Beyond “Methodological Islamism”? A Thematic Discussion of Muslim Minorities in Europe


In this discussion we offer an overview of the place of Muslim actors in European scholarship. We especially focus on the second and subsequent generations of European Muslims, and how future research agendas could conceptualise the relationship between contemporary Muslim identity and citizenship regimes in Europe. We explore the way in which our understanding is formed by a concern with socio- economic processes, cultural adaptations and civic status. We include questions of citizenship and “difference”, and the extent to which there has been a re-imagining and re-forming of national collectivities in the face of Muslim claims-making. By claims-making we invoke a further register which centres on the creation of a Muslim infrastructure, perhaps through modes of religious pluralism (or opposition to it), and how this interacts with prevailing ideas that to greater and lesser extents inform public policies e.g., multiculturalism, interculturalism, cohesion, secularism, or Leitkulture, amongst others. While the latter register focuses more on nation-state politics, there is a further transnational dimension in the Muslim experience in Europe, and this assumes an important trajectory in the ways discussed. It is argued that Muslim identities in Europe contain many social layers that are often independent of scriptural texts; such that the appellation of “Muslim” can be appropriated without any unanimity on Islamic matters. We conclude by observing how this point is understudied, and as a consequence the dynamic features of Muslims’ leadership in Europe remain unexplored.a

Share and Cite:

