Abstract and Keywords
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.
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