This article explores how American journalists cover religion in Europe, where issues of faith and church-state relations lead to differing interpretations of religio-ethnic news events, by analyzing U.S. newspaper coverage of the anti-Islamic Dutch MP Geert Wilders. A focus on Geert Wilders incorporates both the Netherlands and Britain into the analysis but also Europe more generally given that the case prompted a wider discussion of immigration and the place of Islam in European societies. After discussing the differing roles and perceptions of religion in the United States and Europe, the article considers the differing models of integration for immigrants on the two continents and demonstrates how this has played out in news coverage of Islam. An examination of the reporting of the Geert Wilders case shows how Islam in Europe is represented through a conflict frame that incorporates a discourse of immigration, cultural incompatibility, identity, liberalism, and freedom.
Jane I. Smith
Muslims who live in regions such as Europe and the United States that are outside the sphere of dominant Islamic culture face a steady array of choices. Underlying the lifestyle decisions of many American Muslims is what is often posed as a fundamental choice between being first an American or first a Muslim. Muslims who currently make their home in the United States represent a great number of movements and identities—immigrant and indigenous, Sunni and Shi'i, conservative and liberal, orthodox and heterodox. Over the last three decades, the number of Muslims in the United States has grown from fewer than half a million to an estimated six million. American Muslims can be clustered into three general groups, although this is not to suggest that they necessarily live or operate discretely: Muslims who are recent immigrants or children of immigrant families, including students; African Americans; and other Americans who have converted to Islam. This article describes Islamic communities, converts to Islam, mosques, and Islamic organizations in the United States.
Anglican relations with Islam and with Muslims are rooted in the long history of Christian contact with the world of Islam. There has been mutual recognition and cooperation during the millet system of the Ottoman times, but also hostility and conflict. Anglicans have sought to strengthen the ancient Oriental churches in Islamic lands through assistance of various kinds, without proselytizing. At their best, they have tried to serve their Muslim neighbours through education and medical work, whilst also seeking to understand Muslim cultural, literary, and spiritual traditions. In particular, Anglican witness has focused on translating and making available the Bible in Muslim languages. This chapter maps out the variety of approaches adopted and to outline what has been fruitful as well as to acknowledge the mistakes and to learn from them in order to work towards a common understanding of and commitment to fundamental freedoms, including that of belief in our world today.
Saad Ibrahim and Richard C. Martin
Islam is often identified as the religion of Arabs, and Arabs are commonly assumed to be Muslims. Today, the majority of Muslims live east of Karachi, Pakistan—far from Arab lands. For all that, the Arabs and the Arabic language have played an enormously important role in Islamic societies. At the same time, Islam has transformed Arab society, a fact that becomes apparent when one considers pre-Islamic and non-Muslim Arab religions. In modern times, non-Muslim Arab minorities, predominantly Christians, have shared a common language, culture, and political fortunes with Arab Muslims. Thus Islam evolved as a global religion following the Arab Muslim conquests of large parts of North Africa and West Asia in the seventh and eighth centuries. This enabled the Arabic language, as the medium of scripture, worship, theological, and juristic discourse to attain global importance well beyond the ethnic and geographic borders of Arab society. This article discusses the history and globalization of Arab Islamic societies.
Farid El Asri and Nadia Fadil
This chapter offers a comprehensive overview of the literature on Islam in Belgium since the early 1980s. It argues that this interdisciplinary field of study is largely typified by a concern with integration. This concern is expressed through two central themes that emerge as privileged tropes in the literature: the question of the social and economic integration of Muslims and that of their compliance with liberal and secular understandings of citizenship. While the first trope approaches Muslims as an underprivileged working class that needs to be included through education and labour, the second trope regards Muslims as a religious minority and examines the extent to which they comply with dominant forms of citizenship that are defined in liberal and secular terms. The authors show how these different tropes are unevenly distributed across the linguistic frontiers but they also nuance the omnipresence of this concern by referring to studies that disregard this exclusive focus on integration.
This chapter surveys the state of knowledge on six key topics of studies on Islam in Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Islamization process, the encounter of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) with modernity, the Bosnian Islamic tradition, Bosnian institutions, the religious revival, and ethnic cleansing and genocide. Research on Islamic history and heritage in Bosnia and Bosniak national identity development accounted for most of this scholarship prior to the 1990s. Since then genocide and security studies have been more prominent. The Islamic tradition of Bosnia is insufficiently studied but already features as an asset that other European Muslim communities may benefit from. Islamic revival has brought Bosnia into the focus of numerous security studies which have generally exaggerated the role of foreign factors. The ethnic cleansing and genocide that took place in the 1990s are attracting considerable attention but the full picture of their impact is far from complete.
