• Muslims in European Politics

    I. Introduction

    There is no doubt about the fact that Islam today is Europe’s second largest religion and Muslims are the fastest growing population. However, no exact data are available of how many Muslims live in the European Union in total. The official statistics office of the EU, Eurostat, does not gather any data on religious affiliation, because the legislation some of member states do not permit to gather data on religion for statistics. 1. The same holds true for ethnic background and therefore the estimated numbers are a mixture of available data. Numbers vary from 13 2 to 15 3 to 20 4 million, relying on official and unofficial data of national statistics offices, NGOs and estimations, published within the past five years. One source is the German Central Institute Islam Archive in Soest that presents numbers for all European countries. The Institute claims the exact number of 15.890.428 Muslims to live in the member states of the European Union in late 2006. 5 While many factors make it impossible to name numbers accurate to a hundred or a thousand the number of around 16 million appears to be somewhat reasonable. With the 27 EU member states having a total population of 492 million people 6, this is a percentage of 3.25 per cent.

    Regardless of how diverse their background may be in terms of ethnicity, culture, age, citizenship, migration experience and social situation, one would expect European Muslims to play a large role in European politics. Despite the differences, Muslims in Europe are a significant population that have become the focus of many political debates especially in the past decade, ranging from headscarf verdicts, terrorism, Turkey’s EU membership, multicultural society and immigration to Europe’s relationship with religion in general. Muslims slowly become members of political parties and of local, national and the European parliament while also engaging in Islamic associations. To what extent Muslims are integrated in mainstream politics and whether this is a representative share of the population will be discussed in the following.

    There remains, however, an important methodological issue. When looking at the political representation of Muslims in the EU, the most obvious term yet needs to be defined: Muslim. What appears unambiguous at first reveals complex questions of self-definition and identities ascribed by others. Certainly, the first definition that comes to mind is that of family background – a child born to a Muslim family is automatically also a Muslim. This is also reflected in the theological understanding of Islam, which claims that a Muslim father passes the religion on to the offspring. But this definition applies only to clear-cut cases and already fails to describe a person born to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother, or other mixed families. Moreover, this definition simplifies multifaceted issues, because it homogenizes many diverse people who are religious, non-religious, believing but not practising, fundamentalist, traditional, agnostic or even atheist and who have a Muslim family background by defining them as Muslims. In other words, the term is used in an essentialist way, which takes one part of someone’s identity for the whole. Many secular Muslims reject this view, and so do those who are religious and yet think of themselves in many other terms as well. 7 Finally, the ethnicity-based approach also neglects converts to Islam who represent a very small but slightly growing population in Europe.

    Therefore, one may take another definition as a basis, that of self-attribution. Following this understanding, those people are regarded as Muslims who describe themselves as such. This is simple and logic, and while it may still comprise many different degrees of religiosity, it clears the term of its ethnic dimension and allows for a self-determined identity. It does not ask for bloodlines and neither confuses culture for religion. But now this definition poses a methodological problem to this report. First of all, the population in question shrinks (despite the now included converts), and it is impossible to measure its size, as one can by no means ask 16 million people whether they ‘feel’ Muslim. Then, even when only looking at public figures such as politicians, some of them make a statement on their religious affiliation, but most of them do not. For some of them, their being Muslim does not play a significant role in their political life and others even distance themselves from Islam altogether. This renders an ascription difficult, as this report does not seek to impose an identity on someone who clearly dissociates him- or herself from it.

    The question therefore should be what it is that the report wants to focus on. If it deals with integration of and discrimination against those who have a migration background from a Muslim country, then the first definition is appropriate. If it wants to measure Islamic-religious influence on European politics, the second one should be applied. But as usual, it is a bit of both and the solution lies in between: In the sense of a general overview, the report will use numbers for ‘Muslims by background’, but these will be complemented by any information available on a politician’s self-perception and whether or not he presents him- or herself as a Muslim in public.

    II. Political Representation

    Representation of Muslims in European Politics

    2009 Elections

    Most recent elections for the legislative of the European Parliament took place on June 4-7, 2009. At least 11 MEPs of have a Muslim family background. They represent only six countries altogether, while the remaining 21 member states (probably) have no Muslim MEPs. Two of the 11 MEPs were born outside Europe (Algeria), while the rest were born in the European countries they represent. Despite the Muslim heritage, their religious affiliation is likely to be very diverse; some identify as Muslim whereas others are openly secular. The majority does not make a statement on their religion, neither do all MEPs in general. Therefore it is methodologically impossible to give exact evidence of the number of MEPs.

    Country Name MEP since Party Background
    France Rachita Datia 2009 EPP born in France, Moroccan-Algerian parents
    Karima Delli 2009 Greens born in France, Algerian parents
    Toika Saïfi 1999-2002, 2004 EPP born in France, Algerian parents, openly secluar
    Malika Benarab-Attou 2009 Greens born in Algeria
    Kader Arif 2004 SPE born in Algeria
    The UK Syed Kamall 2005 EEP born in UK, Indian and Guyanese background
    Sajjad Karim 2004 ECR born in UK, Pakistani background, first British Muslim in EP
    Belgium Saïd el Khadraoui 2004 ECR born in Belgium, Moroccan father, Belgian mother
    France Datia, Rachita 2003 SPE born in Belgium, Moroccan father, Belgian mother
    Bulgaria Metin Kazak 2007 ALDE born in Bulgaria, probably Turkish background
    Dutch Emine Bozkurt 2004 SPE born in the Netherlands, Turkish background, probably secular
    Germany Ismail Ertug 2009 SPE born in Germany Turkish
    Italy Magdi Cristiano Allam 2009 EEP born Muslim in Egypt, converted to Christianity in Italy in 2008

    2004 Elections

    If parliaments represented the population in true proportions, more than three per cent or about 24 of the 785 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) would be Muslim, at least by background. In the 2004 elections eight got elected: 8 two representing the United Kingdom, two for Germany, two for France and one respectively for the Netherlands and Belgium. After Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, they sent additional MEPs to the parliament, among them four from the ethnic Turkish party MRF. The European Parliament generally also misrepresents demographics in terms of ethnicity – 1.1% of the MEPs have a non-European background as compared to 5% of the EU population – and Muslims are only a part of these. 9

    The German MEPs elected for one period were Vural Öger, for the Party of European Socialists (PES) and Cem Özdemir for the European Greens/European Free Alliance (EG-EFA). Öger, born in Ankara, received the Federal Cross of Merit in 2001 for his intercultural engagement. 10 Özdemir was born in Germany and has been active in politics at least since 1989, and in 1994 he was the first politician of Turkish background to be elected to the German parliament. 11 Both of them referred to their Turkish background, while not stating their religious affiliation. Islamic issues did not take precedence over other topics in their political work, rather they were active in intercultural and ethnic minority issues.

    British MEPs of Muslim background who also previously served were Sajjad Karim, who changed from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) to EPP-ED in 2007, and Syed Kamall for the European People’s Party and European Democrats (EPP-ED). Karim is of Pakistani background and Kamall of South Asian, probably also Pakistani background, and both of them were born in the UK. They do not refer to their religious affiliation. Karim’s main fields of commitment are human rights, social affairs and lately the situation in Gaza; Kamall focuses on globalisation issues and global poverty.

    The French MEPs of Muslim family background who have also previously served were Tokia Saifi (EPP-ED) and Kader Arif (PES). Saifi is born in France of Algerian background and does not announce her religious affiliation. Her commitment is dedicated to cultural and spiritual dialogue between the three monotheist religions and an open-minded secularism, citizen’s rights and equal opportunities and to economic relations with the gulf states. 12 Kader Arif was born in Algeria and does not refer to his religion either. His expertise is international trade and Euro-Mediterranean politics.

    Emine Bozkurt appears to have been the only Dutch Muslim MEP that previously served, and was a delegate of the PES party. She was born in the Netherlands to Turkish parents and the first Dutch of ethnic minority background to be elected MEP. Bozkurt’s religion is not stated. Her fields of expertise are equality of gender, homosexuals, ethnic minorities, etc. and sustainable development.

    Said El Khadraoui (PES) was Belgium’s only MEP of Muslim background to be elected in 2004. He was born in Belgium to a Moroccan father and a Belgian mother and like his preceding colleagues he does not comment on his religion. He dedicates his political work to foreign affairs and to transatlantic relations in particular.

    During this time, it appeared that there were few politicians of Muslim background in the European parliament. It is striking that none of them publicly declared his or her religious affiliation and consequently, their political activism either focused on ethnic minority and equality issues or on general topics that are neither related to Islam nor to ethnicity at all.

    Representation of Muslims in National Mainstream Politics

    There is slightly more political involvement of Muslims in national assemblies than there is in the European parliament. This is again superseded by involvement on the local or communal level, however the national level is the most visible arena. Muslim politicians are found in nearly all parties, with a tendency towards social democrats but then also conservative parties. In those countries where there is a significant Green party, like Germany or Austria, this is the one that attracts most Muslim politicians, although they are unlikely to state their religious affiliation. This is almost only done in conservative parties, which often have a religious orientation themselves.

    In Austria, no Muslim appears to be member of the parliament, the Nationalrat. In the past elections in September 2008 and in the previous elections, some parties had listed Muslims but they were not successful. Mainly the Green party listed Muslim candidates but also the social democrat SPÖ, the conservative ÖVP and even the right-wing FPÖ (on one of the backmost positions of the list). Religious affiliation was usually not stated.

    Muslim involvement in Austrian politics has been low for a long time. Ten years ago, it was not unusual that imams reflected in their Friday prayers about the question whether or not Muslims should participate in Austrian elections. This has now changed, and before the 2008 elections imams called their communities to use their right to vote as Austrian citizens.

    Austria’s Muslims have reached many of their political aims, for example as Islamic holidays. One issue that has yet to be resolved with the government is related to a law that allows hospitals and medical centres to take human organs from the recently deceased without the permission of their families, provided the deceased is not carrying documentation explicitly prohibiting this. This is a problem for the majority of Muslims. To counter this legislation, Muslims organized a campaign in collaboration with various political parties and authorities. The campaign also underscored the tolerance of Islam and its openness to other religions and cultures, and various political leaders hailed the honourable role of Muslims in Austrian life.

