Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens

Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens

Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens

Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens

Synopsis

Today, Muslims are the second largest religious group in much of Europe and North America. The essays in this collection look both at the impact of the growing Muslim population on Western societies, and how Muslims are adapting to life in the West. Part I looks at the Muslim diaspora in Europe, comprising essays on Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, and the Netherlands. Part II turns to the Western Hemisphere and Muslims in the U.S. , Canada, and Mexico. Throughout, the authors contend with such questions as: Can Muslims retain their faith and identity and at the same time accept and function within the secular and pluralistic traditions of Europe and America? What are the limits of Western pluralism? Will Muslims come to be fully accepted as fellow citizens with equal rights? An excellent guide to the changing landscape of Islam, this volume is an indispensable introduction to the experiences of Muslims in the West, and the diverse responses of their adopted countries.

Excerpt

For some time, when speaking of Islam, the second largest of the world's religions, experts and the media alike talked about Islam versus the West, often employing the language of conflict and confrontation. Islam was seen as a foreign religion, usually grouped with Buddhism and Hinduism in contradistinction to the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is only in recent years that we have begun to realize that, within a span of a few short decades, Islam, once invisible or marginal, has emerged as the second-largest religion in much of Europe and North America. Awareness and appreciation of this changed reality has come slowly. Adjustment to the fact that it is no longer viable to think of Islam and Muslims as “foreign” has not been easy, either for Muslims or for non-Muslims in the West. The long-regarded “other” must now be appreciated as part of the fabric of western societies, a neighbor and a fellow citizen. Of equal importance, as one of the children of Abraham, Muslims have a rightful place as part of the JudeoChristian-Islamic tradition.

Like many immigrant religious and ethnic minority communities before them, Muslims have been challenged to define and determine their place in society. They struggle with issues of identity, intermarriage, gender relations, worship, and education, as well as civil rights and responsibilities. Some are torn between the land of their birth and their newly adopted homeland. If some integrate easily, others, as one young Muslim friend frustratingly described his parents, “live in denial. Live in denial of the fact they have been in America for years and are going to die here not back in Pakistan.” Despite the commonalities of experience, there are also distinctive differences among Muslims who live in western Europe and in North America, as well as among Muslims within specific countries. In many European countries, the bulk of the Muslim populations has consisted of laborers whose integration into society and whose attainment of equal rights have often been more difficult than in the United States where, despite some social difficulties, the Muslim community has found it easier to win acceptance, partly because it includes a significant number of professionals. A distinctive characteristic of Islam in America is the interface between immigrant communities and an indigenous and vibrant African American Muslim community.

Muslims in the West: From Sojourners to Citizens is an excellent guide to the changing demographic and faith landscape of Islam in the West. The editor of the volume, Yvonne . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.