Immigration, Radicalisation and Islamic Discourse in Europe

  

I have a more technical point to make today. I stand here as a French citizen. I want to make clear that I am not French and have no relation. I’m a sworn enemy of France. So I want to make this in the record that I’m not French, okay? I tell you I am a Muslim, and I have nothing to do with a nation of homosexual Crusaders. And I am not a frog. That’s the first thing. . . .

Zacarias Moussaoui, the 20th hijacker to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Colombia

‘ I am not only British. I am English – because England is the only home I have ever  known- even though I am a Muslim and I have an Indian name’ 

Munaf Zeena, director of the North London Muslim Community Center 

Many great and heated debates are hiding between these lines that represent only a fraction of the many voices expressed by Muslims in Europe.

In the recent years, I believe that many of us have become increasingly aware to the voices of extremism such as those of Zacarias quoted above. These voices often fall into a stereotype that links Islam, immigration and extremism.  

Zacarias, could easily fall into that very a rubric. He was born in France to a mother that was married at the age of fourteen in Morocco. Like many other poor immigrants, Moussaoui endured domestic violence at home and racism and discrimination outside.  His family moved frequently between different parts of France and eventually reached the UK. There he appeared have made it. He earned a master’s degree in International Business from South Bank University in London. He made money. He could have been a success story. But he was still angry.  Consequently, he made his initial steps into the world of radicalism in Brixton mosque and later with members of the Finsbury Park mosque, where extremist Abu Hamza al-Masri held lessons. In 1998, he attended the Khalden training camp in Afghanistan. Consequently, he joined Al Qaeda and participated in the planning of the  Sep 11th attacks on the US.  

Munaf Zeena, the 45 year old director of a North London Muslim center, has a very similar background. Like Moussaoui, he too suffered racism from British nationalists while growing up.  He also has been to Pakistan and felt the enormous gulf between his own, British-born generation and that of his parents.  But Zeena took a different path and in the last 20 years he became an educator and community activists who preach tolerance and moderation. Zeena found his own way to fight radicalism. He believes that in order to defeat extremism a sense of community must be created [1].

‘What turned them into terrorists and what turned me into a man of peace?’ asked Zeena in a Muslims gathering in London a week following the London underground terrorist attacks. This piece attempts to highlight a partial answer to this question by addressing the issue of political Islam with its radical and ‘moderate’ discourse.  

‘Political Islam’ is usually linked with Islamist tendencies that are often associated with the most radical voices of Islam. Statements, such as those given by radical markers such as Osma bin Laden of Al-Qaeda   or President Ahmadinejad of Iran stresses the idea of Clash of Civilisations under which Islam should finds itself fighting with the West. Some scholars tend to use similar langue as they attempt remind Europe and the West of a rapidly changing reality that requires a policy sift vis-à-vis the rapidly growing Muslim population in its midst. Since Islam appears to be  fighting the West, they would say, the West should be prepared to fight with Islam.  

I will argue that these extreme responses are not constructive at best, as they contribute to a radicalisation process of newcomer Muslim immigrants to Europe and elsewhere. Further, I will argue that the War of Civilisation  terminology – a terminology that seeks to paint Muslim migrants as isolationists,  radicals and extremists – fails to capture the real dimensions of the problems associated with Muslim immigration to the West.  As this article will show, many Muslims are equally worried about these growing trends of radicalism among their fellow believers. More so, as the Sufi case further demonstrates, there is a solid Muslim leadership that is willing to make significant efforts to battle the phenomenon of Muslim radicalism.  

* * *

Not surprisingly, the Western discourse surrounding Islam in Europe often chooses to focus on the radical voices of Islam, on its dangers and on a ‘European Awakening’  that is allegedly necessary as a response to a threatening Islamic wave. Indeed, there are a few good reasons for that view.  

As has been the case in the past, the world of Islam may do more to define and shape Europe in the twenty-first century than the United States, Russia, or even the European Union. Islam is at least the second largest religion in sixteen out of the thirty-seven European states. In 1996 there were 200,000 Muslims in Belgium; 2.5 Million in France and about 800,000 Muslims in Great Britain.[2] Today, in 2007, most estimates point to 400,000 Muslims in Belgium;  5-6 Million Muslims in France and 1.6 million in Britain. These numbers, which represent a 100% population growth within 10-15 years,  reveal the vast challenges of immigration and integration that are often juxtaposed with the questions of communal influences. Will the Muslim community in Europe push its new members toward integration and moderation? Or, will the community leaders push its members toward the opposite direction, and toward isolation and extremism?  

