Recent years have seen a number of attempts to provide encyclopaedic works seeking to bring together the increasing amount of research on Muslims in Europe, a subject area which has grown exponentially since the 1990s. Most notable among these have been the volume from Oxford University Press, The Oxford Handbook of European Islam edited by Jocelyne Caesari (2015), and the Brill annual Yearbook of Muslims in Europe, now approaching its ninth year. Here now is another attempt to meet this need, this time in a single volume and at a rather more humane price than the other two. The approach to the material is also different. Some seventy brief articles (not counting editors’ introductions) are distributed over eleven sections and subsections. Each of the latter has a thematic coherence while the individual articles each focus on one specific country. So the reader seeking information about a particular country will need to identify the several articles on that country spread over several (sub)sections. In the circumstances, it might have been helpful had the index included references to countries. Part 1 provides a number of thumbnail sketches of the main Islamic movements with a presence or impact in Europe. These short articles, each of some 5–9 pages, are useful and well-judged introductions in themselves but also a good foundation for the material which follows in Part 2. They include entries on the Muslim Brotherhood (by Rodrigo), the Milli Görüş (Jenny White), Jamaʿat-i-Islami (Jan-Peter Hartung), Tablighi Jamaʿat (Dietrich Reetz), Saudi Arabia (Guido Steinberg), Hizb ut-Tahrir (Suha Taji-Farouki), the Nahda and Tunisia (Lutz Rogler), Morocco and Algeria (Mohamed Darif), and an analysis of the politics of Islamism by Salman Sayyid. Of course, there is unevenness. Some of the articles make brief reference to the links to a European context, some do not and the reader must wait till later in the volume. It is also a disappointment that there is no reference to Sufi phenomena. It may be more difficult to provide the kind of brief introduction to Sufism provided for the movements identified here, but there clearly are Sufi actors in the public expressions of Islam in Europe. This weakness is reflected in the rest of the volume where a couple of entries on the Süleymanlıs and Shaykh Abdalqadir in Spain are the closest. There is no entry for Sufism in the index, and in the UK Barelwis are only mentioned a few times in passing. It would seem that the editors have chosen to define the ‘movements’ of the volume title as something with a degree of institutionalized structure. The main sections in Part 2 are distributed across a number of subtopics. ‘Groups and Federations’ includes eight entries on groups arising out of the Muslim Brotherhood tradition, which includes an excellent but (too?) brief entry on the European Council for Fatwa and Research and Yusuf al-Qaradawi. This is followed by sections on the Milli Görüş (six entries), including an interesting entry by Werner Schiffauer on the German-based breakaway led by Cemalittin Kaplan which attracted attention during the 1990s, the Salafis (four articles) and Salafi-jihadist groups (four articles), three entries on the Tablighi Jamaʿat, two on Hizb ut-Tahrir, and seven on other groups which include the Islamic Foundation in the UK and the Süleymanlıs in Germany and the Netherlands. The last section (Part 3) focuses on Islamism and Islamophobia. From one point of view it is regrettable that this section was not used to disentangle and analyse Islamophobia both as a concept—what does it mean and how successful is it as an analytical tool?—and as a descriptor of phenomena on the ground. It is, however, a useful attempt at considering how Islamophobia (whatever it is) plays out in various places. The contributors are all recognized scholars who have already contributed work on their subject fields. Many of them have authored several articles here. Together with the editors, Jörn Thielmann, Elena Arigita, Sadek Hamid, Thijl Sunier, Dietrich Reetz, Jordi Moreras, Firdaus Ouestlati stand out as multiple contributors among a list of 55 in total. This is a reference work with an uncertain identity, an uncertainty manifest already in the title. On the one hand, it is a handbook of Islamic movements and their presence in Europe. On the other hand, it is a handbook on the relationships between Muslim communities and the wider society focused on the interaction of ‘radicalization’ and Islamophobia, a much shorter section (starting only on p. 311). There is, finally, a minor—or is it actually a major?—complaint. The title promises Europe. But the book only covers Western Europe. Surely it is about time that researchers in this field recognized that the Iron Curtain has disappeared and that those parts of Europe which lay to the East are also very much part of Europe. © The Author (2017). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com
Journal of Islamic Studies – Oxford University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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