About 20 million Muslims live in EU countries as citizens or immigrants. Givens higher rate birth, Muslim population are growing in these countries. From some Europeans states' point of view, the presence of such large Muslim population poses a major challenge due to their non – European culture and beliefs.
The prevalence of a discriminatory attitude towards Muslims in Europe is primarily due to the Islamic identity of this population.
The September 11 attacks on the U.S. followed by terrorist events in Madrid and London by Al-Qaeda group on the one hand, and their attribution to the whole Muslims by the Western media, on the other hand, contributed to the formation of a negative mentality about the Muslims throughout Europe. This negative mentality, in turn, aggravated discriminations against the Muslims. Today, major European countries face the problem of how to integrate Muslims into their own societies to maintain their social cohesion.
To deal with the problem, European countries each have adopted a certain integration policy. Countries like France and Germany tend more to integrate Muslims into their national societies provided that they accept the culture and values of their of their host country and do not much emphasize their Islamic identity.
On the contrary, Britain recognizes the distinct identity of Muslims, but in this country, Muslims live in isolation.
Among the issues put forward in EU countries as a result of Muslims presence, we can distinguish three categories: the first category is directly related to the demands of Muslims regarding exercise of their religion; the second category includes issues which are in conflict with the social of the host country and resulted from the special culture and traditions of Muslims communities; the third category includes the problems affecting large sections of the society, but in case of Muslims, they cause more hardship, due to their depravation and inferior status in the society. These problems are poverty, unemployment, inflation, etc.
It seems that the EU countries should recognize the different cultures within their own societies and open the dialogue with Muslim minority to pave the way for integration of minorities, especially Muslims, and to prevent their frustration which could have grave consequences in terms of social unrest and instability. Adopting constructive interaction with Muslims also helps remove existing misunderstandings between the Muslim world and the West.
This book contains two parts. In first part, the policies adopted by integration of Muslims are discussed. The second part is devoted to existing views on Islam in the West and their repercussions for the foreign policy of Western countries.
The first chapter, titled “Muslims and European Governments” addresses policies adopted by European governments towards Muslims and their reactions to these policies. The author has chosen policies adopted by France and Britain in this regard.
The second chapter, “A Comparative Study of Policies Adopted by France and Germany Regarding Muslims' Integration” tries to take a look at the dominant political – philosophical attitudes, public opinion and elite's mindset in France and Germany to explain the context in which the issue of Muslim integration is dealt with. Then, the author studies the adopted policies by these two countries in a comparative manner through evaluating the economic and social situation of Muslim immigrants.
The third chapter, “Communatarianism in Britain and Its Impact on the Situation of Muslims in that Country”, is devoted to the idea of communitarianism which is prevalent in Britain. According to this view, minorities are recognized as a distinct and separate community which should enjoy same privileges of majority groups.
The fourth chapter, “The EU Policy towards Immigration” discusses the EU laws and policies regarding immigration. The author tries to make clear the dominant view in EU on the issue of immigration.
The fifth chapter, “Western Views on Political Islam” explains the context in which political Islam is understood in contemporary international relations and its manifestation in the U.S. and European foreign policy. While comparing prevalent secular views in the U.S. and Europe, the author emphasizes that European views tend to interact with Islamists and Islamic movements.
The last chapter, “Islam as a Deterring Factor for Turkey's Membership in the EU” argues that Turkey's Islamic identity which has become more salient following the coming to power of Islamic governments in that country is considered a deterring factor in its membership in the EU.