    In other efforts to promote integration and understanding, the Communist Party held an Iftar feast in Ramadan 2002, during which the party leader highlighted the importance of Muslims’ participation in elections and noted their tangible role in Austrian life in general. Altogether, the Austrian People’s Party held three Iftar banquets in Ramadan 2003 for the Turkish Muslim community. 13

    In Belgium, at least four Muslims served in the national parliament after the elections of 2003: Fauzaya Talhaoui, Nahima Lanjri and Fatma Pehlivan for the Senate and Talbia Belhouari for the parliament (Chamber of Representatives). During the 2007 elections, there were 36 Turkish candidates; nine ran for parliamentary seats (a total of 178 seats) while the rest were candidates for the Senate (71 seats). A majority of these candidates were women, and younger candidates dominated the list. Four women were successful: In the Chamber of Representatives, Meyrem Almaci for the Green party and Yalcin Hilal for the social Christian party CD&V, both of Turkish origins, 14 and in the Senate Sfia Bouarfa, of Moroccan background, for the socialist party PS and Nahima Lanjri for CD&V. 15

    The 2007 federal elections revealed the growing political representation of Turkish Muslims in Belgium. Out of the 160,000 Turks living in Belgium, 120,000 have Belgian citizenship. Nearly 90,000 of them voted in the Belgian 2007. 16 Some Muslims however also boycotted the elections. Just before they took place, an anonymous twelve-page document entitled, “Participer aux elections” began circulating online and among the Arab Muslim community in Brussels. The document, supposedly from Salafi authors, called for a boycott on the 2007 elections since “only Allah has the authority to make absolute laws” and claimed “every Muslim who takes part in the elections is unfaithful.” The document was supposedly based off a British fatwa from an earlier UK election. 17

    In Denmark, there are two Muslim members of the national legislature: Hüseyin Arac and Naser Khader. Arac is a member of the Social Democratic Party and has represented the Århus County constituency since February 8th 2005. He was born in Turkey and was formerly a member of the Århus City Council. From 1990-2005, he was a lecturer on integration, labour market conditions and gender equality. Naser Khader was a Social Liberal Party MP from 2001 until May 7, 2007, when he split from the party to form the New Alliance. He is a prominent advocate in Denmark of the compatibility of Islam and Democracy. In response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, which began after the 2005 publication of offensive images of Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Khader established a new organization, Moderate Muslims. The organization was soon after renamed Democratic Muslims. 18

    The French parliament, consisting of the Lower Chamber/Assemblée Nationale (577 members) and the Upper Chamber/Sénat (343 members) has a few delegates of Muslim family background.
    In the Assemblée nationale, Abdoulatifou Aly from Mayotte, an island of the status ‘Département d’outre-mer’, is the only delegate of Muslim background. In the Sénat, there is another deputy from Mayotte, Soibahadine Ibrahim Ramadani, and three French senators of Maghrebi family background, Alima Boumediene-Thiery, Samia Ghali and Khiari Bariza. None of them state their religion publicly and the latter three senators explicitly wish not to be defined by their origins.

    The first Muslim cabinet member in French history was Equal Opportunities Minister Azouz Begag. He was appointed by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to this newly created-post in June 2005. 19

    President Sarkozy (elected May 6, 2007) has brought three politicians of Muslim background into his cabinet. On June 10, 2007 he appointed Algerian-Moroccan Rachida Dati to the position of Justice Minister. Dati was Sarkozy’s former advisor served as his spokeswoman when he was a presidential candidate. She is the daughter of an Algerian mother and Moroccan father. President Sarkozy, one week later (June 19, 2007), announced that Senegalese Muslim Rama Yade become Secretary of State for Human Rights, who has previously served in the administration of the Sénat and as the UMP’s national secretary for the Francophonie. Fadéla Amara, a member of the Socialist Party, was announced Secretary of State for Urban Policies. Amara has always been an activist in the impoverished banlieues, fighting for women’s rights, and served as President of an organization “Ni Putes, Ni Soumises” (“Neither Slut nor Submissive”). On August 1, 2007, she launched “Pour ma ville” (“For my town”), a French-language blog that documents her professional activism. 20

    The election cycle of June 10 and 17, 2007 saw a dramatic increase in the number of candidates from Muslim backgrounds compared to the last national Parliamentary election of June 9 and 16, 2002. Of approximately 7,500 candidates in each election,17 under twelve candidates in 2002 came from minority backgrounds, 21 compared to just under 250 in the 2007 election. In 2002, no minority candidates made it to the second round of voting, whereas eight minority candidates made the second round in 2007. Several Muslim candidates in 2007 received national media coverage, including former Equal Opportunities Minister Azouz Begag and Negat Belgassem, former spokeswoman for defeated Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal. Independent Malika Ahmed and Hassan Abdel-Salam of the Democratic Movement were also Muslim candidates. French elections consist of two rounds; all four Muslim candidates were disqualified following the first round for not securing enough votes. 22

    In the German parliament (Bundestag) there are five members of Turkish background at the current legislative period 2005-2009: Lale Akgün (SPD), Ekin Deligöz (Green), Hakki Keskin, Sevim Dagdelen and Hüseyin-Kenan Aydin (all Left Party). 23 A few Turkish MPs have been elected each legislative period since 1994. While all of them mention their Turkish background, they do not comment on whether or not they identify themselves as Muslims. No Muslim has as yet been a member of the cabinet.

    In general, very few Muslims are members of German political parties. A 2001 survey by the Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Sozialordnung (Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs) showed that 96.5% of the 1003 Muslim respondents said that they were not a member of a political party in Germany (95.1% of the men and 98.2% of the women). The problem of the low political participation of Muslims has been explained as being the result of institutional discrimination in schools and other institutions. 24 Insufficient education is certainly one of the reasons for reduced opportunities on the political stage.

    In 2004 the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Office for Political Education) established the Muslimische Akademie (Muslim Academy) to encourage Muslims to participate in German politics. The aim of the organisers, most of them Muslim, was to establish a forum for discussion. However, the project has been criticized by some Muslim organizations due to the fact that they were not asked to be involved. 25

    The needs of Muslim communities have also not been recognized by Germany’s political parties, due to the fact that only a small percentage of Muslims are allowed to vote. In general there is very limited Muslim political representation in Germany. Thus, Muslim’s demands for greater religious education, the building representative mosques, and other issues are rarely backed by any political party.

    In Italy, many Muslims and immigrant minorities are beginning to make a place for themselves in politics, both locally and in the parliament. In Italy’s most recent elections in April 2008, Muslims were both sought and shunned in their participation. Almost all party lists eyed at least one Muslim candidate, including the right-wing Northern League. However, fewer than expected immigrants made it to the electoral lists for the Italian parliament and senate. There were a total of three foreign-born candidates for the parliament and senate, to of which have a Muslim background: Souad Sbai and Ali Rashid Khalil. 26

    Souad Sbai was born in February 1961 in Casablanca, Morocco, but has lived in Italy and had Italian citizenship for nearly 30 years. 27 She was educated at the University of Rome, and studied Literature and Philosophy, with her dissertation focusing on Islamic law. 28 Trained as a journalist, Sbai is the editor of Al-Maghrebiya, a newspaper for Moroccans in Italy and is president of the Association of Moroccan Women in Italy. In this organization, she is concerned with the plight of women in the context of immigration, religion, culture, safety, and self-determination. Sbai, who considered herself a feminist, argues for the necessity of integration in Italy – especially for Muslim women. 29 Knowledge of the Italian language, culture, constitution, laws, and local institutions are vital for a vibrant and successful immigrant community in Italy, while maintaining a balance with respect to traditions. 30 Sbai is a member of the People of Freedom Party in Italy, and in the 2008 nationwide elections, was successfully elected to represent the constituency of Puglia. She is the only Muslim in the Italian parliament.

    Ali Rashid Khalil was born in April 1953. He has served as a representative of the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe, being a member of the Committee on Culture, Science, and Education, and on the Committee of the obligations and commitments by member states of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee). 31 In the April 2008 Italian national elections, Khalil unsuccessfully ran as a senator from the Piedmont region representing the Rainbow alliance, which performed poorly in the overall elections. 32

    The most recent national elections in the Netherlands were held on January 22, 2003 and November 22, 2006. The 2006 election was held at this early date because Prime Minister Balkenende’s previous coalition (his third) fell apart when the Democraten ‘66 Party pulled out after controversy surrounding one of their members, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    The Dutch Parliament consists of two chambers, the Lower House/House of Representatives (150 members) and the Upper House/Senate (75 members). In the upper house, Düzgün Yildirim (former SP, founded new party Solidara in 2007), of Turkish-Kurdish background, is the only possibly Muslim member, although his religion is not stated. The lower house had at least nine members from Muslim backgrounds after the 2003 elections: Nebahat Albayrak (PvdA), Coskun Çörüz (CDA), Fatma Koser Kaya (D66) and Fadime Örgü are of Turkish background. Khadija Arib (PvdA), Naima Azough and Ali Lazrak (GL) are of Moroccan ancestry. Also in the legislature were Farah Karimi (GL) and Ayaan Hirsi-Ali (D66). Only four delegates explicitly stated their religion (Cöruz, Albayarak, Örgü, Azough) while two consider themselves ex-Muslims: Hirsi Ali and Farah Karimi. Three are of Muslim upbringing but do not state their convictions today (Lazrak, Arib, Kaya). 33

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s political life is of particular significance to Muslims in the Netherlands because of a political scandal regarding her immigration to the Netherlands. Hirsi Ali was elected to Parliament as a VVD candidate in 2002. In May 2006, the television program Zembla 34 reported that Hirsi Ali had presented false information on her application for asylum. On May 16, 2006, she resigned from Parliament under the assumption that her citizenship would be revoked by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk (The Minister later announced that Hirsi Ali could keep her citizenship). Hirsi Ali’s party, D66, demanded Hirsi Ali’s resignation and threatened to walk out. When Minister Verdonk survived a no-confidence vote by Parliament and showed no indication of resigning, D66 pulled out of the three-party coalition, causing the government under Prime Minister Balkenende to collapse.

