Article: The 21st-century impact of European Muslim minorities on ‘Official Islam’ in the Muslim-majority world

by Jonathan Laurence Philosophy & Social Criticism, May/June 2014, Vol. 40 No. 4-5


The article argues that the growth of religious service provision directed at the Muslim diaspora in Europe has led to greater professionalization and pluralism within the Islam state in Muslim countries. Contemporary Muslim governments have claimed a monopoly over public prayer and religious education and have heavily invested in a network of infrastructure and services – the Islam state. The recent breakthrough of Islamist parties into governments in Turkey and across North Africa poses a challenge to the continued ‘civilian control’ over religion. What will become of the enormous Islamic Affairs ministries that Islamist parties have inherited – the hundreds of thousands of public servants of state Islam across the region, the tens of thousands of mosques and thousands of religious schools? Liberals demand the abolition of the Islam state because it violates the separation of religion and state; Islamists detest it for its repressive qualities. Despite progressive liberalization, governments in the past decade have not sought disestablishment, and have instead increased the resources and policing of state-run religion. I draw on the experience of Muslim governments in the competitive field of state–Islam relations in European countries to explain the modest beginnings of reform of the official religion apparatus in Muslim-majority countries.

Article available via Sage Publications.


Book Chapter: European Islam in the Year 2030 | Brookings Institution Press

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

This chapter appeared in Europe 2030, a volume edited by Daniel Benjamin:
In April 2009, a futuristic novel by the Russian writer Elena Tchudinov was published in France titled The Notre Dame Mosque of Paris: Year 2048; it depicted Paris’s grandest cathedral transformed into a mosque. That same spring, in an article titled “In the Casbah of Rotterdam,” the Italian newspaper Il Foglio crowned Rotterdam the future capital of Eurabia. Since the advent of the 21st century, any number of scholars, journalists, and Internet populists have argued that, for Europe, demography is destiny—that the combination of runaway Muslim birthrates, suicidal native European fertility rates, and white flight will lead to a set of Western Islamic republics by mid-century…

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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.

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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.

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Article: The Challenges of Multiculturalism in Advanced Industrial Democracies | Perspectives on Politics

Perspectives on Politics, December 2008, pp. 801-810

“The Challenges of Multiculturalism in Advanced Democracies”

by Robert Rohrschneider, Will Kymlicka and Jonathan Laurence

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Book Chapter: Muslims and the State in Western Europe | Pittsburgh University Press

in Immigration, Integration, and Security: America and Europe in Comparative Perspective, by Ariane Chebel d'Appollonia and Simon Reich (Eds.), University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008, pp. 229-253


This book chapter by Jonathan Laurence appeared in April 2008. A description of the book can be found here and the book’s introductory chapter is available here.

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Book Chapter: Managing Transnational Islam: Muslims and the state in Western Europe | Cambridge University Press

in _Immigration and the transformation of Europe_ Eds. Craig Parsons and Timothy M Smeeding. Cambridge University Press, 2006

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Article: (Re)constructing Community in Berlin. Turks, Jews, and German Responsibility | German Politics and Society

German Politics and Society - June 2001

In 1998-1999, Jonathan Laurence was a DAAD fellow and guest scholar at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin. This article is the result of his research year there.

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Click here to purchase reprint in the edited volume.

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