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The Islamic ChallengePolitics and Religion in Western Europe$

Jytte Klausen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231980

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231980.001.0001

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Introduction: Islam in Europe

Introduction: Islam in Europe

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: Islam in Europe
Source:
The Islamic Challenge
Author(s):

Jytte Klausen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231980.003.0001

Abstract and Keywords

The voices in this book belong to parliamentarians, city councilors, doctors and engineers, a few professors, lawyers and social workers, owners of small businesses, translators, and community activists. They are also all Muslims who have decided to become engaged in political and civic organisations or Europe's new Muslim political elite. It is for this reason that they are always in a situation where they have to constantly explain themselves, mostly in order to say who they are not. They are not fundamentalists, not terrorists, and they mostly do not support the introduction of Islamic religious law in Europe, especially the application or even introduction of such to Christians. This book is about who these people are and what they want.

Keywords:   civic organisations, Muslims, religious law, Christians, Islam, political elite, Europe

The voices in this book belong to parliamentarians, city councilors, doctors and engineers, a few professors, lawyers and social workers, owners of small businesses, translators, and community activists. They are also all Muslims who have decided to become engaged in political and civic organizations. They are Europe's new Muslim political elite. And for that reason, they are in the special role of constantly having to explain themselves, mostly in order to say who they are not. They are not fundamentalists, not terrorists, and they mostly do not support the introduction of Islamic religious law in Europe, and they definitely do not support applying it to Christians. This book is about who these people are, and what they want.

Without the willingness of these 300 people to explain themselves yet once more, for my benefit, and to do so at great length, and under the pressure of what may have seemed undiplomatic questioning, this book would not have been possible. Many people invited me to their offices or homes. Others I met with in mosques or coffee bars, or in the temporary offices I borrowed from academic friends across Western Europe. Often what was supposed to be a thirty-minute interview went on for much longer. The leaders chosen for interviews were from Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, and Germany.

I learned to find my way in every one of the legislatures in six countries. I had tea in the House of Lords and a beer in the Dutch Tweede Kamer. I saw the empty hall of the Swedish Riksdagen—‘the most boring place in Stockholm,’ the young member told me, as she showed me around—and squeezed into an office the size of a large broom closet in the cramped French Sénat. The posh new offices of the German Bundestag seemed like the parliamentarian's dream until I learned that you had to petition the architect for permission to change the trash can or bring in a new chair.

I was treated to coffee and cake, home-cooked dinners, and great hospitality. ‘You are the first one to come and talk to us,’ I was often told. ‘Thank you for coming.’ Once I was scolded, and another time I was asked to leave because my presence was considered offensive. That was it. Two incidents. Even when my presence was clearly unusual, I was treated graciously and made to feel welcome.

My respondents were very largely moderate Muslims, but I did also meet some radicals. An interview with someone who presented himself as a ‘moderate,’ but who I later discovered to be a member of Hamas, triggered my (p.2) memories of the occasional dishonesty of the ‘old’ New Left. (Also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas is a political group with a terrorist wing based in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.) On another occasion, when I attended Friday prayers and heard the khutbah, the Friday sermon, being delivered in a converted nineteenth-century red brick factory building close to where, thirty years earlier, I had enjoyed a hot summer and free housing in a Copenhagen neighborhood taken over by squatters, I found myself the only woman among five hundred men at the service. The sermon was delivered in Arabic and English, and translation to imperfect Danish was available over a closed-circuit system. I did not like what I heard. But it was not until I met with the ‘Sheikh,’ as he wanted to be addressed, that I became uncomfortable.

When I asked what should be done about radical imams, the Sheikh angrily denounced the failure of Western democracy. Islam has a chance at a new start in Europe, if only Europeans would live up to the human rights they preach, he said, starting on what promised to be a diatribe. The situation was diffused by the providential appearance of André, my research assistant, and next the Sheikh was giving me photocopies of a recent consumer survey he had made of the mosque members. The survey aimed to find out what the attendees at Friday prayers wanted from the waqf. (A waqf is an Islamic charity, but in this case the term was used to describe the mosque community and its leader.) Should the Sheikh participate more in the media debates? (Yes) Should the khutbah address political issues of concern to Muslims? (Yes) Administered in Arabic, Danish, and English, it would have been the envy of an American Evangelical preacher aiming to hone his skills and enlarge his flock. The current European panic about radical clerics is fueled by stories like this one, but missing from the newspaper accounts is that most Muslims are as discomfited by this kind of manipulative politicization of Islam as I was.