    After the 2006 elections, there are now at least eight members of Muslim backgrounds in the lower house. Coskun Çörüz, Khadija Arib, and Naima Azough were incumbents and five new members of Muslim background entered the lower house: Tofik Dibi (GL, Turkish), Sadet Karabulut (SP, Turkish), Samira Bouchibti Abbos (PvdA, Moroccan), Farshad Bashir (SP, Afghani) and Fatma Koser Kaya (D66, Turkish). Again, only two (Çörüz, Azough) state their religion.

    Two politicians with Muslim backgrounds were given cabinet appointments on February 22, 2007 by the new government formed under Prime Minister Balkenende’s fourth coalition. There are 13 ministers total in the Dutch Cabinet. Nebahat Albayrak became State Secretary of Justice and Ahmed Aboutaleb (see local level below) was appointed to State Secretary of Social Affairs and Employment. Albayrak was born in Turkey in 1968. She studied international and European law at the University of Leiden and served as a Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2007.

    In Sweden, there is little Muslim participation in politics. There are, however, politicians with a Muslim background in the Social Democratic party who are in the Swedish Parliament – three out of the 349 members of the Swedish parliament: Ibrahim Baylan, Yilmaz Kerimo and Maryam Yazdanfar.

    In the 2006 election, Nyamko Sabuni of the Liberal party became the new Minister of Integration. Though of Muslim background, Sabuni is not a practicing Muslim, and has even argued that Islamic independent schools should be closed. Another Muslim in politics is Mehmet Kaplan of the Green Party, who practices Islam, and possibly a few others on the local level. 35

    There is a Muslim political party, the Politisk Islamisk Samling (PIS, Political Islamic Union). This is an organization with strictly political aims that was formed in 1999. It is the only formal political gathering among Muslims, but it is quite new and its future existence is highly uncertain.

    As with many immigrant groups, voting participation is much lower than the general Swedish population. However, Muslim organizations, such as the Sveriges Muslimska Råd (the Council of Swedish Muslims) have tried to obtain political clout by raising specific issues such as halal slaughter and time off for prayers, in exchange for votes, though these demands have generally gone unheeded. 36

    The elections of May 2005 in the United Kingdom saw 48 Muslim candidates from the three major parties. However, only four were victorious to enter the House of Commons. This lead to suggestions that the main political parties in the UK were unwilling to put forward Muslim candidates in seats they believed to be winnable. 37 All four MPs are from the Labour Party, with Shahid Malik and Sadiq Khan having been newly elected in 2005, and Mohammad Sarwar and Khalid Mahmood having been re-elected. 38 While all of them are of Pakistani origins, Sarwar is the only one who openly identifies himself as a Muslim. He was the first Muslim MP, and when he got elected in 1997 he was the first politician to swear the Oath of Allegiance on the Koran. 39

    There are also several Muslim members of the House of Lords: Baroness Paula Uddin, Lord Nazir Ahmed, Lord Patel of Blackburn, Baroness Kishwar Falconer and Lord Amir Bhaita. Other Muslims prominent in political parties are Sayeeda Warsi (Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party) and Fiyaz Mughal (Liberal Democrat).

    No Muslim is member of the cabinet, but Shahid Malik served first as Parliamentary Under Secretary of International Development (2007-2008) and now of Justice (since 2008) under Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

    As far as other EU countries are concerned, Ilhan Ahmed was the sole Muslim member of the national parliament in the Greek elections of 2004. Bulgaria, due to its geographical location, has a 9% Turkish ethnic minority who founded their own party in 1990, the Movement for Rights and Freedom (MRF). 40 The party, which is non-religious and centrist, is currently represented with 33 members in the parliament and sent four delegates to the European parliament.

    Representation of Muslims on the Local Level

    In Austria, there are a few Muslims in politics on the local level. One active Muslim politician, who dedicates much of his activism to Islamic issues, is Omar al Rawi of the SPÖ. He has been a delegate to both the Vienna city and regional parliament since 2002 and is commissioner for integration. Sirvan Ekici of the ÖVP is a delegate to the same bodies. She is of Turkish background, has also served as commissioner for integration of her party, is committed to integration and women related topics but not to religious issues in particular.

    In Belgium, after the October 2006 elections in Brussels, one-fifth (21.8%) of the elected municipal councillors were of non-European origin and of this group the majority were Muslim. They were mostly Socialist candidates, reflecting the overwhelmingly Socialist orientation of non-European immigrants. The Socialist Party has significant non-European representation in several boroughs of Brussels, including Sint-Joost-ten-Node where 19 of the borough’s 27 councillors are non-European and 11 of the Socialist Party’s representatives are non-European.

    From 2000 to 2006, the percentage of Brussels voters who were either foreigners or naturalised Belgians has risen from 32% to 50%. In Antwerp, one-third of the Socialist councillors and one-third of the so-called Christian-Democrat councillors are Muslim; in Gent, that figure is one-quarter; in Vilvoorde (Flemish suburb of Brussels), the figure in one-half. 41

    In Danish local politics, Asama Abdol-Hamid stands out as a rising political individual; she has been a central figure in Denmark’s most recent controversies related to Islam. In 2005, Abdol-Hamid was elected as deputy member of the Odense City Council for the Red-Green Alliance. Her decision not to shake the hand of male colleagues sparked nation debate (she greets them instead by placing her hand over her heart). She also acted as spokesperson for the eleven Muslim organizations that pressed charges against Jyllands-Posten in 2005. Among the eleven organizations she represented was imam Ahmed Abu Laban’s ‘Det Islamiske Trossamfund’. 42 In 2006 she co-hosted a Danish TV show; this too was protested by politicians and civic groups, such as the Women for Freedom Association. 43 Critics complained about her choice to wear a headscarf in front of a national audience. In May 2007, she announced plans to run for a Parliamentary seat in the 2009 elections. If elected, she would be the first Muslim woman in the Danish Parliament. She moved to Denmark from Palestine when she was six years old. When questioned about heated topics in the debate about the compatibility of Islam and Danish society, Abdol-Hamid has said that she does not support the death penalty (outlawed in Denmark); her position on homosexuality is that she is “unconcerned with whatever sexual or ethnic background people have.” 44

    In the Netherlands, October 2008 marked the most recent significant development for Muslims in politics. Moroccan-born Muslim politician Ahmed Aboutaleb was elected Mayor of Rotterdam. The event has been hailed in media and political circles as a significant historical turning point for the Netherlands, a country still somewhat mired in the grips of the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant backlash prompted by the murder of Submission filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. Aboutaleb, the Labour Party member and 2007 State Secretary of Social Affairs and Employment of the fourth Balkenende government, began serving his term on January 1, 2009. Rotterdam is one of the first major European cities to appoint a Muslim immigrant as its mayor, 45 and the first foreign-born Labour Party politician.

    Born in Beni Sedi, Morocco, Aboutaleb grew up in a small village as a son of an imam. Together with his mother and brothers, he moved to the Netherlands at age 14 where he went on to study telecommunications in college. 46

    After graduation, Aboutaleb worked in television and radio, and then moved into communications for Ministry of Welfare, Health, and Cultural Affairs. He went on to serve as head of information at the Social and Economic Council (SER) and manager of the Communications and Publications sector at Statistics Netherlands (CBS). He directed the FORUM Institute for Multicultural Development as well as the Social, Economic, and Cultural Development Sector of the municipality of Amsterdam. Aboutaleb furthermore served as alderman (council member next in status to Mayor) for Work and Income, Education, Youth, Diversity and Urban Policy in Amsterdam, has served on Education boards, and helped develop and implement the Dutch coalition for Peace in the Middle East. He also served on the Board of a multicultural studies center at the University of Tilburg. Aboutaleb currently possesses dual Dutch-Moroccan citizenship.

    Aboutaleb’s appointment has been met with criticism from right-wing Dutch political parties Leefbar Rotterdam and Party for Freedom. Geert Wilders stated publicly that “appointing a Moroccan as mayor of the second largest Dutch city is just as ridiculous as appointing a Dutchman as mayor of Mecca. Instead, he should become mayor of Rabat in Morocco. With him as mayor, Rotterdam will be Rabat on the banks of the river Maas. Soon we may even have an imam serving as arch bishop. This is madness.” 47

    Aboutaleb’s Labour Party colleagues such as Rob Oudkerk and some Dutch media members, however, support his appointment. Dutch newspaper The Daily Trouw claims the appointment represents integration progress for the Netherlands: “The city which six years ago under the leadership of Pim Fortuyn rose up in revolt against the country’s immigration policy will now have a Moroccan-Dutch mayor. The decision of Rotterdam’s city council in favour of Ahmed Aboutaleb could not have been more spectacular. Naturally, a candidate for the post of mayor should always be judged first and foremost by his leadership qualities, but this decision has a much more far-reaching significance on a par with [Barack] Obama being elected President of the United States. It propels the national debate about integration a huge step forwards.” 48

    In the United Kingdom some city councils have a significant number of Muslim members, for example Birmingham (at least 18 out of 120). In London, Muslims have served as Mayor of boroughs such as Brent, Hackney and Sutton: Karamat Hussain (1981); Saleem Siddiqui (1995 and 2001) and Lal Hussain (2000). Murad Qureshi is currently the only Muslim in the London Assembly (25 members), elected in Mai 2008.

    Political Involvement of Muslims through Organizations and Islamic PartiesMuslims in Austria are officially represented by the Islamic Faith Community (Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft) of Austria (IGGIÖ), which was established in 1912. 49 The organization manages most relations with the state, including Islamic instruction, chaplaincy, etc. Regional committees select the organization’s leadership. The IGGIÖ is also allowed to collect “church tax” but so it has not exercised this privilege yet. After originating the first European Imam Conference in June 2003, the IGGÖ organized its first Austrian Imam Conference in April 2005, which contained Standpoints and resolutions concerning “Islam in Austria.”

    However, after the national acknowledgment of Islam as corporation under public law, various additional associations were created. These organizations range between local private clubs and supra-regional organizations. Sometimes a group operates several mosques, which can be accommodated in several flats, and registered as “associations”. While in the 1990s more than 80 Mosque Communities or Islamic Associations existed in Austria, more than 200 Mosque Communities for the about 340.000 Muslims were counted after the turn of the century. Nevertheless, exact member numbers of these organizations are difficult to get since the group of sympathizers expresses its affiliation usually not by membership dues, but by the Islamic alms-tax (Zakat). The organizations generally have a prayer room, a leisure club, and a shop.

