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The Land without Muslims

The Japanese do not feel the need to apologize to Muslims for the negative way in which they relate to Islam.

Japanese Muslim

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There are countries in the world, mainly in Europe, that are presently undergoing significant cultural transformations as a result of Muslim immigration. France, Germany, Belgium and Holland are interesting examples of cases where immigration from Muslim countries, together with the Muslims’ high fertility rate, effects every area of life.

It is interesting to know that there is a country in the world whose official and public approach to the Muslim matter is totally different. This country is Japan. This country keeps a very low profile on all levels regarding the Muslim matter: On the diplomatic level, senior political figures from Islamic countries almost never visit Japan, and Japanese leaders rarely visit Muslim countries. The relations with Muslim countries are based on concerns such as oil and gas, which Japan imports from some Muslim countries. The official policy of Japan is not to give citizenship to Muslims who come to Japan, and even permits for permanent residency are given sparingly to Muslims.

Japan forbids exhorting people to adopt the religion of Islam (Dawah), and any Muslim who actively encourages conversion to Islam is seen as proselytizing to a foreign and undesirable culture. Few academic institutions teach the Arabic language. It is very difficult to import books of the Qur’an to Japan, and Muslims who come to Japan, are usually employees of foreign companies. In Japan there are very few mosques. The official policy of the Japanese authorities is to make every effort not to allow entry to Muslims, even if they are physicians, engineers and managers sent by foreign companies that are active in the region. Japanese society expects Muslim men to pray at home.

Japanese companies seeking foreign workers specifically note that they are not interested in Muslim workers. And any Muslim who does manage to enter Japan will find it very difficult  to rent an apartment. Anywhere a Muslim lives, the neighbors become uneasy. Japan forbids the establishment of Islamic organizations, so setting up Islamic institutions such as mosques and schools is almost impossible. In Tokyo there is only one imam.

In contrast with what is happening in Europe, very few Japanese are drawn to Islam. If a Japanese woman marries a Muslim, she will be considered an outcast by her social and familial environment. There is no application of Shari’a law in Japan. There is some food in Japan that is halal, kosher according to Islamic law, but it is not easy to find it in the supermarket.

The Japanese approach to Muslims is also evidenced by the numbers: in Japan there are 127 million residents, but only ten thousand Muslims, less than one hundredth of a percent. The number of Japanese who have converted is thought to be few. In Japan there are a few tens of thousands of foreign workers who are Muslim, mainly from Pakistan, who have managed to enter Japan as workers with construction companies. However, because of the negative attitude towards Islam they keep a low profile.

There are several reasons for this situation:

First, the Japanese tend to lump all Muslims together as fundamentalists who are unwilling to give up their traditional point of view and adopt modern ways of thinking and behavior. In Japan, Islam is perceived as a strange religion, that any intelligent person should avoid.

Second, most Japanese have no religion, but behaviors connected with the Shinto religion along with elements of Buddhism are integrated into national customs . In Japan, religion is connected to the nationalist concept, and prejudices exist towards foreigners whether they are Chinese, Korean, Malaysian or Indonesian, and Westerners don’t escape this phenomenon either. There are those who call this a “developed sense of nationalism” and there are those who call this “racism”. It seems that neither of these is wrong.

And Third, the Japanese dismiss the concept of monotheism and faith in an abstract god,  because their world concept is apparently connected to the material, not to faith and emotions. It seems that they group Judaism together with Islam. Christianity exists in Japan and is not regarded negatively, apparently because the image of Jesus perceived in Japan is like the images of Buddha and Shinto.

The most interesting thing in Japan’s approach to Islam is the fact that the Japanese do not feel the need to apologize to Muslims for the negative way in which they relate to Islam. They make a clear distinction between their economic interest in resources of oil and gas from Muslim countries, which behooves Japan to maintain good relations with these countries on the one hand, and on the other hand, the Japanese nationalist viewpoints, which see Islam as something that is suitable for others, not for Japan, and therefore the Muslims must remain outside.

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About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.

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270 Responses to “The Land without Muslims”

  1. Elizabeth Soelberg says:

    Shukeel Chohan Dude, just shut up. You love the muzzies so much, why don't you move to one of their countries where you can practice the way you choose. See, in America, you are free to leave any time. Take you hate religion of violence and intolerance with you.

  2. Omar Özbek says:

    Those who claim that the Japanese are smart have no right to criticize Saudi Arabia with their mistreatment of immigrants.

