Journal of International Migration and Integration

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 993–1011 | Cite as

Integrating European Muslims Through Discourse? Understanding the Development and Limitations of Euro-Islam in Europe

  • Moch Faisal KarimEmail author


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.


European Muslims Muslim communities Discourse Muslim organisations Integration Euro-Islam Constructivism 


  1. Adida, C. L., Laitin, D. D., & Valfort, M.-A. (2010). Identifying barriers to Muslim integration in France. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(52), 22384–22390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Azmeh, A. & Fokas, E. (2007). Islam in Europe: diversity, identity and influence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. AlSayyad, N. & Castells, M. (2002). Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam: politics, culture, and citizenship in the age of globalization. Plymouth: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  4. Amghar, S., Boubekeur, A., & Emerson, M. (Eds.). (2007). European Islam: challenges for public policy and society. Brussels: Centre for European Policy Studies.Google Scholar
  5. Arfi, B. (2010). “Euro‐Islam”: going beyond the aporiatic politics of othering1. International Political Sociology, 4(3), 236–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arkilic, Z. A. (2015). The limits of European Islam: Turkish Islamic umbrella organizations and their relations with host countries—France and Germany. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 35(1), 17–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowen, J. R. (2004). Beyond migration: Islam as a transnational public space. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30(5), 879–894.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buruma, I. (2007). Tariq Ramadan has an identity issue (The New York Times Magazine 2nd ed.).Google Scholar
  9. Caeiro, A. (2010). The power of European fatwas: the minority fiqh project and the making of an Islamic counterpublic. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 42(03), 435–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caeiro, A. (2011). Transnational ulama, European fatwas, and Islamic authority; A case study of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. In M. van Bruinessen & S. Allievi (Eds.), Producing Islamic knowledge: transmission and dissemination in Western Europe (pp. 121–141). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Crul, M., & Vermeulen, H. (2003). The second generation in Europe. International Migration Review, 37(4), 965–986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Deliso, C. (2007). The coming Balkan caliphate: the threat of radical Islam to Europe and the West. London: Praeger Security International.Google Scholar
  13. Elgström, O. (2000). Norm negotiations. The construction of new norms regarding gender and development in EU foreign aid policy. Journal of European Public Policy, 7(3), 457–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Finnemore, M. & Sikkink, K. (1998). International norm dynamics and political change. International Organization, 52(4), 887-+.Google Scholar
  15. Fourest, C. (2013). Brother Tariq: the doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan. New York: Encounter Books.Google Scholar
  16. Franz, B. (2007). Europe’s Muslim youth: an Inquiry into the politics of discrimination, relative deprivation, and identity formation. Mediterranean Quarterly, 18(1), 89–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Karić, E. (2002). Is’ Euro-Islam’a Myth, Challenge or a Real Opportunity for Muslims and Europe? Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 22(2), 435–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kastoryano, R. (2002). Negotiating identities: states and immigrants in France and Germany. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Kastoryano, R. (2004). Religion and incorporation: Islam in France and Germany. International Migration Review, 38(3), 1234–1255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Khan, A. H. (2013). Creating the Image of European Islam: the European Council for Fatwa and Research and Ireland. In J. S. Nielsen (Ed.), Muslim Political Participation in Europe (pp. 215–238). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Koenig, M. (2007). Europeanising the governance of religious diversity: an institutionalist account of Muslim struggles for public recognition. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33(6), 911–932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kroissenbrunner, S. (2003). Islam and Muslim immigrants in Austria: socio-political networks and Muslim leadership of Turkish immigrants. Immigrants & Minorities, 22(2-3), 188–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Küchler, T., & Philips, L. (2008). 400 groups sign charter for European Muslims. EU Observer. Available online, [Accessed 5 February 2015].Google Scholar
  24. Mandaville, P. (2009). Muslim transnational identity and state responses in Europe and the UK after 9/11: political community, ideology and authority. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 35(3), 491–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mandaville, P. G., Azzam, M., & Hussain, D. (2010). Muslim networks and movements in Western Europe (Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life).Google Scholar
  26. Maréchal, B. (2008a). The Muslim brothers in Europe: roots and discourse. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  27. Maréchal, B. (2008b). Universal Aspirations The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. ISIM Review, 22, 2.Google Scholar
  28. Murshed, S. M., & Pavan, S. (2011). Identity and Islamic Radicalization in Western Europe. Civil Wars, 13(3), 259–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nielsen, J. S. (2003). Transnational Islam and the integration of Islam in Europe. In S. Allievi & J. S. Nielsen (Eds.), Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe, Leiden, Brill (pp. 28–51). Brill: Leiden.Google Scholar
