The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims

The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims: The State's Role in Minority Integration

Jonathan Laurence
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 392
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims
    Book Description:

    The Emancipation of Europe's Muslimstraces how governments across Western Europe have responded to the growing presence of Muslim immigrants in their countries over the past fifty years. Drawing on hundreds of in-depth interviews with government officials and religious leaders in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Morocco, and Turkey, Jonathan Laurence challenges the widespread notion that Europe's Muslim minorities represent a threat to liberal democracy. He documents how European governments in the 1970s and 1980s excluded Islam from domestic institutions, instead inviting foreign powers like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Turkey to oversee the practice of Islam among immigrants in European host societies. But since the 1990s, amid rising integration problems and fears about terrorism, governments have aggressively stepped up efforts to reach out to their Muslim communities and incorporate them into the institutional, political, and cultural fabrics of European democracy.

    The Emancipation of Europe's Muslimsplaces these efforts--particularly the government-led creation of Islamic councils--within a broader theoretical context and gleans insights from government interactions with groups such as trade unions and Jewish communities at previous critical junctures in European state-building. By examining how state-mosque relations in Europe are linked to the ongoing struggle for religious and political authority in the Muslim-majority world, Laurence sheds light on the geopolitical implications of a religious minority's transition from outsiders to citizens. This book offers a much-needed reassessment that foresees the continuing integration of Muslims into European civil society and politics in the coming decades..

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4037-3
    Subjects: Political Science, Religion, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xxiv)
    (pp. 1-29)

    Just over 1 percent of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims reside in Western Europe, yet this immigrant-origin minority has had a disproportionate impact on religion and politics in its new and former homelands. The Muslim population ballooned in just fifty years from some tens of thousands to 16 or 17 million—approximately one out of every twenty-five Western Europeans—in 2010. During the formative decades of this settlement (1960–1990), Europeans permitted foreign governments and NGOs from the Islamic world to have a free hand in shaping Muslims’ religious and political life. But persistent integration difficulties and sporadic terrorism persuaded...

  8. CHAPTER TWO European Outsourcing and Embassy Islam: L’ISLAM, C’EST MOI
    (pp. 30-69)

    The first month of 2010 brought several reminders of the Muslim worldʹs residual paternalism toward the Islamic diaspora in Europe. The Tunisian presidency organized a conference on ʺYouth and the Future: Contemporary Challenges,ʺ and invited an Italian Muslim leader to participate with a delegation of young Italian Muslims. The Algerian government signaled that it would replace the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, the oldest and most prominent Islamic institution in metropolitan France. A columnist in theSaudi Gazettereminded the Saudi leadership of the Muslim worldʹs responsibility to protect and promote their minorities abroad. He cited the ʺSwiss...

    (pp. 70-104)

    At the dawn of the twenty-first century, public authorities in Europe had two options for Islamic interlocutors and mixed emotions about each one. On the one hand, they had in the representatives of Embassy Islam a set of reliable interlocutors whom they knew well and whom they could count on to respect the rule of law. But Embassy-Islam representatives’ dedication to immigrant integration was ambivalent. On the other hand, European countries also hosted a growing number of Islamist organizations who were committed to integrating into domestic institutions. But governments were not sure they could trust the democratic instincts of Political-Islam...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Citizens, Groups, and the State
    (pp. 105-132)

    The religious practices of a population of ʺguestworkersʺ pose different policy challenges than do those of a permanent religious minority. Since the arrival in Western Europe of Muslim labor migrants in the 1960s and 1970s, their status changed from guests to residents, and from immigrants to natives. The governmentsʹ administrative interaction with Muslim communities underwent a corresponding paradigm shift.¹ The dominant policy paradigm in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s held that a monopoly of immigrantsʹ sending states over organized Islam in Europe was a sensible solution for temporarily guaranteeing religious freedoms without violating prohibitions on the public financing of religion....

  11. CHAPTER FIVE The Domestication of State-Mosque Relations
    (pp. 133-162)

    The establishment of Islam Councils by national interior ministries is the most striking policy response of recent years to the growth of Islam in Europe, and the only campaign to date to have mobilized a majority of Muslim leaders to rise above their divisions in common purpose. In the first institutional acknowledgment of Muslim minorities’ permanence, European governments between 1990 and 2010 have overseen a proliferation of state-led consultations, councils, conferences, and commissions established to represent the Muslim faith in state-mosque relations. Their institutional activism in Islamic affairs has been largely overlooked or hastily dismissed as ineffective because it conflicts...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Imperfect Institutionalization: ISLAM COUNCILS IN EUROPE
    (pp. 163-197)

    European governments learned valuable lessons in institutional design from the early, ineffective efforts at organizing Muslim communities in the 1990s. The idling of the initial consultations with Muslim groups and their lack of legitimacy and an enforceable consensus had frustrated ministry officials across the continent. The ʺEuropeanizationʺ of Islamist terrorism in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, however, led to a second and more enduring attempt at organizing Islam Councils between 2000 and 2010.

    A succession of harrowing experiences contributed to the impetus to accelerate state-mosque relations: the Hamburg cell that committed the attacks of September 11, 2001, the murder of...

    (pp. 198-244)

    How have the two organizational protagonists of European Muslim communities —Political Islam and Embassy Islam—responded to Europeans’ state-building efforts? The main mosque federations have undergone a process of ʺdomesticationʺ in two significant ways: by participating in the state-mosque relations, and by taking steps to become less ʺforeignʺ in terms of personnel and religious content. The state’s recognition, however imperfect, has reduced the stridency of organized Muslims’ religious demands and taken federation leaders out of a defensive posture. This chapter makes the argument that Islam Councils have helped achieve an important degree of organizational incorporation, as defined in terms of...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation
    (pp. 245-272)

    This book has provided a comparative study in the management of religious—and especially Islamic—conflict by exploring the policies that European governments have adopted in response to the presence of growing numbers of Muslims in their territories. The resulting portrait in the preceding chapters offers a model for understanding the development of state-mosque relations in Belgium France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK, and develops a typology of Islam’s institutionalization, politicization, and exportation in Algeria, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The evidence supports a cautiously optimistic view regarding the successful incorporation of Muslim minorities, but also shows...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 273-308)
  16. Interviews
    (pp. 309-316)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 317-354)
  18. Index
    (pp. 355-366)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 367-368)