Muslim Minorities and the Law in Europe: Chances and Challenges

In Europe today, millions of Muslims are living in secular democratic states by their own choice, contributing to the societies they are living in and forming now a new part of European identity. European secular legal orders grant them religious freedom and equal rights. Nevertheless, certain challenges for both Muslims and European legal orders should not be neglected. Certainly, freedom of religion and equality before the law prevent legislation and administration from any religious bias. But current legal institutions were developed in a concrete historical and social framework, with Christianity playing a major if not crucial role in this regard. The legal integration of Islam, being much less institutionalised than Christianity or Judaism, has become a challenge for European legal orders. European countries have to find ways to grant the full range of rights to Muslim individuals and groups by re-reading the existing rules without altering their validity as such. This book discusses the above issues and tries to find answers to questions such as: Does Shari`a contain intrinsic instruments to develop rules consistent with this binding legal framework? Are Muslims defining themselves as a minority living in diaspora? Are there opportunities for them to actively participate in societal institutions, based on a self-understanding as an integral part of the societies they are living in?