Double Standards: Little Outcry Over China’s Uighurs, Anger of Muder in Germany

The fatal stabbing of an Egyptian Muslim woman in a German courtroom two weeks ago sparked anger across the Muslim world and fueled demands for a formal apology from Germany. But while the region rages about the story of the “headscarf martyr,” holding her up as a symbol of persecution, the plight of China’s Muslim population has provoked a more muted response. On July 5 police cracked down on a demonstration by minority Muslim Uighurs in the city of Urumqi, capital of China’s western Xinjiang region. Hundreds of Uighur young men rioted, attacking majority Han Chinese civilians with knives, clubs and bricks. In the end authorities say 137 Hans, 46 Uighurs and one member of the Chinese Muslim Hui ethnic group were killed. But, says Diaa Rashwan, a political analyst at the government-backed Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, “there is not a lot of interest or attention paid to these events in the Arab and Muslim world.” ABIGAIL HAUSLOHNER REPORTS.

The Securitization of Islam in Europe

This paper summarises the main hypotheses and results of the research on the securitisation of Islam. It posits that the securitisation of Islam is not only a speech act but also a policymaking process that affects the making of immigration laws, multicultural policies, antidiscrimination measures and security policies. The paper deconstructs and analyses the premises of such policies as well as their consequences on the civic and political participation of Muslims. The behaviour of Muslims was studied through 50 focus groups conducted in Paris, London, Berlin and Amsterdam over the year 2007-08. The results show a great discrepancy between the assumptions of policy-makers and the political and social reality of Muslims across Europe. The paper presents recommendations to facilitate the greater inclusion of Muslims within European public spheres.

Living Islam in Europe: Muslim Traditions in European Contexts

The collaborative research project on “Muslims in Europe and Their Societies of Origin in Asia and Africa” invites contributions to a conference to be held from 7 to 9 May 2009 at the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies, Berlin, Germany. This conference will present the results of the programme for the current research phase embedded in a wider context of academic scholarship. In consonance with the project the conference will discuss the various ways in which religious actors and institutions of Islam are taking root in today’s Europe. While recent scholarship has primarily focused on processes of secularisation of Muslims in Europe, this conference seeks to go further by discussing Muslim groups and individu- als following religious lifestyles. In this process issues have emerged that have preoccupied politicians, public opinion as much as scholars throughout the last decades: Can European social and political realities be reconciled with growing religious plurality in general and religious projects deriving from Islam in particular – and if so, on what premises? What are the concepts, aims, needs and fears Muslim actors pursue and confront in the public arena, and what institutions do they develop to channel their objectives? To what extent are European political and social realities reflected or inscribed in their religious, political, social and economic activities?

Muslims in Berlin, London, and Paris: Bridges and Gaps in Public Opinion

Gallup’s recent surveys of Muslims in London, Paris, and Berlin point to the need for greater understanding between Europe’s Muslim residents and the broader societies in which they live. But these surveys also offer plenty of evidence that the foundation for that understanding is already in place.

Muslims in Europe: Basis for Greater Understanding Already Exists (April 30, 2007)

Values Questions Set European Muslims Apart (April 27, 2007)

European Muslims Show No Conflict Between Religious and National Identities (April 26, 2007)

Executive Summary (PDF) 

Representing Islam: Comparative Perspectives

’Representing Islam: Comparative Perspectives’ is an international conference organised jointly by the Universities of Manchester and Surrey and supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Britain. It has attracted over 100 eminent national and international speakers.

Representations of ’Islam’ have a profound influence on political cultures and national identities, as well as on attitudes to immigration, security and multiculturalism. The complexity of the notion of ’Islam’ and the heterogeneous responses that it elicits are such that there is no uniform approach to its representation and social construction. The conference addresses this complexity by treating the comparative dimension of recent representations of Islam, encompassing different nations, political institutions, media institutions, and cultures. The conference will be primarily concerned with the press, television, radio, film and the internet. However, it will also include other channels of communication, such as translations, speeches or pamphlets, political discourse, and the visual arts.

Anyone interested in more information should contact the Conference Administrator,  Shishir Shahnawaz (shishir.shahnawaz@manchester.ac.uk).

Attitudes Toward Muslims Mixed in Europe and the U.S.

“A new Financial Times/Harris Poll of cross sections of adults in the five largest European countries and the United States looks at attitudes toward Muslims and finds differing opinions on Muslims as a threat to national security, prejudice towards Muslims and whether parents would object to a child marrying a Muslim.

When it comes to Muslims as a threat to national security, the British are the most wary as 38 percent say the presence of Muslims in their country is a threat, followed by 30 percent of Italians and 28 percent of Germans who believe the same. Approximately one in five French (20%), American (21%) and Spanish (23%) adults also say the presence of Muslims in their respective countries is a threat to national security. With the exception of Spain and Great Britain, where large pluralities say the presence of Muslims does present a threat to national security, majorities of adults in the other four countries say they do not present a threat.

These are some of the results of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive® among a total of 6,398 adults aged 16 to 64 within France; Germany, Great Britain, Spain, the United States, and adults aged 18 to 64 in Italy, between August 1 and 13, 2007.

A summary of the report can be found here.