World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


Islamic Movements in Europe (387) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: THU, 22 / 5-7 pm

· NOT_DEFINED language: English / Français

· NOT_DEFINED description: Chair: Luz Gómez García (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Paper Presenter:Wojciech Grabowski (PHD candidate, Gdansk University, Poland) “Muslim Fundamentalism in Europe in XXI century”
In Europe Islamophobia has been promoted by media and some scholars who present Islam as a danger for West civilization. There has been shown extreme cases like Salman Rushdie affair, Theo van Gogh murder or terrorists bombing in Madrid and London. There is no doubt that Muslim extremism in Europe is present but a great mistake is opinion, that radical Islam is the only Islam in Europe. This opinion is harmful for Islam. In the same fake analogy we could say about Europe reference toward Islam by the prism of Danish cartoons which shown prophet Muhammad with bomb in turban or selectively presented by the media information about Islam in context of fundamentalism and terrorism, which was stated by the report of the Commission for British Muslims and Islamophobia from 1997. According to the French secret services in Muslims communities in Europe 5 percentage of them constitute fundamentalists and 3% of these 5% are potential terrorists. If in France live 6 million Muslims that means that 300.000 of them are fundamentalists and 9 000 of them are potential terrorists. Many salafists protect its right to missionary and propagate its faith pointing out similar activities representatives of other faiths on the whole world. They are oppose of public discourse in European media which Muslim women name terrorists in hijab or Muslim missionary group called as a plotting terrorist attack. Islam is perceived by the prism of fundamentalists activities, who constitute a Muslim minorities. Does Islam constitute a danger for Europe or does Europe constitute danger for Islam?

Paper Presenter: Danila Genovese (Associate Researcher, Westminster University, London) “Representation and self representation of radical Islamism in the UK: through the mirroring lenses of the deceptive self.”
This paper aims at examining the phenomenon of representation and self-representation- in relation to 'radical' Islamists in the UK- as interrelated. The study is conducted through a 'collative' analysis, between the author's several interviews and personal chats with the leaders and members of parties considered as radical, (Hizbu ut Tahrir, Al Ghurabaa and the Saved Sect), and the articles, the news and the papers produced by leading media institutions and scholars on the phenomenon of radical Islamism in the UK.My argument is that there is a 'mirroring effect' between the essentialized representation of Islam and Islamism proposed by the Culturalist and Orientalist approach and the self -representation voiced by the 'radical' Islamists themselves. In other words, there is a sort of paradoxical dynamic, which means categories imposed from above, that become unconsciously internalised from below, although both parties propose an inverted image of what is in reality: the mirroring effect. My point here is that the dismissal of this element in the analysis could mask a refusal to address our own failure to make a serious political examination of the phenomenon itself. The hope is that this paper will contribute to such an analysis as a prelude to framing signifying representations, discursive, contested and contextual practices.

