Muslims of Europe: The 'Other' Europeans

Muslims of Europe: The 'Other' Europeans

Muslims of Europe: The 'Other' Europeans

Muslims of Europe: The 'Other' Europeans

Synopsis

The exchange between Muslims and Europeans has a long and complicated history dating back to time before Europe was born. In other words, to the earliest years of Islam.

Today, more Muslims reside in Europe than in other countries in the Muslim world, and these populations are challenging what it means to be European in a secular, twenty-first-century society. At the same time, being in Europe has caused many Muslims to rethink the essential terms of their religion. In this work, H.A. Hellyer weighs the prospects of a European future in which unified societies accept pluralism and the Muslim community becomes a true part of Europe.

Excerpt

Islam is not separate from European history, with which it is
interwoven. On the contrary, it is an essential component of
the history of Europe. the question of Islam’s presence and
condition in Europe therefore seems to be an aspect of the
character of our institutions and of our system, and not just
a marginal chapter concerning the treatment of transitory
colonies of migrant foreigners.

The writer of the lines above makes several interesting assertions, most of which are contested, and all of which are discussed in some depth in this work Perhaps the most disputed among them is the concept of Islam being an essential component’ of European history, as evidence suggests that this does not match the current representation of Islam and Muslims in Europe. the typical image of the Muslim in Europe is of a non-European, however that is defined: in the United Kingdom, it is the ‘foreign Indian sub-continental; in Germany, it is the ‘alien’ Turk; and in France, it is the ‘exotic’ North African Arab – none of whom are, it is presumed, essentially European, or even capable of becoming so.

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