Western European governments currently find themselves in a dilemma. They are coming to realize that they must find ways to fund and support the development of an independent Islam in Europe. At the same time, they are faced with the leakage of voters to xenophobic parties. This dilemma accounts for some of the strange signals coming out of Europe. New German legislation to ease access to naturalization for immigrants has relaxed the historical ties between descent and German citizenship, yet some German states have banned the headscarf and mandated the crucifix in public schools, declaring that Germany is a ‘Judeo-Christian’ state. France banned girls from wearing the headscarf at school and is moving towards even wider application of a headscarf ban, while at the same time announcing the creation of a foundation to fund ‘French Islam.’ The British government passes antiterrorist laws that target Muslims while promising to allow shariah law to be used in courts.

(p.3) In this volatile and contradictory environment, Muslims are building representative institutions and mastering the skills of democratic negotiation. This book cannot do justice to the diversity of responses and to the nuances of the new European politics of Islam, but it does, I hope, sketch the main contours of the emerging institutions, debates, adaptations, and confrontations, while noting some of the complexities and indicating the main cross-national differences.

Culture War or Religious Toleration?

‘Europe has become a battlefield,’ according to Gilles Kepel. Samuel P. Huntington says it is facing a ‘clash of civilizations’ and ‘cultural war,’ a new ‘Kulturkampf.’1 Helmut Schmidt, the former Chancellor of Germany, argues that a peaceful accommodation between Islam and Christianity is possible only in authoritarian states.2

These apocalyptic pronouncements are not only counterproductive. They are dangerously misleading. I shall argue that the question of Islam in Europe is not a matter of global war and peace. Rather, it raises a more familiar set of domestic policy issues about the relations between church and state, and on occasion even prosaic questions about government regulation and equitable policy enforcement. My central thesis is that Muslims are simply a new interest group and a new constituency, and that the European political systems will change as the processes of representation, challenge, and co-optation take place. There is a clash of values, but perhaps the most important is that between two old European parties, secularists and conservatives, as each struggles to come to terms with religious pluralism. The conflict does raise large questions, but these have to do with long-standing European preoccupations with state neutrality in religious matters and the place of Christianity in the construction of European public identity.

Europe's Muslim political leaders are not aiming to overthrow liberal democracy and to replace secular law with Islamic religious law, the shariah. Most are rather looking for ways to build institutions that will allow Muslims to practice their religion in a way that is compatible with social integration. To be sure, there is not one Muslim position on how Islam should develop in Europe but many views. However, there is general agreement that immigrants must be integrated into the wider society. There is also a widespread feeling that Europe's Muslims should not rely on foreign Islamic funding of local institutions but be able to practice their faith in mosques built with local (p.4) funding and with the assistance of imams certified and educated at European universities and seminaries.

Foreign Affairs

Huntington predicted a historic and decisive global confrontation between ‘Islam’ and ‘the West,’ and he represented problems with Islamic minorities in Western countries as local skirmishes in this international struggle, a struggle that was at bottom one of values, symbols, and identity.

From the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to the March 11, 2004 to the Madrid train bombings and the July 7, 2005, bombings in London, events seem to confirm this view that the west has to rise to the defense of liberalism and Christianity against the threat posed by Muslims in their midst. The murder, in November 2004, of a Dutch filmmaker, Theovan Gogh, on the streets of Amsterdam by Mohammed Bouyeri, a Dutch-Moroccan who was linked to Hizbollah, an Islamic terrorist group, elicited strong reactions against Muslims across northern Europe. In the weeks following the murder, over twenty religious elementary schools, mosques, and churches were burned down in Holland by self-appointed Christian crusaders and Islamic jihadists. Editorials in the papers and on TV asked—and mostly took the answers for granted—‘could it happen here?’ and ‘what went wrong?’

Huntington's thesis rests on two postulates. The first is that religion is the predominant source of identity and value orientation for Muslims. ‘Liberal’ and ‘Muslim’ values are irreconcilable. The religious Muslim cannot separate public law and private religion. Only individuals who renounce key parts of Islam can be trusted as interlocutors in democratic societies. The second postulate is that Islam and Christianity are competing for global control. Islam is represented as monolithic and intent on world domination. As the Princeton historian, Bernard Lewis, put it, ‘in any encounter between Islam and unbelief, Islam must dominate.’3 From this perspective, a Muslim schoolgirl's headscarf is imbued with symbolic significance beyond the individual girl's reasons for wearing the scarf.