    A key organization is the Islamic Centre in Vienna that was founded in 1977 and the Islamic Religious Authority, founded in 1979, which functions as the religious and spiritual representative of Muslims in the country, in the same way as Austria’s key Christian and Jewish bodies do for their communities.

    Apart from the official Islamic Religious Body, some groups or individuals act independently of the umbrella organization, such as {Muhammad Abu Bakr Müller}, an Austrian who converted to Islam, who represents a very radical interpretation of Islam. 50

    The “Muslim Youth Austria” for instance, that launched at the end of the nineties an Islamic youth organization throughout Austria, and is close to the IGGIÖ, defines itself as Islamic, independent, multi-ethnical, constitutional and German-speaking, places the work “from and for young people” into the centre of its activity. 51

    The first Islamic Center in Austria was built in 1968. Its Trustee Council was formed under the chairmanship of Hassan Al-Tuhamiy, Egypt’s ambassador to Austria at the time, who later became secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). The Center was inaugurated in November 1977 and has been playing an important role in religious teaching the Muslims in Austria. 52

    Other Islamic education institutions include the Islamic Academy in Vienna, founded in 1998, and the Al-Azhar Institution in Vienna, founded in 2000.

    There are various Islamic associations sponsored by different Muslim countries. 53 However, the activities of non-state unions are confined to religious and educational activities, and their institutional structures do not include any mechanisms for political action. Among them several Turkish organizations, united in the “Federation of Turkish-Islamic Associations” that is controlled by the Directorate for Religious Affairs. Other Turkish-Muslim groups, such as the Süleymancıs and Milli Görüş, can be considered as branches of the pan-European organization Milli Görüş centered in Germany. The Alevis, a major group among the Turks, do not take part in the activities of the Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in general.

    In terms of ethnicity, Turkish associations are numerous in particular in Vienna, Tirol, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg. The Turkish association of the AMGT (“European National View Organization”), i.e. Milli Görüş (“National View”) is also independent and important in Austria. In contrast to the Islamic Community Milli Görüş (IGMG) in Germany, the Austrian group is not a registered association, but an alliance of mosques. The umbrella organization of this alliance is the 1988 created “Islamic Federation” that has a coordination function. The ideology of the Milli Görüş mosques is relatively strict, promoting the Islamization of all areas of life. Apart from a “modernization and democratization of the Islamic Movement” and an “Islamizing of modernity and democracy” as ideological objectives, Milli Görüş Associations of Austria concentrate in their practical work mainly on the social integration of Muslims.

    Although in Belgium Islam has been recognized since 1974, the Muslim community has had no formal representation with the state until 1998, due to a lack of agreement between various ethnic and sectarian groups in the society on a common leadership. Discord between the Moroccan and Turkish communities is especially prominent. The state’s desire to avoid having any ‘fundamentalists’ in the assembly made the situation even more complicated. The Islamic Center of Brussels, financed by Saudi Arabia, used to play the role of interlocutor to the state.

    The Muslim Council and the Executive Committee of the Muslim Council were the representative and mediating bodies of the Muslim community until early 2008, when it was dissolved after years of unresolved controversy. Elections of the Council were first held in 1998 and council members appointed an executive board which was soon contested by the government. Government intervention threatened the legitimacy of the Executive Board in 1999 and in 2003. 54) This committee was to be selected in a mostly democratic fashion to represent the ethnic and religious breakdown of Muslims in Belgium. However, the state screened candidates for ideological extremism, thereby seriously eroding the legitimacy of the council (Cesari, 2004). Candidates were also required to speak fluently the language of the region they were representing.

    Controversy surrounded the October 2, 2005 Muslim Council elections, in which seventeen members were elected to its Executive Council and a Turkish-born Muslim became chairman. New parliamentary legislation required that candidates for the Muslim Executive undergo security screening; an Antwerpian imam was excluded from consideration for membership in the Executive Council on account of this security check. Tensions also arose during the transfer of power from the old executive to the new. The outgoing executives refused to surrender their headquarters to the new leadership. State officials searched the premises and brought charges of embezzlement against two former executive chairpersons. Thought the Muslim executive has been working more closely with the government, internal tensions within the Muslim Executive Council have hindered its ability to approach the government with coherent demands.

    On July 25, 2003, the King of Belgium recognized the executive body of Belgian’s Muslim Council, putting an end to four years of controversy over the 1998 executive body. Over 45,000 Belgian Muslims out of 70,000 enfranchised voters participated in the 2003 election. Sixty-eight members were elected to the Council that in turn elected 17 members to the Executive.

    Government intervention and distinctive responses by the Muslim Council and the Turkish community have made the Muslim Council a polarizing issue. According to Mohammad Boulif, then Chairman of the executive committee, the Justice Minister excluded half of the council’s 2003 elected members under the “pretext of close links with ‘Islamists’.” This intervention has lead the leadership of the Executive Board to call for boycotts, while Turks are becoming increasingly involved in the electoral process.

    Although there were protests from the existing executive body and almost all of the Muslim organizations, the Minister of Justice Laurette Onkelinx decided to organize new elections for the general assembly on March 13, 2005. This would require the appointment of a new Executive Board, which would be subject to vetting by the State Security. In response to the Justice Minister’s decision and to recently passed legislation that gave legal validity to security checks on candidates, members of the Executive Board called for a boycott. The March 20, 2005 election for Muslim Council seats saw a relatively low turnout of only 45,000 registered voters.

    Several mosques in Brussels and the Arab European League, which represents a large ethnic North African Arab constituency, actively promoted the boycott. Turkish Muslim experienced a landslide victory, winning 40 of the 68 Council seats. Moroccans won only 20 seats, despite the fact that the majority of Muslims in Belgium are of Moroccan heritage. Six seats went to candidates from other countries, and two Belgian converts won the remaining two seats (US Dept. of State 2005).

    Young Turks were the most successful candidates and five of the new Council members were women. Hacer Duzgun was especially successful, winning 3,640 votes compared to 307 votes won by the leading Moroccan candidate from Brussels (home to the largest Muslim community in Belgium). She is now Vice President of the Executive Council with Kissi Benjelloun, a French-Moroccan.

    The Executive Council’s successive presidents have been Dr. Didier-Yacine Beyens, Nordin Maloujahmoun, Mohamed Boulif (Moroccan) and Coskun Beyazgül.

    The EMB – l’Executif des Musulmans de Belgique – was responsible for administrative managing of the Muslim worship in Belgium and was intended to play the role of a mediator between the state and Muslim communities. The establishment of a Muslim Executive was modeled after the French government’s approach. Its responsibilities ranged from providing religious education at schools and educational training for imams to appointment of Muslims chaplaincies in hospitals and prisons. The EMB has been receiving state subsidies since 2001. In 2002 the State supported the organization with 420,000 Euros, while the Catholic Church was given 350 million Euros.

    On February 23, 2008, the Justice Ministry confirmed that the Muslim Executive would be dissolved. Financial problems and complaints that the Muslim Executive did not adequately represent the diversity of the Muslim population in Belgium were cited as explanations for the decision.

    With the formation of the EMB, The Islamic Cultural Center of Belgium, which had been de facto representative of Muslims in Belgium, lost its formerly central role. Its board of trustees is chaired by the ambassador of Saudi Arabia and it is attached to the Grand Mosque of Brussels. 55 The land for the Center was handed over to King Faisal in 1967 as a gift in exchange for donations he has made. The center was build with the financial support of the Muslim World League.
    The Arab European League aims to defend the civil rights of Arabs in Europe and has attracted a following of thousands of jobless, frustrated young immigrants since its creation in Antwerp in 2000.The leader Dyab Abou Jahjah, a charismatic debater with MA in international politics and fluency in 4 languages, is often portrayed by the media as Belgium’s Malcolm X. Along with a leftist party, the organization established the party ‘Resist’ to run in the elections in 2003, but was relatively unsuccessful. However, Abou Jahjah has already announced the creation of a new political party, Muslim Democratic Party. The AEL now has growing branches in France and the Netherlands. In June 2002, the Centre d’Egalité des Chances et Lutte contre le Racisme (CECLR) filed a complaint against Abou Jahjah for holding a pro-Palestine demonstration after which anti-semitic vandalism occurred (Stephen Roth Institute).

    Similar to the AEL is the MJM (Mouvement des Jeunes Musulmans) which also established a political party. Other Muslim organizations include: the ASBL Himaya; Federation of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations (FEMYSO); Communaute des Etudiants Musulmans de Gand (MSCG); Executif des Musulmans de Belgiqueligue Arab Europeenne; Parti Citoyennete Prosperite (PCP); Jardin des Jeune; Vigilance Musulmane; and the Centre Al-Boukhari.

    Two Islamist parties ran in the Brussels constituency in the May 2003 elections, NOOR and the PCP (Parti Citoyenneté et Prospérité), according to the Stephen Roth Institute. The PCP obtained over 8,000 votes, which gave the party a good chance of winning a seat in the next regional elections. The party suffered, however, after its founder, Jean-François Bastin, (alias Abdullah Abu Abdulaziz), resigned as Party leader. Bastin claimed that his resignation was unrelated to the accusation of the involvement of his son (Muhammed el Amin Bastin) in the terrorist attacks in Turkey in November 2003. 56 A third Party, Resist, was a coalition of the leftist Maoist PTB/PVDA and the Arab European League; they won 10,059 votes in the May 2003 election and were relatively unsuccessful.

    Although there are a number of Muslim organizations in Denmark, none represents the entire community in relations with the state. Muslim groups have called on the government to support the establishment of a democratically elected national council to represent Denmark’s Muslims, but unlike the governments of other EU countries, the Danish government has not to date supported this effort. 57 These organizations have argued that a representative body would prevent Muslims with extremist positions from having a monopoly on the public voice of Islam in the Netherlands. 58

    The status and legitimacy of Muslim organizations in Denmark is a complex and controversial subject. While the majority of Islamic groups in Denmark represent relatively small local communities, 59 the most visible Muslim organization are those that have been central players in national debates about Islam in Denmark and they are therefore associated with Denmark’s most recent controversies. The Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy was by far the most formative event for Muslim organizations in the past decade. This event, which took place between September 2005 and March 2006, began with the publication of twelve offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper, {Jyllands-Posten} and at its height, put the Danish government in the middle of an international controversy (for more information on the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy, see the “Media Coverage” section below). Three organizations in particular received exceptional media attention: the Islamisk Trossamfund (the Islamic Society in Denmark), the Danish-based European Committee for Prophet Honouring (ECPH), and the Democratic Muslims.

