Islam is a Religion, Not a Terror Ideology

Opponents of an Islamic community center and mosque planned to be built near ground zero say it would desecrate hallowed ground. But suspicion has greeted proposed mosque projects in places less hallowed than ground zero — in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Temecula, California; and elsewhere.
This suggests that opposition to mosques is not driven only by sensitivity to the memory of terrorism victims, but also by a growing unease toward Islam, fueled by security fears.

Terrorism, Islamism, Salafism in Europe: Are They Connected?

The recent arrests in Frankfort again raise the specter of Europe’s terror hitting the U.S. or Americans overseas. You are cordially invited to a discussion on the arrests in Germany and Denmark the character of European Islamism with Jocelyn Cesari, Visiting Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Director of the Islam in the West Program at Harvard University and Jytte Klausen, Professor of Comparative Politics at Brandeis University . Robert S. Leiken, Director of the Immigration and National Security Program at The Nixon Center, will moderate.

How should we understand the detentions in Frankfort and Copenhagen? Did they arise from post-migrants or from international networks or both? What are the relations among Islamists, Salafists and Sufis in Europe? What attitudes do different denominations hold toward jihad and toward integration? What is the current status of jihad recruitment in Europe ? We are happy to have two distinguished experts speak about these topics:

  • Jocelyn Cesari is the editor of the recent “Encyclopedia of Islam in the United States” and author of “When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and the United States.”
  • Jytte Klausen’s “The Islamic Challege: Politics and Religion in Western Europe” was published by Oxford in 2005 and is forthcoming in a second paperback edition.
  • Please RSVP by email to info@nixoncenter.org. For further information, please contact Steven Brooke at (202) 887-1000.

    Autonomous mosques, optional minarets, appeased tensions: Tariq Ramadan pleads for independent mosques

    Tariq Ramadan, professor at Oxford and the University of Rotterdam, participated in a conversation on state regulation of mosques in Switzerland. He acknowledged the growing fears of Swiss society of Muslims in their midst, yet urged thoughtful policy. In an effort to clarify the situation and appease tensions, Ramadan cites the work of sociologist Jocelyn Cesari. The building of mosques in Europe and in the United States, she asserts, have nothing to do with an interest in cultural dominance or the refusal to integrate Muslims into the broader society. Rather, it is the wish of Muslims, once installed in a city to construct places of worship that help them navigate their integration into broader society-all the while remaining devout. Ramadan clarifies that minarets are optional parts of mosque architecture, and that Muslim architecture is generally responsive to the new design concepts of changing locations. The only action that could jeopardize this acculturation is state control of Muslim architecture, mosque management and sermons. Islam, however, is increasingly subject in the West to suspicion, supervision, and security. Instead, Muslims must be engaged for creative solutions and be granted independence from populist politicians who garner political support through playing the fears of non-Muslims and xenophobes.