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Islam & Europe

Islam & Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

Sadik AL-AZM
Tariq ALI
Marie-Claire FOBLETS
Jean-Pierre RONDAS
Bassam TIBI
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Leuven University Press,
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Islam & Europe
    Book Description:

    Dedicated to increasing our knowledge and awareness of the ever-growing diversity and pluralism of global society, Forum A. & A. Leysen has initiated an annual debate/lecture series, beginning with a focus on Islam in today's world and in Europe in particular. Seven well-known influential authorities - each an active participant in the public debate on the global role of Islam past, present and future - recently presented papers at the first Intercultural Relations Conference sponsored by Forum A.& A. Leysen. These important contributions, on the topic Islam and Europe: Challenges and Opportunities, are reprinted in this volume. Although each contributor speaks from his own distinctive point of view, a common message emerges from all seven texts: only dialogue - on the one hand between the West (countries that manifest themselves as Western Democratic constitutional states) and Islam, and on the other hand within and among societies historically identified with Islam- will overcome entrenched confrontation and negative animosity, engender new possibilities and understandings, and, by encouraging free and critical thinking, pave the way to social equity and the scientific innovation that, potentially, can lead to more prosperity. In the course of the conference all seven talks led to fascinating debates. This book includes the most important questions asked and the speakers' responses. Although the question of how to actually construct the dialogue remains unsettled, this ground-breaking book takes a giant step toward an answer.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-017-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. 7-8)
    André Leysen

    Welcome to this Forum, established by the Catholic University of Leuven together with the Leysen family. The two founders have opted for the socially relevant theme of intercultural relations, and this year in particular the relations between the western and the Islamic worlds. The presence of so many participants confirms that we are dealing with a very current topic. Professor Foblets will chair the proceedings, which means we can be assured of a valuable experience and innovative inspiration.

    In 1428, Leuven university offered the future cardinal and papal legate Nicholas of Cusa a chair in canon law. In 1437 Cusa...

  4. Introduction to The Anne & André Leysen Forum on ‘Intercultural relations’
    (pp. 9-16)
    Marie-Claire Foblets

    The Anne & André Leysen Forum onIntercultural relationswas founded at the Catholic University of Leuven in 2006 within the context of the programme of external Chairs. The activities of the Forum began in that same year.

    The Forum is an initiative of Mr and Mrs Anne and André Leysen and their children, who as donors made it possible for a series of activities to be organised under the aegis of the K.U.Leuven around the theme ofIntercultural relations.

    The basic idea that inspired the establishment of a Forum on ‘Intercultural relations’ is the observation that our society is becoming...

  5. Multiple Adaptations: Islam in Three Worlds
    (pp. 17-46)
    John Bowen

    Throughout the early 2000s, Europeans read in their morning papers, at all too frequent intervals, of discords concerning the place of Islam in Europe: the Danes and their cartoons, the Pope and his views, the Germans and their Mozart. Many began to wonder whether Muslims and other Europeans could live together. Can Islam ‘fit’ into Europe?

    I find this way of putting the question, about what Islam says or does or could do, to be the wrong way because it is socially ungrammatical. There is no Muhammad who speaks, not even a single written ‘Islam’ that reveals. What there is,...

  6. The Poldermujahidin: The Radicalization of Young Dutch Muslims
    (pp. 47-62)
    Ruud Peters

    With the murder of the filmmaker and publicist Theo van Gogh by a young Dutch Muslim, the Dutch became acutely aware of the presence in their midst of a groups of radicalized Muslims, some of whom were willing to use violence. Not much is known about their ideas. In this essay I will describe the process of radicalization from within, by analyzing the writings of Mohammed Bouyeri, the murderer of van Gogh. This is based on the report I wrote as an expert witness for the court where he was tried. Bouyeri was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    I will start...

  7. Islam and Europe in the Age of Intercivilizational Conflict. Diversity and the Challenges
    (pp. 63-84)
    Bassam Tibi

    The deliberations and the entire reasoning undertaken in this lecture are based on two major assumptions. The first of which refers to the increasing significance of Islam in the new century, not only for the world at large¹ but also and in particular for Europe.²

    The new place of Islam being the object of the first assumption relates to the double process of religionization of politics (the return of the sacred in a global garb) and of the politicization of religion. At issue are interrelated processes that touch on Europe on the following two levels:

    1. Islam constitutes a part of...

  8. Muslim Integration and Secularism
    (pp. 85-112)
    Tariq Modood

    I believe there is an anti-Muslim wind blowing across the European continent. One factor is the perception that Muslims are making politically exceptional, culturally unreasonable or theologically alien demands upon European states. Against that, I wish to say, that the claims Muslims are making, in fact, parallel comparable arguments about gender or ethnic equality. Seeing the issue in that context shows how European and contemporary is the logic of mainstream Muslim identity politics. Additionally I shall argue that multicultural politics must embrace what I call a moderate secularism, and resist a radical secularism.

    My main experience of these issues, both...

  9. Islam, Muslims and the West: Religion and Secularism. From Polarization to Negotiation
    (pp. 113-126)
    Nasr Abu Zayd

    Since the French president announced on December 16, 2003 the necessity to introduce a new law in order to prohibit religious symbols, such as the Jewish yarmulke, the big crosses and the female Muslim headscarf,hijâb, to be shown in the national French schools, the reaction generated all over the Muslim World, especially in the Arab World, presents the model of the polemic controversy/dispute/debate/ discussion that has been overshadowing the relationship between the Muslim World and the Western World since the late eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. The issue at steak here, from the French view, is...

  10. Science and Religion, an Uneasy Relationship in the History of Judeo-Christian-Muslim Heritage
    (pp. 127-158)
    Sadik J. al-Azm

    Behind theSatanic Verseslurks not just the novelist Salman Rushdie, but indeed, as the phrase literally indicates, the devil himself. That his verses had disappeared (or –horribile dictu– been cancelled) from Sura 53 ‘The Star’ of theQur’ândoes not take away from the fact that they had been ‘there’. Muhammad was their mental receiver and scribe, unaware of their being inspired by the devil and not, as usual, by Gibreel. Their actual absence only bears witness to their one-time presence. In this way, Iblis has had his negative share in the editing of theQur’ân.


  11. Why we are so obsessed by Islam?
    (pp. 159-186)
    Tariq Ali

    In his bookIslam: Past, Present and Future(2004), which is the final volume of a trilogy on the religions of the book – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – the German Catholic theologian and philosopher Hans Küng quotes Tariq Ali as an alternative voice on Islamic history and culture, as well as on the difficult interactions between today’s leading civilizations. Küng raises the question: “Why didn’t Islam, contrary to other world religions, such as Christianity and Judaism, witness a reformation? Why didn’t we have renewal at that time? This reformation would have taken place if Islamic culture in al-Andalus had...

  12. List of Contributors
    (pp. 187-192)