European Islamic Policies Examined

Article excerpt

"MUSLIMS ARE THE LARGEST religious minority in Europe, and Islam is the fastest growing religion," says a new report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The report, Muslims in Europe: Integration Policies in Selected Countries, notes that understanding how best to integrate and engage these growing populations can help mitigate the risk of Islamic extremism finding a foothold.

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While "the vast majority of Muslims in Europe are not involved in radical activities," according to the report, many Muslims in Europe are poor, unemployed, or imprisoned, which may lead to a sense of "cultural alienation and discrimination." If these negative feelings are not given enough attention, Islamic militancy could be the unwitting result.

According to the report, negative attitudes have already become a problem among youth populations of second and third generation Europeans who "feel disenfranchised in a society that does not fully accept them." These youth could "turn to Islam as a badge of identity."

Furthermore, the report says that "many young Muslims view the 'war on terrorism' as a war on Islam, and claim common cause with suffering brethren in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, Iraq, Chechnya, and elsewhere."

The report examines the integration of Muslims into four European Union countries: the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain. Case studies outline each state's approach to the problem. …