Paper Presenter: Niklas Bernsand (Coordinator of the Centre for European Studies, Lund University, Sweden) “Friend or Foe? Contemporary debates on Islam among Swedish right-wing radicals”
Depending on different definitional approaches, estimates of the number of Muslims in Sweden vary from approximately 100 000 members of officially recognised Islamic communities ( to 250 000 or even 400 000 individuals from predominantly Muslim countries, in a general Swedish population of about 9 million. Since immigration in the 1990s and first decades of the 2000s has been largely provoked by the wars and turbulence in the Balkans, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan, Swedish discourse on immigration, integration and intercultural relations has to a large extent become synonymous with discourse on Islam and Muslims. The increased demographic presence of Muslims in Sweden has triggered intensive discussions on the present state and future outlook of Swedish society, both in mainstream discourse and on the margins of the political and ideological spectrum. While mainstream Swedish political and media discourse on Islam and Muslims immigrants long remained inside the framework of a hegemonic multiculturalism (Carlbom 2003), in recent years a critical stance towards what are deemed to be illiberal and radical strands of Islam has been increasingly prevalent. Offering a critique of certain religious practices and interpretations deemed inacceptable for individuals being raised in a modern and secularised society, this liberal tendency often argues that multiculturalism's encouraging of stable collective identities for immigrant communities blocks the integration of Muslims in mainstream society. Instead, they focus on the need for explicit core values based on Enlightenment traditions, rationality and personal freedom, which can unite all citizens regardless of ethno-cultural or religious traditions in a common civic culture. This presentation, though, focuses on ideological developments on the margins of Swedish discourse on Islam and Muslim immigration. Much as the shift of focus from immigrants in general to Muslims in particular has resulted in the weakening of the multiculturalist hegemony in Swedish mainstream discourse, among nationalists on the radical right debates on Islam and Muslims have revealed internal divisions in crucial ideological matters pertaining to national identity and the moral state of modern Swedish culture. While for some nationalists, Islam clearly represents the ultimate Other and the key threat to Swedish culture and society, other nationalists, inspired by wider European identitarian and traditionalist thought, seek common ground with conservative Islamic strands of thought in the critique of key aspects of modern Swedish and Western society. Simultaneously, the various positions taken by nationalists of various convictions interconnect in sometimes unexpected ways with ideas launched by actors in mainstream discussions in the media and in the political field. If the anti-multiculturalism of the populist nationalists combines a cultural nationalist and assimilationist agenda with values anchored in the political mainstream (Blokker 2005), such as secularism, individualism and rationalism, many identitarian nationalists draw on a conservative ideological heritage that is largely absent from Swedish mainstream discourse.The analysis in this presentation is on the one hand based on material published on the identitarian blogs hosted on, and on the other on blogs of a more populist orientation, such as Motpol ('opposite pole') is a blog portal where Swedish identitarians seek to provide an alternative forum for 'cultural struggle, civic education and public debate' among young independent-minded intellectuals proclaiming to defend Nordic traditions and culture. Most elaborately, the view of Islam and pious Muslims as potential allies against an individualist, hedonist and consumerist late modern Swedish culture has been promoted by the self-described 'Indo-European pagan, identitarian traditionalist and right-wing radical' blogger Oskorei ( Arguably the most important Motpol blog with 2-5000 readers every week, Oskorei is a widely quoted source for inspiration for nationalists seeking an arena for discussing matters of identity and ideology in connections with current political, economical, cultural and intellectual trends. The positions taken by Oskorei on Islam, however, have stirred controversy both among fellow identitarian bloggers and nationalists of other persuasions, and have triggered discussions not less multi-faceted or contradictory than the equivalent mainstream debates.

