Western Europe and Its Islam

Western Europe and Its Islam

Western Europe and Its Islam

Western Europe and Its Islam

Synopsis

Immigration from North Africa, Asia and elsewhere meant a large influx of Islam into Western Europe. In each country, Muslims organized in various ways and established numerous institutions such as mosques, cemeteries, "halbl butchers, schools, broadcasting organizations, and political parties, and slowly but surely the outlines of Muslim communities begun to emerge. The development of those communities is not a matter of Muslims only, but the product of their interaction with the wider environment. The development of the process of institutionalization is the result of their consultations and conflicts with parties involved, particularly with agents from the host society. As Muslim immigrants become ever more a part of Western European societies, the establishment of their institutions both illustrates and affects the processes of sociological, political and legal change that are currently taking place. This book, based on interdisciplinary research, examines the establishment of Muslim institutions in Western Europe, and particularly focuses on the role played by agents from the host society and the political and ideological positions adopted by them in reaction to claims from Muslims.

Excerpt

The widespread introduction of Islam into Western Europe occurred with the arrival of immigrants from regions such as North and West Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. For some time the Islamic religion led a 'hidden existence' in countries such as Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands, but this has gradually altered with the growth of a whole range of Muslim institutions. From Muslim communities there is a constant demand for the recognition of their religion and its institutions; however, the responses of the receiving societies have seldom been straightforward, despite freedom of religion being firmly established in law. in fact we know very little about the precise reactions of society at large, about the ways in which society has created opportunities or thrown up obstacles for the development of these institutions, and about how such reactions should be accounted for.

In 1988 Kees Groenendijk and Rinus Penninx set up a research project to examine these issues at the Institute for the Sociology of Law at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, financed by that University's Research Fund and Law Faculty. This post-doctoral project rapidly became an inter-university project with Penninx's appointment to a post at the Free University in Amsterdam, while Jan Rath was recruited in Nijmegen. in the course of the project, contributions were made by a number of Masters students from the Catholic University of Nijmegen, the Free University of Amsterdam and the University of Utrecht. Niek van der Dungen, Jeroen Feirabend, René Hampsink, Christa van Marrewijk, Astrid Meyer, Judith Roosblad and Hasan Yar all researched parts of the subject and delivered their reports; they have all been awarded their degrees in the interim. in addition, Jeanne van der Voort contributed to the work while she was resident in England.

With the departure of Penninx and Rath to the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES), the University of Amsterdam also became involved in the project, and shortly afterwards Astrid Meyer was appointed by imes to the research team. in the last stages of the work, Heleen Ronden of imes took charge of the manuscript, and carried out the final editing. Yoost Penninx provided technical support in the editing process.

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