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2013 Hubert Morken Award for Best Book in Religion and Politics          American Political Science Association

2013 Award for Best Book in Migration and Citizenship                                                               - American Political Science Association

                                         2012 “Outstanding Academic Title”                                                - Choice (American Library Association)



“Perhaps the subtlest and most solidly researched analysis of European policies toward Islam… Laurence establishes firm ground for hope.” 

– Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs

• The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims . . . looks at the largely unnoticed ways in which European governments have begun to integrate Muslims and Muslim organisations into public life. . . . Relying on extensive research and a wide range of interviews, Mr Laurence has written an original and thought-provoking study.” 

– The Economist

“A study of European governments’ recent approaches to their Muslim populations that usefully draws on the historic experience of other minorities in Europe”  

Timothy Garton Ash, The New York Review of Books

“[A] reference volume on the policies that governments across Western Europe have adopted in their attempts to better integrate Muslim communities”  

– Joshua Sinai, Washington Times

• “The strength of a theoretical work like this one is that it offers a master narrative to understand long-term trends in a number of countries… The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims is a very impressive book. It is historically informed, theoretically rich, and comprehensive in its scope.”

– J. Christopher Soper, Journal of Church and State

“This ethnographically rich, well-documented book successfully reveals that European states (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK) have more similarities than differences in terms of their interactions with Muslims…  It goes beyond simplistic dichotomies and clichés, and provides a much-needed, broad perspective on this important subject.”

– Ahmet Kuru, Choice

“Laurence’s book is filled with thoughtful reflections and deep insights about one of the most fundamental political issues of our time. [It] presents the result of a meticulous study of a long and complex political process, masterfully documented and made vivid with the help of a substantial body of evidence.”

– Reza Azarian, European Societies

 • “Laurence’s study is rigorously researched and a noteworthy contribution to the field.”

Sanam Vakil, The International Spectator

“A fine-tuned and convincing analysis [with] a comparative edge over earlier studies [and] a fresh theoretical grasp … The array of timely topics, and issues it covers, make the book an interesting read for policy-makers and practitioners … Written in an accessible language, this comprehensive, easy to follow assessment of state policies toward Muslims is a pleasurable read for the general public interested in the controversies of Muslims’ presence in Europe.” 

– Arolda Elbasani, Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationality and Ethnicity

• “The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims provides a rich and insightful comparative study of the integration strategies put in place in the last 15 years by the different European countries. [...] The original contributions made by the book make it very much worth reading.”

– Silvia Cavasola, Plurilogue: Politics and Philosophy Reviews

• “Laurence remarkably points out a generalizable process beyond European nation-state borders… He provides a fresh, balanced, and nuanced analysis of state–mosque relations in post-9/11 Europe.”

– Mustafa Gurbuz, Sociological Forum

• “Alarmists and victimists both neglect the positive role of liberal state institutions in the process of Islam and Muslim integration. A recent comparative and more institution-focused literature has partially fixed this problem. [Laurence provides] a more differentiated picture… of governments trying to steer the process of institutional integration through ‘neocorporatist’ means.”

– Christian Joppke, West European Politics

• “ [A] crucial contribution and should be used by all researchers in the field.”

– Sunier Thijl, Journal of Muslims in Europe


• “Un livre sérieux et très bien documenté”

Muslims in Europe, September 2014

• “A beautifully written model of original historical as well as contemporary qualitative research, offering fresh analysis of crucial current issues”

Rogers Smith, University of Pennsylvania, Citation for 2013 Award for Best Book in Migration and Citizenship, Vol. 2, No.1, Winter 2013/2014

“A remarkably accurate and comprehensive study of European Islam that transcends clichés and polemics. Laurence brilliantly elucidates the long-term trends that are transforming the children of migrants into European Muslims, acknowledging the tensions as well as the achievements of the process.”