    Islamisk Trossamfung (IT) 60 and the ECPH are both at odds with the Danish government after members of these organizations worked to internationalize the 2005-2006 Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy. Since the controversy, the government has targeted members of these groups for deportation and censorship. 61 Leadership within IT, including imam Ahmad Abu Laban and spokesman Ahmad Akkari, played a prominent role in the internationalization of the cartoon controversy despite efforts by the Danish government to keep the affair contained. Although Abu Laban claimed in February 2006 that he had no intention of making the Jyllands-Posten cartoons anything more than an internal Danish conflict, 62 an 2006 paper by Anders Rudling documents how Abu Laban and Akkari contributed to the internationalization of the controversy by circulating a 43-page manifesto to political and religious leaders and media in the Middle East, 63 although the government does not recognize them as a representative voice of the country’s Muslims. During the cartoon controversy, the Danish news publication Ekstra Bladet reported that Abu Laban’s estimated support was likely closer to 5,000-15,000 Danish Muslims, and not 200,000 as he had estimated. 64 Abu Laban passed away on February 11, 2007.

    Research on Danish Muslim organizations has suggested a connection between IT and the Wahabism of Saudi Arabia. 65 This is the case insofar as the IT’s political positions (for example, the organization’s vehement resistance to the publication of images of the prophet) have been consistent with Salafi and Wahhabi doctrine. Salafism and Wahabism are both Sunni movements that place emphasis on Qur’an and the imitation of the Prophet Moahmmed and the first generation of the companions of the Prophet and are culturally conservative. Salafism is the traditional theology endorsed by the Saudi state.

    During the height of the controversy (Fall 2005 to Spring 2006) former IT spokesman Ahmad Akkari also served as spokesman for the European Committee for Prophet Honouring (ECPH). The ECPH has been referred to in the press as the “umbrella group that represents 27 Muslim organizations that are campaigning for a full apology from Jyllands-Posten.” 66 News coverage during the controversy does not clarify the relationship between IT and The ECPH, although Akkari is referred to as spokesman for both of these organizations in articles from this period. There is also no coverage of the ECPH forming, but the first publicized reference (in English) to Ahmad Akari as spokesman for the group was in a February 6, 2006 article in The Guardian, when he made public the group’s intentions to press charges against Jyllands-Posten. Media coverage speaks of 27 Muslim groups filing a defamation lawsuit against Jyllands-Posten in March 2006, represented by lawyer Michael Christiani Havemann. 67 This is the same number of groups (27) reportedly represented by Akari’s ECPH,47 whereas Islamisk Trossamfund claims to represent 29 organizations. 68

    On the other end of the political spectrum is a new organization called the Democratic Muslims. This group was formed during the Jyllands-Posten Muhammed cartoons controversy in February 2006. Their first official activism took place on February 13, 2006, when they met with the Danish Prime Minister for talks to defuse the crisis. 69 The Democratic Muslims advocate peaceful co-existence between Islam and democracy. According to one of the group’s founding members, Danish MP Naser Khader, the organization’s mission is to facilitate debate within the Danish Muslim community and create space to explore the compatibility of Islam and democracy, as well as Islam and freedom of speech. 70 Abu Laban, the former leader of IT, referred to Naser Khader and similar Muslim Danes as “rats in holes.” 71 Abu Laban’s attitude toward Khader is a revealing example of how these prominent organizations are deeply divided according to their orientation to the Danish government and liberal Western values.

    Two other Danish Muslim organizations are the Danish Association of Cybermuslims (DACM) and Muslimernes Landsorganisation (The Muslims National Organization). The Muslimernes Landsorganisation, one of the nation’s first attempts at an umbrella organization, is no longer in existence. An attempt at another umbrella organization was made in 2006, named Muslimernes Fællesråd (Muslim Council of Denmark). Muslimernes Fællesråd has an active website, with English and Danish versions.

    The Danish Association of Cybermuslims (DFC), 72 run by Fatih Alev 73 is an internet forum that was created in 1998 for Muslims to connect and discuss contemporary issues as a community. It is the second of its kind, after three young Swedish Muslims started a similar forum in 1996. 74 The DFC was at the center of a Danish media frenzy in August 2004 after a member on their listserve used the forum to circulate an email praising the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. Alev defended the circulation of these inflammatory comments, but did not defend his sentiments. He speaks of the organization as offering a space for dialogue among Muslims, although non-Muslims are also welcome to join. 75

    There are approximately 1,500 Muslim organizations in France, most of which are mosques. These bodies tend to be local groups affiliated to national federations or religious institutions. 76 Public organizations have been one of the most controversial and complex features of French Islam because there is a lack of consensus in the Muslim community, and also because in the past, the French government has tended to pursue negotiations with multiple representatives of the Muslim community. 77 The Conseil français du culte musulman (CFCM) was formed in 2003 and is now the main interlocutor to the state (see below for more detail on the CFCM).

    Muslim organizations first became active during strikes organized by Muslim laborers in the 1970s. 78 A 1981 law that gave foreign nationals the right to organized created a legal framework, inadvertently, for religious organizations. The 1980s saw the creation of many such organizations, two of which are still major actors today: the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France] (Union of the Islamic Organisations of France, UOIF) and the Fédération Nationale des Musulmans de France (the National Union of the Muslims of France, FNMF).

    Established in 1983, the UOIF is the French branch of the Union of the Islamic Organisations in Europe. They are related to the Muslim Brotherhood and receive funding from the Gulf States. They represent more than 200 local organizations. 79 and have had great success in recruiting the younger generation of French Muslims. 80 The UOIF is an affiliate of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe and helps run several satellite and affiliated locations across France including an Institute in Saint Denis in the Bourget district, where the annual UIOF conference is held. The UOIF is also affiliated with an FIOE school for Imams called the European Institute of Human Sciences at Château-Chinon in Saint-Léger-de-Fougeret (Nièvre region). 81

    The other large Muslim organization in France, the FNMF (est. 1985) has had considerably less success overcoming the generational divide between French Muslims. 82 It was established in 1985 by a group that broke off from the Paris Mosque and other representatives from the Muslim community. It is currently composed of a predominantly Moroccan constituency. Until 1993, the FNMF received funding from Saudi Arabia; it now is funded primarily by member contributions. 83

    The oldest Islamic organization is the Muslim Institute of the Mosque of Paris, dating back to 1926. Most members of the mosque are from surrounding Algerian community. 84

    The French Turkish community also has some representation in the form of the Tendance nationale-Union Islamique. It was founded in 1981 and is connected to the Milli Görus group, an Islamic organization founded by Turkish immigrants. 85

    Most of these older organizations are divided along ethnic lines and have been active in campaigning against racism and for equality, which distinguishes them from the newer associations of young Muslim groups that have been more successful at transcending national and ethnic divides and concern themselves with facilitating religious practice. Many of these newer youth organizations tend to be guided by the principle of dual allegiance to Islam and the French nation. These organizations include the Union of Muslim Youth (UJM), founded in Lyon in December 1987 and the Young Muslims of France (JMF). JMF was founded in July 1993 with the support of the UOIF. Their slogan is: “French people, yes; Muslim also.” 86

    The Tabligh – created in India in 1927 – is also a major actor within the Muslim community. The association “Faith and Practice,” which belongs to this movement, is especially active in providing assistance and services to the residents of the so-called disadvantaged districts. There are a number of smaller student organizations such as the Association des Etudiants Islamiques en France (AEIF), Etudiant Musulmans de France (EMF).

    The most prominent Islamic organization in France now is also the newest. This is the Conseil français de culte musulman, officially created on May 28, 2003 87 at the prompting of the Ministry of the Interior in order to establish a single body representing all groups. It was first conceptualized by Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevènement in 2000. Its formation was concluded by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2003 and it is composed of a national council and regional structures. 88 The creation of this body was encouraged by the state in order to bring Islamic practices into the open, thereby affording more input from the French government. 89 The CFCM has drawn criticisms about state interference and complaints that the organization does not adequate represent the diverse makeup of French Muslims. The favored candidate of the French government, Dalil Boubakeur (Leader of the Mosque of Paris), was elected CFCM president in 2003. Though Boubakeur has received substantial criticism for not representing the broader community of France and for being too agreeable to the state, he was reelected on June 19, 2005 without difficulty.

    Seats on the council are apportioned according to the physical square footage of each mosque, a system that benefits groups with substantial financial resources, especially those that receive funding from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. When first formed in 2003, the FNMF won 16 seats, the UOIF won 14 seats, and the Paris Mosque won 6 seats out of 41 total. Two seats were given to the Coordinating Committee of Turkish French Muslims and the remaining three to independent groups. In the 2005 elections (June 19), the UOIF lost four seats to the FNMF. 90

    The CFCM has showcased its leadership in prominent controversies concerning Muslims in France since its conception in 2003, including the headscarf ban, the November 2005 Paris riots, and the cartoon controversy of early 2006. First, the CFCM’s decision not to contest the 2004 headscarf ban is cited as one reason for its relatively seamless-execution. 91 In response to comments by Bernard Stasi, the man who headed the commission into the application of French laicity, that “Those who are against the law are against the integration of Muslims,” CFCM chairman had a more subtle interpretation. Arguing that Stasi could have made his point more subtly, CFCM chairman Dalil Boubakeur was willing to concede that the ban might be in the best interests of the common good. “We believe Muslims must embrace a modern form of Islam in the name of the republic,” Boubakeur said. “However, we want more talks with the government, not statements.”