The opening of the twenty first century brought religious tensions to a new peak in Europe and brought new and unprecedented events to a European soil that had thought itself immune from the influence of radical ideologies. Events such as the murder of Theo van Gogh by an Islamic radical; the involvement of European residents and citizens in terrorist attacks that took place on European soil; the violent riots and the waves of demonstrations that accompanied the printing of cartoons in a Danish newspaper and, lastly, the 2005 wave of riot in Paris,  during which  nurseries, schools shops and over 900 cars were burned in immigrant-dominated areas near Paris –  were just a few examples that  illuminated the scope of a growing gulf that is opening between a growing immigrant population and its European  hosting lands. A series of social, economic and political issues can be used to explain some of these events. But the phenomenon of radicalisation, as the following examples will further illuminate, still stands out alarmingly. 

A Nixon Center study which analysed interviews with 375 suspected or convicted terrorists in Western Europe and North America between 1993 and 2004 found more than twice as many Frenchmen as Saudis and more Britons than Sudanese, Yemenis, Emiratis, Lebanese, or Libyans combined.  In fact, Fully a quarter of the jihadists it listed were western European nationals.[3]  

The fact that European Muslims were willing to join the ranks of Terrorists groups who vouch for Osama bin Laden appeared shocking to many Europeans. But, as repeated polls have shown, these individuals were connected to a broader trend of radicalisation that can be found outside Europe as well.  Recent finding by the Pew Global Attitude project affirmed that the rise of Islamic extremism is indeed an issue of global concern. Most respondents in countries as different as Germany, India and Great Britain, Pakistan, Indonesia and Egypt, expressed concerns about the rise of Islamic extremism. Similar concerns were expressed by the majority of British, French, Spanish and German Muslims. But at the same time, the Muslim respondents in the UK, French, Spain and Germany reported   25% support to Islamic extremists such as Osama bin Laden. In another recent survey, 16% of the Muslim in France and Spain and 15% of the Muslims in England said that they are willing to support suicide bombing in order to protect Islam. In addition,  13% of Muslims in the UK justified the terrorist attacks in London on 7th July 2005.[4] 

These alarming findings may have not yet sunk in Europe where people are slow to admit that ‘ideology matters’. Scholars and pundits will often wave these alarming figures to support their call for a radical change to a whole set of policies concerning immigration, national security and education.  But while Europe further engages in this important debate on the limits of tolerance and on the meaning of religious freedom, I believe it is failing to focus on another part of the Islamic discourse in Europe. That part of the debate is led by Muslims whom I will call ‘integrators’ and who are likewise  alarmed by the gowning influence of radical clerics and by the radicalisation process that they see as fundamentally dangerous to their own interpretation of Islam. 

For the ‘Integrators’, these radical clerics, many of whom immigrated to  Europe in the  last 15 years, do not speak the language of Islam which talks of tolerance, peaceful worship and to ‘live and let live.’ In fact, these clerics do not speak the languages of Europe, since they rather speak in Arabic or Urdu to a crowd of Muslim Immigrants that is more prone to be influenced.  However, this ‘imported’ radical discourse finds its own adversaries within the Muslim community in Europe.  In some ways, this struggle can also be framed as one between ‘European Muslims,’ who have been in Europe for three of four generations and the ‘newcomers,’ radical elements that succeed in engaging the first and second generation immigrants who suffer from typical immigrant difficulties and are more prone to find an answer in a radical Islamist message.  

The Debate on Moderate Islam

All around the world, Muslims and non-Muslims are engaged in a debate about the nature of Islam. This debate knows countless slants and perspectives buts its core revolves around the link between the noticeable trend of Islamic radicalism and the question of Islam itself as being the source of it. Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the director of Al-Arabiya news, eloquently put it when we wrote  ‘It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims.’[5] 

This debate touches the very soul of Islam and brings foreword the problems of discussing the issue of reform within Islam which by itself presents a set of theological  problems. The doctrine of Tawhīd ( ‘unification’, the Oneness of God) and its indisputable message makes the discussion of ‘reform’ in an Islamic context difficult since it needs to reconcile sets of what appears to be indisputable truths.   

