the same as all the other Americans."
Onto the notion that all Muslim immigrants actively breed patriarchal values or homophobic ideologies.
I'm not sure if anyone reading this has ever heard of the Westboro Baptist Church. It's based out of my home state of Tennessee and is dedicated to oppressing acts of homosexuality on the basis of religion. Unlike Craig's example(?) of Muslims oppressing homosexual individuals, this "Church" is an example of white and militant Christianity. Before we begin criticizing other religions we know nothing about, we should deal with the problems our own have. I've also included here ( a website through which readers can observe the efforts Muslims of all ethnicities have taken to combat any sexual stigmas associated with the religion of Islam. Given both societies have support groups in place for any individual of any gender or sexual identification who feels they have been unfairly treated, the best my opponent could do is prove the two groups are similar.
As for patriarchal value systems, one does not have to look further than the works of Judith Butler and Simone de Beauvoir to realize masculinity is not a problem endemic to one religion. It's a problem present in all societies, and should not be attributed to any set religious group or any ethnicity. Doing so would entail further scapegoating, blaming the problems with global society on minorities in an attempt to alleviate social tension. Hopefully I don't have to give empirical examples of the six million times that proved to be a bad ethical framework.
This brings me to the end of my critique. Craig finishes up his statement saying "they [immigrants] should embrace our values and integrate instead of trying to change our cultures."
That poses an interesting question - in what examples are they "trying to change our cultures?" A quick google search reveals very few unbiased results - with my favorite results being "Cult of Islam wants to DESTROY America!" (this forgets that the "cult of america" wants to "destroy Islam") and "30-Year Muslim Plan To Control America Has Six Years To Go" (the latter having a huge, flashing banner reading 'RESCUECHRISTIANS.ORG - DO NOT STAND IDLY BY WHILE THEY DIE!'). Judging by the two years that have passed since the last article was written, I get the idea that the 'secret plan for the Muslims to take over America' may not actually exist. That would be an absolute shock.
The adherence of Turkish families to their native language is doubtlessly because Turkish and German are on the opposite ends of the linguistic tree - the older members of these families have lived for 40+ years speaking Turkish and find it difficult to change rather than being inherently lazy.
Perhaps America could at least attempt to be more accepting and less racially charged. We would certainly be better for it.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for the challenge.

Oppression of homosexuals and women is part of Sharia law which up to 51% percent of Muslims in the US support Sharia Law over the constitution. 30% believe violence against those who denounce the Quran is acceptable. 25% believe violence against Americans is acceptable as part of the "Global Jihad". (Center for Security Policy)

There are roughly 2-3 million Muslims living in the US today. This means that there are 1-1.5 million muslims who support the use of Sharia law over our Constitution. This means that a majority of these muslim immigrants want to change our government and rules. The Westboro Baptist Church which is also terrible by comparison only has a few hundred members. Other Christian Supremacy groups have members in the thousands. Basically all in all there are over a million muslims who would be willing to change our culture and way of life for a religion that promotes violence and oppression.

I think America doesn't stand for that. Not at all. These muslim immigrants believe their religious law is superior to our Constitution just like the Westboro Baptist Church with Christianity. Many muslim immigrants particulary the ones in Europe have a hard time integrating due to not learning the native language. Sure learning English or German or Swedish might be hard for someone who speaks Arabic, but its expected that one should speak the native language if settling down. Its inexcusable to move to a country and live there full time, but never learn the local language. Its almost borderline laziness to me. Many Muslims don't even feel "Western". Many of them just see the west as a nice place to live for a bit, and then they can go back home. Basically they're just there because these nations are wealthy and are safe for the most part, and are quite generous with their social programs.

I believe you do have a point. I think we should be doing more to accept these immigrants, and do a better job integrating them. However immigrants must also try to integrate, and embrace our culture as well. Many don't want to do that.