However, domestic conflict over the integration of Islam in European countries has little to do with foreign policy. Muslims in Great Britain and the USA— the two allies in the war in Iraq—find fewer obstacles to the development of faith institutions than do Muslims in France and Germany, the two leading European antiwar countries. Rather, domestic conflicts have local causes, rooted in the particular histories of modern European states. One of the key factors, usually neglected in these debates, is the legacy of the ‘stability pacts’ that were made (p.5) between the majority churches and European states in the course of twentieth-century adjustments to universal suffrage and constitutional reforms. The accommodation of Islam necessitates a rethinking of those pacts and obliges national churches to reconsider their own position on matters of proselytizing, interreligious relations, and even questions of theology and liturgy.

Until very recently, European governments have been reluctant to formulate policies for the integration of Muslim minorities. Muslims interpret this neglect as yet another form of discrimination, an extension of the discrimination experienced in daily life, in employment, education, and the provision of social services. Yet governments are now beginning to grapple with the issues. Some of their initial measures provoked fresh conflicts, notably bans on wearing the hijab, the Islamic headscarf, by female Muslim students and teachers; policies curtailing ritual slaughter; and immigration controls on imams. These policies are often perceived to be discriminatory, but they are sometimes supported also by Muslim leaders. There is little disagreement that radical clerics should be kept out, although the general view is that Muslims have democratic rights to say stupid things too. Most Muslims think the headscarf should be tolerated, but many think it is a bad idea to wear it. However, few governments have institutionalized democratic consultative mechanisms with Muslims, or come to terms with the fact that they are dealing with a diverse religious constituency that cannot be represented by a single head of a national ‘church’ as is the European custom.

Why Are There Suddenly Problems?

For decades, Europeans paid little attention to the modest prayer halls and mosques that sprang up in their cities. Benign neglect was the preferred official response to the growing presence of Muslim immigrants. A Dutch anthropologist, Jan Rath, and his collaborators found that the first reference to Muslims in Dutch government sources was a Memorandum on Foreign Workers from 1970, which referred obliquely to the need to provide ‘pastoral care’ for foreign workers.4

The lack of public policy involvement has both historical and political roots. When Muslims first began to come to Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, they were not expected to stay. They were mostly labor migrants, and often single men, who themselves expected to return with savings to the families they had left at home. Ironically, it was the collective recognition by Europe's Muslims that they were ‘here to stay’ that triggered conflict. Once Muslims demanded integration it became evident how much Europeans and their governments would have to change in order to accommodate them.

(p.6) There are probably about 15 million Muslims living in Western Europe, but the exact number is in doubt. The count is subject to inflation, in part because Muslim leaders and populist politicians like to exaggerate the number to press their causes, but also because few reliable statistics exist. Most European countries do not include questions on religious affiliation in their census. Commonly, the size of the Muslim population is therefore extrapolated from immigration statistics. For example, if there are 2.4 million Turkish-origin residents in Germany, and 98 percent of the Turkish population is Muslim, there are 2.3 million Turkish-origin Muslims in Germany.5 And if two-thirds of the population of Turkey are Sunni and one-third Shia, German Turks are assumed to be divided similarly. It is routinely said that there are 5 million Muslims in France. An official report, by the Haut Conseil à l’Intégration from November 2000 embraced a slightly lower estimate of 4.1 million.6 Patrick Simon, a French demographer, regards that number as inflated. Using the method just described, he considers 2.6 million, or at most 3 million, to be a more accurate estimate.7 However, this method may also exaggerate the size of the Muslim population, since allowance is not made for assimilation through intermarriage or the acculturation of descendants, and it obviously confounds religious affiliation with country of origin. (Nor, on the other hand, does it allow for conversions to Islam.)

In Great Britain the census of 2001 did ask respondents to state their religion, and reported a Muslim population of 1.5 million, or 3 percent of the total population.8 But official estimates do not include illegal immigrants, who in recent years have arrived primarily from predominantly Muslim countries, such as Albania, Algeria, Morocco, and Nigeria. In Spain alone, the influx of illegal migrants from North Africa has been guessed at 4 million in the last decade. In Germany, estimates for the illegal population range from 0.6 to 1.5 million people, of whom Muslims represent an unknown proportion.

