European Islam: Challenges for Society and Public Policy

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Series Details November 2007
Publication Date November 2007
ISBN 978-92-9079-710-4
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Works on Islam in Europe often read like a juxtaposition of national case studies covering the history and perhaps the sociology of immigrant groups in the countries considered. Although the sociology of Islam is well-developed in certain European countries such as France, Germany and the UK, it is only in its infancy as a discipline at the European level. The chapters in this work, by leading European experts in the field, therefore aim to supply policy-makers, analysts and civil society leaders with an inventory of the main issues concerning the presence of Islam in Europe.

The key message is that European Islam exists as a powerful transnational phenomenon, and European policy must keep pace with this reality. It is evident from exchanges between European Islamic actors and policy-makers themselves that Europe is increasingly the forum of choice for devising norms and principles regarding Islam, starting with existing European legislation against discrimination in the labour market, and progressing on from there. European Islam is already a reality for Muslims. How can the EU institutions and its member states catch up with this political reality?

Beyond domestic European affairs, there are also questions of how issues relating to Europe’s Muslim communities factor into the foreign policies of the European Union, primarily in its relations with the Muslim states of the Mediterranean basin. These merit consideration in positive and participatory terms, rather than simply in the context of the West’s latest preoccupation with security, immigration and the fight against terrorism. Europe’s new generation of Muslims can also become a valuable human resource in the Union’s foreign policy endeavours to come to terms with the challenges of globalised Islam.

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