Being European / being Muslim:
International Relations and contending forms of Muslim presence in the West

1. Introduction

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., the European continent saw the Madrid bombings of March 2004, the murder of Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh in November 2004, the London bombings of July 2005, the riots in Parisian neighborhoods, the Danish cartoon crisis, reactions to Pope Benedict’s remarks about Islam, and finally the Swiss Minaret referandum. These events brought to the fore “the Muslim question” in Europe. Despite a growing body of literature on Muslims in Europe in recent years not only from prominent scholars of religion, sociology, theology, and political science, but also from think-tanks, polling organizations, and governmental bodies, the current arguments do not focus on the existential link between domestic policy measures aiming at integration and European foreign policy instruments. Indeed, this is exactly why we need to re-think the role of religion in international relations. In this context, the concept of Muslim umma – the transnational Muslim community — is critical as it shapes the identity formation of many Muslims regardless of geographical proximity. However, contemporary scholarship reproduces the claims of radical Islamist groups about the notion of Muslim umma’s encounter with the “hostile” West, and overlooks modern, “secular” origins of transnational Muslim identity. Furthermore, the voices calling for a profound rethinking of Muslim presence in Europe and new perceptions on the notion of umma do not receive due attention. On the other hand, as the bourgeoning literature on European Muslims point out, rather than holding unreflective opinions regarding both integration and a transnational umma identity, the European Muslims’ opinion of the polities they live in and their perception of the European Union and world politics are informed by interlinked domestic as well as international contexts and discourses.

Against this background, I discuss two interrelated issues in this paper. First, I show how the epistemological foundations of orthodox International Relations (IR) fall short of enabling the conceptualization of the role of religion in international relations. For this purpose, I offer a brief genealogy of the state-centric and secularist origins of dominant IR theories. Then I turn to the debate on the Muslim presence in modern Europe and discuss the prospects of transformation of Muslims in Europe from a minority to full citizens. In this context, I focus on the complex relationship intra-faith and inter-faith relationships of European Muslims and argue that the notion of the public sphere as a rational realm need to be revised in the face of multiple, or “hybrid modernities” we are experiencing. To this end, in the concluding section I provide examples from the religiously informed account of Tariq Ramadan on how we can think alternative ways of coexistence for European Muslims as contributing citizens to the European society at large.[1]

2. Foundational myths and disciplinary history of IR: Marginalization of religion

In order to locate IR in the context of this paper, we need to examine some of the foundational myths and self- images of IR theory and the development of IR as an American social science, that is, as a discipline whose universal answers to the problems of its time are based on a positivistic epistemology.

Steve Smith argues that IR has, in two ways, told a fairly consistent story about its history, in terms of its chronology and in terms of its great debates.[2] The chronology starts with “dominance of idealism in the interwar years, progressing to the dominance of realism after the Second World War and, then, after an interregnum during which a variety of approaches vied for dominance.” The second story is that of great debates between competing theories: “…between idealism and realism in the late 1930s; between traditionalism (realism) and behaviouralism in the 1960s; between state-centric and trans-nationalist approaches in the 1970s; between three competing paradigms in the 1980s…and between the neo-neo synthesis (also known as rationalism) and a set of alternative approaches (known as reflectivism) since the early 1990s” [3]

As Smith argues elsewhere, these self-images of the discipline misrepresent the history of the discipline. These misrepresentations, according to Smith, help constitute privileged understandings and interpretations within IR, thus silencing certain other perspectives, especially those based on non-positivist epistemology.[4] Furthermore, Smith claims that these self-images represent IR as a far more pluralistic and open discipline than it really is. Conventional self-images also suggest that there has been epistemic progress in IR, in other words, that IR has approached the truth about international relations.

