The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims traces how governments across Western Europe have responded to the growing presence of Muslim immigrants in their countries over the past fifty years. Drawing on hundreds of in-depth interviews with government officials and religious leaders in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Morocco, and Turkey, Jonathan Laurence challenges the widespread notion that Europe’s Muslim minorities represent a threat to liberal democracy. He documents how European governments in the 1970s and 1980s excluded Islam from domestic institutions, instead inviting foreign powers like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Turkey to oversee the practice of Islam among immigrants in European host societies. But since the 1990s, amid rising integration problems and fears about terrorism, governments have aggressively stepped up efforts to reach out to their Muslim communities and incorporate them into the institutional, political, and cultural fabrics of European democracy.
The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims places these efforts--particularly the government-led creation of Islamic councils--within a broader theoretical context and gleans insights from government interactions with groups such as trade unions and Jewish communities at previous critical junctures in European state-building. By examining how state-mosque relations in Europe are linked to the ongoing struggle for religious and political authority in the Muslim-majority world, Laurence sheds light on the geopolitical implications of a religious minority’s transition from outsiders to citizens. This book offers a much-needed reassessment that foresees the continuing integration of Muslims into European civil society and politics in the coming decades.
Jonathan Laurence is associate professor of political science at Boston College.
"The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims . . . looks at the largely unnoticed ways in which European governments have begun to integrate Muslims and Muslim organisations into public life. . . . Relying on extensive research and a wide range of interviews, Mr. Laurence has written an original and thought-provoking study."--Economist
"[Laurence's] book is perhaps the subtlest and most solidly researched analysis of European policies toward Islam. . . . Laurence establishes firm ground for hope."--Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs
"Laurence examines the transformation of the relations between Western European states and their Muslim populations. This ethnographically rich, well-documented book successfully reveals that European states (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK) have more similarities than differences in terms of their interactions with Muslims. . . . [The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims] is very informative; it includes several figures and tables about Muslim demography, organizations, and representation in Western Europe. By emphasizing the complexity of state-Islam relations in Europe, it goes beyond simplistic dichotomies and clichés, and provides a much-needed, broad perspective on this important subject."--Choice
"Laurence's book is filled with thoughtful reflections and deep insights about one of the most fundamental political issues of our time and presents the result of a meticulous study of a long and complex political process, masterfully documented and made vivid with the help of a substantial body of evidence collected from a number of countries across Europe."--Reza Azarian, European Societies
"Laurence's study is rigorously researched and a noteworthy contribution to the field."--Sanam Vakil, International-Spectator
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations ix
List of Tables xi
List of Abbreviations xiii
Chapter One: A Leap in the Dark: Muslims and the State in Twenty-fi rst-Century Europe 1
Chapter Two: European Outsourcing and Embassy Islam: L’islam, c’est moi 30
Chapter Three: A Politicized Minority: The Qur’ân is our Constitution 70
Chapter Four: Citizens, Groups, and the State 105
Chapter Five: The Domestication of State-Mosque Relations 133
Chapter Six: Imperfect Institutionalization: Islam Councils in Europe 163
Chapter Seven: The Partial Emancipation: Muslim Responses to the State--Islam Consultations 198
Chapter Eight: Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation 245