    The second event of CFCM prominence came during the November 2004 riots in Paris. The CFCM and the UOIF had dramatically different approaches to handling the crisis. The UOIF issued a fatwa condemning the violence and criticized the CFCM for not intervening, while the CFCM argued the UOIF had no authority to issue a fatwa and defended its reserve as an attempt to prevent the Islamization of the conflict. 92

    The CFCM was also active during the February 2006 French response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoon controversy (For more information, see the “Media Coverage and the Jyllands-Posten Cartoon Controversy” in the Denmark Country Profile). Leadership of the CFCM was extremely critical of Le Soir’s publication of the twelve caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad first made notorious by the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. The CFCM threatened to sue {Le Soir}, but decided against litigation after Le Soir owner Raymond Lakah fired Jacques Lefranc, the daily’s president and editor. In its condemnation of the publication, CFCM chairman Dalil Boubakeur rejected the idea that Muslim objection to the publication was a sign of radicalism. “We attach enormous importance to this image,” he said, “and we will not allow it to be distorted. I myself oppose the extremist forms of Islam; we reject this parallel.” 93

    On June 18, 2006, the Rally of Muslims in France (RMF) was formed with the goal of providing a complementary approach to the CFCM. Citing the CFCM’s debilitating infighting and more conservative nature, the RMF said it hoped more fully represent France’s five million Muslims and to “contribute to the emergence of moderate Islam.” Taoufiq Sebti, president of Paris-based Muslim group, serves as the group’s leader. 94

    Because of the non-hierarchical structure of Islam, Muslim organizations in Germany do not nominate a single representative for all the different branches of their belief. The six major organizations are the Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, the Central Council of Muslims, the Union of Islamic Cultural Centers, the Islamic Community Milli Görü, the Islam Council and the Coordination Council of Muslims: 95

    1. Turkish Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (Diyanet I’leri Türk-Islam Birli’i or Türkisch-Islamische Union der Anstalt für Religion). The DTB is one of the biggest organizations representing Turkish Muslims in Germany. The organization has dominated the dialogue between Muslims and the state since the beginnings of Turkish migration. DTB takes care of practical religious matters such as the obtaining visas for imams, construction permissions for mosques, and authorizations of religious teachers in public schools. DTB pays salaries of religious public school teachers in several German federal states and controls more than 300 associations and 800 to 900 prayer facilities. In 2004 the organization even financed two chairs in Islamic theology at Frankfurt’s Goethe University. There are problematic links with the Turkish government, asTurkish states ensure that its citizens abroad follow religious practice within the secular Kemalist framework. 96 A portrait of Atatürk hangs in DTB offices and Friday prayers are usually confirmed by Ankara. Imams of DTB are normally trained in Turkish state seminars, any paid from Turkish sources. And in 1984 a bilateral treaty was been signed regarding three to four- year residence permits for roughly 700 imams, who are paid from Turkey. A joint partnership between the Goethe Institute in Ankara and DTB allowed for fifty imams to recieve language training before going to Germany in 2006, with another 100 trained in 2007.

    2. Central Council of Muslims (Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland): The ZMD was founded in 1994 to represent all Muslims in Germany and has been DTB’s main competitor since that time. Although the Verfassungsschutz has accused the ZMD of financial ties to the Saudi-dominated Muslim World League and of ideological links to the Muslim Brotherhood, these accusations have so far not been proven. Today the ZMD is led by the German convert Ayyub Axel Köhler and is comprised of eighteen regional umbrella organizations and around 400 prayer and cultural facilities. The ZMD has recently published a charter to govern Islamic relations with the state, including full recognition of the constitution. 97

    3. Union of Islamic Cultural Centers (Verband der Islamischen Kulturzentren): The VIKZ was founded in 1973 and is today the third largest Muslim organization in Germany, with more than 100,000 members. It is linked to the Sufi Süleymanci movement, which originally tried to transfer spiritual Islam into the Kemalist state. Today it is especially popular among the second and third generations of young Muslims with Turkish background. The VIKZ has around 300 offices and 160 to 250 prayer facilities. The organization also trains imams and runs Quran and Sharia courses.

    4. Islamic Community Milli Görüs (Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüs): The IGMG is the major rival of DTB and has approximately 26,500 paying members and close to 100,000 sympathizers. The organization has somewhere between 400 to 600 prayer spaces. IGMG was founded in 1985 with links to several Islamist parties in Turkey.Together with its fourteen branches in other European countries, the organization challenges the monopoly of Turkish state Islam as represented by DTB. One illustration of this point is that the IGMG founded its own Quranic schools and prayer facilities and organized Hajj tours on its own. It is also involved in legal representations concerning Muslims of Turkish origins in Germany and mosque construction debates.

    The German public perceives IGMG as being a representation of Islamism in Germany. The organization has regularly been accused of working towards an Islamist parallel society, and the media regularly characterizes members of IGMG as being Islamic fundamentalists. The Verfassungsschutz has investigated possible anti-constitutional and security-related activities due to the organization’s links to foreign parties and alleged connections to extremists in Algeria and Bosnia. The German government fears that the IGMG is trying to segregate the Muslim population in Germany, building a linguistically and culturally distinctive parallel society. IGMG has also been accused of brainwashing young members with anti-Western Islamist ideology and promoting anti-Semitism and gender segregation.

    Muslim organizations, and especially their representatives of the second and third generations, play an important role in strengthening this collective identity. 98

    Despite the large amount of different organizations, Muslims representatives have recognized the necessity of unity in order to achieve political and social goals and have formed several umbrella organizations:

    1. Islam Council (Islamrat) The IR was founded in 1986 and has twenty three membership organizations, representing approximately 140,000 Muslims from different national backgrounds. Ideally, the organization is to serve as a unified conglomeration of Muslim organizations in Germany, but the IR is dominated by IGMG and Milli Görüs. The organization controls 700 prayer spaces and fifteen regional organizations. It also seeks for recognition as a corporation in law in order to be able to gain authority over religious teaching in public schools.

    2. Coordination Council of Muslims (Koordinationsrat der Muslime): The KRM was established in 2007 by the three major Muslim organizations (DITIB, VIKZ, ZMD) and the IR as a new umbrella organization that will be able to speak with one voice regarding integration and extremism, and also seek the leverage that Protestant and Catholic representations already have with the government.

    At the local level, other Islamic organizations have gained leverage with state governments and have been allowed to participate in providing instruction in the schools, as Protestants and Catholics generally do. Other states have established religious instruction for Muslims without the interlocution of a Muslim organization. Some states have developed more general religious instruction programs designed to sidestep the controversy. The Islamic Federation of Berlin has been in a particularly long battle with the state government in which, after several court battles, it has won the right to provide religious education. The Federation was controversial partly because of its relationship to Milli Görûs, the Turkish Islamic movement. Although the education program has gone fairly well, conflicts with the government and with other Turkish groups has continued. 99 There are also a greater number of regional or local Muslim organizations – five mosque communities in Berlin alone. Nevertheless, an increasing number of mosques are not affiliated with any collective.

    There are also various organizations and institutions of Muslim women in Germany. The most important are Begegnungs- und Fortbildungszentrum muslimischer Frauen e.V. (Centre for Encountering and Advanced Training of Muslim Women, BFMF) in Cologne, the Zentrum für islamische Frauenforschung und -förderung (Centre for Islamic Research on Women’s Issues and Encouragement of Muslim Women, ZiF) in Cologne; the Netzwerk für islamische Frauen e.V. (Network for Islamic Women, HUDA); and finally the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Muslimischer Frau in der Gesellschaft in Berlin (Working Group Muslim Woman within Society).

    German converts to Islam are organized in Muslim associations established by German Muslims, such as the Deutsche Muslim-Liga e.V. (German Muslim League), founded in 1952 in Hamburg.

    Critics argue that the Coordination Council of Muslims represents only a small conservative segment of Muslims in Germany.

    Until just recently, Muslims have not had the same rights as Christian churches and other religious communities to collect official taxes. Relations between officials and Muslim organizations are influenced by the German Internal Intelligence Service (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz). Muslim organizations are observed by the German Internal Intelligence which labels several of these organizations as Islamist, leaving them stigmatized. This includes, among many others, Milli Görüs and the Islamische Gemeinschaft Deutschland. This labeling does not reflect the official self-perception of the organizations. Membership of an organization which has been mentioned in the reports of the Verfassungsschutz can jeopardize prospects of individual Muslims, who are members of these organizations. If a Muslim organization is actually mentioned on a list of the Verfassungschutz obtaining any official funding becomes much more difficult. In addition to the difficulty of obtaining funding, political parties often exclude from their list of dialogue partners those organizations which are listed by the Verfassungsschutz. In summary, the judgments of the Verfassungsschutz most often influence public opinion of Muslims and their organizations in a negative way.

    In Italy, only one Muslim organization, the Islamic Cultural Center of Italy, is recognized as a religious legal entity; all others operate as unrecognized religious associations. The differences and lack of unity among the organizations is one of the primary reasons that no intesa accord has been signed with the government to give Islam and Muslims a more privileged status [please see section on ‘State and Church’]. 100 According to Italian provision, a religious association is a legal person in private law and obtains legal status by registering into the register of religious associations through court processes. 101

    The Consulta islamica, which corresponds directly to the Interior Ministry, is responsible for counseling the Italian government on various issues concerning Muslim integration in the country. 102 From as early as 2003, Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu proposed the creation of a council of Muslims – similar to the French model. On September 11th, 2005, the Consulta Islamic (Islamic Consultation) was set up to facilitate dialogue on pressing Issues with local Muslim leaders. 103 Minister of Interior Pisanu expressed his belief about the aims of the Consulta Islamica: “expressing opinions and proposing problems to the Ministry”. “The fight against Islamic fundamentalism should be pursued in two ways: treating terrorists as enemies and moderate Muslims as friends.” 104 Pisanu, who signed the decree establishing the creation of the organization, also emphasized upon its introduction that the Consulta Islamica would provide dialogue for “Islamic immigrants’ integration – but not assimilation.” However, he asserted that the Muslim community was not “ripe” for an intesa. 105

    Since 1990, the Unione delle Comunita de Organizzazioni Islamiche in Italia (Islamic Communities and Organizations in Italy) has served to offer a collective Muslim voice in dealings with the Italian state. The organization claims to represent between 80-90% of Italy’s Muslim mosques and associations. It has participated and dealt with issues relating to citizenship and integration, and putting out formal statements on matters of major topics of debate. One such example is the issuing of responses following the 2005 death of Pope John Paul II and the London bombings. 106

    The Centro Islamico Culturale d’Italia (Islamic Cultural Center of Italy) is another major Muslim organization in the country, and brings together representatives of mosques and Islamic associations around issues of common concern in northern and central Italy. 107 In 1974, this organization became the last that has obtained ‘moral corporation’ and at present, subsequently had diplomatic representatives in Italy and Vatican City. 108

    AMI (Italian Muslim Association) represents Italian converts to Islam.

