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 Islam and Muslims in Europe    by Dr Tariq Ramadan


Like the concept of identity and community, the reference to an "Islamic culture" brings to mind an image of isolation and rejection of the European culture. Certain people would see the proof of this by saying that Muslims are not genuine in theirdesire to integrate, playing on the one hand, the citizenship card whereas at the same time, looking to maintain their cultural particularities, such as their dress code, management of space when it comes to men and women, music and other issues. In their eyes, a real integration would mean what affects every aspect of one's character. This is actually a very narrow vision of integration, almost resembling the notion of assimilation. One admits theoretically the rights of Muslims to practice their religion but then one refuses to do so when this expression becomes too visible.

In actuality, the future of Muslim presence in Europe will come to a truly "European Islamic Culture" disengaged from the Arabic culture of North Africa, Turkey and Indo-Pakistan, although it is okay to refer to them for inspiration. This new culture is just in the process of being born and molded. As is the case in Europe, through thinking about the dress code to the artistic and creative expression, a whole new culture is being mobilized with a European energy while taking into account the national customs and simultaneously respecting the Islamic values and guidelines. Far from being an isolated undertaking, it is more a true acceptance of the realties of living in Europe together with the promise of cultural enrichment. The mixing of ideas and initiatives among the young Muslims is sign of an interesting phase about to be set in motion.[8]

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