Muslim Political Participation in Europe

Muslim Political Participation in Europe

EDITED BY JØRGEN S. NIELSEN
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt3fgtcr
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  • Book Info
    Muslim Political Participation in Europe
    Book Description:

    Analyses European Muslim communities' developing involvement in their political environment and related Muslim and public debatesMuslims are increasingly making themselves noticed in the political process of Europe. But what is happening behind the often sensational headlines? This book looks at the processes and realities of Muslim participation in local and national politics: voting patterns in local and national assemblies and the tensions between ethnic, political and religious identities. These developments drive internal Muslim debates including attitudes to the democratic processes and whether Muslims should take part at all, as well as rivalries over who should represent and speak for Muslims. They also inspire sharp European discussion about Muslim political participation - does it signal integration or separation? - and how the European states should view this increasingly active role of Muslims in the public space.Key Features:*Includes 16 chapters presenting up-to-date research on European Muslim political participation*Analyses and compares local and national situations in western and central Europe*Focuses on issues such as Muslim women and youth*Covers Belgium, Catalonia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and the United KingdomKeywords: Muslims, Islam, politics, Europe, ideologies, political parties

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4695-1
    Subjects: Political Science, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-14)
    Jørgen S. Nielsen

    In the media and among politicians in recent years it has been common to point to tendencies among Muslim communities which seek to either isolate themselves from the surrounding society or seek actively to position themselves in public opposition to it. This especially happens around national elections when isolationist tendencies are interpreted as a sign of a deep incompatibility between Islam and democracy while oppositional voices are interpreted as proof of such incompatibility. At several recent general elections in the United Kingdom, party election posters in some districts of Muslim residential concentration, certain districts of, for example, Birmingham and Bradford,...

  5. Part One Laying foundations:: national and local elections
    • CHAPTER 2 MUSLIM POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN BELGIUM: AN EXCEPTIONAL POLITICAL REPRESENTATION IN EUROPE
      (pp. 17-33)
      Fatima Zibouh

      Compared with other major European cities, the Brussels-Capital Region has a unique configuration in terms of the political representation of elected representatives descended from diverse ethnocultural groups, and in particular Muslim elected representatives. Nearly one out of five members of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region is of Muslim origin. This is all the more unique given that, for the first time in Brussels and in the entire European Union, one of the seats in the Brussels Parliament is held by a Muslim member who wears a headscarf (Mahinur Ozdemir).

      This political representation lies within the scope of a city...

    • CHAPTER 3 MUSLIM POLITICAL PARTICIPATION IN GERMANY: A STRUCTURATIONIST APPROACH
      (pp. 34-60)
      Maike Didero

      The 2009 local council elections in the German State of North-Rhine-Westphalia brought about a significant innovation: for the first time citizens with a migration background came to the fore as founders of local voter associations. Among these newly founded voter associations, the Bündnis für Frieden und Fairness (Confederation for peace and fairness, BFF) stands out for two reasons: first of all, because it immediately won two seats on the city council, although it was founded only two months prior to the elections. Secondly, it is unusual because it was founded exclusively by Muslims. This fact triggered attention by media far...

    • CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL OPINIONS AND PARTICIPATION AMONG YOUNG MUSLIMS IN SWEDEN: A CASE STUDY
      (pp. 61-82)
      Jonatan Bäckelie and Göran Larsson

      In April 2009 Sweden’s largest Sunni Muslim youth organisation, Sweden’s Young Muslims² (SUM), organised their 16th annual youth conference. Based on a survey distributed at the conference, this chapter aims to document and analyse political opinion and political participation among young organised Muslims in Sweden and relate the respondents’ answers to the political left and right scale. For this purpose – well aware of competing and alternative definitions – we do not apply an external definition of ‘young’ or ‘Muslim’, but rather assume that those attending a conference for young Muslims see themselves as fitting the bill.

      Before we go into the...

    • CHAPTER 5 LITHUANIAN MUSLIMS’ ATTITUDES TOWARD PARTICIPATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL PROCESS: THE CASE OF CONVERTS
      (pp. 83-101)
      Egdūnas Račius

      The last census (that of 2001, in which, among others, a question on religious identity was included) for which there is publicly available official statistics produced the following figures for Lithuanian inhabitants adhering to Islam: 2,860 Sunni Muslims or 0.1% of the total population, 1,679 of whom (or 58.7% of all Sunni Muslims) identified themselves as ethnic Tatars, 362 (12.6%) as Azerbaijanis, 185 (6.5%) as Lithuanians, 74 as Russians, 15 as Belarusians, 13 as Polish, five as Ukrainians and even four as Jewish (Department 2002: 204–5). There is no data available on Shi’is.