Likewise, Brian Schmidt draws attention to particular misrepresentations in IR, exposing “deep discursive continuities between the early-twentieth-century analyses and the contemporary field of study.”[5] The first misrepresentation regards the starting date of the discipline. Its starting date is conventionally thought to coincide with the foundation of the first Department of International Politics at University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1919.[6] However, the study of IR dates back before the First World War.[7] This misrepresentation, according to Smith, is a reason to view the new discipline as idealist insofar as its goal became to prevent catastrophes like World War I.[8] A second misrepresentation is the notion that IR in the interwar period was distinctively idealistic. But as Schmidt argues, “the distinctiveness of [the idealists’] contribution lies not in their idealism but in their explicit attempt to mitigate the international anarchy.”[9]

The idea that “realism replaced the idealism of the interwar period” is an important “foundational myth” for the study of international relations. Smith argues that this foundational myth leads to what he calls “disciplining of the discipline”: “…the discipline gets defined as one founded on the problem of inter-state war and, thus, explaining this specific problem becomes the litmus test for international theory…those approaches that do not treat inter-state war as the core problem to be explained by the discipline run the risk of their work being deemed ‘irrelevant’ or ‘not IR’…those approaches that do not start with both inter-state relations and with war are axiomatically placed in a defensive position with regards to their fit within the discipline…Similarly, those who want to look at actors other than the state are seen as dealing with issues of secondary importance.”[10]

According to Smith, the marginalization of alternative approaches to the study of IR has been the reason why realism was successful in establishing itself as the timeless essence of international relations. Insofar as realism was “shown” to have replaced idealism, the presumed objectivity of realism became another foundational myth of IR, especially for American IR. As Smith puts it: “Only realism can produce knowledge about the world of international relations that is scientific.”[11]

According to Smith, this foundational myth also leads to the silencing of alternative approaches to IR such as idealism and Marxism, as these theories would be regarded as infused with values that lie outside the canon of the social sciences. In my view, the shortcomings identified by Smith are directly related to the marginalization of the study of religion in the context of international relations.

One can readily identify at least three events of crucial importance in international relations in the last three decades that had a substantial religious component: the role of Catholicism in the Solidarnocz movement in Poland, the Iranian revolution, and finally September 11. Unsurprisingly, international relations scholars have mostly turned a blind eye to the role of the religion in these events, and only recently a new line of scholarship on the role of religion in IR emerged. Elizabeth Shakman Hurd has developed a critique of “the secular foundations of IR.” She sums up the flaws of the dominant understanding of religion in IR as well as in international policy-making when she states: “Our foreign policy elites . . . go for months ignoring the force of religion; then, when confronted with something inescapably religious, such as the Iranian revolution or the Taliban, they begin talking of religious zealotry and fanaticism, which suddenly explains everything. After a few days of shaking their heads over the fanatics, they revert to their usual secular analyses. We do not yet have, and sorely need, a mode of analysis that attempts to merge the spiritual and the material.”[12]

In a similar move, Peter Katzenstein emphasizes how the epistemological foundations of dominant IR theories affect their perception and analysis of religion: “Because they are expressions of rationalist thought deeply antithetical to religion, the silence of realist and liberal theories of international relations on the role of religion in European and world politics is thus not surprising.”[13] Like many other social sciences, orthodox IR theories view religion, to the extent that it is opposed to the Baconian ideal of science, as an open or potential threat to any polity. It should also be noted that what Hurd calls “the Westphalian moment” –the common understanding that after the Peace of Westphalia, religion ceased to be a matter of public policy and was privatized – has affected our contemporary readings of the role of religion in international relations. This particular reading has brought to the fore state sovereignty; and the widely accepted notion of a separation between the domestic and international realms. In IR this has particularly affected the justification of the state as the ultimate unit of analysis, thus silencing alternative theories that suggest to also look at religious phenomena when theorizing about international relations.

Three inter-related factors have contributed to the marginalization of religion in IR and, consequently, in lay analysis of international relations:

i) IR has developed as a positivistic social science that resulted in an under-theorized understanding of the nation-state as its unit of analysis, ii) the separation of the domestic and international in the discipline resulted in an inchoate understanding of the political[14]; iii) transnational and constitutive aspects of religion were marginalized in the discipline due to orthodox ontological and epistemological standpoints that were the outcome of the two factors mentioned above.

