European Islam: Challenges for Society and Public Policy

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European Islam: Challenges for Society and Public Policy

Edited by Samir Amghar, Amel Boubekeur, and Michael Emerson
Centre for European Policy Studies, 2007
227 pp. $30.00
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Written by an array of specialists from a number of different countries, this balanced, scholarly assessment examines the state of Europe's Muslim communities, the challenges they face, and the efforts European governments are making to cope with the resulting demographic and cultural changes. In a particularly provocative contribution, the French scholar Olivier Roy challenges much of the conventional wisdom on the subject of Muslim extremism. He argues that the radicalization of Europe's Muslim youth is not directly related to Middle Eastern political crises, pointing out that no Afghan, Iraqi, or Palestinian has been involved in recent terrorist attacks in Europe and that such acts have rarely been tied to events in the Middle East. Instead, Roy believes that radicalism grows from the cultural alienation felt by many Muslims in Europe, a problem neither British "multiculturalism" nor French "assimilationism" has been able to solve. Rejecting what he sees as vain attempts to sponsor a "good and moderate Islam," Roy encourages Europeans to make room for Islam as a "mere" religion -- that is, separating religion from culture. European Islam sheds light on a controversial and still poorly understood topic.