– Olivier Roy, European University Institute, Florence

“A brilliantly mature book about a topic that frequently provokes sophomoric exaggeration. The book is remarkable for its practical acumen and comparative-historical depth. The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims is a unique accomplishment. It presents a strong alternative to current so-called common wisdom.”

– Jytte Klausen, author of The Cartoons That Shook the World

“A gem whose light shines in a direction and with an intensity that [Christopher Caldwell's] brooding darkness would not countenance.”

– Bruce B. Lawrence, Director of Islamic Studies, Duke University

“A splendid comparison of the management of religious–and especially Islamic–conflict… Laurence arrays a range of convincing material to show that these countries followed similar pathways in managing their relations with Islam. The book holds out hope that Muslims may eventually be integrated within the political communities of these major European nations.”

– Sidney G. Tarrow, Cornell University



The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims traces how governments across Western Europe have responded to the growing presence of Muslim immigrants in their countries over the past fifty years. Drawing on hundreds of in-depth interviews with government officials and religious leaders in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Morocco, and Turkey, Jonathan Laurence challenges the widespread notion that Europe’s Muslim minorities represent a threat to liberal democracy. He documents how European governments in the 1970s and 1980s excluded Islam from domestic institutions, instead inviting foreign powers like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Turkey to oversee the practice of Islam among immigrants in European host societies. But since the 1990s, amid rising integration problems and fears about terrorism, governments have aggressively stepped up efforts to reach out to their Muslim communities and incorporate them into the institutional, political, and cultural fabrics of European democracy.

The Emancipation of Europe’s Muslims places these efforts–particularly the government-led creation of Islamic councils–within a broader theoretical context and gleans insights from government interactions with groups such as trade unions and Jewish communities at previous critical junctures in European state-building. By examining how state-mosque relations in Europe are linked to the ongoing struggle for religious and political authority in the Muslim-majority world, Laurence sheds light on the geopolitical implications of a religious minority’s transition from outsiders to citizens. This book offers a much-needed reassessment that foresees the continuing integration of Muslims into European civil society and politics in the coming decades.

Series: Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics. Dale F. Eickelman and Augustus Richard Norton, Series Editors.

• Read the New York Times Op-Ed here

• Book Launch at The Brookings Institution with commentary by Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, Prof. Ömer Taspinar (Brookings) and Prof. Peter Mandaville (George Mason Univ.), February 2012. Transcript/audio available here.

• A conversation with the Princeton University Press Blog on recent controversies involving religious diversity in Europe.


Article: The French Debate on National Identity | The International Spectator

Jonathan Laurence and Gabriel Goodliffe, “The French Debate on National Identity and the Sarkozy Presidency: A Retrospective,” The International Spectator, Vol. 48, No.2, 2013

Abstract: Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency presented a mixed record on the issues of Muslim immigration and integration. On the one hand, his administration took novel and constructive steps to advance the integration of Muslim immigrants into French society, notably through the granting of unprecedented official recognition and institutional representation to Islam in the country. On the other, by placing the immigration issue at the centre of his 2012 re-election strategy, he overshadowed and undermined the effectiveness of these integrative policies. Given the country’s worsening economic outlook and rising unemployment, immigration is therefore likely to remain as salient and difficult an issue under the new Hollande administration as it was under Sarkozy’s.

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Book Chapter: Europe’s Arab Spring | CTR / Johns Hopkins University

Click here to read Jonathan Laurence, “Europe’s Arab Spring,” in V. Dzihic and T. Schmidinger, Eds., Looming Shadows: Migration and Integration at a Time of Upheaval, Washington, DC: Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University, 2011

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The U.S.-EU Counter-Terrorism Conversation: Acknowledging a Two-Way Threat

Europe 2030. D. Benjamin, ed. (Brookings Press 2010)

Should the U.S. and the EU form a joint counterterrorism strategy? Jonathan Laurence explains the benefits in a policy brief for the Brookings Institution.