Meer, N. & Modood, T. (2013). Beyond “Methodological Islamism”? A Thematic Discussion of Muslim Minorities in Europe. Advances in Applied Sociology, 3, 307-313. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2013.37039.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Allen, C., & Nielsen, J. S. (2002). Summary report on Islamophobia in the EU15 after 11 September 2001. Vienna: European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia
[2] Alsayyad, N., & Castells, M. (1997). Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam. Politics, culture and citizenship in the age of globalization. Lexington: Lexington Books.
[3] Anderson, J. (2003). New media, new publics: Reconfiguring the public sphere of Islam. Social Research, 70, 887-906.
[4] Bader, V. (2007). The governance of Islam in Europe: The perils of modelling. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33, 871-886.
[5] Banting, K., & Kymlicka, W. (2006). Multiculturalism and the welfare state: Recognition and redistribution in contemporary democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[6] Benthall, J. (2003). Islam in Europe. Oxford: Polity.
[7] Bleich, E. (2009). State responses to “Muslim” violence: A comparison of six west European countries. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 35, 361-379.
[8] Body-Gendrot, S., & Martiniello, M. (2000). Minorities in European cities. The dynamics of social integration and social exclusion at the neighbourhood level. Hampshire: MacMillan Press.
[9] Bowen, J. (2007). A view from France on the internal complexity of national models. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33, 10031016.
[10] Bowen, J. R. (2006). Why the French don’t like headscarves: Islam, the state and public space. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.
[11] Brubaker, R. (2001). The return of assimilation? Changing perspectives on immigration and its sequels in France, Germany, and the United States. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 24, 531-548.
[12] Brubaker, R. (2012). Categories of analysis and categories of practice: A note on the study of Muslims in European countries of immigration. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 1-8.
[13] Cesari, J. (2004). When Islam and democracy meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
[14] Chapman, C. (1998). Islam and the West: Conflict, co-existence or conversion? Cornwall: Paternoster Press.
[15] Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain (CMEB) (2000). The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. London: Profile Books.
[16] Etienne, B. (1989). La France et l’Islam. Paris: Hachette.
[17] Faas, D. (2010). Negotiating political identities: Multiethnic schools and youth in Europe. Farnham: Ashgate.
[18] Favell, A. (1998). Philosophies of integration: Immigration and the idea of citizenship in France and Britain. Basingstoke & New York: Palgrave.
[19] Fetzer, J., & Soper, C. (2005). Muslims and the State in Britain, France, and Germany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[20] Fraser, N. (1992). Rethinking the public sphere: A contribution to the critique of actually existing democracies. In C. Calhoun (Ed.), Habermas and the public sphere. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
[21] Gest, J. (2010). Apart: Alienated and engaged Muslims in the West. London: Hurst Publishers..
[22] Goody, J. (2003). Islam in Europe. Oxford, MA: Polity.
[23] Hirschman, C. (2004). The role of religion in the origins and adaptation of immigrant groups in the United States. International Migration Review, 38, 1206-1233.
[24] Hunter, S. (2010). Europe’s Muslim minority: The challenge of integration. Orient II, 15-22.
[25] Jacobs, D., & Rea, A. (2007). The end of national models? Integration courses and citizenship trajectories in Europe. International Journal on Multicultural Societies, 9, 264-283.
[26] Joppke, C. (2004). The retreat of multiculturalism in the liberal state: Theory and policy. The British Journal of Sociology, 55, 237-257.
[27] Klausen, J. (2005). The Islamic challenge: Politics and religion in Western Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[28] Koopmans, R., & Statham, P. (1999). Challenging the liberal nation —State? Postnationalism, multiculturalism, and the collective claims making of migrants and ethnic minorities in Britain and Germany. American Journal of Sociology, 105, 652-696.
[29] Laurence, J., & Vaoisse, J. (2006). Integrating Islam: Political and religious challenges in contemporary France. Washington: Brookings Institution.
[30] Levey, G. B. (2009). Secularism and religion in a multicultural age. In G. B. Levey, & T. Modood (Eds.), Secularism, religion and multicultural citizenship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[31] Lewis, B., & Schnapper, D. (1994). Muslims in Europe. London: Pinter Publishers.
[32] Mandaville, R. (2001). Transnational Muslim politics. London and New York: Routledge.
[33] Mandaville, R. (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, 491-506.
[34] Maussen, M. (2007). The governance of islam in Europe: A state of art report. Amsterdam: IMESCO Working Paper No. 16.
[35] Meer, N. (2013). Racialization and religion. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36, 385-515.
[36] Meer, N. (2012). Misrecognising Muslim consciousness in Europe. Ethnicities, 12, 178-197.
[37] Meer, N. (2010). Citizenship, identity & the politics of multiculturalism. Palgrave.
[38] Meer, N., Dwyer, C., & Modood, T. (2010) Embodying nationhood? Conceptions of British national identity, citizenship and gender in the “veil affair”. The Sociological Review, 58, 84-111.
[39] Modood, T., & Ahmad, F. (2007). British Muslim perspectives on multiculturalism. Theory, Culture & Society, 24, 187-213.
[40] Modood, T., Berthoud, R., Lakey, J., Nazroo, J., Smith, P., Virdee, S., & Beishon, S. (1997). Ethnic minorities in Britain: Diversity and disadvantage: The fourth national survey of ethnic minorities, policy studies institute.
[41] Modood, T. (2009). Ethnicity and Religion. In M. Flinders, A. Gamble, C. Hay, & M. Kenny (Eds.), The oxford handbook of British politics. Oxford University Press.
[42] Modood, T. (2007). Multiculturalism: A civic idea. Cambridge: Polity.
[43] Modood, T. (1994). Political blackness and British Asians. Sociology, 28, 859-876.
[44] Modood, T. (1988). “Black”, racial equality and asian identity. New Community, 14, 3.
[45] Modood, T., Triandafyllidou, A., & Zapata-Barrero, R. (2006). Multiculturalism, Muslims and citizenship: A European approach. Abingdon & New York: Routledge.
[46] Nielsen, J. (1984). Muslim immigration and settlement in Britain. Research Papers: Muslims in Europe, no. 21, CSIC, Birmingham.
[47] Nielsen, J. S. (1992). Muslims in Western Europe. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
[48] Nielsen, J. S. (1999). Towards a European Islam, Migration, Minorities and Citizenship. Houndmills, Basingstoke: MacMillan.
[49] Nielsen, J. S. (2004). Muslims in Western Europe (3rd ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
[50] Open Society Institute (2010). At home in Europe: A report on 11 EU cities. London: Open Society Institute.
[51] O’Toole, T., Modood, T., DeHanas, D., Meer, N., & Jones, S. (2013). Taking part: Muslim participation in contemporary governance. Bristol: CSEC.
[52] PGAP (PEW GLOBAL ATTITUDES PROJECT) (2008). Unfavorable views of Jews and Muslims on the increase in Europe. Washington DC: Pew Research Center. Summary.
[53] Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2010). Muslim networks and movements in Western Europe. Washington: Pew Research Centre.
[54] Ramadan, T. (1999). To be a European Muslim. Leicester: Islamic Foundation.
[55] Ramadan, T. (2004). Western Muslims and the future of Islam. New York: Oxford University Press.
[56] Roy, O. (2004). Globalised Islam: The search for a New Umma. London: Hurst.
[57] Safi, O. (2004). Introduction: “The Times They Are a-changing”. In O. Safi (Ed.), Progressive Muslims on Justice, Gender and Pluralism (pp. 147-162). Oxford: Oneworld.
[58] Schirin, A.-M. (2007). Euro-Islam, Islam in Europe, or Europe revised through Islam? Versions of Muslim Solidarity within European borders. In Nathalie Karagiannis (Hg.). European Solidarity and Solidarity beyond Europe (pp. 186-213). Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
[59] Schonwalder, K. (2001). Einwanderung und ethnische Pluralitat. Politische Entscheidungen und Offentliche Debatten in Groβritannien und der Bundesrepublik von den 1950er bis zu den 1970er Jahren. Essen: Klartext Verlag.
[60] Sen, A. (2006). Identity and violence: The illusion of destiny. New York: W. W. Norton.
[61] Simon, P., & Piché, V. (2012). Accounting for ethnic and racial diversity: The challenge of enumeration. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35, 1357-1365.
[62] Soysal, Y. (1994). Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
[63] Tibi, B. (1998). Europa ohne Identita¨t, Die Krise der multikulturellen Gesellschaft. Munich: Bertelsmann.
[64] Tibi, B. (2008). Political islam, world politics and Europe: Democratic peace and euro-islam versus global jihad. Chippenham: Routledge.
[65] Triandafyllidou, A., Modood, T., & Meer, N. (2011). European multiculturalism(s): Cultural, religious and ethnic challenges. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
[66] Triandafyllidou, A. Muslims in 21st Century Europe: Structural and cultural perspectives. Routledge.
[67] Werbner, P. (1994). Diaspora and millennium: British Pakistani globallocal fabulations of the Gulf War.In S. Ahmed, & H. Donnan (Eds.), Islam, globalization and postmodernity (pp. 209-231). London: Routledge.
[68] Yildiz, A. A., & Verkuyten, M. (2012). Conceptualising Euro-Islam: Managing the societal demand for religious reform. Identities, 19, 360376.
[69] Voas, D., & Ling, R. (2010). Religion in Britain and the United States. In A. Park et al. (Eds.), British Social Attitudes: The 26th Report (pp. 65-86). London: SAGE.
[70] Zolberg, A., & Woon, L. (1999). Why Islam is like Spanish: Cultural Incorporation in Europe and the United States. Politics & Society, 27, 5-38.
[71] Zick, A., Kupper, B., & Hovermann, A. (2011). Intolerance, prejudice and discrimination. Berlin: Forum Berlin.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.