This chapter presents an overview of the state of knowledge on Islam and Muslim communities in Bulgaria. Since 1989, an extensive body of literature has been produced, mainly in fields of history, anthropology, sociology, and political science. The vast majority of these studies deal with the native Bulgarian Muslim minorities. Immigration is a new phenomenon for the Bulgarian society and research of Muslim immigrants is still in its early stages. The chapter presents in detail the demographic and social-economic profiles of Muslim communities. It then discusses the place Islam occupies in public space in Bulgaria, the issues of religious education and religious practices, and Muslim participation in Bulgarian politics. In the final part, the chapter looks in detail into two interconnected phenomena, which have occupied the public debates in Bulgaria in recent years: the alleged radicalization of Bulgarian Muslims and Islamophobia.
Dru C. Gladney
There are almost twenty million Muslims in China, constituting a diverse community that is both multi-ethnic and, within Islam, multi-religious. There are ten official Muslim nationalities of China, namely, Uyghur, Kazak, Dongxiang, Kyrgyz, Salar, Tadjik, Uzbek, Bonan, and Tatar. With the exception of the Hui, all these Muslim nationalities do not speak Chinese as their native language and are derived more from Central Asian than Chinese origins. The Hui are spread across the length and breadth of the country, but they often share nothing in common with each other except Islam, or the memory of it as handed down to them by their ancestors. While it also might be argued that most of the other Muslim minorities are on the borders of China proper and are historically and culturally more attuned to the regions and peoples outside of China, the Hui are unique in that they inhabit every city, town, and 97 percent of all counties in China. This article examines Islamic communities in China, focusing on Islam among Muslims classified by the state as Hui.
European and Islamic cultures began to interact—volatilely—as early as the seventh century, mainly along the southern borders of the Byzantine Empire and in the Iberian Peninsula. Islam is often perceived as a complete system, self-contained and static, and, as such, a hurdle to modernity. Yet the very idea of a “European Islam” indicates that the role of Islam in determining cultural identity cannot be described in a continuous or unitary way. By focusing on four countries—Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, and Russia—this essay suggests that neither being Muslim nor European is a sufficient determinant to explain the complexity of this identity. European Muslims negotiate their beliefs and practices along several trajectories that cannot be separated from other players and collectivities. “European Islam” is thus seen as a textured interplay between the unifying ethos of Muslim umma and the modernizing trends and demands of contemporary European nation-states.
France is home to the largest Muslim population in Western Europe. Its unique Republican assimilationist citizenship model and laïque (French secular) separation of religion and politics significantly shape the lives of French Muslims. This chapter seeks to chart this context through: (1) the history and politics of immigration and of ‘counting’ Muslims; (2) how the nation’s separation of religion and politics renders hijabs problematic; (3) political participation trends; (4) the institutionalization of Islam; and lastly, (5) contemporary figures and studies on Islamic movements and Islamophobia. This overview is paired with a review of scholarly literature that chronicles a shift from a broad-based sociology of immigration with little attention to Islam in the 1960s‒1970s to a central focus on the tradition beginning with the ‘headscarf affair’ at the end of the 1980s.
By giving an overview of research about Muslims in Germany this chapter sheds light on the conjunctions of political paradigms and academic research that have contributed to establishing ‘Muslim’ as a category of classification within the last two decades. Concurrent with the changes to German citizenship law in 2000, the term ‘Muslim’ forcefully entered both public debates and research agendas. It replaced other categories like ‘guest worker’ or ‘foreigner’ and contributed to specific shifts in public exchanges that since have been described as an Islamization of debates and individuals. By presenting the leading research trends and biggest surveys on Islam and Muslims in Germany, this chapter also discusses how the integration paradigm that shaped state policy towards Islam influences research. It concludes that research today needs to refrain from simply perpetuating political paradigms and should instead reflect the effects of dominant conceptualization of Muslims as immigrants.