Public reactions in Western Europe to the growing presence of adherents of an unfamiliar religion have been remarkably similar. From Protestant Scandinavia to pluralist Holland and Catholic France, controversies have broken out over religious holiday schedules, accommodations for prayers, the wearing of Muslim dress in the workplace, the provision of building permits for mosques, the public ownership of all available cemeteries, concerns about animal rights that disallow ritual slaughter, issues of pastoral care for Muslims in prisons and social services, the teaching of religion in public schools, and divorce law and other family law issues.

At the same time, there has been a growing suspicion about Muslims’ loyalty to Western values. The issue was first dramatized in 1989. Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a death sentence in absentia against Salman Rushdie for the blasphemous descriptions of the prophet Muhammad in his novel, (p.7) Satanic Verses.9 Book-burning demonstrations in the English towns of Bradford and Oldham and violent demonstrations across the Islamic world invited comparison to fascist bonfires of banned books in the 1930s.10

A decade later, there were fears that terrorist networks were embedding themselves in little known mosques throughout Europe. Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 terrorists, attended the al-Quds mosque in Hamburg. When the German police found a tape featuring the imam of the mosque, a man of Moroccan origin known only by his last name, al-Fazizi, raging that ‘Christians and Jews should have their throats slit,’ seven men from the mosque were arrested on terrorism charges.11 It was discovered that a thirty-seven-year-old Swedish Muslim, who was convicted of possessing weapons and suspected of planning terrorism, had links to the Finsbury Park mosque in London and its fiery preacher, Abu Hamza.12 The shoe-bomber, Richard Reid, and the suspected twentieth 9/11 hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, were also linked to the Finsbury Park mosque. Abu Hamza became an emblematic figure for those who feared that a new jihad was being prepared in Europe, as was the ‘Kalif aus Köln,’ Metin Kaplan, who was extradited to face murder charges in Turkey in October 2004.13 However, the overwhelming majority of European Muslims are as repelled by the ranting of these clerics as are Christians.

The Muslim mainstream is better represented by civic and political figures who have been elected to public office by voters and parties that draw support from all voters and by leaders of Muslim national and community organizations. That is why it is their views and policy choices that are the focus of this study. European Muslims are necessary partners in the negotiation of accommodation with Islam, and the Muslim political and civic leaders will play a critical role in that process. Democracies are tested by their capacity to respond to the claims and needs of new social groups and by their capacity to integrate new elites representing those claims. The prospects for the accommodation of Islam rest in part on the ability of governments to come up with solutions, and in part on the Muslim elite's involvement in the resolution of conflict.14

What does Europe's Muslim political elite want from governments? Europe's Muslim civic and political leaders are engineers, doctors, social workers, lawyers, and professionals, or business owners. It struck me when I started this book that people who have in one way or another chosen to live in Europe and indicate their acceptance of European norms and institutions by engaging in civic and political life are unlikely to share the views of the West attributed to them by the ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis. But how committed to liberal values are Muslim leaders? And how do we then explain the escalation of conflict over the accommodation of Islam? These are the questions that this book seeks to answer.

(p.8) Liberal and Illiberal Christians

It is not possible to discuss the ‘clash of practices’ set off by Muslims’ claims for recognition without also discussing the reaction of the Christian churches.15 There is a popular fallacy that public life in Europe is secular. On the contrary, European states have given privileges to the Christian churches for centuries, from public funding for religious schools to tax support, to the maintenance of church real estate and clerical salaries. Most Europeans are accustomed to relying on the state for the public provision of pastoral needs, from cemeteries to churches and the training of clergy. The bias of current policies has become perceptible only with the increased visibility of the different customs of the immigrant religions.