    In 2005, an Islamic Anti-Defamation League was created in Italy by a diverse representative group consisting of intellectuals, workers, parents, professionals, students – most of them Italian citizens or had lived in Italy for years, and all of the Muslim. The Anti-Defamation League was created with the goal to deal with the spreading phenomenon of anti-Islamism, to gather, analyze, and spread information about the propagation of propaganda, hatred, and racism concerning Muslims, and point out and fight against the main perpetrators of Islamophobia, be they organizations or individuals. 109

    The immediate objective is to stop the defamation immediately, ideally through the use of sense and consciences, and if necessary, appealing to the law. Free legal assistance with access to 53 lawyers located all over the country is available when needed or called upon. The primary objective of the Islamic Anti-Defamation League is to guarantee justice and equal treatment for all people living in Italy, including minorities. 110

    In Spain, Muslims are represented by the Islamic Commission of Spain (CIE), formed in an agreement with the Spanish state in 1992. It is composed of two federations: the FEERI, the Federation of Spanish Islamic Entities, and the UCIDE, the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain. These organizations are domestic and long-standing. All is not perfect, though. There have been ongoing problems with the implementation of the agreement, both because of difficulties with the Muslim leadership and delays by the government. 111

    In the Netherlands, the Moroccan and Turkish governments exercise substantial control over religious matters through an official Turkish organization and a network of Moroccan social organizations. 112 Since the November 2, 2004 murder of controversial filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, there has been an attempt to remedy this with the creation of a union of Dutch imams to negotiate important issues with the state.

    Two organizations have been officially recognized by the state according the European Parliament’s (EP) study on “Islam in the European Union: What’s at Stake in the Future”: CMO (Contactorgaan Moslems en de Overheid) was officially recognized as a consultation partner by the government on November 1, 2004 and CGI (Contact Groep Islam) was recognized on January 13, 2005 (Netherlands Justice Ministry; EP143). CMO has a following of over 500,000 mainly Sunni members, including the four main Turkish organizations (Milli Gorus, Diyanet), the Union of Moroccan mosques and the Surinam World Islamic Mission. 113 When the CMO was established, it served as an umbrella organization for these six national mosque federations; it aims to present a common standpoint on issues related to integration. Shiite’s, however, were excluded from the set-up phase, as were other non-Sunni groups who established the CGI. CGI has a following of 115,000 members 114 with Alevite, Lahore Ahmadiya, Sunni, and Shia backgrounds. Both receive public funding and hold meetings regularly with government officials on concerning the integration of Muslims in Dutch society. 115 They do not always agree on issues of policy.

    In May 2007, Dutch ex-Muslim united under a new organization in Amsterdam, called the Central Committee for Ex-Muslims. City council member Ehsan Jami (PvdA) and Afshin Ellian, a well-known professor in international law and philosophy are involved. The committee is committed to helping other so-called Muslim “apostates,” and will address issues like domestic violence and women’s rights. 116

    The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is the primary representative organization for Muslims in the United Kingdom, with a network of at least 380 smaller organizations. It was founded in 1997 after a meeting of a number of Muslim organizations and is associated with about 70% of Muslims in Great Britain. It is composed of national, regional, and local organizations organized into geographical zones.

    There are several more academic and elite organizations which also play important roles in the UK. The Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism (FAIR) was founded after September 11th and works in lobbying and research. The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) works to empower Muslims at the grassroots. The Islamic Cultural Centre, which includes the London Central Mosque, was established in 1944 and maintains a board of trustees of prominent Muslims, local and international. The Federation of Student Islamic Societies in the UK and Eire organizes student groups, and the Islamic Mission pursues education and other charity work across the UK. In 1884, the organization Islamic Relief was founded in Birmingham, UK.

    In recent years (particularly in the wake of the July 2005 London bombings) the government has sought to engage with ‘representative’ Muslim organizations such as the MCB. However, questions have been raised about the extent to which such organizations are in fact representative of the UK’s (incredibly diverse) Muslim community. The problem is that the government “does not know how far [these representative]…organizations…can reach out to, let alone influence, the sections of the Islamic community who are susceptible to [extremism].” 117

    III. Conclusion

    The above figures and biographies show that politicians of Muslim background slowly begin to play a role European mainstream politics. Most of them do not publicly state their religious affiliation, possibly due to a secular conviction of separating religion and politics (either of the politician him- or herself or of the country) or because they do not practise their religion. Only a minority presents themselves as Muslims in public. It is much more common to refer to the ethnic background and also to be active in integration, migration and minority issues. Regarding gender, the involvement of men and women is rather balanced.

    As a general rule, the available information seems to indicate: the lower the political level, the higher the share of Muslims in politics. There are only few in the European parliament, but some bigger proportion on the national level, at least in those countries that have a significant Muslim population: France, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Bulgaria. The strongest participation is found on the local level, with several city and regional parliaments having Muslim delegates.

    Islamic parties hardly exist. However, there is a much-practised way of Muslims to have a say in national politics and that is through numerous associations. In many European countries there are three or four large organisations that represent the Islamic faith and get involved into religious issues in politics such as education, headscarf bans, halal butching or Islamic holidays. Non-Muslim politicians often criticise that Islam is not organised in bodies such as the Protestant or Catholic Church and that there consequently is a lack of dialogue partners. Therefore, the governments of countries with the largest Muslim minorities have recently created umbrella organisations that should speak for all of the nation’s Muslims – not entirely successful due to the wide range of religiosity, convictions and practices within this population. In any case, associations (whether as umbrella organisations or individual) are the actors who gather politically engaged, religious Muslims and who introduce and challenge Islam related questions in society.

