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

By Jonathan Laurence | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
The Domestication of State-Mosque Relations

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF Islam Councils by national interior ministries is the most striking policy response of recent years to the growth of Islam in Europe, and the only campaign to date to have mobilized a majority of Muslim leaders to rise above their divisions in common purpose. In the first institutional acknowledgment of Muslim minorities’ permanence, European governments between 1990 and 2010 have overseen a proliferation of state-led consultations, councils, conferences, and commissions established to represent the Muslim faith in state-mosque relations. Their institutional activism in Islamic affairs has been largely overlooked or hastily dismissed as ineffective because it conflicts with the portrayal of European governments as weak, unprepared for, and overrun by the diverse Muslim organizations that have sprung up on their territories. National governments follow the same two phases of state-mosque relations—outsourcing followed by incorporation—and this chapter demonstrates that these policy developments are due neither to “post-nationalism” nor to “shared values.” They take place instead through parallel processes in which each state seeks similar alliances within its Islamic community in order to assert its national sovereignty.

By the mid- to late 1980s, the children and grandchildren of labor migrants had grown up, and the largely civic-based integration strategy had not achieved the desired results in the second and third generations. The half-hearted strategies of inclusion that had stressed anti-racism or citizenship and electoral participation had, to a large extent, fallen flat: schools in the large urban centers that are home to populations of immigrant origin suffered from budgetary crises; military service was no longer obligatory; and voting rights had not led to much parliamentary representation. By the late 1980s, the convenient bargain of outsourcing was ultimately judged to be counterproductive in terms of the integration of Muslims. Islamic NGOs associated with the Political-Islam movements of transnational Muslim civil society in the diaspora were increasingly assertive and behaved similarly to the peak associations of Embassy Islam. They agglomerated sympathetic prayer rooms and cultural associations under common-law umbrella organizations that were ineligible for the status of state-church associations, and therefore beyond the oversight and control of the government. The shortcomings of

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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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