However, Muslim leaders are generally reluctant to press too hard for equal treatment on all fronts. The German Greens were the first to suggest that an Islamic holiday—Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan—should be added to the long list of official German holidays, but the other parties responded with derision.16 Few Muslim leaders who I spoke to think that holiday equity is a cause worth fighting for. Granting Muslims employment protection to take the day off as a personal holiday is sufficient. It is not productive for Christian–Muslim relations in the current situation to suggest that Christians should take off Islamic holidays. As a Dutch Muslim parliamentarian said to me when I suggested that the Netherlands needed to beef up antidiscrimination law in the face of unequivocal evidence of widespread employment discrimination against well-educated immigrants, ‘any suggestion that Muslims are victims of discrimination is not helpful right now, when Christians think that Muslims already take far too much.’17

The issue is a good example of the urgent need for a wide-ranging public debate about the implications of state neutrality and how equitable treatment of different religions is possible. The main concerns of Muslim leaders are, however, rather with what is seen as the persistent mischaracterization of Islam by the media and politicians, the absence of public policy initiatives to support Islamic religious organizations, and the lack of public recognition that Muslims are Europeans too.

Europe's New Religious Revival?

Is Europe becoming the center for an Islamic revival? Gilles Kepel and Tariq Ramadan both think so. Kepel sees the new Muslim associations in Europe as (p.9) vehicles for the global spread of Islam. Fouad Ajami has expressed a similar view, foreseeing even more alarming consequences.18 Ramadan, however, argues that a revitalization of Islam can take place in Europe, because European Muslims are free to develop an Islam that is a ‘pure faith,’ freed from the ethnicized doctrines and rituals that characterize practices in the Islamic world.19

There is a movement of religious reform and revival, but it lacks the coherence attributed to it by either Kepel or Ajami, or hoped for by Ramadan. Its means are Koran study circles and collective Koran translation projects. It attracts converts and native-born young Muslims, who say they crave spirituality. Some groups even welcome women and gays on equal terms, and allow women to lead men in prayers. The traditionalist-minded are the clear majority, but even they generally accept that Islam must be reformed and that women's position is an issue that has to be addressed. Ijtihad, the practice of using reason to reinterpret the meaning and application of religious law, has become the rallying cry for self-styled moderate and progressive Muslims, who want to bridge faith with integrated lifestyles and professional occupations.

The Islamic countries have made efforts to control Europe's Muslims, in part through the provision of imams with traditionalist views and also by financing the construction of mosques in Europe's main cities. Local mosque communities have recruited imams from a madrasa ‘back home’ known to the mosque elders. In other cases, donors from Saudi Arabia, Libya, or Pakistan have sent imams along with their contributions. The Diyanet, a section of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, has about 1,200 imams stationed in Europe according to agreements made with national governments. These imams are educated and do not agitate for Islamist causes, but they rarely master European languages and are increasingly seen as inadequate spiritual leaders by the young professionals who are taking over mosque managements.

Foreign funding—whether private or government-controlled—is now regarded as undesirable, and foreign imams are unable to communicate easily with the younger generation. However, European states are doing little to fill the vacuum. The French government has taken initiatives to work with Muslim councils to develop imam training programs that would supply ‘home-grown’ imams. The Dutch government now requires all imams to sit through an acculturation program, which teaches the imams the language and aspects of Dutch law pertinent to their duties. The University of Amsterdam has started a program that leads to a certificate in Islamic chaplaincy. Denmark has stopped issuing visas for foreign imams, whom it describes as ‘Islamic missionaries.’ Sweden and Spain have provided modest funds for mosque construction, and taken steps to integrate Islam within a common (p.10) policy for minority faiths. Belgium and Sweden have found ways to provide direct or indirect salaries for some imams. But these are small initiatives, and in general it remains the case that European governments are loath to be seen to be encouraging Islam, and some established political parties query the legitimacy of the religious needs of European Muslims. ‘This is not an Islamic country, it is a Christian country,’ says Wolfgang Bosbach, the spokesperson for domestic affairs for the German Christian Democratic party, ‘and we should not be forced to accommodate Islam.’20 That is an extreme position, but even among those who are willing to contemplate some form of accommodation, or integration, or assimilation, the goals are by no means agreed.

The term integration implies a process of give and take on both sides. Assimilation suggests that the immigrants must do the adjusting. If the aim is coexistence or simply toleration of immigrant religions and faith practices, the burden of adjustment is in practice on European society. Some Muslim politicians—native-born or of immigrant origin—argue for a bare minimum of basic agreement on principles for conflict resolution and constitutional values. Others are more concerned with the depth of social ties and cohesion, and focus on the importance of value commitments as a resource for the community and a prerequisite for social solidarity. Interestingly, most people I spoke to reject the minimum solution, which might be described as a ‘separate spheres’ arrangement or multiculturalism. Their reasons varied, but Muslims often worried that such policies deprive them of equal status and perpetrate inequitable treatment by local authorities, police, and national policymakers. Others noted simply that multiculturalism is politically unacceptable in European societies.

