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The Emancipation of Europe's MuslimsThe State's Role in Minority Integration$

Jonathan Laurence

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144214

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144214.001.0001

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Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

(p.245) Chapter Eight Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation
The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims

Jonathan Laurence

Princeton University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the future prospects for Muslims' political and social integration. A number of the social, cultural, and political adjustments that will characterize Europe in coming generations are already under way, although often the results are not visible to the naked eye. This chapter examines the pre-electoral political behavior and earliest known voting preferences and demographic future of the postcolonial—and post-guestworker—Muslim minorities of Europe. It argues that the most serious threats to successful emancipation—violent extremism among Muslims and right-wing nativism among “host societies”—may ultimately be weakened by a confluence of demographic trends and old-fashioned integration processes.

Keywords:   Muslim integration, European Islam, political integration, social integration, pre-electoral political behavior, Muslim minorities, emancipation, demographic trends, institutional integration

THIS BOOK HAS PROVIDED a comparative study in the management of religious—and especially Islamic—conflict by exploring the policies that European governments have adopted in response to the presence of growing numbers of Muslims in their territories. The resulting portrait in the preceding chapters offers a model for understanding the development of state-mosque relations in Belgium France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK, and develops a typology of Islam’s institutionalization, politicization, and exportation in Algeria, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The evidence supports a cautiously optimistic view regarding the successful incorporation of Muslim minorities, but also shows how the presence of Islamic communities is affecting the long-standing relationship between state and society in Europe. The ways in which these relationships are negotiated reveals both the multifaceted goals of governments and the dilemmas they confront when they seek to integrate new groups into policymaking. European states are engaged in a complicated minuet both with the foreign “homeland” governments, on whom they once depended for help with these matters, and with domestic Islamic communities, whose fragmentation and intransigent demands initially stood in the way of simple solutions. Tracing the process whereby successive governments in Western European nations stumbled toward institutional solutions to these challenges illuminates the complexity of the issues. This book has sought to untangle this narrative and convey the signifişcance of state-mosque relations in Europe for Muslims’ emancipation.

In the years 1990–2010, European governments began in earnest to confront the responsibility of integrating the sixteen million Muslims who now call the continent home. State-mosque relations are of vital importance because these institutional links with religious communities prepare the ground for long-term political integration. Transnational religious networks left unattended, as they were in the first period of “outsourcing,” have the potential to threaten the state and its maintenance of social order. By taking the initiative to incorporate and nationalize Islam in their respective institutional orders, European states have attempted to influence what kind of Islam the next generation of (p.246) Muslims will encounter —whether they search out religion for spiritual reasons, as a reaction against European societies, or to satisfy curiosity about their heritage, or to carry on family traditions. Governments considered the unintended consequences of their previous laissez-faire strategies in state-mosque relations and took stock of unanticipated developments among the immigrant populations. Of course, these populations did not “go home” and the networks of embassies and NGOs whose religious activities and proselytism European governments had uncritically tolerated for fifteen years turned out to be more tenacious than expected. But the strategy in the first period of keeping Islam out of the public sphere, and of using international diplomacy to manage the religion of immigrants, was clearly a hindrance to Muslims’ overall integration. The national governments assumed an active posture in state-religion affairs after Islam emerged as a major factor of individual and group identity among the descendants of labor migrants.

After two decades of intense debate over headscarves, Islamic radicalism, and terrorism, a preliminary equilibrium of state-mosque relations has been reached. Much basic religious equality has been achieved and the contours of the outer limits of religious toleration have been drawn, even if they are occasionally contested. By several measures, integration has increased. European Muslims participate in intermarriage, experience social mobility and increasing access to higher education, share the public opinion views of the overall population, and “combine” their religious and national identities without great difficulty.1 Tensions over issues like mosque construction and Muslim cemeteries have been eased through the improved channels of communication between governments and Muslim communities. To be certain, discrimination in host societies persists, as does social anomie and religious fundamentalism among some Muslims. But many of the basic socioeconomic inequalities endured by Muslim-origin young people reflect the familiar dynamic of relative newcomers in host societies, and do not appear to be religion-specific.

Organized Islam in Europe is still largely a foreign-run enterprise. There are increasing numbers of naturalized citizens among their deputies, but first-generation religious leaders and de facto or actual foreign diplomats predominate. The baton of organizational leadership has not yet been passed to the native-born generations. This is a central factor behind Muslims’ partial emancipation, and it is one that reinforces European publics’ views of Islam as a foreign religion and undercuts the progress made in other domains by effectively ascribing any and all unresolved religious-cultural issues to Muslims as a group. The process of state-mosque relations and domestication of Islamic organizations assuages doubts of Muslims’ loyalty and motivations.

(p.247) A de facto clergy from the homeland countries has stood by in Europe to elaborate the principles of religious adaptation, but new Europe-based religious authorities have joined them. The new institutions have given breathing room for the evolution of modernizing strands that seek to establish a legitimate Islamic practice within novel theories of a minority jurisprudence (fiqh al’aqillayat); European fatwas have begun to modify Western Muslims’ notions of religious obligation and their practical implications. Their adaptation of Islamic laws to local circumstances navigates a new social and political landscape and has granted Islamic approval to otherwise uncustomary practices, from adjusting prayer times to industrial work schedules, to giving to charity instead of actually slaughtering animals, to taking mortgages, down to the necessity of wearing a headscarf at all times outside of the home.

Pragmatic adaptation need not mean theological reform, of course, but each dispensation chips away at the universal practices of an Islamic ummah. Despite frequent disclaimers that European fatwas are intended to apply to Muslim minorities only, these changes have fundamentally altered the relationship of Muslim diaspora groups with their respective holy authorities who each offered an encompassing worldview—from the Moroccan commander of the faithful, to the Turkish directorate for religious affairs, to Saudi religious authorities. Each act of acclimatization in Europe contributes to the weakening of ties between the centers of religious authority and their peripheries. Muslim religious leaders have also demonstrated that they are more than happy to engage in give and take of negotiations with local governments, in order to improve conditions for religious freedom. Together, these forces can disarm nativist reactions in Europe by illustrating the real tendencies of adaptation and domestication that are under way, such as locally trained imams, native-born leadership, and locally funded mosques. The resolution of practical local problems associated with the sudden appearance of Muslim communities helps reduce the very tensions created by Islam’s inadequate religious infrastructure, such as prayer-goers lying prone on sidewalks or blocking traffic because of shortages of prayer spaces (or parking near mosques), slaughtering lambs in the bathtub because of a lack of public slaughterhouses, proselytism in prisons because of insufficient trained Islamic chaplains, etc. Even the creation of Islamic cemeteries is a clear sign that community leaders believe Muslims’ “real” home is not elsewhere.