  3. Omar Özbek says:

    Was Eric Rudolph a Muslim?

  4. Anonymous says:

    The funny thing is that I am Muslim and have a lot of family in Japan( My grandfather went their around 1900 ), and it's simply not true. We are treated with respect, we have mosques in Japan and I have never heard of any discrimination of Muslims. My uncle migrated 3/4 years ago to Japan to live with his mother and came there without any problem. It can be true that their is some restriction but I am not aware of that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Japan is the only country in the world that has a negligible number of embassies of Islamic countries. (Absolutely not true. See list here: Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

  6. Anonymous says:

    If a Japanese woman marries a Muslim then she is considered an outcast forever. (In many Japanese families, a woman is an outcast for marrying any non-Japanese).

  7. David Baden says:

    Is this guy for real? I'll just put his comment in my "sarcastic" bin!!

  8. Richard DeSousa says:

    The Japanese treated the attempts by the Jesuits in the to convert the Japanese to Christianity in the mid 16th century quite harshly. The Shogun and his samurai captured and killed thousands of Christians and their Jesuit priests.

  9. Dan Downes says:

    I live in Japan currently and although I agree with the main thrust of this article I would say that the Japanese attitude to Islam is mostly disinterest. For example, I asked a couple of my students what they thought of Islam and they suggested it was a lot like other religions and that it was just the extremists who are mental. They were very surprised when I explained that Islam says Mohammed was the perfect person and that he had 'married' a 6 year old girl. But, once I explained that, the attitude was immediate revulsion.

    There are quite a few Christians here, but they are easily ignored.

  10. Henry Pacers says:

    The Japanese get it right!

  11. Wolf Wylde says:

    I do not feel the need to apologize to moslems.. if anything, I should be more adamant and supportive of my own views regarding this sick and twisted religion of hate.The more I learn and see and encounter of Islam, the more I see a deadly blight, spreading across the world and sucking light, love, life and hope out of it..

  12. Ahron Ebert says:

    Where is sthe quote from?

  13. Meghana Brandl says:

    From a purely technical standpoint I found this article clunky and poorly written.

    From a subject standpoint, I feel that this article is encouraging discrimination and racism. It is one thing to refuse to pander to a certain ethnic group, however it is an entirely different thing to demonize an entire religion based on the actions of a few radical sects.

    I also think it is an insult to post an article on a factual news website that contains blatant factual errors. "Christianity exists in Japan and is not regarded negatively, apparently because the image of Jesus perceived in Japan is like the images of Buddha and Shinto." Shinto is not a person. Shintoism, worships multiple gods called kamis. The author should bother to actually research the things he chooses to write about.

  14. @Frank Otto…don't be an *******…you know what Shukeel Chohan meant…do you always feel you have to spell check what you read?…don't be a jerk…

  15. "humanity that is sharia"?..what a joke!..that is the muslim fantasy – follow it or else be killed or mutilated

  16. too bad we have a muslim president…

  17. John Mnemonik says:

    We need to learn from Japanies and stop Europe islamization.

  18. The land without Muslims i think i may not be right will be a land without terrorist!

  19. Shukeel Chohan you´re a smart guy and i agree !

  20. Wink Windsor says:

    My guess would be the Muslims don't complain because they know they treat non-Muslims exactly the same in their own Islamic culture.
    Japan is smart.

  21. Wink Windsor says:

    Japan's first responsibility is to its own citizens. Unlike the U.S.

  22. Shukeel Chohan, what an idiot you are!

  23. Saudi Arabia, that disgraceful country, does not allow a single church or temple, locks Christians up if they pray together, kills Muslims who convert to Christianity, kills gays, etc. You seem to be a bit stupid.

  24. Wink Windsor says:

    The Protocols of Zion?
    That is a bogus, anti-Semitic book. It was not written by Jews.

  25. Wink Windsor says:

    "Isn't it great we share so much with Christians?"
    Yes. Now prove it by stopping the killing of Christians and burning of churches in Muslim countries.

  26. Ubin Bushwhacked says:

    Fortunately smarter than US Multiculturalists. SSSHHHHH! Maybe know one will notice.

  27. Wink Windsor says:

    No Rudolph was not a Muslim. But you see what we did with him. We held him accountable. We didn't call him a martyr,

  28. Wink Windsor says:

    Omar-Those who defend Saudia Arabia have no right to criticize Japan.

  29. Anonymous says:

    This article encourages racism ? Islam is not a race, it's an ideology.

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