Integration or Emancipation? European Muslims between Mosque and State
Can state–mosque relations nurture a pragmatic relationship between community organizations and public authorities? What is the role of foreign governments in the building of mosques, training of imams and other requirements of Muslim religious life in Europe? Jonathan Laurence's timely lecture investigates the possibilities and consequences of anchoring Islam in European domestic institutions. Foreign governments and international NGOs, he notes, have supported rival mosques and Islamic cultural centers in Western Europe since the settlement of a Muslim-origin minority a half-century ago. The growing interest in this minority’s integration following the terrorist attacks of 2001-2005 led to significant changes in European governments’ relations with local federations of mosques and with religious affairs ministries in the countries of origin. The effort to consult religious leadership on issues affecting this minority has been criticized as promoting communitarianism as well as praised for leveling religious liberties for all citizens. By examining the performance of Europe’s Islam Councils and institutional developments in Turkey and Morocco, Laurence describes how recent political change in the countries of origin interacts with the evolution of native European Muslims’ own engagement – political, religious, cultural and otherwise.