The integration of Islam in the European Union: prospects and challenges

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Series Details No. OP04.02
Publication Date 2004
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The tragic events of September 11th, 2001 with the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York by Al-Qaeda terrorists catapulted Islam and the Islamist movement onto television screens and the front pages of newspapersworldwide. The events of that momentous day have left an indelible imprint on the mindset of contemporary society and subsequent military campaigns and terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq have maintained the Islamist movement at the forefront of global attention. However, this concern with the growth of “political” Islam is not new and over the last forty years, the rise of Islam or more correctly, the Islamist movement as a political force across theMuslim world is a phenomenon which has been greeted with fear and trepidation by both European governments and academics.In fact, the term Islamist movement is itself a misnomer as it tends to suggest that the Islamist movement, according to its interpretation in Europe, is a united entity with an expansionist character which knows no borders and a highly-developed programme of societal transformation which threatens the values, mores and
indeed, the sheer existence of European civilization2. On the contrary, the Islamist movement is itself a deeply fragmented body, composed of a
kaleidoscopic myriad of deeply divergent and often radically opposed groups, currents and trends whose methods, aims and objectives differ not only from country to country across the Islamic world but indeed within the respective states themselves. A good general introduction to this

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