An opinion piece published in the German daily Die Welt in 2004 denounced a “particularly grotesque form of appeasement” by the government, undertaken in the midst of “escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere.”2 What was the naïve and “cowardly” mistake that the author compared to Neville Chamberlain’s (p.248) vain attempts to ward off Nazi aggression? “A substantial fraction of our Government actually believes that creating an official state ‘Muslim holiday’ will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists,” Mathias Döpfner wrote in reference to a proposal to place Eid al-Adha on the official German calendar. He is not alone in his negative assessment of granting Islam institutional recognition; others have expressed concern that the state-Islam consultation process risks aggravating the politicization of the Muslim identity. This critique has been leveled by those who think that Islam Councils—and the institutionalization of the religion they entail—are a misguided attempt to create an official “Muslim church.”3 The Washington-based think tank RAND issued a report in which it cited the risks of the French strategy: “Upgrading such organizations into the official institutions of the minority is negative because it undermines the prospects of integration […] if state efforts to create a national Muslim church go awry, and instead of the moderate church the state has in mind, it gets fundamentalist leadership. This second risk is not unlikely.”4 Christopher Caldwell belittles the establishment of state-mosque relations as “the elevation [of] Muslim pressure groups to pseudo-governmental status and declaring that doing so will produce an Islam that reflects the values of Europe rather than vice versa.”5 The French right-wing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen issued a similar denunciation of the “legitimating of radical Islam through the installation of the CFCM”;6 the Front National’s newspaper included headlines to the effect that “Sarkozy is preparing the Islamic Republic of France [by] imposing a French Islam.”7

The evidence gathered in this book weighs heavily against the notion that the official recognition of Islam is the equivalent of appeasement or that accommodation amounts to conceding ground to religious radicals. Rather, the second phase of accommodation and institutionalization forms a contract between community leaders and the state which entails mutual recognition. I have argued that state-Islam consultations during the second stage of “incorporation” are an affirmation of European governments’ political traditions of integration—and not evidence that they have lost track of the same.

This book’s account of European governments’ policies toward the Muslim religion since 1989 suggests that policymakers believe the recognition of Muslim religious requirements and Muslim representatives will reduce tensions between community and the state. But these improved relations are not achieved at the cost of unilateral concessions. If better state-mosque relations will not “spare [Western governments] from the wrath of fanatical Islamists,” then they will at least provide an open channel for dialogue with a broad set of religious community leaders during times of conflict or crisis. It neutralizes accusations of (p.249) unequal treatment that are used as proof of Western society’s refusal of Muslims. Indeed, it could be argued that ignoring Muslims’ holidays would be more welcomed by the “fanatics” Döpfner has in mind, who rely on an antagonistic relationship between Islam and the West in order to stimulate recruitment to their cause.

By welcoming formal religious community structures, governments encourage the development of Islam “in the light of day”: whether training imams locally rather than importing them from the homeland, overseeing the flow of money around the halal meat industry, or the business of mosque construction.8 The success of this approach is predicated on an assumption that if governments can manage to achieve consensus among Muslim representatives for settling practical questions of state-religion affairs—regulating prison chaplains, or appointing religion teachers, for example— then they will succeed in “domesticating” Islam. Of course, the prayer spaces and federations from which the Muslim leadership is drawn will never be fully representative of most observant Muslims, let alone most people of Muslim background. But the key question of granting official recognition has several merits in favor of de-problematizing Islam as an object of public policy and political debate. By integrating Islam into national institutions, authorities encourage the “westernization” of religious practice.9

The first phase of “outsourcing” effectively placed state-mosque relations out of the reach of European interior ministries. The state-Islam consultations of the second phase, however, have initiated the ambitious process of reining in Embassy Islam in addition to inviting Political-Islam activists to “play the game” of national politics. European governments are not just trying to initiate a dialogue with Muslim representatives—let alone to simply appease their demands. Rather, they are trying to reconfigure the Muslim religious organizational field with explicit reference to the centrality of the national state. The offer of official recognition of Islam is conditional upon participating organizations’ recognition of the state (and its constitutional framework) in return.

Neo-Corporatism and State-Mosque Relations

European governments have gone about this “domestication” process through a tripartite arrangement (State–Political Islam–Embassy Islam) characteristic of neo-corporatist style negotiations that aim to instill unity, cohesion, and moderation in state-society relations. But this is not “your grandfather’s corporatism,” as Suzanne Berger wrote of economic neo-corporatism; visions of Azpiazu’s Supreme Corporation (p.250) Council or Mussolini’s Ministry of Corporations are misplaced.10 Muslim councils are not general governing bodies, but religious intermediaries with clearly delimited jurisdiction: government policies and administrative practice relating to religion require an interlocutor for those aspects of church-state law that touch upon public order: chaplains in prisons, armies, and hospitals; burial rites; construction of prayer space; animal slaughter, etc.

Offering Muslims some form of representation within state institutions furthers the government’s broader agenda of immigrant integration. From the vantage point of a secular state, state-Islam consultations are undertaken in the interest of avoiding a development it would consider to be far less appealing. Tariq Modood, a scholar of Muslim communities in Britain, has argued that there is no reason to be a democratic purist when it comes to organizing Islam in Western democracies: “There are certainly advantages to allowing organized religion corporatist influence rather than encouraging it, or obliging it, to become an electoral player.”11 He continues, “reformed establishment [is] a form of corporatist representation and therefore open to the charge of being undemocratic [in that] special consultative committees are [a] constraint on an electoral process. But [there] is no reason to be a purist: we are after all talking about bodies with very little power.”12

Modood’s evocation of avoiding the “electoralization” of issues recalls the experience of twentieth-century Christian Democratic parties. Christian Democracy has been portrayed by one of its most prominent scholars as an unintended consequence of too-strict separation. The danger of repressive actions by the state is that it may awaken constituents around a theme and inspire political backlash. Defeated in one policy arena—e.g., national education—by officeholders, Catholics decided to simply become the officeholders. Christian Democratic parties, in this view, were a “by-product of the strategic steps taken by the Catholic Church in response to Liberal anticlerical attacks.”13 Kalyvas cites Heinrich Rommen, who observed that the growth of political Catholicism was necessary wherever the political groups that controlled the ‘neutral’ state showed an outspoken enmity against the church.14 Carolyn Warner, another scholar of Christian Democracy, has found that “when religious organizations perceive that their goals require access to political resources of some sort, [their] leadership will search for the closest policy match with a political party [… .] If no suitable party can be found, the religion may try to create its own party.15 The alternative to institutionalizing Islam, by comparison, would be that Muslim leaders might set a goal of Islamizing of state institutions. When it comes to Islam, European governments do not make the same mistake twice, in a sense; if removing the church from the public policy process led to (p.251) thriving Christian Democratic parties, then today’s “stick” of domestication is accompanied by the “carrot” of institutionalized access in the form of Islam Councils.