This is why I argue that the tendency to marginalize the role of religion and religious identities in international relations and the secularist readings of domestic order in European politics have a negative effect on bringing modern Muslim identity into the focus of our study.

The underlying argument in this paper is that only with an open and investigative discussion of modern Muslim identity we can make sense of why Muslims in Europe react to developments in other parts of the Muslim world so intensely; reactions that surprise many analysts who prioritize an under-theorized and inchoate understanding of the nation-state, national interest, and international relations. For decades, European states have attempted to establish a sphere of influence outside their borders, while the buzzwords “soft power” and “winning hearts and minds” still dominate the debate about these attempts. But in order to understand the interactions between Europe and the Muslim world, we need a solid understanding of how transnational religious identities are formed, and of how they affect local identities.

The genealogy provided here serves as a starting point for an alternative reading of international relations and emphasizes how such a reading can open the way for a sociological thinking on the question of the political in current European politics.[15] This requires looking at the state-society relations as well as the reflections of these relations in the international sphere with a lens that prioritizes the complex background of the questions of identity and how politics is something that is closely embedded in our social, economic, and personal interactions.

3. Muslim “presence” in modern Europe: From minorities to contributing citizens?

The Muslim presence in Europe is treated as a recent phenomenon especially in accounts focusing on the current developments. This tendency is prevalent in the debate on immigration, pluralism, and the role of religion in Europe. But there is a rich literature that takes a more historical approach, covering the relation of Islam to Europe from the middle ages to the colonial period, and then to the recent modern era.[16] These studies help us contextualize the historical complexity and longevity of the question at hand. In recent discussions about European identity and the role of religion, it is clear that the Muslim presence in Europe[17] and the prospect of further enlargement of the EU are perceived as a challenge by European citizens.

This new debate encompasses “new” realities, and poses the challenge of envisioning a new paradigm informed by a demanding open debate about Europe’s political, economic, and social make-up in the 21 st century, as well as re-thinking what “secularism” and “the secular state” mean in era of immigration, integration, and multiculturalism. The need for this new debate has been most recently illustrated by the Swiss minaret referendum and the discussions about banning the burka from public spaces in France.[18] In both cases, Muslim citizens were required to adhere to an imagined formal identity. It was imagined and formal in the sense that the secular, European identity in question had no de jure or actual status, apart from the fact that a majority of citizens and policy-makers believed it to be an accurate representation of their society. In both cases, the “good” citizen was portrayed as the secular citizen; a citizen with a critical distance to the authoritative aspects of religion. This is why we have seen parallels between being a good French and being secular, why a good Swiss was thought of distancing himself from the ordering aspects of religion. In the words of Jose Casanova: “The most interesting issue sociologically is not the fact of progressive religious decline among the European population, but the fact that it is interpreted through the lense of secularization paradigm, and therefore accompanied by a “secularist” self-understanding that interprets that decline as “normal” and “progressive.” It is therefore seen as a quasi-normative consequence of being a “modern” and “enlightened” European. It is this “secular” identity, shared by European elites and ordinary people alike, that paradoxically turns “religion” and the barely submerged Christian European identity into thorny and perplexing issues when it comes to delimiting the external geographic boundaries and defining the internal cultural identity of a European Union in the process of being constituted.”[19]

It is clear that the Muslim presence poses a challenge for European civil societies, European policy-makers, and the European Muslims alike. In this context it is crucial to go beyond the media headlines that cover day-to-day reactions to issues of religion and secularism, and specifically the modern Muslim condition in Europe. To this end, I will focus on the arguments of Tariq Ramadan, in order to draw attention to the challenges and opportunities of being a European Muslim in a largely secular society. While doing this I keep in mind a crucial caveat: It is crucial to note that putting European Islam or Euro-Islam in simple opposition to a “radical,” non-European Islam is, in my opinion, a counter-productive simplification. Bassam Tibi, for instance, promotes a supposedly moderate Euro-Islam in contrast to a supposedly radical Sharia Islam. As it will become apparent through my discussion of Tariq Ramadan’s account below, Tibi’s formula is not helpful in engaging with the situation of European Muslims.[20] This engagement is a status transformation – from minorities to contributing citizens- that requires a corresponding transformation of identities.