The strong language used in various Islamic texts appears to leave little room for manoeuvre for further interpretations as Islam is divine, unified and indisputable, as is taught in the Quran:  ‘There is no right on Him that is binding, and no one exercises rule over Him. Every endowment from Him is due to His Generosity and every punishment from Him is just. He is not questioned about what He does, but they are questioned’[6]‘  

Further, the implicit equation of ‘reform’ (Islach) with ‘improvement’ has led many Muslims to reject the applicability of the concept of reform in Islam, for Islam to them is perfect by definition and is not susceptible for improvement or reform[7]. Some Muslims also seek to characterise that debate as an attempt by non-Muslims to meddle in internal Muslim affairs and to inject ‘western’ ideas to Islam and subsequently divide the Islamic camp . In their view, ‘Reformist Islam’ is a political invention that is essentially alien to true Islam[8]. The Central Council of Muslims in Germany said, for example, recently stated that, ‘Islam is faced with the threat, due to political and governmental pressure, of being split into two denominations: Islam and Reformist Islam..[9] 

Of course, Islam was not immune from disputes, starting from the murder of Imam Ali at 661.   Attempts to shape, reform and reinterpret Islam have soon followed and helped create the different schools of Islamic jurisprudence along with the lines of authority that influence Muslims tribes, orders, states and individuals until this very day.  

Attempts to adopt and incorporate ‘foreign’ or ‘Western’ influences into Islam are likewise not new. Islam, who in turn influenced Judaism, Christianly and later religions that emerged from it, was influenced by non-Muslim ideas in a similar fashion. Early thinkers like al-Farabi (870-950 CE), Ibn Sina (980-1037 CE);  Ibn Rushd (1126-1198 CE) and  Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406 CE) were influenced by Aristotelian and rational thought[10]. Thinkers such as Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani (1839-1897), Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) and his disciple Rashid Ridda (1865 -1935), drew inspiration from Western writers and philosophers and began to promote the idea that not Islam itself, but rather its archaic interpretation and its obsolete  system of norms were to blame for the backwardness of Islamic societies. Here, for example, Muhammad Rashid Ridda, the founder of the Salafiyyah movement in Egypt, offers his criticism against Muslim leaders who abused Islam for the wrong political purposes:  

Muslims have lost the truth of their religion, and this has been encouraged by bad political rulers, for the true Islam involves two things, acceptance of the unity of God and consultation in matters of State, and despotic rulers have tried to make Muslims forget the second by encouraging them to abandon the first.[11] 

Responding to foreign influences in Islamic lands, Khairuddin At-Tunisi (1810-99), the leader of the 19th-century reform movement in Tunisia wrote that,

kindling the Umma’s potential liberty through the adoption of sound administrative procedures and enabling it to have a say in political affairs, would put it on a faster track toward civilisation, would limit the rule of despotism, and would stop the influx of European civilisation that is sweeping everything along its path.[12] 

Reviewing the background of some of these attempts to reform Islam is relevant to the issue at hand.  However, it is beyond the scope of this paper. It will suffice to point that the current debate is not unprecedented, that is has deep historical roots and that it had led to fractionalisation within Islam in the past. The forces of reform and moderation existed and engaged the more radical elements of political Islam throughout Islamic history. Like today, they were often sidetracked by them. 

Last but not least it is important to point that this discourse on  ‘moderation’ and reform is indeed fundamental as it touches the very soul and nature of Islam itself. While the ‘moderates’ will likely accept the idea of ‘different interpretations,’ the radicals will reject that notion wholeheartedly.   

The Sufi Case

The alarming findings that were quoted above did shake a number of moderate Muslim leaders who understood that they may have already missed one of the last calls for action.  In particular, these developments triggered an interesting shift in the traditional position of some Muslim  Sufis who  subsequently  decided to join the political game.

I have found this shift of particular interest and relevance due to the following five reasons:

It can, in a modest way, be considered an historical precedence.

  1. It is one of the strongest Muslim responses to  radicalism that can be seen today.  
  2. It is an organised and a growing effort that is making headways in Asia, America, Europe and the Middle East
  3. An important portion of it is centred in Europe and aims to influence the European Muslim discourse.
  4. It is  not a case of ‘moderate Islam’ (a definition that is  very problematic by itself)  but of political Islam of a different sort.  It is also not the only example of the phenomenon I am about to describe.