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Article: Nicolas Sarkozy’s Faith in the Republic | Tocqueville Review

The Tocqueville Review/La Revue Tocqueville, Vol.XXX, No.1, 2009


President Sarkozy has defied numerous French taboos regarding the role of religion in the Republic. While campaigning, he told journalists that he finds solace in church on Sundays. But since taking office, he has more often been seen visiting mosques and synagogues: he didn’t publicly celebrate Ash Wednesday, but he brought journalists along to watch him break the Ramadan fast. In issuing a book on religious faith two years before running for president, Sarkozy signaled he would be of a different mold than the previous officeholders of the Fifth Republic. Is there something “American” about his comfort with religion in the public sphere? This essay provides a reflection on Sarkozy’s attitudes towards religious community in France and Islam in particular. With the aid of field notes from a decade of interviews with French politicians, the author argues that Sarkozy is “globalizing” French attitudes towards religion and diversity in service of a conception of healthy democracy that would make Tocqueville proud.

Click Here to read more

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Report: High-Skilled Migration | Transatlantic Academy

A new Transatlantic Academy report — co-authored by Jeroen Doomernik, Rey Koslowski, Jonathan Laurence, Rahsaan Maxwell, Ines Michalowski, and Dietrich Thränhardt — examines the effect of the economic crisis on high-skilled immigration. The shrinking economy has changed migration patterns, inefficiencies are seen in country point systems of the highly skilled, and extreme ideologies are found to be attractive to better-educated migrants.

Click Here to read the full report:

WASHINGTON, DC (June 4, 2009) — An immigration study released by the Transatlantic Academy reveals the collapse of the economic financial system will have repercussions for the immigration of highly skilled workers for years to come.

No Shortcuts: Selective Migration and Integration, a collaborative report by American and European fellows of the Transatlantic Academy on the selection and integration process of highly-skilled workers, shows that point-based immigration systems in developed countries have been largely inefficient. The report also shows high-skilled migrants are just as vulnerable to the problems of adaptability as low-skilled migrants.

“Immigration, migration, the competition for highly-skilled workers in aging societies, and the social and cultural integration of new Europeans and new Americans will be key to not only the competitiveness of Western economies in a global economy, but also the changing nature of their identities in this century,” said Stephen Szabo, executive director of the Transatlantic Academy.” The Academy is pleased to release this collaborative research report by a team of European and American scholars on one of the central challenges confronting transatlantic societies.”

The Transatlantic Academy is an initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius of Germany, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. In addition, the Academy has received funding from the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany through funds of the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The Compagnia di San Paolo also joined as a financial partner in May 2009. The Academy serves as a forum for a select group of scholars from both sides of the Atlantic, and from different academic and policy disciplines, to examine a single set of issues. Working together from a transatlantic and interdisciplinary perspective, Academy fellows use research, publications, and ideas to make policy-relevant contributions to policy debates facing the transatlantic community. Fellows for the 2008-09 year included: Dietrich Thränhardt, University of Münster; Jeroen Doomernik, University of Amsterdam; Rey Koslowski, University of Albany; Jonathan Laurence, Boston College; Rahsaan Maxwell, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Ines Michalowski, Social Science Research Center, Berlin.

Report Key Findings:

Attracting highly qualified immigrants is not primarily a question of designing the
right selection schemes.

Point systems developed to screen and select the best immigrants, with the hope that they would integrate perfectly, have been inefficient.

Moreover, these point systems are less successful than market-based systems that rely on the actual needs of employers, irrespective of the level of qualifications.

It is not so much the lower skilled that are drawn to extremist ideologies. Whereas the large majority
of Muslim immigrants are well integrated and value democracy and tolerance, extremists recruit mostly from the rather educated people. Highly educated people can be drawn to extreme ideologies, be it nationalist, Islamist or—as in former times—totalitarian, while the lower skilled (and their descendants) can be more successful at mainstream political integration.