  30. Nielsen, J. S. (2004). Muslims in western Europe. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Nielsen, J. (2007). The question of Euro-Islam: restriction or opportunity. In A. Al-Azmeh & E. Fokas (Eds.), Islam in Europe: diversity, identity and influence (pp. 34–48). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. O’duffy, B. (2008). Radical atmosphere: explaining Jihadist radicalization in the UK. PS: Political Science & Politics, 41(01), 37–42.Google Scholar
  33. Parekh, B. (2006). Is Islam a threat to Europe’s multicultural democracies?’ (Religion in the new Europe, Budapest: Central European University, pp. 111–21).Google Scholar
  34. Payne, R. A. (2001). Persuasion, frames and norm construction. European Journal of International Relations, 7(1), 37–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pfaff, S., & Gill, A. J. (2006). Will a million Muslims march? Muslim interest organizations and political integration in Europe. Comparative Political Studies, 39(7), 803–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rabasa, A., Benard, C., Schwartz, L. H., & Sickle, P. (2007). Building moderate Muslim networks. Arlington: RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy.Google Scholar
  37. Ramadan, T. (1999). To Be a European Muslim. Leicester: the Islamic Foundation.Google Scholar
  38. Ramadan, T. (2004). Western Muslims and the future of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Ramadan, T. (2009). Radical reform: Islamic ethics and liberation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Rosenow, K. (2009). The Europeanisation of integration policies. International Migration, 47(1), 133–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rosenow-Williams, K. (2014a). Lobbying for civil and religious rights of immigrants and Muslims: desecuritization strategies of Islamic Umbrella Organizations in Germany. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 15(3), 411-430.Google Scholar
  42. Rosenow-Williams, K. (2014b). Organising Muslims and integrating Islam: applying organisational sociology to the study of Islamic organisations. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40(5), 759-777.Google Scholar
  43. Rubin, B. (2010). The Muslim Brotherhood: the organization and policies of a global Islamist movement. New York: Palgrave macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Salih, R. (2004). The backward and the new: national, transnational and post‐national Islam in Europe. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30(5), 995–1011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Salvatore, A. (2004). Making public space: opportunities and limits of collective action among Muslims in Europe. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30(5), 1013–1031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Saurugger, S. (2010). The social construction of the participatory turn: the emergence of a norm in the European Union. European Journal of Political Research, 49(4), 471–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Şen, F. (2008). Euro-Islam: some empirical evidences. In A. Al-Hamarneh & J. Thielmann (Eds.), Islam and Muslims in Germany (pp. 33–48). Koninklijke Brill NV: Leiden.Google Scholar
  48. Silvestri, S. (2005). EU Relations with Islam in the Context of the EMP’s Cultural Dialogue. Mediterranean Politics, 10(3), 385–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Silvestri, S. (2009a). Islam and religion in the EU political system. West European Politics, 32(6), 1212-1239.Google Scholar
  50. Silvestri, S. (2009b). Moderate Islamist Groups in Europe: The Muslim Brothers, in Hroub, K. (ed), Political Islam: Context Versus Ideology. London: SAQI.Google Scholar
  51. Silvestri, S. (2010). 3 Public policies towards Muslims and the institutionalization of ‘Moderate Islam’in Europe (Muslims in 21st century Europe: structural and cultural perspectives 12th ed., p. 45).Google Scholar
  52. Tibi, B. (2002). Muslim migrants in Europe: between Euro-Islam and ghettoization. In N. AlSayyad & M. Castells (Eds.), Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam: Politics, culture, and citizenship in the age of globalization (pp. 31–52). Plymouth: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  53. Tibi, B. (2007). The totalitarianism of jihadist Islamism and its challenge to Europe and to Islam. Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 8(1), 35–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Tibi, B. (2008). Political Islam, world politics and Europe: democratic peace and Euro-Islam versus global jihad. Routledge.Google Scholar
  55. Tibi, B. (2010). Ethnicity of fear? Islamic migration and the ethnicization of Islam in Europe. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 10(1), 126–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vidino, L. (2005). The Muslim Brotherhood’s Conquest of Europe (Middle East Quarterly).Google Scholar
  57. Vidino, L. (2010). The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Warner, C. M., & Wenner, M. W. (2006). Religion and the political organization of Muslims in Europe. Perspectives on Politics, 4(03), 457–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yildiz, A. A., & Verkuyten, M. (2012). Conceptualising Euro-Islam: managing the societal demand for religious reform. Identities-Global Studies in Culture and Power, 19(3), 360–376.Google Scholar
  60. Yukleyen, A. (2009). Localizing Islam in Europe: religious activism among Turkish Islamic organizations in the Netherlands. Journal of Muslim minority affairs, 29(3), 291–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zick, A., Pettigrew, T. F., & Wagner, U. (2008). Ethnic prejudice and discrimination in Europe. Journal of Social Issues, 64(2), 233–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. Closing Statement of the Third General Assembly in the Ninth Executive Term of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) accessed from
  2. Final Statement of the Fourth General Assembly in the Ninth Term of the FIOE accessed from
  3. History of FEMYSO from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and International Studies, Social Sciences BuildingUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK
  2. 2.Department of International RelationsBina Nusantara UniversityJakartaIndonesia

Personalised recommendations