Good Luck


I'll start with a quote - here's the most misinterpreted stat of the debate:
"49% of Americans from Muslim backgrounds say they consider themselves "Muslim first and American second" and 47% claim to attend a mosque on Friday. But you have to compare that to American Christians, 46% of whom say they identify themselves as "Christian first and American second" (that number rises to 70% among Evangelicals). And 45% of American Christians attend a church service every Sunday. In other words, Muslims have adopted exactly the same rate of religious observance as the people around them in their host country. "

key points:
1. 70% of evangelical christians - the same relative group the Pro side is trying so scapegoat as the entire Muslim population - say they're "Christian first and American second."
2. Those same Christians go to church every Sunday, without fail.

----now a future link to make things easier-----
all uncited quotes that aren't from the pro's speeches in this post are from:
[ is a website funded by the SPLC (southern poverty law center). It is dedicated to real understanding of other faiths that seem different from our own. The article in question was jointly produced by the Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center and the Interfaith Alliance Islamic Understanding.]

answering the pro's arguments:

First, on the belief that there is one sharia law:
"Within Islam, certain interpretations and applications of Sharia have changed over time and continue to change today. There is no one interpretation called "Sharia." A variety of Muslim communities exist around the world, and each understands Sharia in its own context. No single official document encapsulates Sharia. (...) Any theological or moral system is vulnerable to misuse by extremists to promote violence. For that reason, it is important to be familiar with the history of a religious tradition and understand the widely-shared interpretation of its beliefs and practices."
Key points -
1. Sharia is open to interpretation
2. It is contextualized to the country it in
3. Any system (including Christian extremism which has "members in the thousands"(quoted)) is vulnerable to misuse.

In response to: 'These muslim immigrants believe their religious law is superior to our Constitution' (quoted) or 'there are 1-1.5 million muslims who support the use of Sharia law over our Constitution'
"American Muslims overwhelmingly support the U.S. Constitution and do not seek to replace it with Sharia or Islamic law. The vast majority of American Muslims understand Sharia as a personal, religious obligation governing the practice of their faith, not as something American governments should enforce."

Key points:
1. They don't want to replace the constitution
2. Sharia is personal - it affects members based on their own ideological standpoints, and, much like Christianity, is not for the most part to be forced on anyone.

In response to the Pro's use of a Center for Security Policy: how unbiased does this look?

Not that I'm trying to deal an ad hominem, but the statistics cited in the Pro's article (note: not the one I've provided a link to) are completely inaccurate. The Pro's poll used 600 Muslims, as opposed to the entire population, and was (clearly, given the multiple videos the CSP supports and features) predisposed to come up with the results they found. I'm calling shenanigans.

In response to "Sure learning English or German or Swedish might be hard for someone who speaks Arabic, but its expected that one should speak the native language if settling down. Its inexcusable to move to a country and live there full time, but never learn the local language. Its almost borderline laziness to me."
It IS hard - imagine you're 70 years old and have successfully fled to America, escaping a war-torn home. You arrive in a new country with a new language you're required to learn. At the same time, a fair percent of Americans think you're involved with terrorism because you believe something different from them. You feel them watching you every time you go to the community college and hear them telling jokes about you as you walk home. What are the odds you want to wake up and do it all again tomorrow? The problem is NOT laziness, and it's NOT the immigrant's fault. The problem is the way our ideologies have been shaped by the world we grew up in - constantly being reminded that there's a big, scary world out there and we just need it to be NORMAL, like US - then everyone can be safe.
That is the problem.

In response to: "Many Muslims don't even feel "Western""
This is where the Edward Said quote from my first post comes back. The chilling effect experienced by Muslim immigrants is a result of our own preconceptive notions of them as 'naturally violent' or 'aderent to shaira, which is dedicated to killing white americans' -- just telling them to conform to our standards doesn't solve this, acceptance does.
TL;DR - they shouldn't HAVE to feel "Western," and affirming an East/West dichotomy is the root cause of tension

