The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims: The State's Role in Minority Integration

By Jonathan Laurence | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
A Leap in the Dark
MUSLIMS AND THE STATE IN
TWENTY-FIRST-CENTURY EUROPE

JUST OVER 1 PERCENT of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims reside in Western Europe, yet this immigrant-origin minority has had a disproportionate impact on religion and politics in its new and former homelands. The Muslim population ballooned in just fifty years from some tens of thousands to 16 or 17 million—approximately one out of every twenty-five Western Europeans—in 2010. During the formative decades of this settlement (1960–1990), Europeans permitted foreign governments and NGOs from the Islamic world to have a free hand in shaping Muslims’ religious and political life. But persistent integration difficulties and sporadic terrorism persuaded European governments that their laissez-faire approach had far-reaching unintended consequences on host societies’ way of life. Between 1990 and 2010, authorities across Europe belatedly acknowledged that the once-temporary labor migrants—and now, their children and grandchildren—are part of the permanent demographic and political landscape. Their earlier hesitation incurred costs, however, and their newfound sense of ownership is plagued by ambivalence. With projections showing continued demographic growth before leveling off at 25–30 million people (or 7–8%) in 2030, Western European governments have no choice but to look upon their Muslim minorities today as angels imprisoned in a block of marble: a community of new and future citizens whose contours are still being sculpted.1

As European Muslims have become more numerous and visible in public life in the past decade, national governments have expended time, effort, and resources on pursuing policies that would encourage the integration of these immigrant-origin populations. The consolidating instinct of the nation-state has been in full resurgence, as governments across Europe conspicuously pursue the preservation of national identity, social cohesion, and “guiding culture.” Measures have ranged from religious restrictions—such as banning burkas, minarets, or headscarves—to civic impositions, like mandatory language and integration courses and citizenship tests. In the realm of state-mosque relations,

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The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims: The State's Role in Minority Integration
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Tables xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • Chapter One - A Leap in the Dark 1
  • Chapter Two - European Outsourcing and Embassy Islam 30
  • Chapter Three - A Politicized Minority 70
  • Chapter Four - Citizens, Groups, and the State 105
  • Chapter Five - The Domestication of State-Mosque Relations 133
  • Chapter Six - Imperfect Institutionalization 163
  • Chapter Seven - The Partial Emancipation 198
  • Chapter Eight - Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation 245
  • Notes 273
  • Interviews 309
  • Bibliography 317
  • Index 355
  • Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics 367
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