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The Islamic ChallengePolitics and Religion in Western Europe$
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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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Faith and Politics

Faith and Politics

(p.81) 3 Faith and Politics
The Islamic Challenge

Jytte Klausen

Oxford University Press

There has been a lack of concrete ideas about how to integrate Islam in Europe, in part because for decades no serious thought was given to the question. Since September, 11, 2001, however, security concerns have forced governments to think again about the situation of the Muslim minorities. Proposals to spend public money on Islamic institutions now appear on the desks of lawmakers, often accompanied by recommendations from the police. Policymakers, however, struggle with two contradictory assumptions that make policymaking seem very problematic. One is that Islam runs counter to fundamental Western values, particularly when it comes to the position of women, and is intolerant of dissent and individual choice. On the other hand, Islam is also perceived to lack coherence and unity because it is a congregational religion, a community-based faith centered around collective worship but without a clerical hierarchy and no common theology.

Keywords:   Islam, security, minorities, Islamic institutions, women, individual choice, congregational religion, community-based faith, collective worship, Europe

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