In response to: "Many of them just see the west as a nice place to live for a bit, and then they can go back home. Basically they're just there because these nations are wealthy and are safe for the most part, and are quite generous with their social programs."
That's simply false. While we, as (I'm assuming) 'Westerners,' can afford to think in away that allows global travel on a whim - 'Europe looks nice' or 'Canada has nice food' are not the thoughts that drive victims of exclusion, oppression or violence to leave their countries. The are, however, our own personal motivations. My mission, as of right now, is to say that's the wrong starting point - we need to evaluate the ethical ramifications of your proposed 'integration' before we can even begin to evaluate its hypothetical effects (which would be just as damaging).
The main point I take issue with is that immigrants just view our society as a nice vacation spot. I have three problems with this:
1. If they don't care about us, why would they try to dismantle our society? Assuming our governments are really 'quite generous with their welfare programs' which - just pointing this out - require a PLACE OF RESIDENCE - meaning they aren't just tourists showing up for an American vacation
2. This presupposes their motivations. Irregardless of anything else discussed throughout this entire debate, this is an independent reason to reject all of your arguments. You assume the immigrants do X because of Y, that they come to america because they're lazy - that discounts the actual reasons for most immigrants' emigration: actual persecution. One only has to head over to HRW to realize the world has a tolerance problem, and America isn't exempt.

onto what hasn't been contested:

First, the fact that just as many support groups exist for various nonbinary sexual identities in Islam - if anything, we have a similar problem towards which we've proposed similar solutions. The only winnable offense for the Pro side here is that "Islam is fundamentally oppressive" - a quick read through all of the evidence I've presented proves that's wrong.

Second, scapegoating. This is important, because it determines how one evaluates either team's arguments. If I win the Pro blames a global societal issue - specifically patriarchy - on any single group, it's at least reasonable to question where he gets his knowledge from.

Third, the timeframe issue. A key argument here is inherency - the Pro doesn't have any. The earth-shattering impacts he lays claim to (destruction of Western civilization among them) should have happened by now. The concept that there are (quoted) "over a million muslims who would be willing to change our culture and way of life for a religion that promotes violence and oppression" fails the test of time - they've been here for 400 years, why do they only want to dismantle society now? (hint: they don't - that's all of the evidence I've put forward)

Fourth, that argument I made earlier that turned his into offense for me: the fact that racial profiling and social repression create an environment of fear within which these immigrants find it difficult, if not impossible, to assimilate. That's irrespective of my claim - which has thus far gone unanswered - that 'integration' is a racist, Westernizing notion which damages native cultures.

Finally - Western society wouldn't be anything on its own. America is, pardon the cliche, a nation of immigrants who seem determined to deny other immigrants the right to live a life the way they would like. Instead of voting for racist systems of profiling and 'integration,' vote against them.

I'll drop in a line concerning the last thing the Pro team said concerning whether or not immigrants want to integrate: would you want to give up core aspects of your national identity if you went to live in Saudi Arabia? If so, why is American society something Muslim Americans (among other groups) should want to be a part of? If not, why would you wish it on them?

good luck to you too

I strongly recommend reading through the following website - it's immensely helpful to understanding how non-aggressively approach Islam in America, along with cultivating a better understanding of Islam.

on sharia:

on jihad or oppressive practices:

on Islam and society:
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has made some very good points.

First off I would like to say that I am not a Christian biased towards Muslims. I am atheist and irreligious. If I offended anyone then I'm sorry but that's my viewpoint.

1. Yes Sharia law may be a personal guideline for people, and it's their constitutional right to do so. However with such high percentages of Muslims supporting Sharia over our Constitution and with a growing Muslim population what does this mean?