Twenty-First-Century Islam

The advent of the twenty-first century was heralded with dark predictions from Ivy League historians, investigative journalists, and internet populists that, in Europe, the new century would be Islamic.16 Some argued simply that demography is destiny—that the combination of Muslims’ runaway birthrates and European natives’ “suicidal” fertility rates would lead to a Western set of Islamic republics by mid-century. Moreover, politically correct governments had done little to combat “the dangerous Islamic extremism and culture of death being preached from the mosques of Europe’s major cities.”17 In 2009, the futuristic novel La Mosquée Notre-Dame predicted the transformation of Paris’s grandest cathedral into a mosque within four decades, and an Italian newspaper crowned Rotterdam the future capital of Eurabia.18

Some of that science fiction is based on fact. European women’s fertility rates fell in the post–World War II period, and European labor migration and family reunification policies in the late twentieth century led to the exponential growth of a new Muslim minority. But this book has tried to show that the European landscape will be etched in less stark relief than the apocalyptic scenarios suggest. For the near future, Islam will continue to be the fastest-growing religion in many parts of Europe—although evangelical Protestants will likely give Muslims a run for their money in some areas. But today there is just one prayer space for every 1,000 to 2,000 or so Muslims, and the rapid increase in mosque construction will do nothing more than adjust that ratio to match more closely the proportion of Jews and Catholics to existing synagogues and churches.19 Moreover, in retrospect, it will become clear that many of the manifestations of Muslim radicalism and cultural dislocation are not permanent features of society but the result of a combination of persistent first-generation immigrant issues and the lagging adaptation of European political institutions to second- and third-generation issues.

It does not occur to many critics that Muslims are not always deliberately trying to offend their hosts’ sensibilities: that men pray outdoors due to the shortage of mosques; that some slaughter lambs in bathtubs because there are not enough halal abbatoirs; that imams are imported because Islamic theological seminaries have not yet taken root in Europe; that some Muslims took their grievances to the streets because (p.252) most did not yet have the right to vote or access appropriate administrative channels. The critics instead seize on the periodic actions of unreformed Islamists to support a catch-22 logic that only delays integration of the Muslim community. The institutional accommodation of Muslims and Islam on an equal basis with other religions, they suggest, would hand a victory to the extremists. Despite their outward endorsement of the diffusion of democracy in the Muslim world, skeptics of Muslims’ integration in Europe fail to consider the ways in which internal democratization might strengthen religious moderates in Europe itself.

A number of the social, cultural, and political adjustments that will characterize Europe in coming generations are already under way, although often the results are not visible to the naked eye. The most serious threats—violent extremism among Muslims and right-wing nativism among “host societies”—will ultimately be weakened by a confluence of old-fashioned integration processes in society and demographic trends. The key development will be that as the proportion of Muslims of foreign nationality residing in Europe decreases (because the number of native-born Muslims will increase), Europe’s democratic political institutions increasingly will kick in. The normalization of Muslims’ participation in political life will give a small voice in government to Muslim advocates of all partisan stripes. And the routinization of Islamic religious observance will diminish the significance of religious inequality as a mobilizing issue in Muslim identity politics. National Islam Councils will slowly domesticate the religious leadership, rooting it in a European context, and Muslim politicians will gradually be brought into institutional life. Whenever terrorist threats materialize, a plethora of men and women of the European Muslim establishment will stand clearly on the side of democratic societies.

As Muslim-origin citizens begin voting and joining civil society groups in larger numbers, their everyday acts of political participation will provide concrete evidence of an Islamic and Western democratic synthesis. This may not completely erode the political niches occupied by nativist politicians or their Islamist counterparts. But exclusionary or self-segregating rhetoric will come to seem more hollow and irrelevant. A longer record of successful coexistence—and a growing pool of Muslim-European role models—will strengthen a competing narrative. The practical resolution of numerous impasses of previous generations—mosque debates, insufficient imams, animal—will free up other topics for discussion, setting a new tone in media and political debate. Some substantive tensions will remain, but there is reason to believe local political culture and institutions will continue to temper views “imported” from the Middle East.

(p.253) In the course of the next several decades, a small number of European cities will be on the verge of becoming “Muslim majority”—Amsterdam, Bradford, Malmø, Marseille—and as many as one of every four residents in London, Brussels, Paris, and Berlin will have a Muslim background. But as the demographer David Coleman wrote perceptively in 2006:

The significance would obviously depend on the continued distinctiveness and self-identification of the populations concerned, and on the integration of minorities to native norms, or conversely the mutual adaptation and convergence of all groups. But even on the assumptions presented above, the countries concerned would not become “majority foreign origin”… until the twenty-second century.20

As with the advent of “majority-minority” cities in the late-twentiethcentury United States, the new demographic configuration in Europe will not have overtly separatist overtones: by 2008, the percentage of the non-Hispanic white population fell below 60 percent in six U.S. states (including New York), and below 50 percent in four others (including California) without major political disruptions.

Nonetheless, a small number of hardcore anti-integrationist communitarians will persist, and their obstinacy and maximalist demands will likely provide consistent fodder for political leaders with a clashoriented worldview. The Muslim minority will gamely participate in public and political life, although it will still be underrepresented in national electoral institutions. Yet despite—or because of—the increasing equality of Islam’s status as a religion and Muslims’ political representation, European countries will witness the rise of nativist challenges. In each country, millions of voters will be receptive to conservative appeals to turn back the clock on Muslim integration into European society. That in turn will lead to low-grade confrontation but not to large-scale social conflict.

Demography is Destiny

A good deal of European anxiety has been kindled in recent years by provocateurs in the Islamic world who have claimed that “We will conquer Europe … not through the sword but through Da’wa (proselytism)”;21 or that “the wombs of Muslim women will ultimately grant us victory in Europe”;22 or, more recently, that “You [Muslims] are a minority in Europe. Allah willing, you will become a majority one day, and you will gain the upper hand … You will be the imams and the heirs of (p.254)

Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

Figure 8.1. EU Estimated and Projected Muslim Population, 1985–2025.

Source: compiled from National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2025, Washington, DC: DNI, 2008 and National Intelligence Council, Mapping the Global Future 2020, Washington, DC: DNI, 2005.

the European continent.”23 Yet the European future will come to mark a demographic turning point in a different direction.

The overall EU-25 population will grow slightly until 2025, due to immigration, before starting to drop: from 458 million in 2005 to 469.5 million in 2025 and then to 468.7 million in 2030.24 The population of Muslim background in the EU-25, meanwhile, will increase from around 16 million in 2008 to 27 million in 2030, increasing the percentage of Muslims in European countries to more 7–8 percent (from 3.7 percent in 2008)—and to as high as 15–16 percent in France and Germany (see figure 8.1).25 In 2030 Britain, all minorities (including non-Muslims) will make up 27 percent of the total population and 36 percent of those less than fourteen years of age.26

Women of Muslim background in Europe will still have higher fertility rates than the overall population, but the gap will narrow considerably. In fact, in 2008, signs already appeared that demographic change, while irreversible, would occur less abruptly than feared. The proportion of Muslims will continue to grow, but more slowly as their annual population growth rates decrease.27 In 2008, women of North African, West African, or Turkish background in Europe still had higher rates than “native” women—2.3 to 3.3 births per woman—but the fertility rates of foreign-born women were already well below rates of women in their countries of origin. For example, the fertility rate of Moroccan-born women in the Netherlands dropped from 4.9 births in