Tariq Ramadan argues that during their presence in Europe, Muslim communities developed from a defensive presence — which included building mosques, and some other institutions – and an isolated position in society towards slowly becoming equal citizens. In a call to enhance this development towards a healthy stage of confidence, Ramadan argues there are three obstacles for European Muslim communities in their identity-building processes:

i) the Duality Approach, which implies an inherent incompatibility to being a pious Muslim in the Western societies. This approach, mainly voiced by salafist and fundamentalist movements[21] leads the way to an “apologetic Muslim presence” in the West, thereby limiting the potential of Muslim communities, confining them to Muslim ghettos with little or no social mobility for upcoming generations; ii) Minority Thinking, which also gives rise to ghettoization, the inability to extract benefits from the society-at-large, and a continual inferiority complex; iii) Integration as Adaptation, which results in a situation where Muslim identity is a burden for the individual in his/her quest to adapt to the realities of the new society. In this case, the obstacle lies in the comfort of conformity, keeping the individual from achieving his/her full potential to contribute to the society-at-large.[22]

Ramadan argues that constructively rethinking the Muslim presence in Europe requires a deep and constant labor of reform — an idea that is engulfed in Islamic sciences and argumentation – and not reverting to elusive concepts like “moderate Muslims.”[23] The choice between ghettoization on the one hand and assimilation is, according to Ramadan, a false dichotomy. Muslims need not choose between the dichotomous condition of “living in the West but outside the West” and “becoming Muslims without Islam.” Resolving the false dichotomy, however, requires constructing a European Muslim identity that is confident and non-apologetic of its place in the Western society.

Another point Ramadan raises in this context is the issue of Muslims’ allegiance to the umma[24] -transnational Islamic community- versus the governments of their respective countries. In this context, Ramadan calls for a renegotiation of the concepts of Dar-Al–Islam (abode of peace) and Dar-Al-Harb (abode of war), Dar- al- Ahd (abode of treaty), as well as the more recent proposition, Dar-al-Dawa (abode of invitation-to God). For him, these concepts-which were not defined either the Qur’an or in the Hadith but were developed by early Muslim jurists as the need to think about flourishing Muslim community needed to conceptualize its relations with its neighbors- fall short of meeting the realities of the modern day experiences of Muslims living Western societies. Thus, he proposes the term Dar-al-Shahada (abode of testimony); a term that suggests a self-confident Muslim identity in a society which provides the minima of such respect in its constitution. [25] In the next section, I examine Ramadan’s critique of conventional ways of conceptualizing Muslim presence in Europe.

4. A closer look: Dar-Al–Islam, Dar-Al–Harb and Dar-Al-Shahada

Ramadan argues that Muslim scholars tried to explain how Muslims can exist in non-Western contexts and establish their relations with the populations that live there. According to him they had to define concepts of Dar-Al–Islam and Dar-Al–Harb so as to have a clear vision of the geopolitical reality of their time. This is why they produced numerous definitions for these concepts, specifically within the four principal Sunni schools of Islam. A closer look at the background of these concepts, and Ramadan’s alternative proposition- Dar-Al–Shahada – will help clarify how a religiously informed account can provide inventive ways to think about coexistence of European Muslims in secular European societies. Dar-Al–Islam (The Abode of Peace) : Al Dusuki from the Maliki school of jurisprudence argued that the abode of Islam must be the property of Muslims where the Islamic legal system is applied – even if non-Muslims are in power.[26] Ramadan notes that this is the current legal opinion held by majority, while the ulama of the Hanifi school focused on the very specific issue of whether practicing Muslims were in a position of safety and had no fear in practicing their religion. There is a tension on the question of deciding the criteria for Dar-Al–Islam between emphasizing the question of security and protection and the strict question of Islam and Kufr (disbelief) among the Muslim scholars.