I am not saying that this is bad, but with a good chunk of these immigrants supporting Sharia as the law of the land, this means that with a growing muslim population sharia has the potential to overtake the laws if there are muslim majority areas. What happens with the minority then? In some parts of Belgium it is known as "Belgistan" due to a very high muslim population and these places are often very poor because the government has neglected them and these people are often outcasts. This is dangerous because many can get radicalized in these situations and are vulnerable. The Belgian attacks of 2015 were done by muslims from Molenbeek. It is very poor and the residents particulary the muslim ones have felt neglected by the government. If people aren't integrated into society then people will be outcasted and with muslims it is particulary dangerous these days because of all of the terrorism. ISIS could easily brainwash these people which they already have, because like said before these people feel neglected from society, and feel different. The Paris attackers came from a poor suburb of Paris. In some of the poorer neighborhoods of Germany's large cities where many of the muslim immigrants sadly live, the Salafist movement, which if you didn't know is a radical movement which seeks to enforce sharia law in Europe and the West. Some of these neighborhoods, like one in Wuppertal, Germany in the industrial Rhine region, Salafist leader Sven Lau has declared the region a "Sharia Controlled Zone". He and his followers have tried to ban people from alcohol, music, and gambling. He is currently on trial in Duesseldorf for his activities. The Salafist movement has many sympathizers within the Muslim community with 30,000 core members. The purpose of integration is not only for helping these people get into society but also a matter of security. In France up to 40% percent of those unemployed are Muslims from the middle east and northern Africa. The problem is is that the government has done a very bad job of assisting these immigrants in to becoming part of French Society. France and Belgium alone are the largest suppliers of ISIS fighters in the West and the U.K. has supplied over 1000. Nearly all of these fighters came from poor neighborhoods with large Muslim communities. The government should be doing more to ensure that these people never become outcasted.

My opponent has stated that integration is merely a thing of western superiority, but as you can see if the government did more for the integration of these individuals, some of these attacks might have been prevented. Integration is not racial profiling. I would expect a French person if moving to the US to integrate just as I would expect a muslim or African to. And if you look at the native cultures of muslim nations such as Saudi Arabia, I don't want any their laws here. You will get beheaded in Saudi Arabia if you get a DUI. That's not American. If someone comes here wanting those laws then America isn't for them. We're a nation of immigrants, however on the other hand we aren't a cultural mosaic. We're a melting pot. All different races, and backgrounds come together as one America. If we just let people have their own rules based off of religious beliefs then we would be an even more divided nation. If we just let hardcore Christians run the country then gay rights would be ignored, abortion would be ignored, and there would religious persecution. The same thing would happen if we just ignored all of these muslims coming in without integrating them. Our nation is already divided, and with the addition of others we aren't in the right course. Europe is currently being overtaken by far right parties because of the crisis with mass immigration. We're already being torn apart by this election and by race relations. My opponent isn't discussing the dark side of this. He or she has only stated that overall integration is a source of western domination, racial profiling, and destroying native cultures. If some muslims want sharia and want a good life for them then they should be going to Saudi Arabia or the U.A.E. My opponent is ignoring the aspect of what tensions could rise. If you haven't been watching the news, Europe is in turmoil right now because of this issue, and governments have been inept with the control and integration of these migrants, and terrorist attacks have been happening, and now the far right have begun a takeover. The National Front in France has a big chance of leading the nation, and the Freedom Party of Austria narrowly lost the presidential election by a mere point.

Best of Luck



I'd also like to congratulate Craig on a fantastic debate. I learned a lot and my perspectives were widened.
I'm also an irreligious atheist. Apologies as well if that's offensive. 13% of America is as well.

1. There's been a conceded argument throughout this debate that should frame the way you evaluate it: do Muslims really believe Sharia law should overtake the constitution?
"American Muslims overwhelmingly support the U.S. Constitution and do not seek to replace it with Sharia or Islamic law. The vast majority of American Muslims understand Sharia as a personal, religious obligation governing the practice of their faith, not as something American governments should enforce."
In short, they don't. There's been no evidence to the contrary but a site also hosting videos on how Zizek's cronies are plotting to take over America as well. I would not participate in that joint invasion, though I appreciate Zizek, and don't think he'd be doing much invading either.
TL;DR Muslims are happy with and will not replace the constitution, specifically in America (I'm not sure where Belgium comes in, but the name Belgistan sounds quite racialized. Just an observation).
In Belgium, these Muslim immigrants have become radicalized due to their being outcasts - exactly the approach the Pro would introduce via 'mandatory integration.'
On the subject of integration: The very existence of a divide between Muslim and non-Muslim individuals is the problem. I have made the point that just forcing a culture change on Muslim immigrants will not accomplish the purported goals of the Pro. Forced integrations would only reify the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim, increasing tensions out of the fact that there has to be an integration process in the first place. The Pro's been good on the fact that Muslim immigrants are denied opportunities because they can't speak English or participate in society. What has been completely dropped, however, is a root cause argument - without resolving racial tensions, the pro can't allow Muslim immigrants any more jobs - they'll just be rejected due to race. In fact, as I stated before, a forced integration program would only pit more Americans against Muslim immigrants, who have been scapegoated as the reason tensions exist at all. The government would be casting them out via the plan: forced integration.