Sufism, or tasawwuf in Arabic, is the name by which Islamic mysticism came to be known in the eighth or ninth century. The term ‘Sufi’ derives from the Arabic words ‘suf’ (‘wool’) and  ‘safa’ (purity) and  was applied to Muslim ascetics and mystics because they wore garments made out of wool. According to another view it is derived from the Arabic verb ‘safwe,’ meaning  ‘those who are selected’ – an idea that is frequently quoted in Sufi literature.

Sufi Islam is less rigid in its approach to Islamic law (Shariah), stressing the internal devotion to God and the pursuit of peace, equality and tolerance.[13] These moderate teachings were often at odds with both Sunni and Shiite Islam, which saw Sufism as a deviation from the true teachings of the Koran. Early Sufi mystics like Al Hallaj of Basra were charged with witchcraft and were persecuted for preaching the Sufi way. Consequently, their leaders learned to stay away from politics and did not always seek to challenge the ruling Muslim leadership.

But recently, some Sufi leaders understood that a higher calling may be at stake. ‘It is time for the middle ground to stand up and be counted before it is too late’ wrote Haras Rafiq, the founder of the Sufi Council in the United Kingdom. ‘Why is it that the more radical minority seems to have ‘taken over the microphone’, and is ever increasingly becoming viewed by many as the mainstream version of Islam’, he asked in an editorial that appeared in a new publications that aimed first and foremost toward British Muslims.

The Sufi Muslim Council soon established its position against any form of radicalism: 

The Nazis-oppressors of many nations and of the Jews – stand condemned. Christian-Irish extremists engaged in fratricide stand condemned. Christian-Serbian extremists, oppressors of innocent Muslims in Bosnia and Kosova, stand condemned. Extremist Jews attacking innocents, stand condemned. Similarly, Muslim extremists, like bin Laden and his affiliates -must be condemned. Therefore, we stand up as Muslims in the UK, declaring that we are not supporting any of these extremists, nor do we have anything to do with them..[14]

Rafiq and his colleagues followed up with a series of educational programs, conferences and public speeches that aimed at attacking the radical elements of Islam within the UK including the main Muslim establishment that are considered, in their eyes,  as extreme and   pro-Wahabbi.

Rafiq is not the only Sufi who has adopted such a position. When Sheikh Abdullah Algharib Alhamad Altamimee, a Syrian Sufi scholar who has been teaching Islam for 13 years, decided to speak out against the Assad regime, he also broke with a thousand years of Sufi tradition. When he decided to travel to Washington and officially join the ranks of the Syrian opposition, he told his wife that his life was no longer in his hands. ‘There are two million eligible young women who are not married mainly due to the fact that their potential husbands, two million eligible men, are too poor to support a future family,’ he told me when I asked him about the reasons for his uncommon move. He explained that this is his own Islamic call and added that if he is to sacrifice his life for his people, he will receive his reward from God.

In Indonesia, a place influenced by Sufism from the time of Sultan Malik Al-Saleh (13th century), similar voices are heard. Like other parts of the Muslim world, Indonesia has experienced an Islamic revival since the 1970s[15]. Growing numbers of mosques and prayer houses, the increasing popularity of head coverings among Muslim women and school girls, the more common sight of Muslims excusing themselves for daily prayers and attending services at their workplaces, the appearance of new forms of Islamic student activity on university campuses, strong popular agitation against government actions seen as prejudicial to the Muslim community, and the establishment in 1991 of an Islamic bank are all signs of that Islamic revival. But aside of these ‘outer’ (lahir) expression of Islam, Indonesia also experienced the increasing popularity of Islam’s ‘inner’ (batin)  spiritual expression. Sufism, according to Howel, ‘has inspired new enthusiasm, even in the sectors of Indonesian society most intensely engaged in modernisation and globalisation: the urban middle and upper classes. This interest is expressed through the participation of urbanites in the long-established, rural-based Sufi orders, the tarekat, but also through novel institutional forms in the towns and cities.’[16]

As with the Sufi Muslim Council and Sheik Tammimi, Sufi leaders in Indonesia have also began to use Sufi principles in a political way and in a struggle against a more radical interpretation  of Islam.

Ahmad Dhani, a Sufi and a rock star, is one example for these new voices. In 2004 he issues his Laskar Cinta album, which means ‘Warriors of Love.; That name was not accidentally chosen. Laskar Jihad (‘Warriors of Jihad’) is a violent militia that was led by Jafar Umar Thalib, a veteran of the Afghan jihad who claims to have met Osama bin Laden. In 1999, following an incident with a Christian bus driver and a Muslim passenger,   Thalib’s militia shipped thousands of fighters to the  Maluku Islands into the region by boats to ‘wage jihad.’ The conflicts lasted three years with an estimated 10,000 people perished on the island of Ambon alone, and around half a million Indonesians were driven from their homes.

