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 Islam and Muslims in Europe    by Dr Tariq Ramadan

The choice of the rank and file

Oftentimes in the different European countries, thought has gone into the notion of Muslim representation. The first order of action was to determine who would be the facilitator who is acceptable, someone who has knowledge of the territory. The initiations in this sense were numerous and one cannot say that the new experiments were elaborated in the same light. The future of the Muslim community of Europe through their financial and political independence requires that they be respected for having chosen to be Muslims, their fundamental choice. This process will bring into being a representative core which could be long and require some meditation, and which follow the shift in mentalities. This will culminate into a real awareness among the young Muslims of their required individual commitment and their responsibility in the success of this undertaking. Inevitably, the above mentioned points are bound to stimulate some interesting dynamics. To want or to decide upon a unique institutional representation is neither serious nor realistic and reveals once again that it is not an exercise of political transparency. In the hour of transition and the building of awareness, more and more Muslims are showing stability. The only road for them to reasonably follow is one which has plural expressions, where the Muslims can think about a large council which succeeds in reuniting the diverse ways of thinking to respond to the urgency of certain decisions. One should hope in the meantime that these initiatives would bring the fabric of the associations, at the local and regional level to move towards a project which is more refined and which is independently represented. We are very far still from this reality. Here the community needs time whereas the government appears to be in a hurry. Unless the latter doubts the indigenous, independent energy, and truly democratic climate within the Muslim community, wisdom and lucidity will oblige the government to take into the account the realities of this context.

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