In This Review

Religion in an Expanding Europe
Religion in an Expanding Europe
Edited by Timohy A. Byrnes and Peter J. Katzenstein
Cambridge University Press, 2006, 362 pp.

Books of essays on present-day Europe often fall like stones on readers' desks, but this one is remarkably enlightening and thought provoking. As Katzenstein notes in the preface, "European enlargement will feed rather than undermine the importance of religion in the EU." He points out that until now, "cultural Europeanization has been a failure," and "religion continues to lurk beneath the veneer of European secularization," in the form of transnational religious communities. Daniel Philpott and Timothy Shah examine the effect of these factors on European integration. José Casanova shows the differences between the EU and the United States. One of the highlights is the clash between two very different views of Islam. Bassam Tibi equates political Islam with Islamic fundamentalism, which he sees as seeking "to displace the West rather than live amicably side by side with it." M. Hakan Yavuz rejects this "essentialist image" of a "frozen broader Islamic civilization" and believes that "if European elites could only avoid viewing their relationship vis-á-vis their Muslim minorities through the lenses of fear, supremacy, and antagonism," they could forge a "democratic pluralistic Muslim world and a cosmopolitan and tolerant European identity, coexisting side by side." In his conclusion, Byrnes asserts that European identity "coalesced in considerable part around its relationship with, and distance from, Islam" -- a statement that not everyone will endorse but that should provoke further discussion nonetheless.