Paper Presenter: Samir Amghar (Chercheur, Institut d'études de l'islam et du monde musulman, France) “ Le salafisme en France: anatomie d'une mouvance radicale”
Depuis une dizaine d'années, le monde arabe voit se développer sur son territoire l?affirmation d?une nouvelle identité religieuse, désignée par le terme de « salafisme ». Bien que minoritaire, ce phénomène a acquis une forte visibilité à travers une série d?événements qui ont défrayé l?actualité. Ainsi, ce sont des organisations (groupes islamiques armées, Groupe salafiste de prédication et de combat, Armée islamique du salut) se revendiquant du salafisme qui ont été à l?origine des insurrections armées en Algérie. En Grande-Bretagne, la dynamique salafiste a pris une telle importance durant la décennie 90 que Londres est devenue un épicentre de cette tendance de l?islam sur le Vieux Continent. Néanmoins, de l?ensemble des pays occidentaux, la France est sans doute le pays dans lequel elle est le plus active : des attentats du RER B en 1995 en passant par les actions du gang de Roubaix jusqu?aux jeunes volontaires partis en Irak pour combattre les troupes américaines en 20052. Preuve de la prégnance du phénomène salafiste, la multiplication des affaires liées à cette mouvance depuis quelques années : cent activistes ont été écroués dans le cadre de la lutte contre le terrorisme, selon les chiffres donnés par le ministre de l?Intérieur, Nicolas Sarkozy, le 23 novembre 2005, devant les députés, l?expulsion d?imams salafistes ou encore la création en juin 2009 d?une mission d?information parlementaire sur le niqâb (voile facial). Comment expliquer que du Moyen-Orient à l?Europe, des milieux religieux que tout distinguent, expriment dans les mêmes termes le contenu de leur appartenance à l?islam ? Pourquoi ces expressions religieuses en provenance de l?Orient arrivent-elles à faire sens pour des jeunes musulmans nés et scolarisés en Occident et dont beaucoup sont des convertis ? Comment peut-on expliquer le succès du salafisme au sein de l?islam européen et plus particulièrement français ? De surcroît, comment expliquer le développement de ces mouvements auprès des jeunes musulmans en dépit de leur stigmatisation ? A travers de multiples entretiens (près de 154), d?observations ethnographiques, d?observation participante, des documents et des sermons du vendredi, c?est la dynamique de la réislamisation initiée par la mouvance salafiste dont notre exposé tentera ici de démêler. Notre intervention se propose d?expliquer ce qu?est le salafisme en restituant les dimensions théologiques, sociales et politiques qui pose partout la question du rapport à la société et à ses institutions. Il s?agit par conséquent de montrer de quelles manières des influences religieuses qui ont leur origine dans le Moyen-Orient parviennent à modifier le comportement de certains musulmans. Plus précisément, il s?agit de mener une réflexion sur les registres de prédication de ce mouvement de réislamisation qui cherche à s?imposer depuis un certain nombre d?années auprès de certains segments de la population musulmane en Europe. L?objectif de notre recherche est ainsi de reconstituer l?univers sociologique et idéologique de ces groupes, en étudiant les techniques de mobilisation et leur travail de socialisation auprès des jeunes de banlieues, dans des zones péri-urbaines aussi diverses géographiquement que Roubaix, Argenteuil, Stains, Lyon, Marseille, Lausanne, Genève

Paper Presenter: Umar Ryad (Assistant Professor , Leiden Institute of Religious Studies, Netherlands) “Mapping Transnational Islam in inter-war Europe: Preliminary Research Questions”
The study of Islam in interwar Europe is still in its initial phase. Many aspects of the history of Islamic movements before the flux of Muslim immigrant workers in Europe are still entirely unknown. The proposed research will focus on the transnational networks of Muslim activities from within Europe (1919-1946) by analyzing the significant ideals and religious affiliations of the actors within these networks. Available studies focus mostly on local Muslim communities in Europe, which vary from one place to another. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Muslim socio-political and intellectual transnational networks found Europe a suitable ground on which they organized themselves and tried to diffuse reformist ideologies. The paper raises some research questions: How and why were these networks constructed? What was their role in linking Muslim communities in Europe and promoting the concepts of Islamism and anti-colonialism? To what degree did the elites within these networks succeed to exploit the scholarly, professional, social and political skills they had in lobbying and campaigning (or even entering into alliances) with western governments, diplomats, Orietalists, publishers, and the media? What were the tools for their networking as minority groups and their local interests towards effective solidarity on the basis of Islamic tenets in that crucial period of time? How did they, through their organized activity, participate in strengthening what they believed as the international character of political unity in Islam? What kind of political ideas or European methods of organization did these movements import to other activities in the Muslim world? How did they perceive Europe from within? Why did they establish their view of European supremacy as the ?ugly colonizer?, while they took Europe itself as their basis of settlement? Besides many other sources, the research makes use of four extensive personal archives of luminaries connected to these networks in Egypt, Morocco and Germany, which are useful in discerning the historical dimensions of these networks in their local settings. These archives (many documents, diaries, correspondences, and unpublished works) belong to 1) the aforementioned Ri?? in the possession of his family in Cairo, 2) the Syro-Turkish ex-military captain in the Ottoman army Zek? ?ishmat Kir?m in Berlin (d. 1946), 3) the above-mentioned al-Hil?l? in Morocco, and 4) Mohammed Daoud, the director of education in Tetouan (Morocco) during the Spanish Protectorate, which contains unpublished letters sent by Arsln.