Low-skilled migrants often use their social capital to engage the host society’s political system in productive ways.

Policymakers should consider focusing their efforts on integrating the pool of immigrants already in the country and avoid “brain waste.”

The collapse of the Western economic bubble will shrink the immigration bubble. These related
booms are over. Consequently, not only the amount of migration but also the patterns of migration will change in the future.

In the future, migration should not be conceived as a one-way street toward Europe and the United States but as a multiple and dynamic process in a world not only open to trade but also to the free movement of people looking for better chances in their life and offering countries of immigration competencies and energy that enrich them.
Report Policy Proposals:

Use the European Union as a model. For example EU regulations make educational qualifications in one country valid in all other countries.

Diversity charters and commitments can help to strengthen these ideas of opening up against the inclination of insiders to monopolize given resources and positions.

Anti-discrimination policies, legislation, and institutions should protect all with respect to ethnicity, gender, origin, or other categories against arbitrary practices, and legitimize their struggle to overcome such difficulties, some of them deeply rooted in society. Anti-discrimination policies should rest on a societal consensus and should be connected to the policies recommended above backed by political and societal authorities.

Civil society can help create networks that translate into economic and political capital. Political alienation isnot necessarily a result of frustration or failure to be accepted. Educated people are often influenced by ideologies but proactive policies that level the playing field can contribute greatly to integration.

The Transatlantic Academy is an initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius of Germany, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. In addition, the Academy has received funding from the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany through funds of the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The Compagnia di San Paolo also joined as a financial partner in May 2009.

Kristina Field, GMF Communications Officer,
+1 202 683 2621,

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Article: The Corporatist Antecedent of Contemporary State-Islam Relations | EPS

EPS: European Political Science Journal (Volume 8, Issue 3, August 2009)

This article explores the theoretical underpinnings of the state-led establishment of quasi-monopolistic Islam Councils in Western Europe. The author argues that national consultations representing the Muslim faith in seven European countries share institutional characteristics with 19th and 20th century corporatist arrangements with Labor Unions and Jewish Communities, and that State Islam Councils in Europe pursue similar goals of rendering faith and group ideology compatible with national citizenship while encouraging the moderation of group demands on the state.

Click here to read more.

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Essay: Ethnic Statistics in France | Esprit

Esprit (Paris), Mai 2009, p.61-67

An article on the current French debate over whether and how to count minorities in national statistics.

Jonathan Laurence, “Les mérites du flou,” Esprit, May 2009:


“La France est-elle vraiment au bord de la « guerre communautaire » ? Le pays va-t-il « tout droit vers l’apartheid » ? Le commissaire à la diversité Yazid Sabeg dit en voir les premiers signes. On peut considérer qu’il pratique l’hyperbole dans ses interventions publiques, mais peut-être ressent-il le besoin d’élever la voix pour être entendu par ceux qui semblent s’être volontairement bouchés les oreilles, tant leur défense d’une certaine idée de la République est rigide. En tout cas, il est difficile de mettre en doute la sincérité d’un homme qui a consacré une bonne partie des dix dernières années à la
poursuite d’une « démocratie pluraliste, attachée à la lettre, mais plus encore à l’esprit de notre héritage républicain ». Sa plus récente série de propositions, commandée par l’Élysée et mise à l’examen ici, représente sa recette pour réconcilier ceux qui sont divisés par « la lettre » et « l’esprit » : changer la loi.” [...]

Click here to read the article (in French, available soon in English)

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Workshop Report on Integration Factors in the US and Germany, March 2009

Click HERE to read the workshop report by Jonathan Laurence, written after a recent one-day conference he co-organized, and which was held at the Transatlantic Academy in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

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Edited Volume: Governments and Muslim Communities in the West | Woodrow Wilson Center

Edited by Jonathan Laurence and Philippa Strum. 2008, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Proceedings of a workshop and conference co-organized by Jonathan Laurence on March 3-5, 2008. Click here to download.

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