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

By Jonathan Laurence | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
A Politicized Minority
“THE QUR’ÂN IS OUR CONSTITUTION

AT THE DAWN of the twenty-first century, public authorities in Europe had two options for Islamic interlocutors and mixed emotions about each one. On the one hand, they had in the representatives of Embassy Islam a set of reliable interlocutors whom they knew well and whom they could count on to respect the rule of law. But Embassy-Islam representatives’ dedication to immigrant integration was ambivalent. On the other hand, European countries also hosted a growing number of Islamist organizations who were committed to integrating into domestic institutions. But governments were not sure they could trust the democratic instincts of Political-Islam representatives because of Islamist groups’ roles in political-religious conflict in their Muslim-majority homelands and their ambiguous relationship with political violence.

Islamist organizational networks in Europe first emerged from the loose association of members-in-exile of the Muslim Brotherhood and the transnational proselytism of the Muslim World League. Since the 1940s, international Political-Islam groups had taken up the mantle of PanIslam as the new (or newly independent) nation-states of the majorityMuslim world were preoccupied with state consolidation at home. Many Islamists sought refuge in Europe after encountering repression beginning in the 1960s, leading to what French scholar Olivier Roy called the gradual “derealization” of Islamist activity. The fact that many of them turned out to be religious hardliners is the result of the specific historical circumstances of the postcolonial Middle East, South Asian Subcontinent, and North Africa. The consideration of Islamism here does not focus on violent extremists or small revolutionary groups and individuals, most of whom were banned or apprehended in Europe.1 This chapter concentrates on Political-Islam organizations located in the “gray area,” those that avoid illicit activities, incitement to violence, or association with terrorists.

Practically none of the first two generations of Islamist leadership in Western Europe arrived as labor migrants or as beneficiaries of family reunification. They emerged instead from a small cohort of religiously minded students in Europe to pursue advanced degrees in engineering,

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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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