Islam in Europe: A Research Guide

By Wyatt, Neal | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

Islam in Europe: A Research Guide


Wyatt, Neal, Reference & User Services Quarterly


The firestorm of controversy over the recent vote in Switzerland to ban the building of minarets on mosques highlights the perilous and contentious state of Islamic community, culture, and religion in Europe. Finding reliable and current research and resources on the many threads that informs the debate surrounding the European Islamic community, Western perceptions, and the tensions between factions can be difficult. Jessica Adamick offers a comprehensive and up to date survey of resources that can aid reference and collection development librarians when working in this subject area. Adamick received her MLS from the School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University Bloomington, with a specialization in Digital Libraries in May 2009 and currently works as the Ethics Clearinghouse Librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is working on a National Science Foundation-funded project to build the Ethics in Science and Engineering National Clearinghouse Beta (ESENCe--www.ethicslibrary.org), a subject repository on the responsible conduct of research. Adamick developed her interest in the topic of Islam in Europe when she studied in Amsterdam as an undergraduate. She subsequently explored the topic at Earlham College, where she graduated with a BA in Women's Studies in 2007.--Editor

Over the last three decades, events involving the conflict between European Muslims and secular or Christian European states have been highly visible. Protests of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses dominated the media in 1989, following a denied appeal by the United Kingdom Action Committee on Islamic Affairs for the British government to ban the book's release. Also in 1989, the Affaire du Foulard ("the Headscarf Affair") began in Creil, France, when three Muslim girls wearing headscarves were sent home from school. A national controversy ensued that led to the passing of a law in 2004 that banned obvious signs of religious affiliation in French schools. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, debates that associated Islam with violence became widespread. The murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by Dutch Muslim Mohammed Bouyeri and the Al-Qaeda bombing of trains in Madrid only fueled the flames of the heightened rhetoric. In response to these events and their political aftermath, there has been an enormous increase in publications on the topic of Islam in Europe. This annotated guide includes relevant, informative, authoritative, and influential reference sources, databases, periodicals, books, and websites that focus on Islam in Europe during the last three decades. Readers should note that in addition to this guide, several comprehensive bibliographies have been published on the subject: Jochen Blaschke's Muslims in Europe: A Bibliography (Berlin: Edition Parabolis, 2002), Robert Goehlert's Muslims in Contemporary Europe: A Guide to Selected Resources in English (Bloomington: Center for the Study of Global Change, Indiana Univ, 2006), and Jurgen Jensen's Africans in Europe: A Bibliography, Interethnische Beziehungen und Kuhurwandel, Vol. 51 (Munster: Lit, 2002). None of these, however, are annotated. It should also be noted that the current political environment in much of Europe supports the conflation of Islam with Islamic fundamentalism and the conception of all Muslims in Europe as immigrants. Researchers should be aware that some of the materials available reflect this confusion, and they should find sources that account for the level of diversity among Muslims in Europe.

Several methods and tools were employed in the identification and selection of the items for this guide. Reference sources were located by browsing the shelves of Indiana University Bloomington libraries and using standard reference sources such as American Reference Books Annual, Booklist, Choice, College & Research Libraries, and Reference & User Services Quarterly. Books were identified using Choice, Public Library Catalog, WorldCat, and book reviews in scholarly journals, and were selected on the basis of their relevancy, their citation count according to Arts and Humanities Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index, the number of library holdings, favorable reviews, reputation of the publisher, and date published. …

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