(p.255) 1990 to 2.9 in 2005; that of Turkish-born women fell from 3.2 to 1.9 births in the same period.28 In Germany in 1990, Muslim women gave birth to two more children, on average, than their native German counterparts; in 1996, the difference was down to 1; and in 2008, it dropped to 0.5. Meanwhile, overall fertility in some western European societies has risen: it rose in the United Kingdom from 1.6 births in 2001 to 1.9 in 2007, and in France, from 1.7 in 1993 to the magic replacement number of 2.1 in 2007. There will continue to be lively debate over the influence of family policies on such figures and over whether Muslim women are simply “artificially” propping up Swedish or French fertility rates (both of which increased between 2001 and 2009).29 Muslim women’s total fertility rates are predicted to settle between 1.75 and 2.25 by 2030.30

EU Enlargement and Demography

Because of the European pensioner bulge—the tens of millions of oversixty-year-olds who were not there a generation earlier—Europe will remain dependent on immigration to help finance what remains of its welfare state and publicly funded retirement plans. Muslim immigration will therefore continue in various guises—high-skilled workers from India, family reunification from Turkey and North Africa, and assorted refugees from those areas—but all new arrivals will be subject to a new regime of stringent and controversial screening that aims to ensure their smooth cultural integration and their economic success: required courses in the official language of their destination country and mandatory curriculum on social mores and European history, from the Enlightenment through the latest EU treaty.

In the next generation, the latest countries likely to have acceded to the EU—Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia—will increase the EU’s base population but will not alter its basic trajectory toward demographic shrinkage. The annual level of net immigration would have to increase two- to threefold to reverse the downward trend in the working-age population.31 The European Union, therefore, would accomplish several goals by admitting Turkey. (The French president and leaders of several other national governments could agree to forego a referendum if the Turks accept a smaller contingent in the European parliament and access to a single rotating commissioner.)

EU enlargement to include Turkey could be used as partial compensation for the continent’s gradually shrinking population, allowing it to maintain its share of 6–7 percent of the world’s population and thus ensuring that it preserves its weight as a “global player.”32 It would also allow chronic labor shortages to continue to be filled by citizens of a country committed to fulfilling the EU acquis communautaire. Therefore, (p.256) even as governments increasingly lean away from Muslim-majority countries for immigration, Turkey eventually could provide EU states with their own “internal” source of migration. Moreover, Turkish membership could become a point of pride and a symbol of inclusiveness to the approximately 4 million residents of Turkish descent living throughout the EU, massaging a sore spot that has developed during divisive accession talks and plans to hold national referendums on the matter. In its EU accession talks, the Turkish government might agree informally to coordinate its reformed Turkish Directorate for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) with the activities of a cultures and religions bureaucracy within the European Commission.

Adding Turkey, of course, would also dramatically change the overall Muslim population in the European Union. With a population increase of 25 percent between 2008 and 2030, Turkey will expand to 85–90 million, which would make it the largest single member state—moreover, one with a higher fertility rate and lower age structure than the EU.33 The share of Muslims in the EU as a whole—including Turkey—would be closer to 20 percent, but studies have projected that net immigration from Turkey to the rest of Europe will not exceed three million by 2030.34

Electoral Politics

There have been several obstacles to the integration of Muslims into political parties. Half of Europe’s roughly sixteen million Muslims are still foreign nationals, and only half of those who are citizens of European states are of majority age and thus able to vote. In fact, political parties across Europe have been actively seeking the support of minority voters—during the 2007 French presidential campaign, all major candidates made stops in the banlieues. But very few individuals of Muslim background have gained access to elite leadership positions in political parties or eligible positions on party ballots. This situation is in part the legacy of earlier obstacles to naturalization that have led a high percentage of adult Muslims to retain their original nationality; as resident aliens they are disenfranchised. But it is also the simple reflection of a youthful population. If one excludes minors from the European Muslim population, a relatively small number of majority-age citizens (approximately one-third) remains. The number of elected and appointed political representatives and members of government hailing from these milieus is not trivial, but it is quite modest. Roughly one generation after the permanent settlement of immigrant laborers, the children of migrant workers of Muslim background have reached elected office at all levels of government. In the past decade, elections where candidates of Muslim origin were present produced, roughly: (p.257)

Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

Figure 8.2. Local and Regional Elected Officials of Muslim Background (1989–2007).

Source: author’s compilation.

three hundred local councilors in the UK; ten to fifteen national legislators apiece in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, the UK; and a handful of cabinet members in France, the Netherlands, and the UK (see figures 8.2 and 8.3). Islam Councils offer Muslim religious leaders some other form of interest representation within state institutions; for now, they are practically the only game in town.

How might Europe escape the political alienation of Muslims predicted by many outside observers? The central difference between the Muslim populations of 2009 and 2030 will be that most adult Muslims in Europe will be citizens, not third-country nationals. That means that they will no longer simply be the object of policy debates but will increasingly

Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

Figure 8.3. National Elected Officials and Cabinet Members of Muslim Background (1989–2007).

Source: author’s compilation.

(p.258) participate in them as full members of society. The vast majority of European Muslims will be enfranchised, they will speak the local language with native proficiency, and their practice of Islam will be set on a course of Europeanization. European political debates about Muslims in 2030 will center mostly on the socioeconomic concerns of an emancipated and enfranchised minority group.

The most striking political development will be the emergence of a small Muslim electorate. Although today’s opinion polls show Muslim respondents firmly within the socialist or labor camps in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Muslims’ political views will evolve to include all stripes, including those who are socially conservative, economically liberal, and dovish on foreign policy. Germany will witness perhaps the most dramatic change, although it is worth noting the relative success of Turkish-origin Germans in the Bundestag: they account for at most 1 percent of German citizens, and held five seats (0.8 percent) between 2005 and 2013.35 In the 2005 elections, fewer than one in five Muslims enjoyed the right to vote, but the 1999 citizenship law reform—which grants citizenship rights to children born to foreigners as long as one parent is a legal resident—has begun adding 50,000 to 100,000 newborn German citizens of Muslim background a year. The first full generation of native-born German Muslims will begin voting in 2017. Similar trends are under way in France, where 1.5–2 million voters of Muslim background voted in the 2007 national election. By 2030, the number will double to 3–4 million, accounting for just under one of every ten French voters.

The major novelty reflecting the electoral and demographic changes of coming decades will be the rise of a handful of openly religious Muslim politicians on nearly every national political scene. The number of single-issue Muslim voters in each constituency will not be able to support a viable “Muslim party,” but political parties may begin to open their ranks in earnest to the growing minority after realizing it to be in their own self-interest. For this to take place, mechanisms for political recruitment from within the electorate of Muslim background would need to be expanded and nurtured, and spots at the top of candidate lists be set aside, in practice, for candidates with Muslim surnames. Socially conservative Muslims, who tend to be economically better off and supportive of the political establishment in their grandparents’ home countries, will join center-right political parties.

The overtures of mainstream parties will be facilitated also by a pioneering generation of Muslim politicians who speak candidly of reconciling their faith and national citizenship and whose discourses are tailored to the national context in which they operate. In Germany and Italy, they could appeal to the tradition of politician-priests in the period between the First and Second World Wars and the advent of Christian (p.259) Democracy in the wake of the church’s expulsion from an official role in public policy. In France and Britain, Muslims politicians could evoke the precedent set by Jewish statesmen, nineteenth-century figures like French interior minister (and Alliance Israëlite Universelle president) Adolphe Crémieux, or British MP Lionel Rothschild. The victory of President Barack Hussein Obama in U.S. elections will also be cited widely, though it means different things to different people: the limitless possibilities of integration for some, the dulling constraints of western political systems for others.

