I have written a blog entry last year (http://vanderhaven.net/blog/20080311.html) with the title "Freedom of Speech is Overrated" and I think that one still summarises my thoughts about freedom. Freedom is a great good, of course, and one that is sadly unavailable to many people around the world. It is therefore a good thing to strife for. However, freedom can have its excesses as well in the case where one person's freedom limits another person's freedom. When would such a thing happen? Foremost in the case where, in the name of freedom, people with a certain habit or culture are forced to adapt to another culture that is dominant in the country they are living in and which is assumed to be "superior" to the other culture. I am indeed referring to integration of immigrants in their host country. There is a lot of talk about the lack of integration of immigrants and a lot of, mostly unfounded, fear for their religions or cultures, specifically when Islam is involved. The discussions often result in blunt statements being made with gross generalisations that do nothing to solve the perceived problem. I believe that different cultures can easily live side-by-side, provided that some level of integration has taken place. That integration should at least involve learning the language and adapting to the local laws. What integration does not have to involve is laying off one's own religion, culture, values or habits, insofar as they do not conflict with the host country's ones. As much as the original inhabitants of a country differ from each other in those aspects, the newcomers may equally differ from them. A step to take for people is to get genuinely interested in other people's cultures and values and not see them as a threat anymore. Once this step has been taken, real freedom can be created by allowing other people to live in the same freedom that is desired by ourselves.