Integrating European muslims through discourse? Understanding the development and limitations of Euro-Islam in Europe

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Karim, Moch Faisal (2017)

This paper examines the dynamics of the development of Euro-Islam as a discourse which offers a modern interpretation of Islam that fits with European context. It investigates how Europe-wide Muslim umbrella organisations promote Euro-Islam discourse while at the same time gain position to represent European Muslims at the European level by mobilising the discourse. Drawing from constructivist literature, this paper argues that Tariq Ramadan’s version of Euro-Islam has been in the stage of socialisation characterised by (1) the existence of network of organisational platforms such as Federation of Islamic Organisation in Europe (FIOE) and Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO), (2) the support from supranational actors such as European Parliament and European Commission, and (3) the efforts to codify the discourse through the creation of the Muslims of Europe Charter. However, given the lack of organisational infrastructure to diffuse the discourse due to the diverse nature of Muslim communities in Europe, further internalisation of the discourse has been hindered. Additionally, the connection between Euro-Islam’s organisational platforms with Islamist movement has made the discourse on Euro-Islam being perceived as a camouflage for Islamist agenda. Thus, at this stage, Euro-Islam has become “empty signifier” that are open to continual contestation which serves Muslim umbrella organisations with speaker position to lobby at the European level.
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