      The biggest group of Lithuania’s inhabitants...

    • CHAPTER 6 POLITICAL PARTICIPATION OF EUROPEAN MUSLIMS IN FRANCE AND THE UNITED KINGDOM
      (pp. 102-126)
      Salima Bouyarden

      In Britain and France Islam is a faith encompassing many cultures, which has created very significant political issues in terms of the visibility and number of Muslims. The most recent official United Kingdom Census of 2001 estimated that there were 1.6 million Muslims in the UK, mainly of South Asian origin, representing 3% of the total population (Summerfield and Baljit 2005: 182).¹ Sean McLoughlin and Tahir Abbas reported that the Office for National Statistics estimate was 2.4 million Muslims in 2009 in the United-Kingdom (McLoughlin and Abbas 2010: 545). This places Islam, as in France, as the second main religion...

  6. Part Two Participation as integration
    • CHAPTER 7 MUSLIM COLLECTIVE MOBILISATIONS IN CONTEMPORARY EUROPE: NEW ISSUES AND NEW TYPES OF INVOLVEMENT
      (pp. 129-139)
      Franck Frégosi

      Muslims in the European Union have different visions of their religion, and often they are contradictory. Their attitudes towards the letter of the religion range from a strict adherence to practice to a critical attitude towards the rituals (Frégosi 2011). Indeed, a lot of Muslims do not use their faith as the only lens through which they interpret reality and are active within society.

      It is important to discuss the different forms of mobilisation that these populations use, either one at a time or combined. We will use the ideal typical categories of mobilisation forms to study how they stage...

    • CHAPTER 8 HOW POLITICALLY INTEGRATED ARE DANISH MUSLIMS? EVIDENCE FROM THE MUHAMMAD CARTOONS CONTROVERSY
      (pp. 140-162)
      Lasse Lindekilde

      The degree of political integration of minorities in a society is a significant indicator of the ‘health’ of a democracy and social cohesion. Political integration is of great importance to feelings of belonging and shared identity. The inadequate political integration of minorities can potentially lead to social division, parallel societies, mutual distrust and conflict. In Denmark, the level of political participation and integration of Muslim minorities has been an issue of public debate for at least the last decade. In contrast to the debate in countries like France and Germany, the debate in Denmark has been less about formal voting...

    • CHAPTER 9 LIMITS AND POTENTIALITIES OF THE ITALIAN AND BRITISH POLITICAL SYSTEMS THROUGH THE LENS OF MUSLIM WOMEN IN POLITICS
      (pp. 163-189)
      Alessia Belli

      This chapter examines the debate on the supposed crisis and even death of multiculturalism in Europe. It aims, in particular, at analysing the limits and potentialities of the Italian (Allievi 2010: 147–80; Triadafyllidou 2006: 117–42; Zincone 1994) and UK (Malik 2010: 11–64; Modood 2006: 37–56; Parekh 2006; Phillips 2007) political systems, two interesting and contrasting case studies. To address this issue, a strategic point of view has been chosen, namely the participation of Muslim women¹ in the traditional spaces of politics, both at the local and at the national level. It should be recognised at this...

    • CHAPTER 10 REPRESENTING ‘ISLAM OF THE BANLIEUES’: CLASS AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AMONG MUSLIMS IN FRANCE
      (pp. 190-212)
      Z. Fareen Parvez

      The issue of the political representation of Maghrebi (North African) immigrants and their descendants in France, now redefined as a question of representation of Muslims, has been a long-standing debate in the French policy arena. The importance of representation in the French case is perhaps more heightened than in other EU countries because of France’s particular model of secularism (laïcité) and statist political ideology. More so than other countries, the French state has raised numerous obstacles to Islamic practice, thus making political participation among Muslims a high-stakes endeavour. In order to make claims on the state and demand religious rights...