Dar-Al–Harb (The Abode of War): Despite differences the ulama are unanimous in holding that a country is called Dar-Al–Harb when the legal system as well as the government are non-Islamic. The definition depends not on the population – which may consist of a majority of Muslims – but rather on the law and the political system. But, as the various definitions show, the existence of an “abode of war” does not necessarily mean that a state of war exists between the opposing “abodes.”

Ramadan points out that the criteria on which the specific and reliable recognition of an “abode” depends are not strictly antithetical. Most of the ulama insist on the land and the application of the Islamic legal system in order to declare the existence of a Dar-Al–Islam , while it is the nature of the legal system and that of the government that are the relevant factors for a Dar-Al–Harb . This creates a dilemma among the contemporary ulama – Islamic legal scholars- since the Islamic law is rarely applied anywhere today.[27]

For Ramadan, continuing to think in binary terms that the ulama has shaped many centuries ago, runs the risk of not being able to overcome methodological problems. Reflecting the paradoxes many lay Muslims experience on a day to day basis for example, most Muslim majority states would count as Dar-Al–Harb because of their unjust legal systems and the constant persecution of their own citizens while the majority of Western countries would be considered Dar-Al–Islam if we take the criteria of free exercise of religion as the main criterion for “peace” between Muslims and non-Muslims.

In part to overcome such paradoxes, a Muslim scholar, Al Shafii has introduced a third concept- Dar-Al–Ahd , meaning the “abode of treaty”. This description assumes that there are countries that, although not Muslim from a political point of view, have working relations and treaties with Muslim countries. Some ulama, by looking at the fact that these countries are also signatories to many international treaties and pacts, argue that Dar-Al–Ahd is an operational concept.

Ramadan criticizes the concept by arguing that Dar-Al–Ahd presupposes an unproblematic notion of Dar-Al–Islam and Dar-Al–Harb . For him, if used to explain our contemporary world, the concept of Dar-Al–Ahd is rather a description of a “non-belligerent situation” than an adequate definition of an “area where Muslims live.” Ramadan finds it inappropriate since it presupposes a contract between independent Dar-Al–Islam and Dar-Al–Harb , when these “abodes” cannot be considered to be independent in today’s world. Second, he argues, using the same word (ahd) for both inter- state relations and a state’s relations with its own subjects – relations between Muslims and a state and its constitution – leads to a blurring of the conceptual frameworks; and finally and most importantly, he argues that “to consider that we are, as citizens, in a kind of contract with a ‘non-Islamic’ society perpetuates the idea that we are not in our own society but that we are coming to terms with an entity with which we do not identify.”[28]

In challenging the opinions of classical ulama, Ramadan calls for giving priority to current state of affairs, rather than to a simplified reality and a perpetuation of a binary world-view based on Dar-Al–Islam , Dar-Al–Harb , or Dar-Al–Ahd . Moreover, Ramadan argues that the new political and economic landscape of the world resulted in a need for a rethinking of the place of Muslims in the West; both those who arrived there seeking work and refuge from political repression as well as the second generation Muslims and the western converts.

Following a third group of Islamic scholars who opt for devising alternatives to define the Muslim presence in the West rather than adhering to the old concepts, Ramadan cites Faysal al Mawlawi’s concept of Dar-Al–Dawa , which means the ‘abode of invitation to God.’

In al-Mawlawi’s spirit, Ramadan proposes the term shahada (testimony) instead of dawa, emphasizing its many shades of meaning and the difficulty to translate the concept. He gives two fundamental reasons for this choice. For him, the term shahada bears witness to two core values of Muslims while at the same time clearly defining their presence in the West, in line with Islamic teachings: first, it corresponds to Muslims’ responsibility in the modern era to bear witness to spirituality and existence of God and second, to contribute to their societies in light of this responsibility.