Nonetheless, Muslims’ transition to full political participation will continue to be a delicate affair, as Muslims seeking public office will still face an uphill battle. This partly reflects structural obstacles to all newcomers and political outsiders, but in many political contexts, it could also indicate a problem with Islam itself: will the best Muslim be an ex-Muslim? The most prominent Muslim in Italian politics—Magdi Allam—has written fierce anti-Islamist tracts and was personally baptized by Pope Benedict; the most prominent Muslim in Dutch politics—Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of Infidel— rejected her religious upbringing (and eventually her adoptive nationality as well) and warned of the threat Islam posed to Western societal norms. Still, the fall of 2008 may be seen as a turning point in the political integration of European Muslims—when Ahmed Aboutaleb was elected mayor of Rotterdam and Cem Özdemir became chairman of the German Green Party.

The initiatives to enlarge political coalitions—and voter rolls—will eventually encompass several major factions within Muslim populations. The majority of Muslim voters will align themselves with Socialist and ecological parties, but two other groups could form important minorities. An alliance between remnants of the leftist “antiglobalization” movement and Political-Islam leaders will mature, leading to electoral agreements; their foreign policy agenda will seek to reduce the U.S.-European hegemony in the Arab-Muslim world, and they will oppose the terms of Turkish accession and Palestinian statehood. By 2030, the United States and its allies will have long departed from Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Islamists who once railed against blasphemous cartoons and neo-imperialist designs may seem as quaint and harmless as the middle-aged Baader Meinhof and Red Brigades who shuffled from their cells in the early 2000s.

Political Views of the New Generation

What will Muslim politics look like in the next generation? Will European Muslims be interested in local and national issues or in international affairs and foreign policy affecting Muslims elsewhere? Cross-cutting divisions (p.260)

Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

Figure 8.4. Muslims’ Party Preferences in France.

Source: Compiled from IFOP and Kaya, Ayhan and Kentel, Ferhatt. “Euro-Turks: A bridge or a breach between Turkey and the European Union?” Centre for European Policy Studies: Brussels, January 2005.

will certainly expand across the Muslim populations of Europe. The “assimilationists” will argue that European host societies have dropped their most offensive anti-Muslim practices and have begun to open their arms and institutions to Muslims. “Separatists” will contend that Europeans’ combination of latent Islamophobia and deep-seated Zionism requires Muslims to withdraw from daily social, political, and economic life and attempt to go it alone by creating enclaves. The separatists will be a small minority, and their ranks will be diminished each electoral cycle by the practical accommodations that national governments offer as incentives for political participation, including—where administrative practices permit—experimentation with voluntary shari’a courts to resolve some categories of civil disputes.

There is no evidence of a “Muslim vote,” although politicians in these countries do make conscious appeals to these voters. Just because an electoral bloc does not exist does not mean that politicians have not tried to conjure it. Far from espousing the views of a conservative religious minority, it is, rather, a population that tends to lean leftward, although a small number also appear attracted by large, mainstream conservative parties (see figures 8.4 and 8.5).

Nonetheless, the fears that some Muslims have divided loyalties—that they place faith before nation—will not have completely disap (p.261)

Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

Figure 8.5: Muslims’ Party Preferences in Germany.

Source: Kaya, Ayhan and Kentel, Ferhat. “Euro-Turks: A bridge or a breach between Turkey and the European Union?” Centre for European Policy Studies: Brussels, January 2005.

peared in the coming generation. Poll results, like those from a 2004 Guardian poll, will continue to be cited as proof that a sizable minority of Muslims wants to be governed by shari’a law and supports domestic terrorism. Will Muslims grow inexorably apart from majority societies in 2030? Will they form a “distinct, cohesive and bitter” group?36

Polls conducted by Gallup and the Open Society Institute in 2009–2010 found that Muslims were more likely to identify with their European homelands than previously thought and that they have slightly more confidence than the overall population in the judiciary and other national institutions (see figures 8.6, 8.7, and 8.8).37 The Gallup survey also showed that 96–98 percent of Muslims shared a lack of support for honor killings or crimes of passion (i.e., the same as the general population). These European Muslims were also revealed to be far more socially conservative by nearly every measure—from the viewing of pornography to the issue of premarital sex.

The 2009 Gallup poll’s most thought-provoking section dealt indirectly with the question of tolerance for political violence and terrorism—which is a decent gauge for measuring the gap in political values between Muslims and their “host societies” in future generations. The survey showed that Muslim attitudes toward civilian deaths were far more nuanced than has sometimes been argued, especially by critics in (p.262)

Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

Figure 8.6. Do you feel you belong to the city? Source: Compiled from “Muslims in Europe, a report on 11 EU cities.”

Source: Open Society Institute, 2010.

the United Kingdom. Rather than looking for a yes or no answer, the poll provided a subtler four-point scale measuring degrees of agreement or disagreement and found that between 82 percent and 91 percent of Muslims in Britain, France, and Germany thought that civilian deaths cannot be justified at all. Muslims in these countries also said they were slightly more confident in judiciary and national institutions than the general populations.

Using data from the World Values Survey (1981–2007), Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris find that the basic social values of Muslims living

Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

Figure 8.7. Do you see yourself as [British, French, etc.]? Muslim respondents by highest level of education completed.

Source: Compiled from “Muslims in Europe, a report on 11 EU cities.” Source: Open Society Institute, 2010.


Muslim Integration and European Islam in the Next Generation

Figure 8.8. French, German, and British Muslims’ Views of Institutions.

Source: Compiled from "The Gallup Coexist Index 2009: A Global Study of Interfaith Relations.” Gallup Inc., Washington, DC, 2009, pp. 22–23.

in Western societies fall approximately “half-way between the dominant values prevailing within their countries of destination and origin.”38 For example, they score Muslim immigrants on measures of religiosity: 76 (between 60 in the homeland and 83 in the host society); sexual liberalization: 37 (between 24 and 50); gender equality: 75 (between 57 and 82); and democratic values: 75 (between 71 and 81). They conclude that “Muslims are not exceptionally resistant in levels of integration.”39

With regard to the nurturing of a distinct political identity, a dynamic set of membership-based Islamic organizations that cultivate community identification and religious practice will also begin to thrive. Federated at the European, national, regional, and local levels, these organizations will serve as social and political action networks and act as feeders for political and religious associations. Such networks in Europe will owe much, indirectly, to the transnational proselytism of the Muslim World League (MWL) and the twentieth-century exile of various branches of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), whose envoys and dissidents from Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states encountered a combination of inviting refugee policies and undefined policies toward Islam in 1960s and 1970s Europe. The dissidents clearing out of Nasserist Egypt, Baathist Syria, and Kemalist Turkey came to pursue advanced degrees and frequently created “Muslim student associations” to campaign for religious rights. But in the next generation, the foreign-student cohort of the 1980s and 1990s will have passed the baton to native-born Muslim leaders trained in the youth groups of existing federations, who are likely to demonstrate their independence by (p.264) freely engaging in political dialogue and compromise more actively than their parents’ generation.