  7. Part Three Institutions as gateways
    • CHAPTER 11 CREATING THE IMAGE OF EUROPEAN ISLAM: THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL FOR FATWA AND RESEARCH AND IRELAND
      (pp. 215-238)
      Adil Hussain Khan

      The recent focus on European Islam has sparked an interest in establishing representative Muslim networks that seemingly span the continent of Europe. However, unifying European Muslims onto a single political platform has largely been an elusive process for Europe’s Muslim communities. The image of Muslim representation in Europe has been aided by international organisations, such as the European Council for Fatwa and Research, whose prestigious network of esteemed scholars purportedly address the concerns of western Muslims, while acting as one of the few representative voices of European Islam. Although this image of a unified ‘European Islam’ would indeed, at first...

    • CHAPTER 12 THE POLITICAL PARTICIPATION OF POLISH MUSLIM TATARS – THE RESULT OF OR THE REASON FOR INTEGRATION? FROM TEUTONIC WARS TO THE DANISH CARTOONS AFFAIR
      (pp. 239-254)
      Agata S. Nalborczyk

      Polish Muslim Tatars constitute a religious minority with an interesting status. They were settled in the Polish-Lithuanian territories at the beginning of the fourteenth century, above all because of their military service. The tradition of military service was continued by their descendants in subsequent centuries, even when military service was no longer compulsory. This kind of involvement in the political life of the Republic of Poland resulted in Muslim Tatars being granted social and religious privileges – this will be discussed later in this chapter. Recognition of the Tatars’ service to the country has remained in the consciousness of Polish society...

    • CHAPTER 13 THE ALEVI QUEST IN EUROPE THROUGH THE REDEFINITION OF THE ALEVI MOVEMENT: RECOGNITION AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION, A CASE STUDY OF THE FUAF IN FRANCE
      (pp. 255-276)
      Deniz Koşulu

      The Alevis are one of the lesser-known Muslim immigrant communities in Europe; on a political front they constitute an organised movement at a European level. The word ‘Alevi’ refers simultaneously to Ali, Mohammed’s cousin, and to Ahl al Bayt, the family of the Islamic prophet. In this context, Alevism is defined as ‘to adore Ali and his family’ and to follow in his footsteps (Yaman 2006: 101). Due to the origin of the word, Alevism is frequently confused with Shi’ism. Today, although they have certain beliefs in common with the Twelver Shiites, Alevi rites of worship¹ are wholly different from...

    • CHAPTER 14 LEICESTER MUSLIMS: CITIZENSHIP, RACE AND CIVIL RELIGION
      (pp. 277-296)
      Carolina Ivanescu

      In the 1970s newspaper advertisements from Leicester advised migrants to go elsewhere as the city was already ‘full to the brim’ after the acceptance of more than 14,000 Asian Indian refugees, more than half of the total number of people expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin: ‘In your own interests and those of your family you should accept the advice of the Uganda Settlement Board and not come to Leicester, I think they said.’ (interview, 26 July 2011). Leicester was overwhelmed by its increased population and was desperately hoping to stop more massive migration. However, by 1981 the migrant population...

  8. Part Four Breaking the bounds
    • CHAPTER 15 MUSLIMS AND ELECTORAL POLITICS IN BRITAIN: THE CASE OF THE RESPECT PARTY
      (pp. 299-321)
      Timothy Peace

      In comparison with many other European countries, Britain’s ethnic minorities have been very successful at achieving political representation and making an impact on the political system. Whereas migrants and their descendants in other countries may have struggled for years to gain the right to vote and stand in elections, Commonwealth migrants to Britain from her former colonies were automatically given the right to citizenship, including full political rights. This even pre-dated the mass migration to Britain of the 1950s and 1960s, and three Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Indian subcontinent, though none Muslim, were elected to the House of...

    • CHAPTER 16 CLICHÉS ARE FUNNY AS LONG AS THEY HAPPEN ON STAGE: COMEDY AS POLITICAL CRITICISM
      (pp. 322-338)
      Riem Spielhaus

      This opening sequence of a stand-up performance by Fatih Çevikkollu, a German actor and comedian born to Turkish parents in Cologne, introduces a contestation of ethnic stereotypes in everyday life. Çevikkollu is committed to the German tradition of political cabaret and frequently appears in established TV shows. His performance Moslem TÜV³, which he published as a book and took to comedy stages around Germany, criticises a citizenship test from 2006 aimed at scrutinising Muslim applicants’ values. Besides, Çevikkollu supports campaigns for participation in elections like the one by the German Federal Agency for Civic Education for the federal elections in...

  9. NOTES ON THE CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 339-342)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 343-352)