My opponent's invocations of extremist groups do not apply - the evidence presented in last debate shows, quite clearly, that Muslim community leaders in America are staunchly against extremism:
"[1] All acts of terrorism, including those targeting the life and property of civilians, whether perpetrated by suicidal or any other form of attacks, are haram (forbidden) in Islam.
[2] It is haram (forbidden) for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or prohibited violence.
[3] It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to undertake full measures to protect the lives of all civilians, and ensure the security and well-being of fellow citizens." {1}
It has also been stated that 40% of terror attacks have been stopped with help from Muslim americans: "Over the past decade, 40% of domestic terrorism plots have been uncovered or deterred with assistance from American Muslims." {1}
As for sharia and the law, "Many American Muslims, like other religious communities who rely on scriptures and religious principles to guide their life, look upon Sharia as a personal system of morality and identity. The vast majority of American Muslims see no conflict between their religious obligations and values and the U.S. legal system." {2}
"American Muslims overwhelmingly support the U.S. Constitution and do not seek to replace it with Sharia or Islamic law. The vast majority of American Muslims understand Sharia as a personal, religious obligation governing the practice of their faith, not as something American governments should enforce." {2}

Concerning forced integration's dissimilarity with racial profiling:
My opponent has tried to make the case that he'd expect a French person to integrate just as he'd expect a Muslim immigrant from (some Muslim country, I suppose) or Africa to. This is disproven by his impact claims. Had he been claiming impacts of illiteracy causing an economic decline, or simply racism, his claims could have merit. However, the only reason he has articulated thus far that you should force immigrants to integrate is to stop terrorism. He wouldn't expect acts of radical religion from a French, British or Moldovan individual, but he would expect them from a Muslim. In and of itself, this is a reason to critically inspect how he produces his knowledge.
He compares Muslim immigration to a radical Christian takeover. A few things on this:
1. 83 percent of America is Christian. Less than 4% is non-Christian. 13% are atheist. At the current rate of immigration, Muslim America is just a constructed threat imagined by my opponent to win this debate.
2. Muslims will not take over America. This has been proven throughout the debate by two key arguments: first, Muslims have been in America for 400 years. If less than 4% isn't enough, the impacts of the Pro will not happen. If it is enough, they should have been happening already. They have not. Second, they wouldn't attempt to take over America. They respect the Constitution and do not wish to replace it with radical sharia law.
On racism: forced integration, on premise, is racist. The concept that one would have to submit to another culture that presents itself as inherently better is skewed to become a plausibility due to our upbringings. There is a dark side to this: the Muslims that immigrate to America don't want to live in Saudi Arabia, they don't want to go to the UAE - they're escaping religious fervor or extreme sharia imposed on them. They come to America to find peace, not resistance. They want acceptance, not homogenization. They're escaping persecution, not looking for it. This is where the difference between the radical and the rational comes into play - the Muslim immigrant just wants a new home.

The want for sharia is not incompatible with the want for a good life in America. As I have sufficiently proven, Muslim Americans don't want to replace our constitution. They also don't want to overthrow our society. They just want to keep the peaceful aspects of theirs. Affirm coexistence, not homogeneity.
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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by aquanin 1 year ago
Great debate! Congratulations to both of you.

I would like to add a little comment on learning the language of the country you want to settle.

Currently living in Germany I want to discuss the behavior of Germans leaving their country. First of all, they mainly leave to countries where they can get by using their own language - Austria and Switzerland.

However, many Germans go to Spain, especially Majorca. There, many of the German immigrants mainly interact with other German immigrants. And it is noting new that many of them never learn the local language. Also, if you observe German tourists, they often travel to other countries, but look for places where they can listen to their music, eat German food and drink German beer. So, for me the majority of Germans are not doing it what they expect from others - learn the local language and integrate..

Although it is only a minor comment, I wanted to add it here.

All the best.
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