The transnational and pan-European federations with the most direct links to the MWL and MB will still have only a limited impact on everyday policy discussions and the daily lives of Muslims in Europe. The relevant political space for religious rights, legal recourse for discrimination, electoral influence, and so forth will remain the national stage. European Muslims will still be most affected and influenced by the national federations active in their local and regional areas, since it is those organizations that will be in a position to set the policy agenda for authorities to meet.

Many Muslim organizations will be largely irrelevant as actors in state-mosque relations because they are not associated with networks of mosques. Consequently, they will still be excluded for the most part from state-Islam consultations (for example, Conseil français du culte musulman, Deutsche Islam Konferenz, MINAB), which limit official ministerial contacts to mosque administrators and federations of prayer spaces. But the growth of lay Muslim councils to rival religious councils’ influence—and often, to overcome the paralysis of the former—will reflect the growing political consciousness of a small but rising Muslim middle class.

Those who participate in activities or occupy leadership positions in Muslim organizations will experience a distinct type of political socialization that will influence their views on national and international debates. They will have been born and raised in Europe and less likely to have lived at great length abroad. They will be less connected to the politics of their ancestral homelands and far less likely to have personal ties to donors in the Gulf and other areas. In the future, therefore, their political affinities will be open to transnational and international influences. Their forums will likely continue to be critical of U.S. foreign policy, to express continuing solidarity with the Palestinian cause and opposition to Zionism, and to remain vigilant against the rise of Islamophobia in the West. Thus, even when acknowledging the misdeeds of Muslims—in terms of terrorism or anti-Semitism, for example—leaders will tend to be even more worried about the vulnerability of the Muslim world to external attack—from Afghanistan to Iran to Palestine, as well as the still-to-be consolidated political status of the Muslim minority in Europe. That tendency will fit in with a broader “victimization” narrative (also observable in published materials) and increased publicity of “Islamophobic” incidents when they occur. It will be seen in the context of minority politics, where organizations will have learned from the example of non-Muslim advocacy groups that the best offense is defense. Beyond promoting prayer and Muslim identity, many of the (p.265) new generation of leadership will be acutely attuned to issues relating to discrimination and prejudice because of their own experiences as university students or young jobseekers, or even as just fellow passengers on the metro. Religious leaders will denounce incidences of blasphemy toward Islam, but they will also publicly renounce violence and suggest using the opportunity “to teach someone about Islam” as part of a broader public relations effort or an agenda of proselytism or “re-Islamization.”

Social Indicators

Despite concrete instances of progress in the political realm, social integration will encounter some limitations. In order to reduce the influence of confrontational community leaders who claim Western cards are stacked against Muslims, Europeans will need to address the domestic factors of social and political alienation.

The likely welfare state reforms of the coming decades will hit Muslimorigin families hardest at first, but will have a net beneficial impact on Muslims’ employment rates overall.40 Still, fears of a developing Muslimorigin “underclass” will turn out to be well founded—higher than average proportions may continue be unemployed and collecting meager benefits. Although prison populations will still be miniscule compared with those in the United States, Muslim prisoners will make up a majority of the incarcerated and their absolute numbers will have likely increased considerably.

Disproportionate incarceration and unemployment rates will reflect the continued socioeconomic marginalization of many Muslims in Europe. On that score, the pessimists will be proven right. In the next generation, many young people of Muslim background will still fall through the cracks of education reform and affirmative action programs and will, unfortunately, be persistently involved in petty criminality and occasional urban unrest, alongside other economically marginalized subpopulations. They will not be the central thread of the tapestry, but they will be used as an example by skeptics who will continue to argue that Muslims will never fit in or successfully adjust to European society.

Progress on early education opportunities will steadily improve the basic literacy and linguistic skills of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of North African and Turkish labor migrants from the mid-twentieth century. Outside of France, English will be increasingly accepted as a second language for Turkish and Arabic speakers. In general, the longtime linguistic “mismatch” between Germans and German immigrants, for example, will begin to resemble the better match (p.266) enjoyed by people from Belgium, France, Spain, and Portugal and immigrants from the former colonies of those countries, who exhibited greater linguistic homogeneity in their ranks because immigrants from, for example, former French colonies in Africa were likely to speak French.41

Language, however, will increasingly be considered a superficial commonality, insufficient to ensure that the cultural values of migrant groups and host societies overlap. Several countries will continue to restrict the migration of spouses (“import brides”), a constant source of worry for authorities, not simply because many such marriages are forcibly arranged but also because the practice repeatedly renews a first-generation situation in which tens of thousands of children are born annually into households without proficient speakers of the host country language. Spouses will have to fulfill age requirements and attend linguistic and cultural training courses.

Terrorism and Nativism

The most serious challenge to integration in the next generation will still come in the forms of terrorism and nativism. Together, their periodic emergence will threaten to roll back positive social and political developments, especially with more recently settled Muslim populations. For the first time, both the leaders of the terrorist cells and those providing material support will be entirely native born. The shift of European Muslims from “foreigners” to “natives” will carry new risks that require the overhauling of counterterrorism and counterradicalization approaches. The inspiring ideology will still come from abroad, but most terrorism incidents and arrests will be “homegrown.” Suspects will be entirely the problem of European governments, which cannot simply deport them. The lasting implication of Islam’s Europeanization is that many terrorism suspects will enjoy the full rights of citizenship instead of the limited rights of foreign nationals on European soil. A greater burden of proof—and controversial legislative reforms—will be required for them to be spied upon, interrogated, or deported. The radicalization threat will not have completely disappeared from the margins of organized religious groups, but the usual policy tools and techniques available for monitoring and countering radicalism among the previously foreign national adult Muslim population will not be available for use on EU citizens.

This development will throw a serious spanner in the works of the much-vaunted counterterrorism practices of Britain, France, and Germany and create new threats to the civil liberties of Muslim-origin citizens. Human rights associations and governments will exchange court cases and victories: a new generation of lawyers will manage to undercut (p.267) the widespread practice of identity spot checks while governments will gain new detention powers. Caught between the two will be the thousands of new domestic law enforcement professionals of Muslim origin across Europe. Like the Italian American FBI investigators and district attorneys who helped cripple the mafia in twentieth-century U.S. cities, Muslim European agents will be key to the infiltration and dismantling of violent extremist networks. Police forces and Muslim communities will become increasingly interdependent, and the first Muslim prefects and commissioners will be appointed in a number of European cities. Security agencies in Germany and elsewhere will drop their objections to the formation of Muslim political parties, concentrating instead on providing funding to ensure that they remain well informed on the party leadership’s aims and ambitions.

Religious Practices and Organized Islam in 2030

The number of mosques will continue to increase across the continent, so that the ratio of Muslims to prayer spaces will be more in line with the ratio of Jews and Catholics to synagogues and churches. Most of the prayer spaces will not be leased facilities but new construction—proper mosques with dome and minaret, built from the ground up.