The threshold for what constitutes ‘integration’ may be set high or low, but in practice few people disagree that it means that adjustments have to be made by both Muslims and the majority. A Dutch Muslim parliamentarian elected from the Christian Democratic party was forthright about the need for change in the Muslim community. He mentioned the lack of women in leadership positions in Muslim organizations. It is not wrong to discuss segregation, he said, referring to a contentious Dutch debate over ‘parallel societies’, but Muslims are entitled to respect. The limit is reached when politicians begin to describe Islam as ‘a backward religion.’21 This threshold has been passed in Dutch public debate many times since the interview.

A dialogue on how to accomplish integration requires that policymakers accept that Muslims are partners in the determination of policy and that current national frameworks must change. Neither premise is widely accepted by Europeans today.

(p.11) About This Book

The interviews were carried out between September 2003 and February 2005. A large part of Europe's Muslim minority lives in the six countries discussed here, and all six have experienced controversy over the presence of Islam. They are also different with respect to church-state policies and the majority religions.

Sweden and Denmark are overwhelmingly Protestant countries. France is predominantly Roman Catholic. Germany has two recognized major religions (Protestantism and Catholicism). Less than half the British population belongs to the Church of England. Britain is divided for religious purposes into four countries, with an established church in England, the Anglican Church, or the Church of England, a national church in Scotland with few privileges, the Presbyterian Church, and no established church in Wales or Northern Ireland. Only the Church of England has automatic representation in the House of Lords, which nevertheless represents also Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The Netherlands is the only state in this group with a long history of religious pluralism, but even here the separation of church and state dates back only to 1983.

I asked the leaders about their views of Islam, of the nature and sources of Muslims’ problems in Europe, and about policies for Islam and for Muslims. When I speak about Islam, I am referring to the religion and to the faith's institutions. Muslims are people who are either practicing the faith or individuals whose family background is Muslim. Their views of the issues and conflicts over Muslims’ position in Europe and the difficulties associated with the integration of Islam are described in what follows.

I use the label ‘Muslim’ to describe faith and heritage in the same way one would use ‘Christian’ or ‘Jewish.’ It is a flexible description, and I did not make any prior assumptions about how important faith was to the participants in the study. (It was one of the questions asked.) These countries all have relatively large Muslim minorities, and have taken different approaches to the organization of church-state affairs. The methodology used to select the leaders and the thoughts behind the interview questions and procedures are described in detail in the Appendix.

My aim was not to produce a survey but to understand the range of views and to identify areas of overlapping concern and preferences with respect to solutions. Still, the present study should be read as a political anthropology of Muslim leaders rather than an opinion survey. Among the questions I asked these Muslim leaders are what they think it will take to integrate Islam in Europe, and how bad they think things are. I also asked what changes Muslims must make to adjust to European norms. Finally, I explored their (p.12) views on the main problems that Muslims face in Europe. One-third of the interviews were face-to-face, personal interviews, and the rest were made by email, fax, or phone using a standard questionnaire. The total number of interviews was just over three hundred.

The people who are cited in this book are mostly quoted anonymously or, when that seemed awkward for the narrative, I assigned fictitious names (in the form of a single first name). When I cite people using their real names, the statement is either already in the public record, in which case I cite from the source or, alternatively, I received permission to attribute the quotes. These conventions are in accordance with policies on research with human subjects. The informed reader will sometimes be able to guess the identity of individuals cited anonymously. There are only two French Muslim senators, for example, and both are women, but even in cases such as these I thought it best to stick to my citation policy.

Readers should bear in mind that while questions of the ‘representativeness’ of a particular study are frequently raised, we have no way of assessing what that means if we have to guess the size of the population from which we would like to draw a sample. I portray the actual views of a high proportion of European Muslim leaders. By my estimate there are between 1,500 and 2,000 individuals, in the six countries included in this study, who meet my definition of an elected or appointed leader in a national or regional civic or political organization, who is of Muslim faith or background. But there is no directory of ‘Who's Who in European Islam’ from which I could have picked a random sample, and I opted instead to talk to as many people as I could locate in the parliaments, main city councils, and political parties who are Muslims. I also interviewed leaders and spokesmen from civic associations, advocacy groups, and local and national umbrella organizations of mosque councils and interfaith groups, and also some of Europe's leading imams and Islamic scholars. They were requested not to speak for their organization but for themselves. On a few occasions, I interviewed Christian religious leaders and non-Muslim policymakers engaged in questions related to the integration of Islam.