Dar-Al–Shahada : Like the Hanafi school, Ramadan considers security (al-amn) of the Muslim communities more important than the legal system or government under which they live. He argues that this allows for the possibility to define a ‘positive space’ for Muslims living in Western sociopolitical reality. According to Ramadan, “an environment that guarantees freedom of conscience and worship to Muslims (that is of their faith and their practice), that protects their physical integrity and their freedom to act in accordance with their convictions, is not in fact a hostile space.” Ramadan emphasizes five fundamental rights that Muslims in North America and Europe are guaranteed to enjoy: the right to practice Islam, the right to knowledge, the right to establish organizations, the right to autonomous representation, and the right to appeal to law.

Notwithstanding, Ramadan accedes the fact that Muslims living in the West face serious difficulties in fulfilling the vitality of a spiritual life, due to two main reasons: Challenges from a modern, secular worldview and lifestyle that continuously push forward a neutral public space, as well as the difficulties they experience due to stereotypes and prejudices held against them both prior to and after 9/11.[29]

5. By way of conclusion: Quo Vadis Europe

The points I raised relate to the sense of fear that is prevalent among some European circles. This fear accounts for Islamophobia, racism, and rise of the extreme right in many European countries. While some academics try to refute this sense of fear, others are equally skeptical of Muslim presence in Europe. In terms of policy measures, enormous amounts of money and time is invested into crafting a modern Western Muslim identity. As I have tried to point out in the earlier sections of this paper, these efforts should be taken seriously. However, rather than a top-to-bottom approach, these efforts would best be made through institution building and education policies shaped in cooperation with the Muslim communities themselves. The culturalist discourses mentioned here may alienate some sections of the Muslim community, but on the other hand, they produce new opportunities. Such frantic discourses allow Muslims to assert their views, encourage them to build institutions, and most importantly put them in touch with fellow Europeans from different religions and political inclinations that also oppose culturalist and racialized stigmatizations

As I tried to point out in this paper, three issues are crucial in this endeavour. First, in order to conceive the intertwined links between domestic and international political spheres in the context of European Muslims, it is important to reflect on the role of religion and religiously informed identities in the discipline of international relations. As the European public debate about Islam evolves among fear of the increasing number of Muslims and their increasing public visibility, it is crucial to focus on how domestic discourses about religion can have ramifications in the international realm. One example is the alienation of British and Spanish born Muslim youth who carried out terrorist attacks in London and Madrid. I contend that both the belligerent discourses about European Muslims and the inter-Muslim debates about the role of religion in European Muslims’ daily lifes feed into this alienation. Second, I have taken issue with the inter-Muslim debates through a discussion of Tariq Ramadan’s views on how the sense of alienation and marginalization among European Muslims can be prevented. In this context, I have pointed to the emphasis Ramadan puts on alternative constructions of the European Muslim identity via the concepts of Dar-al-Islam, Dar-al-Harb, and Dar-al-Shahada. These concepts are crucial not only because they affect individual identities, but also because they have the potential to transform communal identities in the context of transnational Muslim communities.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the aim of defining the European Muslim identity and its role in international relations is a multi-faceted effort that starts most importantly with an honest process of self-questioning on the part of all Europeans, Muslim, secular, Christian, atheist, Jewish alike. In other words, this is an effort in putting the Eurocentric conceptions of religion, immigration, and political and social pluralism under a critical limelight. As Slavoj Zizek warns, we should not be seeking ‘the Other deprived of its Otherness-the decaffeinated Other.’[30] We should rather aim for a self-critical conception and practice of multiculturalism.


1. See Nilufer Gole, Ic Ice Girisler: Islam ve Avrupa [Interpenetrations: Islam and Europe], (Istanbul: Metis, 2009), p.156 for a critique of Habermas’s instrumental rationality in the context of public sphere discussions. For an elucidative account of the term hybrid modernity see, Nilufer Gole, Melez Desenler: Islam ve Modernlik Uzerine [Hybrid Motifs: On Islam and Modernity], (Istanbul: Metis, 2002).

2. Steve Smith, “The discipline of international relations: still an American Social Science?”, British Journal of Politics and International Relations Vol.2, No. 3 (October, 2000), pp.374- 402, p.376.

3. Ibid.

4. Steve Smith, “The Self-images of a Discipline: A Genealogy of International Relations Theory” in Ken Booth and Steve Smith, International Relations Theory Today, (University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995), pp.1-37, especially pp.13-21.