Europe will still be a generation away from a fully native-born and locally trained imam corps, but for the first time, a slight majority of imams will have received supplemental “civic training” courses offered under the aegis of national integration programs. Hundreds of nationally certified chaplains will serve in European prisons to offer spiritual guidance to Muslim prisoners. Both the funding and personnel for the new prayer spaces will still come largely from abroad, but they will be increasingly channeled through national oversight institutions. Morocco and Turkey will have dramatically increased the number of prayer leaders exported for service in Europe each year, mostly to combat the growing threat of radical imams who collect donations from European congregations to support regime change on the home front.

The overwhelming majority of fourth- and fifth-generation Muslims in France, Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, and elsewhere will settle into a minority group identity, referring to themselves as “European Muslims” and socializing and engaging in organized political activities with one another across borders. Relations will be tense between the older, established, institutionalized Muslim community and the steady stream of newly arrived first-generation labor migrants from Turkey and North Africa, some of whom will establish their own prayer spaces (p.268) where they can freely speak their native tongue. The old-country customs of the latter and their inferior knowledge of their host country’s language will lead to community rifts, and some native Muslim leaders will look upon them with some condescension and suspicion.

The greatest commonality among national Muslim populations will be their entrenched divisions. National origin will remain a good predictor of piety and politics, although increasing intermarriage between ethnicities (Turkish/Kurdish, Arab/Berber) and nationalities (Turkish/German, Moroccan/Algerian) in addition to intermarriage between Muslims and non-Muslims will confound the simplistic categories of the turn of the twenty-first century. The biggest internal community conflict will be over the role of religion in public life, pitting adherents of Political Islam against those who remain loyal to the Embassy Islam of their ancestral countries. The two strains, once predicted to give way to a synthetic “Euro-Islam,” will persist in their influence and indeed grow stronger. The internal divisions will harden into lasting cleavages. In most cities, there will be the “Turkish mosque,” the “Pakistani mosque,” the “Moroccan mosque,” and the “Islamist” mosque, and rarely if ever will the twain meet. Such Embassy-Islam representatives will generally be the most respectful of host country norms and the separation of state and religion, whereas Political-Islam activists will continue to use institutional means to try to carve out a greater public role for religious expression.

In opinion polls, nearly all European Muslims will say that they fast during Ramadan and that they will make a pilgrimage to Mecca in their lifetime. Mosques on Fridays will not be quite as empty as Catholic and Protestant pews on Sundays—but, like churches, Islamic houses of worship will do their briskest trade on the holiest days of the year. But beyond such superficial religious shared traits, there will be nothing resembling a European ummah.


As Western democratic institutions—government ministries, but also courts, city councils, parliaments—have slowly addressed the new issues raised by the new religious diversity, the integration and institutionalization of Islam has begun to take place. The once intimidating behavior, and the sense some Muslim groups gave that public disorder could erupt in Europe after the Iranian fatwa against Salman Rushdie or the first expulsion of girls wearing headscarves in French schools, has receded. There is no “wildcat” feel to major religious demonstrations, when they occur. Even more than street protests, Islamic activism (p.269) increasingly takes the form of institutional consultation, lobbying, and lawsuits. Many of these leaders have become responsible actors in an institutional setting, and they now have something to lose. This underlying reality reminds us of another defining difference dividing European Muslim communities from the mobilizing themes of Middle East politics. It may be in the interest of Yusuf al-Qaradawi to downplay the Holocaust for his own constituency; but European Muslim organizations have quickly learned that it is not in theirs to do so.

To speak with officials in the religion offices of European interior ministries—the only ones who have day-to-day contact with Islamist leaders—one gets the impression that the present challenge is analogous not to the communist international but rather to an Islamic CGT or CGIL, the leftist trade unions in France and Italy whose leadership bought into negotiations with the state and abandoned their flirtations with revolutionary ideology. In other words, Islamist federation leaders may talk like they want the whole pie, but in reality they have demonstrated a willingness to settle for a piece of it.

The series of confrontations between the sensibilities of some Muslim leaders and majority societies in the last several years has afforded observers several chances to test the thesis of a “clash of civilization”—and moreover, to test the institutions that were born of the shift from “outsourcing” to state-led strategies of “incorporation.” When the headscarf was banned in primary and secondary schools in France in 2004, there was no spillover onto the streets—although Islamist leaders have indeed lobbied politicians for a change in the law. When the Danish cartoon affair of 2006 led to the firebombing of embassies in parts of the Islamic world, European Islamist leaders in Europe filed suit in court.42 On the one hand, this was indeed a story of “failure” in Europe: the failure of local dialogue in Denmark led Muslim leaders to appeal for support abroad, with consequences clear to all.

But the incidents have also been accompanied by a measure of success: during the caricatures controversy, Europe’s Muslim populations engaged in nothing like what took place in cities across the Arab-Muslim world, from Lebanon to Libya, Nigeria to Pakistan. Instead, Muslims in Europe expressed their outrage and offense lawfully, through the new and old institutions created to govern state-mosque relations. Members of the CFCM in France, the Consulta in Italy, and the future German DIK, for example, all condemned the cartoons and the violence. In other words, they have behaved a lot like their Catholic and Jewish counterparts: speaking up for their religion and its people when they feel disrespected or threatened, and pursuing legal and political protection through institutional means. When riots broke out in French suburbs in 2005, Political-Islam leaders called the disorder “un-Islamic.” That their (p.270) appeals went wholly unheeded by rioters did as much to debunk their mythical influence as it did to reveal the nature of their intentions. Islamist federations have responded positively to government outreach, modifying their behavior as well as some of their most controversial stances (e.g., in intra-Muslim relations, Islamic-Jewish relations, and ambiguity regarding political violence) in order to gain influence in state-Islam consultations under way in a host of countries.

But until the “citoyennisation” of European Islam is complete, when sufficient numbers of imams are trained in Europe and local communities can afford to pay them—and mosque construction bills—not all Muslim politics will be local. Whether the councils will arrive at a stable equilibrium—and comfortably fade into daily invisibility as their non-Muslim counterparts have mostly done—is in some ways a challenge to the nation-state’s relevance and its strength to filter the transnational forces exerted on its citizens. At present, the prevailing solution looks like a band-aid approach: There are still de facto diplomatic agreements—to import mosques and personnel—between Europeans and governments in the Muslim world that take place over the heads of European Muslims. European governments continue to “outsource” many of the details of Islamic religious observance to the indirect representatives of Algeria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. This allows all governments involved to filter out some of the unwanted elements from the religious landscape, but it also delays the process of bottom-up integration and the creation of “European Islams.”

Nonetheless, the councils have already borne some fruit regarding the “domestication” of Islam: from the nomination of national chaplains for armed forces and the penitentiary system, to the creation of training programs for religious teachers who can teach about Islam in public schools, to the signing of “values charters.” While local imam training facilities are still insufficient, pre-departure training in Rabat and Ankara for imams heading to Europe is increasingly common, as are required acclimatization seminars for imams arriving in France, the Netherlands, and United Kingdom.