The Laskar Cinta album was designed to provide Indonesian youth with a choice between joining the army of jihad and joining Dhani’s army of love. It sold hundreds of thousands of copies.  And it brought some harsh responses from elements like the  Islamic Defenders Front, a radical group in Indonesia that is affiliated with Hizb-ut-Tahrir. As a result, Dhani and his wife, Indonesian pop star Maia, and their children went to hiding last year.

Despite the furore created by their music, Dhani and his group emerged last December with a new song, also with the title ‘Laskar Cinta,’ that soared to No. 1 on Indonesian radio and MTV Asia. ‘Laskar Cinta’ is the first track in Dewa’s latest album, ‘Republic of Love.’

‘Watch out, watch out and be on guard –

for lost souls, anger twisting their hearts, for

lost souls, poisoned by ignorance and hate. . . .

Warriors of Love, teach the mystical science of love,

for only love is the eternal truth and the shining path for all

God’s children everywhere in the world.’ 

Abdulrrahman Wahid , a former Prime Minister of Indonesia, a Sufi leader and a patron of Dhani , is now working with a group  of Arab musicians and producers in order to bring these Sufi messages to mainstream Arabic poetry worldwide.            

I realise that pop songs do not usually make their way to academic journals but I choose these examples to demonstrate that this important discourse – that can also be described in the context of a  ‘war of ideas’ –  is taking place throughout the Muslim world and in some untraditional ways.

Conclusions

This paper has focused on the connection between Muslim immigration, radicalism and Islamic discourse by showing two dimensions of the Muslim expatriate community: a radical dimension, that was demonstrated by a brief examination of  the European case, and a  counter-reaction to these radical  influences, illustrated by the Sufi case in Europe and elsewhere.

The influence of non-state players in the international area, chief among which are terrorist groups, is already proven. Of course, radical groups, who are willing to operate without considering the consequences, have an advantage in this area. But moderate groups, who also became much more active since the turn of the century, can have an influence as well. Current research appears to provide only a partial perspective as to nature of the ‘integrators,’ their  work, their potential  and their possible contribution to a new Muslim discourse.

It is assumed that radicalism came (or was imported to) Europe from outside its peninsula. It is also assumed that ongoing influences of Muslim and Arab lands on Europe will not likely bring radically different messages to Europe in the near future. In that sense, we can further assume that, ‘moderation’ will not likely to emerge in Europe in a similar way to the emergence of racialism. If it were to emerge, will have to emerge from within.

Radicalism can be tackled in a number of ways but governmental policies can make a difference. France and England adopted different immigration policies and different approaches when dealing with the absorption of their minorities. In a Pew Research poll of Muslims conducted last spring, 81 % of British Muslims said they were Muslim first and British second. But ‘only’ 46 % of French Muslims were saying the same thing.[17] Government can help shape a more positive or negative climate that can in turn encourage or discourage isolation, integration , radicalism and moderation. And governments may have some dedicated allies that are committed to these very objectives. These allies, as the Sufi case illuminates, have a direction, a guiding force and even a growing ‘camp’ that slowly bring together individual and Muslim groups who seek to advocate a different Muslim agenda.  These groups must be taken into consideration.

Muslims in Western lands are becoming increasingly organised. For some, this is a threatening sigh that reflects much of the problem associated with radicalism rather than on its  ‘solution.’  But, as was the case for radical groups, for expatriate groups and for immigrant Diasporas worldwide, these groups quickly develop life of their own and agendas that can be markedly different from those originally represented by their ‘founding fathers.’ Judaism and Christianity provided many examples for religious doctrines, practices and perspectives that have changed as a result of communal dynamics in foreign lands.  Islam can provide a few examples of its own, including the recently developed framework of Minority Jurisprudence   (Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat) that was created  to address the unique religious needs of Muslims living in the West[18].It is too early to say whether theological and/or other major developments will emerge as a result of this process. But what can be said is that this is a living dynamic that have a strong potential of influencing the further segregation or integration of Europe’s Muslims.