Nicolas Prevelakis, Panos Hatziprokopiou, and Venetia Evergeti
The presence of Islam in Greece presents two important specificities. The first relates to the historical identification between Greek national identity and Orthodox Christianity, which is reflected in the absence of a formal separation between church and state, and the association between Islam and Turkish national identity in various instances of Greece’s history. The second is that the country’s Muslim population consists of two broad groups. The first is Greece’s Muslim minority, a heritage of the Ottoman period as is the case in many neighbouring Balkan countries. The second is a result of recent migrations to Greece and bears similarities to Muslim communities in Western Europe. Research has focused on the history and demographics of these groups, their ethnic composition and legal status, religious practices and organizations, as well as issues of discrimination and the ongoing debates around the building of a Central Mosque in Athens.
The public visibility of headscarves has become emblematic of broader polemical debates about Islam in Europe. This chapter focuses on veiling in ten Western European countries to consider (1) the range and lack of uniformity across the European Union when it comes to how the public presence of hijabs is articulated and legislated, and (2) greater convergence related to public opinion and governmental prohibition of full-face hijabs (or niqabs). This overview is paired with a review of scholarly literature on hijabs and the prevalent nation state and cultural diversity frameworks often used to explain their differing acceptances and refusals.
Silvio Ferrari and Rossella Bottoni
This chapter focuses upon the process of institutionalization of Islam in Europe and is divided in two parts. The first part examines (a) the context framing this process from a legal, social, and political perspective, (b) the players who are involved, and (c) the dynamics taking place among the involved actors in the described context. The second part reviews the existing literature, in a two-fold perspective: firstly, taking into account the great variety of topics, methodological approaches, and research objectives, it deals with the different notions and uses of the interpretative category ‘institutionalization of Islam’; secondly, it discusses comparative studies on three selected case studies, namely religious slaughter, the building of mosques, and religious education.
Richard C. Foltz
For at least three millennia until modern times, the socioeconomic dynamics of Central Asia were shaped by relations between oasis settlers and pastoral nomads. The region's settled populations are today found in the Muslim majority states of the former Soviet Union and Afghanistan. Islam spread across Central Asia along the trade routes, beginning with the Arab conquests in the early eighth century. In Central Asia, Muslim elites had strong cultural and economic ties with India, Iran, and Asia Minor which were all often ruled by Turkic groups of Central Asian origin. The diminished influence of Iran allowed for an accelerating Turkicization of Central Asia from the sixteenth century onward. The overwhelming majority of Central Asian Muslims are Sunnis who historically followed the Hanafi school of law. The Kazakhs and Kyrgyz retain many traditional pre-Islamic beliefs and practices and are often considered by other groups to be “superficial Muslims.” There are small numbers of Sevener, or Isma'ili Shi'ites, in the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan, and the Hazaras of central Afghanistan are Twelver Shi'ites.
In sheer numbers, South Asia is the global center of Islam. It is the host to over 350 million Muslims: 128 million in India, 124 million in Pakistan, and 103 million in Bangladesh. Muslims have been present in South Asia for almost as long as they have been present in the Arabian peninsula. The first mosque in South Asia was built in Kerala not long after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 642. Three factors led to the growth of Muslim communities in South Asia: commerce, conquest, and conversion. This article focuses on Islamic communities in South Asia and their history. It discusses early contacts and coastal communities of Muslims, Isma'ili syncretism and maritime trade, the resurgence of the Sunnis and empire building, Sufi orders and religious fluorescence, Shi'i communities, Islamic cosmopolitanism and conversion in Mughal times, colonial expansion and Muslim reaction, independence, communalism, partition, religious communalism and radicalism, and transnational movements in the age of globalization.
Southeast Asia is home to a large variety of Islamic societies and cultures, including those in the world's largest Muslim country, Indonesia. A basic distinction can be drawn between the cultures of the Southeast Asian islands and the mainland. Malay-speaking Muslims numerically and culturally dominate much of insular Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, and the southern Philippines. Quite different cultural traditions are found in the diverse Muslim minority communities of mainland Southeast Asia in Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia. Islam is virtually absent in Vietnam and Laos. In Indonesia, almost 90 percent of its population of more than 200 million profess some form of Islam. During the period of British rule, large numbers of South Asian Muslims migrated to Rangoon, Mandalay, and other Burmese urban centers. This article discusses Islamic societies in Southeast Asia, focusing on the Malay world. It examines Islam and politics in the Malay world, Muslim minorities in Southeast Asia, and Islam and ethnicity in Southeast Asia.
Looking at the history and present state of atheism in the Islamic world, this article focuses primarily on Iran and the eastern parts of the Arab world, connecting the present motivations and experience of atheism in these regions with a historical perspective on religious dissent and radical modernism.