However, councils’ impotence and the inherently limited nature of their influence and mandate has also been made clear. The French CFCM could not prevent the restrictive laws passed against heads-carves (2004) and burkas (2009), for example, just as Swiss confederations could not roll back the anti-minaret ballot initiative (2009). What does this say about the institutional voice of Muslims in Europe, and what Islam Councils have to show for themselves vis-à-vis their constituencies? Are they condemned to occupying the unenviable spot between the “hammer” of the state and the “anvil” of the community, to playing the role of “fireman” to the “pyromaniacs” in their community, (p.271) as some critics have written? Were skeptics of neo-corporatism in the 1970s correct to describe the arrangement as having “simultaneously the substance of state control and the appearance of democracy?”43 Or, appearances notwithstanding, are Islam Councils the only safe bubbles in which Islamic leaders can still “be themselves” in the context of an increasingly poisonous atmosphere of rampant anti-Muslim populism?

Few U.S. policymakers surveying the burning rubble in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC, in the late 1960s could imagine that two African Americans would run the State Department from 2001 to 2009 or that a black family would move into the White House shortly thereafter. The worst tensions in U.S. inner cities were defused by way of an incoherent but effective mix of affirmative action, antidis-crimination policies, interventionist courts, electoral redistricting and reform of party nomination procedures, drug laws, and prison construction. Similarly, by 2030, Europeans will have settled into an acceptance of expanding participation in society and politics, letting democratic institutions do their work and hoping that the economy can support Muslims’ entry into the labor market. As long as they make sure that there are good government protections against discrimination and policies promoting participation and educational achievement, they figure that they can hope for the best.

Looking at the skyline of small-town Europe in mid-century, it may be hard to recall the virulence with which so many citizen activist groups—patchwork coalitions of secularists made up of prominent ex-Muslims and anticlerical figures—fought mosque construction just decades earlier. Islamist terrorism will likely have faded as the driving force of policymaking on Muslim issues and as a result, the issue of Muslim integration will be put on a back burner, where it will benefit from being talked about less. Muslim leaders in 2030 will pay tribute to the trailblazers of the earlier generation—politicians, civil servants and community leaders—who went out on a limb to assert that Muslims were a permanent component of European societies at a time when it was politically costly to do so.

In 2030, it will have been decades since a great minaret went up over Oxford, fulfilling the eighteenth-century historian Edward Gibbon’s prophesy.44 In fact, every capital city will have its own showcase mosque up and running or in the planning stages. However, those domes and towers may no longer be perceived as the threat to European civilization and its Christian roots that dominated debate at the turn of the twenty-first century. To offer definitive judgment on the success or failure of the emancipation of Europe’s Muslims would require perspective that the molten landscape does not yet afford. The process of (p.272) emancipation and domestication will likely span generations, and it has only just begun. Nonetheless, European nation-states have established a routine of contacts with Muslim leaders, leading to a new level of mutual acquaintance and a slow but steady process of nationalization of religious authority. As the twentieth-century French scholar Jacques Berque foretold, just as a distinctive Islam of the Maghreb and an Indonesian Islam developed over time, so too have states created the spaces in which an Islam of Europe can germinate and begin to grow.


(4.) Ibid., 444.

(6.) Le Monde, 17 March, 2003.

(7.) National Hebdo, 9 January, 2003.

(12.) Ibid., 115.

(14.) Ibid., 124.

(16.) Fallaci, The Rage and the Pride, 2002; Bernard Lewis, Europe and Islam (Washington: AEI Press, 2007); Niall Ferguson, “The End of Europe,” Bradley Lecture Series, AEI, Washington, March 1, 2004.

(17.) Quotation from Richard Trank and Marvin Hier, Ever Again (Beverly Hills, CA: Starz/Anchor Bay, 2006); on white flight, see Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West, 2009.

(18.) Elena Tchoudinova, La Mosquée Notre-Dame de Paris: année 2048 [The Notre-Dame Mosque of Paris], 2009; Giulio Meotti, “Nella casbah di Rotterdam [In the Casbah of Rotterdam]” Il Foglio, May 14, 2009, p. 1.

(21.) Phrase attributed to a Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi; source: Blog entry, “Islam and American Politics: Deepening the Dialogue,” http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/georgetown/2008/04/west_islam_dialogue.html.

(22.) Phrase attributed to former Algerian president Houari Boumédiène, source: “Houari Boumédiène,” http://fr.myafrica.allafrica.com/view/people/main/id/07QTlFAnWKbUCoym.html.

(23.) Muammar Qaddafi’s remarks, Al-Shams (Libya), June 8, 2010. Translated by MEMRI, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/4349.htm.

(24.) Green Paper, “Confronting Demographic Change: A New Solidarity between Generations,” European Commission, Brussels, March 16, 2005.

(25.) Projections of the overall Muslim population in Europe for 2005 range from 13.8—17 million, and for 2025 range from 25 million to 40 million, although they obviously do not take into account the possibility of Turkish accession to the European Union. In its 2025 report, released in 2008, the National Intelligence Council sided with the low to medium estimates, saying that if current fertility and immigration rates remain stable, Europe will have a Muslim population of 25–30 million. See Pew Forum, “The Future of the Global Muslim Population,” January 2011; DNI, Global Trends 2025; European Parliament, Islam in der Europä ischen Union: Was steht fü r die Zukunft auf dem Spiel? 2007).

(26.) Among those aged sixty-five and older, the minority proportion would be just 11 percent. See Coleman, “Immigration and Ethnic Change in Low-Fertility Countries,” 422.

(28.) Martin Walker, “The World’s New Numbers,” Wilson Quarterly, May 2009.

(29.) See Richard Jackson et al., The Graying of the Great Powers: Demography and Geopolitics in the 21st Century, 2008, versus Kröhnert, Hoßmann and others, Europe´s Demographic Future. Growing Regional Imbalances (pp. 31 and 131) for different viewpoints.

(31.) DNI, 2008.

(33.) MEMO/05/96, Brussels, 17 March 2005, “Europe’s Changing Population Structure and Its Impact on Relations between the Generations,” MEMO/05/96, Brussels, March 17, 2005 (http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/05/96&format=DOC&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en).

(34.) Immigration from Turkey to the rest of the European Union is expected to total between 2.1 and 2.7 million new migrants between 2004 and 2030; Germany will receive roughly half of the new migrants (the higher scenario actually assumes failed accession). See Erzan, Kuzubaş, and Yıldız, “Growth and Migration Scenarios: Turkey-EU,” December 2004.

(37.) See “The Gallup Coexist Index 2009: A Global Study of Interfaith Relations” (www.muslimwestfacts.com/mwf/118249/Gallup-Coexist-Index-2009.aspx).

(41.) Alicia Adserà and Barry R. Chiswick, “Divergent Patterns in Immigrant Earnings across European Destinations,” in Immigration and the Transformation of Europe, edited by Craig A. Parsons and Timothy M. Smeeding New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 110.

(42.) See Jytte Klausen’s definitive account of the cartoon crisis, The Cartoons that Shook the World, 2009.