In the following chapters I first describe Europe's new Muslim elite. A common misperception is that today's national Muslim associations are direct descendants in new clothing of an earlier generation of exile organizations from the Islamic countries. Muslim organizations that link faith with political advocacy are often described as the offspring of the ‘Muslim Brotherhood,’ but the label lumps together groups and individuals who have little in common. As Kepel notes, the Brotherhood's political philosophy is widely condemned by European Muslims.22

(p.13) Another inaccurate assumption is that today's leaders are the native-born descendants of the first cohorts of labor migrants. The new Muslim associations are different from the old organizations that were created to cater to émigrés and migrant workers, who often had left their families behind. Most of today's leaders are foreign-born recent immigrants, and many are refugees. In Chapters 2 and 3, I describe their views of key policy issues and how they would like to see Islam integrated in Europe. A minority does not think Islam can or should be integrated, either because they fear assimilation or because they think Islam cannot be ‘fixed’. Chapter 4 describes three instances where policymakers have failed to find solutions to the problems Muslims face with respect to the exercise of their faith. They are the failure to create cemeteries where Muslims can be buried following religious prescriptions, the obstacles to ritual slaughter and halal certification, and the near-collapse of efforts to create recognized degree programs for imams. In Chapter 5, I describe the barriers to state neutrality in religious matters posed by the existing church-state arrangements and discuss the conflicts within the Christian churches over an ‘Abrahamic’ approach to interreligious dialogue between the three monotheistic faiths, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Finally, Chapter 6 turns to a discussion of multiculturalism and the sexual politics of Islam in Europe.

Notes

(1.) Gilles Kepel, The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004), 241. Samuel P. Huntington first launched the argument that Islam and Christianity represented irreconcilable worldviews in an essay, ‘The Clash of Civilizations?,’ published in Foreign Affairs, in 1993. He developed the argument in subsequent books, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996) and Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004). The term ‘cultural war,’ or in German, Kulturkampf, was originally used to describe the struggle between liberals and conservatives over the German constitution in the Bismarckian period from 1871 to 1891. It was also used by the Nazis to describe the struggle against socialists and secular liberals until Hitler's assumption of power in 1933.

(2.) Quoted in Hamburger Abendblatt (November 24, 2004).

(3.) Bernard Lewis, Islam and the West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 4 and 53.

(4.) Jan Rath, Rinus Pennix, Kees Groenendijk, Astrid Meyer, Western Europe and Its Islam (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 29.

(p.14) (5.) Catholics, Protestants, and Jews have an opportunity to be officially counted, as the German tax return forms instruct you to check off your faith for the purpose of allocating revenues to the recognized faiths. Islam is not a recognized faith, and Muslims are not similarly counted.

(6.) Haut Conseil à l’Intégration, L’Islam dans la République, Paris (November 26, 2000).

(7.) Personal interview with Patrick Simon, INEED (May 25, 2004), Interview 87.

(8.) Census 2001, Office for National Statistics, London. (www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001)

(9.) On February 15, 1989, the New York Times reported that ‘[t]he Teheran radio quoted Ayatollah Khomeini as asking “all the Muslims to execute them,” referring to Mr Rushdie, …, and the publishers of the book, Viking Penguin, “wherever they find them.” He said that anyone killed carrying out his order would be considered a martyr.’

(10.) Salman Rushdie, ‘The Book Burning,’ New York Review of Books, 36 (3) (March 2, 1989).Guardianhttp://observer.guardian.co.uk/race/story/0,11255,603760,00.html

(11.) ‘Imam at German Mosque Preached Hate to 9/11 Pilots,’ New York Times (July 16, 2002).

(12.) Dagens Nyheter (November 17, 2003).

(13.) Under British law, Abu Hamza can be extradited only if the United States agrees not to seek the death penalty. At the time of writing, Abu Hamza is held in Belmarsh prison in London on murder charges.