5. Brian C. Schmidt, The Political Discourse of Anarchy: A Disciplinary History of International Relations,(Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), p.2.

6. For an excellent reflection on the role of the founder of the Department, Lord David Davies and an analysis about the present and future state of the discipline see, Ken Booth, “The Writing on the Wall”, International Relations Vol.21 No.3, 2007, pp.360- 366.

7. Another study points to a related argument by asking the question that how can it be possible that speculation about the state goes back to antiquity whereas speculation about the relations between states goes back little further than to World War 1. See Torbjorn L. Knutsen, A History of International Relations Theory (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992), p.1.

8. Smith, “International Relations: still an American social science?”, p.377.

9. Schmidt, op.cit., p.191.

10. Smith, “International Relations: still an American social science?,” p. 378; emphasis original.

11. Ibid., pp.378-379.

12. David Brooks, “Kicking the Secularist Habit: A Six-Step Program,” Atlantic Monthly 291, no. 2 (March 2003): 27–28; quoted in Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, The Politics of Secualarism in International Relations, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), p.4

13. Peter J. Katzenstein, “Multiple Modernities as limits to secular Europeanization?” in Timothy A. Byrnes and Peter J. Katzenstein (eds.), Religion in an Expanding Europe, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p.31

14. It is R.B. J. Walker who brough the issue to the fore in his seminal Inside-Outside:International Relations as Political Theory, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

15. For a telling account of this process see Mandaville, Peter, Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimaginig the Umma (London and New York: Routledge, 2001)

16. For an exhaustive account on this phenomenon see Ibrahim Kalin. Islam ve Bati [Islam and the West], (Istanbul: ISAM Yayinlari, 2007), for an in-depth study of the neglected story of the Muslim Spain, al-Andalus, see David Lewering Lewis, God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570- 1215, (New York: Norton, 2008).

17. See Table-1.1. for the make-up of Europe’s Muslim population, adapted from Philip Jenkins, God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crises, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 16

18. Nilufer Gole, “The Mute Symbols of Islam”, The Immanent Frame, available at: (accessed June 1, 2010)

19. Jose Casanova, “Religon, European Secular Identities and European Integration,” in Krzystof Michalski (ed.), Religion in the New Europe, (New York and Budapest: Central European University Press, 2006), p.24.

20. For Tibi see Christopher Caldwell, “Islamic Europe?,”Weekly Standard, Vol. 10, No.04, 2004., For a critial view of the term Euro-Islam in this context, see Jytte Klausen, The Islamic Challange: Poltics and Religion in Western Europe, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp.101-104.

21. The two terms, salafism and fundamentalism should not be confused. With salafi movements refer to literalist and ahistorical readings of Islamic texts that prioritize classical texts; while fundamentalist movements refer to militant Islamist currents.

22. Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp.51- 57

23. For Ramadan’s critique of the term’s elusiveness see, Tariq Ramadan, “Good Muslim, bad Muslim”, in The New Statesman, February 12, 2010; available at (retrieved May 17, 2010)

24. For an in-depth discussion of the term from the Islamic paradigm see, Ahmet Davutoglu, Alternative Paradigms: The Impact of Islamic and Western Weltanschauungs on Political Theory, (Lanham, Md: University Press of America, 1994), pp.187-191

25. Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, pp. 72-77

26. Ibid. P.65

27. Ibid., pp.64-65.

28. Ibid. P.67. [emphasis original].

29. Ibid. Pp.70-72.

30. Slavoj Zizek, “Liberal multiculturalism masks and old barbarism with a human face,” The Guardian, October 3, 2010.


IWM Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. XXIX
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Preferred citation: Tekelioglu, Ahmet Selim. 2011. Being European / being Muslim: International Relations and contending forms of Muslim presence in the West. In: Modernities Revisited,
ed. M. Behrensen, L. Lee and A. S. Tekelioglu, Vienna: IWM Junior Visiting Fellows’ Conferences, Vol. 29.