European Islam

Amila Buturovic

in The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780195137989
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

European Islam


European and Islamic cultures began to interact—volatilely—as early as the seventh century, mainly along the southern borders of the Byzantine Empire and in the Iberian Peninsula. Islam is often perceived as a complete system, self-contained and static, and, as such, a hurdle to modernity. Yet the very idea of a “European Islam” indicates that the role of Islam in determining cultural identity cannot be described in a continuous or unitary way. By focusing on four countries—Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, and Russia—this essay suggests that neither being Muslim nor European is a sufficient determinant to explain the complexity of this identity. European Muslims negotiate their beliefs and practices along several trajectories that cannot be separated from other players and collectivities. “European Islam” is thus seen as a textured interplay between the unifying ethos of Muslim umma and the modernizing trends and demands of contemporary European nation-states.

Keywords: Europe; Islam; European Islam; Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Turkey; Russia; umma; modernity; cultural identity

Article.  3930 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Interfaith Relations ; Islam

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