(14.) John Higley and Michael G. Burton, ‘The Elite Variable in Democratic Transitions and Breakdowns’, American Sociological Review, 54 (1) (1989), 17–32.

(15.) Bhikhu Parekh, ‘Comments.’ In The Spiritual and Cultural Dimension of Europe, Reflection group initiated by the President of the European Commission and Coordinated by the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna/Brussels (October 2004).

(16.) ‘Grüne fordern gesetzlichen Feiertag für Muslime,’ Die Welt (November 16, 2004), 1.

(17.) Interview 68, The Hague (November 27, 2003).

(18.) Fouad Ajami, ‘The Moor's Last Laugh. Radical Islam Finds a Haven in Europe,’ Wall Street Journal (March 22, 2004).

(19.) Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 225.

(20.) Deutsche Welle (April 21, 2004), www.dw-world.de. Article by Andreas Tzortzis.

(21.) Interview 74, The Hague (December 2, 2003).

(22.) Kepel, op. cit., 253–5.http://www.ummah.org.uk/ikhwan/index.html.

Notes:

(1.) Gilles Kepel, The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004), 241. Samuel P. Huntington first launched the argument that Islam and Christianity represented irreconcilable worldviews in an essay, ‘The Clash of Civilizations?,’ published in Foreign Affairs, in 1993. He developed the argument in subsequent books, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996) and Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004). The term ‘cultural war,’ or in German, Kulturkampf, was originally used to describe the struggle between liberals and conservatives over the German constitution in the Bismarckian period from 1871 to 1891. It was also used by the Nazis to describe the struggle against socialists and secular liberals until Hitler's assumption of power in 1933.

(2.) Quoted in Hamburger Abendblatt (November 24, 2004).

(3.) Bernard Lewis, Islam and the West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 4 and 53.

(4.) Jan Rath, Rinus Pennix, Kees Groenendijk, Astrid Meyer, Western Europe and Its Islam (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 29.

(p.14) (5.) Catholics, Protestants, and Jews have an opportunity to be officially counted, as the German tax return forms instruct you to check off your faith for the purpose of allocating revenues to the recognized faiths. Islam is not a recognized faith, and Muslims are not similarly counted.

(6.) Haut Conseil à l’Intégration, L’Islam dans la République, Paris (November 26, 2000).

(7.) Personal interview with Patrick Simon, INEED (May 25, 2004), Interview 87.

(8.) Census 2001, Office for National Statistics, London. (www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001)

(9.) On February 15, 1989, the New York Times reported that ‘[t]he Teheran radio quoted Ayatollah Khomeini as asking “all the Muslims to execute them,” referring to Mr Rushdie, …, and the publishers of the book, Viking Penguin, “wherever they find them.” He said that anyone killed carrying out his order would be considered a martyr.’

(10.) Salman Rushdie, ‘The Book Burning,’ New York Review of Books, 36 (3) (March 2, 1989).Guardianhttp://observer.guardian.co.uk/race/story/0,11255,603760,00.html

(11.) ‘Imam at German Mosque Preached Hate to 9/11 Pilots,’ New York Times (July 16, 2002).

(12.) Dagens Nyheter (November 17, 2003).

(13.) Under British law, Abu Hamza can be extradited only if the United States agrees not to seek the death penalty. At the time of writing, Abu Hamza is held in Belmarsh prison in London on murder charges.

(14.) John Higley and Michael G. Burton, ‘The Elite Variable in Democratic Transitions and Breakdowns’, American Sociological Review, 54 (1) (1989), 17–32.

(15.) Bhikhu Parekh, ‘Comments.’ In The Spiritual and Cultural Dimension of Europe, Reflection group initiated by the President of the European Commission and Coordinated by the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna/Brussels (October 2004).

(16.) ‘Grüne fordern gesetzlichen Feiertag für Muslime,’ Die Welt (November 16, 2004), 1.

(17.) Interview 68, The Hague (November 27, 2003).

(18.) Fouad Ajami, ‘The Moor's Last Laugh. Radical Islam Finds a Haven in Europe,’ Wall Street Journal (March 22, 2004).

(19.) Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 225.

(20.) Deutsche Welle (April 21, 2004), www.dw-world.de. Article by Andreas Tzortzis.

(21.) Interview 74, The Hague (December 2, 2003).