The Muslim Question in Europe
Political Controversies and Public Philosophies
“A thought-provoking and fresh look at the history of ideas that have shaped Europeans’ encounter with the historic settlement of Muslim minorities in Western Europe. O’Brien is an able guide to the best research in philosophy and the social sciences as he explores the nuances of western cultural contexts. The Muslim Question in Europe combines rich normative and empirical analyses that shed light on unresolved conflicts in European nation-states.”—Jonathan Laurence, Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston College and author of The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims and Integrating Islam
An estimated twenty million Muslims now reside in Europe, mostly as a result of large-scale postwar immigration. In The Muslim Question in Europe, Peter O’Brien challenges the popular notion that the hostilities concerning immigration—which continues to provoke debates about citizenship, headscarves, secularism, and terrorism—are a clash between “Islam and the West.” Rather, he explains, the vehement controversies surrounding European Muslims are better understood as persistent, unresolved intra-European tensions.
O’Brien contends that the best way to understand the politics of state accommodation of European Muslims is through the lens of three competing political ideologies: liberalism, nationalism, and postmodernism. These three broadly understood philosophical traditions represent the most influential normative forces in the politics of immigration in Europe today. He concludes that Muslim Europeans do not represent a monolithic anti-Western bloc within Europe. Although they vehemently disagree among themselves, it is along the same basic liberal, nationalist, and postmodern contours as non-Muslim Europeans.
Peter O’Brien is Professor of Political Science at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He is the author of European Perceptions of Islam and America from Saladin to George W. Bush: Europe’s Fragile Ego Uncovered, and Beyond the Swastika. He has been a Social Science Research Council Fellow at the Free University in Berlin, and Fulbright Visiting Professor at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and at the Humboldt University in Berlin.
Temple University Press