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The Third Wave: Islamization of Europe, or Europanization of Islam?

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image of Journal of Muslims in Europe

AbstractTo understand the concerns and issues related to Muslims and Islam in Europe, this article makes use of a framework that qualifies ‘Islam’ as two manifestations of ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’ Islam and ‘Europe’ as two discourses defined as the political-legal and cultural-religious discourse. The resulting matrix of these four dimensions will be applied to several of the main issues of the interaction between Islam and Europe: the numerical presence of Muslims, their visibility, the legacy of centuries of European-Islamic interaction, and the (in)compatibility of Islamic and European values. Based on these examples, the author observes that the European concerns regarding ‘Islam’ mostly relate to virtual Islam and are dominated by cultural-religious discourse. The author therefore questions the often-heard two-choice question between ‘Europanization of Islam’ or ‘Islamization of Europe’, arguing that the real choice to be made in Europe is whether it will adhere to its political-legal values, such as liberalism, equalit and human rights, or will prefer its cultural-religious values.

Affiliations: 1: Leiden University, Faculty of Humanities, Institute for Religious StudiesNetherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’PO Box 9515, 2300 RR LeidenThe


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