Islam in Europe in Times of Terror Dr. Tilman Lanz Minorities and Multilingualism Program Department of Frisian Language and Culture Rijksuniversiteit Groningen firstname.lastname@example.org Hypothesis The frequency of terrorist attacks by young Muslims in Europe suggests that there are significant problems with the integration of these youth into European societies. We may also assume that there are significant tensions among Muslims in Europe what the ‚right‘ Islam is. This is a European problem, merely aggravated by the Islamic State. Lecture Outline 1. Angry Young Men and Islam in Europe 2. Islamic Instruction in Europe: The Example of Germany 3. The Limits of Reinterpretation: The Example of Catalonia 4. Conclusions/Openings for Debate Angry Young Men • Young Muslim women are redeemable, young Muslim men are not • Katherine Ewing: Stolen Honor • Mujatweets and the IS as a youthful adventure • Believing in something The Practice of Islam in Europe • Mostly an immigrant religion • Imams and other religious leaders or instructors are frequently imported from the migrants‘ former homeland (e.g. Turkey, Algeria, Morocco); legacy from the 1970s • Three generations of Muslims in Europe today (For a detailed discussion of the situation in France and Britain, see: Bowen 2012) The Example of Germany Islamic Education in Germany • • • • Turkish Islam dominates Diyanet: Turkish ministery for religious affairs Ditib: German branch of the Diyanet Imams and religious teachers are sent for a period of three years (maximum: six years) to Germany Problem: Today these imams and teachers are largely out of touch with the lived reality of third generation Muslims in Germany Face-Off The lived realities of Turkish Imams sent to Germany Ditib/Diyanet for a few years and young (Turkish) Muslims in Germany have nothing in common. So, where can young European Muslims turn for orientation? One Choice: Indigenous Imams German radical Muslim Pierre Vogel with some of his followers. Another Choice: Mujatweets • Tweets to recruit young European Muslims for the IS • Highly professional productions (in contrast to al Qaeda) • In English to make sure young European Muslims can understand the message Young European Muslims have access to alternative narratives about Islam today, wich were not present a generation ago. Alternatives Alternatives: In Practice • Lamya Kaddor • Teacher of Islam in a German Middle School • Teaches Islam in German, with an emphasis on meaning, not recitation • Has co-authored a book (in German) entitled ‚The Qur‘an for Children and Grown-Ups‘ to disseminate understanding of Quranic principles • Is a graduate of the first German program on Islamic Studies at the University of Münster • A few of her former students are now fighting for IS in Syria Kaddor‘s work aims at making Islam transparent for young German Muslims. Alternatives: In Theory • • • • • Tariq Ramadan Prolific Writer and a powerful voice of European Islam Calls upon European Muslims to integrate and participate in the societies they live in ‚as Muslims‘ Rejects dogmatic interpretations of Islam and propagates a substantial reinterpretation of the sources in light of Western modernity The Ramdan-Hirsi Ali debates a few years ago are a milestone in the development of Islam in Europe Muslims in Europe need to adapt to the realities in their new homelands; likewise their practice of Islam has to be changed but this is a two-way street. Why the Alternatives Fail • Western media and politicians demonize moderates like Tariq Ramadan as double-tongued radicals • Muslim conservatives condemn the reforms of Islam in Europe (by European Muslims) as unislamic • The former homelands of migrants want to continue to exert influence by sending Imams • Understanding Islam is not the objective of the young men and women joining the IS – they merely want to fight for a good cause that also makes their lives simpler and, strangely, more meaningful Example: Ramadan Coming to Britain An Example for Failure: The Muslim Communities in Barcelona • • • • • Consell Islamic de Catalunya – main representation of Muslims in Catalonia Controlled by Morocco (government) Diseminates a very conservative version of Islam Leadership is exclusively Moroccan Large following among all Muslims in Catalonia (mainly because there are few alternatives) • • • • • • Note: Immigration and, therefore, also immigration of Muslims is a recent phenomenon in Catalonia. We cannot expect to find the same level of articulation and differentiation among migrant communities as, say, in Germany. Abdenur Prado Catalan convert to Islam Has published several books on Islam and frequently appears in Western media on the topic of Islam Local contacts to many non-Muslims Very few (if any) Muslim followers because most migrants find his version of Islam too Westernized and radically reformist Example: Prado argues, in one of his books, for a feminist reading of the Qur‘an Conclusions/Openings The problematic of young European Muslims radicalizing will not disappear until the discourse about Islam in Europe is no longer dominated by hardliners on both sides. To put this a bit more provocatively: Wahabis and the Front National ensure – in harmonious, deadly collaboration – that the next terrorist attack will happen soon. Thank you for your attention! Sources Bowen, John R. 2012. A New Anthropology of Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kaddor, Lamya and Müller, Rabeya. 2008. Der Koran für Kinder und Erwachsene (engl: The Qur‘an for Children and Grown-Ups). München: Beck. Ramadan, Tariq. 2004. Western Muslims and the Future of Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.