Lastly, it is important to recognise the ‘integrationist ‘ not only because of their merit and because their work makes them a better partner for dialogue, but also because that recognition helps to frame the real challenge that lies ahead: not a war of civilisation that puts Islam against the world (or  the world against Islam) but rather a war of ideologies, in which Muslims, Christians and Jews can fight shoulder to shoulder against radicalism and extremism worldwide.   

[1]Daniszewskim,  John “Moderates Raise Voices to Influence the Young,” Los Angeles Times, September 18th, 2005.

[2]Rath, J., R. Penninx, K. Groenendijk & A. Meyer (2001) Western Europe and its  Islam: The Social Reaction to the Institutionalisation of a ‘New’ Religion  in the  Netherlands, Belgium and the United Kingdom. International Comparative Studies Series, 2. Leiden/Boston/Tokyo: Brill.

[3] Robert S. Leike (2005), “Bearers of Global Jihad: Immigration and National Security after 9-11, Nixon Center 

[4] The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other, Pew Global Attitudes Project, June, 2006

[5] Al-Rashed,  Abdel Rahman “Innocent religion is now a message of hate,” Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, 03/09/2004.

[6] Qur’an, Surat an-Nur, 21: Al-Anbiya’, 23; Surat al-‘Anbiya’, 23.

[7] Jacobs,  Andreas, “Reformist Islam: Protagonists, Methods, and Themes of Progressive Thinking in Contemporary Islam,”  Brochure series published by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Berlin/Sankt Augustin, September 2006, p3-4.

[8] Idid, P.5

[9] Zentralrat der Muslime: Das Kopftuch. Stellungnahme des Zentralrats der Muslime in Deutschland

(ZMD), Eschweiler 2003, p. 6. Cited in Jacobs,  Andreas, p.5.

[10] Stephen Frederic Dale, ” Ibn Khaldum: The Last Greek and the First Annaliste Historian”  in International Journal of Middle East Studies (2006), 38: 431-451 Cambridge University Press, p. 432.

[11] Cited in: Albert Hourani (1962) ,  “Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798-1939″ , Oxford University Press,  p. 228.

[12] Khairuddin At-Tunisi (1972) ,  “Aqwam Al-Masalik Fi Taqwim Al-Mamalik” , p. 185.

[13] It will not be accurate to characterise all Sufis movements as “moderates” or to draw broad brush characterisations on Sufism overall. Sufis in general, are complex, and cover many different “stripes” of Islam. Sufism started out as a Shia movement, but now is mainly a Sunni movement. Hanbalis, Shafis, Malikis and Hanafis can all belong to different Sufi “tariqas” ( brotherhoods). In fact both the Islamic brotherhood in Egypt as well Al Qaeda, have Sufi roots.

[14] Declaration of the Sufi Muslim Council,  SPIRITthemag – The Voice of the silent majority, June 2006, Issue 1, p. 14.

[15] See for example: Hefner, Robert W. 1997. Islam in an era of nation-states: politics and religious renewal in Muslim Southeast Asia. Pp. 3-40 in Robert W. Hefner and Patricia Horvatich (eds.), Islam in an ra of nation-states: Politics and religious renewal in Muslim Southeast Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawai Press

[16] Howell, Julia Day  “Sufism and the Indonesian Islamic Revival” in  The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Aug., 2001), pp. 701-729

[17] Paris, Jonathan “Europe and Its Muslims” in Forigen Affairs, Vol 86, Number 1, February 2007.

[18] Fiqh al-aqalliyyat was developed as a means of assisting Muslim minorities in the West. The fiqh, or jurisprudence, f or Muslim minorities) is a legal doctrine introduced in the 1990s by two prominent Muslim religious figures, Shaykh Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani of Virginia, and Shaykh Dr. Yusuf al-Qara dawi of Qatar. It may, however, also be applied in other parts of the world with large Muslim minorities, such as India. Shaykh Dr. Taha Jabir al-Alwani, founder of fiqh al-aqalliyyat, gave a video lecture at a “Jurisprudence Workshop” held in New Delhi (www.asharqalawsat. com, 14 February 2004). Dr. Yoginder Sikand, an Indian Muslim intellectual, regularly includes articles aboutfiqh al-aqalliyyat in his e-journal Qalandar (see: www.islaminterfaith.org/dec2004/article4.htm). For a complete review see Fishman, Shammai, Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat: A Legal Theor, Research Monographs on the Muslim Series No 1, October 2006, Center on Islam, Demoracy, and the Future of the Muslim World, Hudson Institute, Washington DC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.