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    1. “Eurostat does not collect statistics with a breakdown by ethnic group or religion. National legislation and practice in a number of Member States prevent the collection and dissemination of ethnic group or religion information in statistics. In addition to this ethnic group is a complicated subject, and even where statistics are collected it can be misleading to compare data from different countries.” []
    2. Muslims in the European Union, Discrimination and Islamophobia, EUMC 2006, p. 24-29., http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/attachments/Manifestations_EN.pdf. []
    3. APuZ, 27/2005, Editorial; Omer Taspinar http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2003/03middleeast_taspinar.aspx (2003). []
    4. http://www.eumap.org/topics/minority/reports/eumuslims. EUMAP of the Open Society Institute. []
    5. http://www.islamarchiv.de > Aktuelles/Veranstaltungen > Umfragen > Aus dem Europa-Archiv des Zentralinstituts Islam-Archiv-Deutschland in Soest (further down the page). []
    6. 1 January 2006: 491,011,000, estimations for 1 January 2010: 492,838,000. Cp. Eurostat Pocketbooks Cultural Statistics, 2007, Eurostat/European Commission, Chapter 1: Demographics, social data and economics, p. 18. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-77-07-296/EN/KS-77-07-296-EN.PDF []
    7. For a similar discussion see also Navid Kermani’s new book: Wer ist Wir? Deutschland und seine Muslime. München: C.H.Beck, 2009; and more general Amartya Sen, Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny, 2007. []
    8. Information could be found about eight delegates; there might be more but this is not reported. []
    9. Patrick Barkham, “Minority Report” The Guardian 14 February 2007, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/feb/14/race.eu. []
    10. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/public/yourMep/view.do?name=%C3%B6ger&partNumber=1 &language=DE&id=28230. []
    11. http://www.oezdemir.de/zur_person/biographie/index.html. []
    12. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/public/geoSearch/view.do?language=EN&partNumber=1 &country=FR&zone=Nord-Ouest&id=4345. []
    13. The last three paragraphs are taken from the country profiles (slightly moderated). []
    14. http://www.dekamer.be/kvvcr/showpage.cfm?section=/depute&language=fr&rightmenu=right_depute&cfm =cvlist52.cfm?legis=52&today=n. []
    15. http://www.senaat.be/www/?MIval=/index_senate&MENUID=11200&LANG=fr. []
    16. “36 Turkish candidates in Belgian elections” Turkish Daily News 11 June 2007. []
    17. “Islamic text calls for election boycott” Expatica News 31 May 2007. []
    18. “Popular MP to create own party” The Copenhagen Post 7 May 2007. []
    19. Ganley, Elaine. “French Cabinet Minister Rejects Tokenism”, The Washington Post, 26 October 2006. Available online at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/26/AR2006102600990.html. []
    20. “Sarkozy Reshuffles Cabinet after election setback”, New York Times, 19 June 2007. []
    21. The June 2007 legislative elections had 7,639 total candidates; see “‘Blue Wave’ Sweeps French Polls”, IslamOnline, 11 June 2007. Available online at: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1181062603022&pagename=Zone-English-News%2FNWELayout. []
    22. “Record Number of Muslim Candidates Run for French Parliament”, IslamToday, 10 June 2007. []
    23. http://www.bundestag.de/mdb/alphabet/index.html. []
    24. Bosse, Daniel/ Vior, Eduardo J., Politische Partizipation von Migranten mit muslimischem Hintergrund in Deutschland. Entwicklung und Probleme [Political Participation of Migrants with a Muslim Background in Germany. Development and Problems] (Magdeburg 2005), 10ff. []
    25. A statement of the Zentralrat der Muslime (Central Council of Muslims, ZMD) on the establishment of the Muslim Academy is available online: http://islam.de/1194.php. []
    26. Parties woo Muslim candidates for April polls. AKI. 26 February 2008. Available at: http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=1.0.1915105896; Fewer than expected immigrants make it to electoral lists. AKI. 11 March 2008. Available at: http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=1.0.1962549036. []
    27. Interview with Souad Sbai, a Moroccan Parliamentary Candidate. Africa News eu. 2008. []
    28. Biography of Souad Sbai. Official Website. Available at: http://www.souadsbai.com/?page_id=5. []
    29. Aloisi, Silvia. Muslim feminist fights for women’s rights in Italy. 16 May 2007. []
    30. Interview with Souad Sbai, a Moroccan Parliamentary Candidate. Africa-News.eu. 2008. Available at: http://www.africa-news.eu/news/immigration-news-italy/interview-with-souad-sbai-a-moroccan-parliamentary-candidate.html. []
    31. Council of Europe. Biographical information on Ali Rashid Khalil. Online available at: http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/AssemblyList/AL_MemberDetails.asp?MemberID=5790. []
    32. Two MPs to represent four million immigrants. AKI. 15 April 2008. Available at: http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Politics/?id=1.0.2074789726. []
    33. http://tempora.hosting.kun.nl/tempora/default.asp?actie=tekst_detail&tekst_id=200342126188083. []
    34. “De heilige Ayaan” Zembla 11 May 2006. Available online at: http://omroep.vara.nl. Accessed 20 July 2007 (no longer online). []
    35. Open Society Institute, “Muslims in the EU: Cities Report Sweden”, 2007. Available at: http://www.eumap.org/topics/minority/reports/eumuslims/background_reports/download/sweden/sweden.pdf. []
    36. ibid. []
    37. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/4530293.stm. []
    38. http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hcio/party.cfm#Lab. []
    39. http://www.politics.co.uk/mps/party-politics/labour/sarwar-mohammad-$451641.htm. []
    40. http://dps.bg/cgi-bin/e-cms/vis/vis.pl?s=001&p=0395&g=. []
    41. Paul Belien, “Bruxellabad” The Brussels Journal (10 October 2006). []
    42. Helle Merete Brix and Lars Hedegaard. “Islamic Extremists and Their Western Allies on the Offensive against Free Speech in Denmark” Free Speech in Denmark 3 January 2006. Available online at: http://www.aidanederland.nl/agenda/2005-2006/Free%20Speech%20in%20Denmark.html. []
    43. “Hijab-clad Muslim TV Host Sparks Danish Furor,” Islam Online (5 April 2006). Available online at: http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-04/05/article01.shtml. []
    44. Karl Ritter “Muslim Woman Runs for Danish Parliament” Washington Post 27 April 2007; “Feminist, socialist, devout Muslim: woman who has thrown Denmark into turmoil” The Guardian 16 May 2007. Available online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,,2080453,00.html; “Asmaa Abdol-Hamid’s story” KVINFO: All About Gender in Denmark. Available online at: http://www.kvinfo.dk/side/674/article/61. []
    45. “Moroccan-Dutch politician to lead Dutch City: Muslims Tapped as Rotterdam Mayor” Speigel Online International 22 October 2008. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,585457,00.html. []
    46. ibid []
    47. “Wilders slams appointment of Moroccan mayor” Expatica.com 17 October 2008. http://www.expatica.com/nl/articles/news/Wilders-slams-appointment-of-Moroccan-mayor.html. []
    48. “A Moroccan Mayor for the Netherlands” Trouw Netherlands 17 October 2008. http://www.eurotopics.net/en/presseschau/archiv/aehnliche/archiv_article/ARTICLE37988-A-Moroccan-mayor-for-Rotterdam. []
    49. Strobel, Anna (2006). []
    50. See for instance web page http://www.islam.at. []
    51. Website of the “Muslimische Jugend Österreich“, see: http://www.mjoe.at. []
    52. Abdel-Fattah, Beshir (2004). []
    53. Ibid. []
    54. “Islam in the European Union: What’s at Stake in the Future?” European Parliament, May 2007. (Hereinafter: “Islam in the EU” []
    55. “Islam in the EU” []
    56. “Founder Of The PCP Steps Down” Le Soir 3 March 2004. []
    57. “Information from Mandana Zarrehparvar, senior adviser with the Danish Institute for Human Rights, to the IHF per email, September 6, 2004.” In “Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims in the EU: Developments since September 11.” International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) (March 2005). Available online at: http://www.ihf-hr.org/viewbinary/viewdocument.php?doc_id=6237. []
    58. Liz Fekete. “National Council for Muslims Proposed,” Independent Race and Refugee News Network (17 July 2003). Available online at: http://www.irr.org.uk; in IHF. []
    59. For an extensive list of Muslim organizations in Denmark, see Islamic Finder’s Denmark page at: http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayer.php?country=denmark. []
    60. “Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons” The Guardian 6 February 2006; “Danish Muslims split over cartoons,” BBCNews.com 6 February 2007. Available online at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4692318.stm; the Islamic Society of Denmark’s website is http://www.wakf.com/ (in Danish and Arabic); IT has also been translated as the Islamic Faith Society; the organization is now closed. []
    61. “Danish imams fume at cartoon punishment,” Islamonline.net 11 February 2006. Available online at: http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-02/11/article02.shtml. []
    62. Doug Sanders. “It is not what I want to happen,” The Globe and Mail (8 February 2006); qtd. in Anders Rudling. “Widening and Deepening the EU: What Kind of Europe for the New Century?” Conference Paper. The European Community Studies Association – Canada – Young Researchers Network (ECSA-C – YRN). Victoria: University of Alberta (18 May 2006): 8. []
    63. Rudling, 2006. The organization claims to represent 29 Danish Muslim groups and their members-all in all 170,000 to 200,000 Muslims, Rudling 6. []
    64. Kåre Quist. “Labans mange løgne.” Ekstra Bladet 6 February 2006; qtd in. Rudling 9. []
    65. See European Parliament “Islam in the European Union: What’s at Stake in the Future” Policy Department , Structural and Cohesion Policies (May 2007); this information was also provided by a previous version of euro-islam.info’s “Denmark” country profile. []
    66. “Danish paper rejected Jesus cartoons.” []
    67. “Danish Muslims sue newspaper over cartoons: Lawsuit seeks $16,100, claims drawings were ‘defamatory and injurious’” MSNBC.com 30 March 2006. Available online at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12077167/from/RSS. []
    68. Rudling 2006. []
    69. “Danish PM To Meet With New ‘Democratic Muslims’ Group” Turks.us 13 February 2006. Available online at: http://www.turks.us/article.php?story=20060213134205303. []
    70. The Democratic Muslims website is http://www.demokratiskemuslimer.dk (in Dutch). []
    71. “Khader anholder Labans udtalelser,” TV.2 11 February 2006. Available online at: http://nyhederne.tv2.dk/baggrund/article.php/id-3633036.html. []
    72. DFC website is: http://www.islam.dk/content.asp?art_id=5. []
    73. As of July 2006, Fatih Alev was involved in a leadership capacity with the DFC according to his endorsement on behalf of the organization of the Amman Message; see “Grand List of Endorsements of the Amman Message and Its Three Points.” The Official Website of the Amman Message (July 2006). Available online at: http://ammanmessage.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=31. []
    74. Schmidt, Garbi. “The Formation of Transnational Identities among Young Muslims in Denmark.” In “European Muslims and the Secular State in a Comparative Perspective,” Final Symposium Report. Jocelyne Cesari (ed. & coord.). The Network of Comparative Research on Islam and Muslims in Europe. Available online at: http://www.euro-islam.info/PDFs/Final_ICDEI_Symposium.pdf: 210. []
    75. “Prominent Muslim hails van Gogh killing.” The Copenhagen Post 11 August 2004. []
    76. EP 11. []
    77. Franck Frégosi, “Les contours fluctuants d’une régulation étatique de l’islam” [“The Fluctuating Contours of State Regulation of Islam”] Hommes et migrations (July-August 1999) in “France” Muslims in the EU: City Reports, Open Society Institute (2007). Available online: http://www.eumap.org/topics/minority/reports/eumuslims/country/france: 65. []
    78. Gilles Kepel, Les banlieues de l’islam; Open Society Institute (OSI), 2007: 65. []
    79. Open Society Institute (OSI), 2007: 65. []
    80. “L’échec de l’islam Marocain en France: Le quatre composantes de l’islam de France” Le Journal Hebdomadaire 4-10 December 2004; qtd. in Glen Feder. “The Muslim Brotherhood in France” In the National Interest 21 September 2005. Available online: http://www.inthenationalinterest.com/Articles/September%202005/September2005Feder.html. []
    81. Fiammetta Venner.OPA sur l’islam de France [OPA on French Islam] (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 2005); OSI 65. []
    82. “L’échec de l’islam Marocain en France: Le quatre composantes de l’islam de France”. []
    83. Jean-Yves Camus. “Islam in France” International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism 10 May 2004. []
    84. OSI 65. []
    85. Isabelle Rigoni. Mobilisations, actions et recompositions. Migrants de Turquie et réseaux associatifs en France, en Allemagne et en Belgique (Mobilisations, Actions and Recombinations. Migrants from Turkey and Associative Networks in France, Germany and Belgium) Thèse de science politique, Université Paris VIII (January 2000). []
    86. Cited in Gilles Couvreur Musulmans de France: diversité, mutations et perspectives de l’islam français; OSI 66. []
    87. According the French government registry, the CFCM officially announced its created on May 28, 2003; see “Consulter les annonces: Conseil Français du culte musulman” Les Journaux officials le plus court chemin entre la loi et vous 7 June 2003. Available online at: http://www.journal-officiel.gouv.fr/association/index.php?ACTION=Rechercher&HI_PAGE=1&HI_COMPTEUR=0&original_method=get&WHAT=culte+musulman&JTH_ID=&JAN_BD_CP=75013&JRE_ID=&JAN_LIEU_DECL=&JTY_ID=&JPA_D_D=07%2F06%2F2003&JPA_D_F=07%2F06%2F2003. []
    88. OSI 66. []
    89. Cesari, 2004. []
    90. “L’échec de l’islam Marocain en France: Le quatre composantes de l’islam de France”. []
    91. “An underclass rebellion – France’s riots” The Economist 12 November 2005. []
    92. “French Muslim organization accused of ‘silence’ over recent riots” BBC 22 November 2005. []
    93. “French Muslim leaders ‘outraged’, urge law against ‘Islamophobia’” BBC 3 February 2006. []
    94. “French Muslims Regroup With New Organization” Expatica 18 June 2006. []
    95. The profiles of the Muslim organizations are based on the profiles in: Islam and Identity in Germany Crisis Group Europe Report (2007), 6-11. []
    96. Spiewak, Martin, Vorbeter aus der Fremde, in: Die Zeit (21 September 2006). []
    97. Cesari (2004). []
    98. Mühe (2007), 4. []
    99. Cesari (2004). []
    100. European Parliament: Directorate-General for Internal Policies of the Union. Islam in the European Union: What’s at Stake in the Future? Page 130. 2007. Available at: http://www.euro-islam.info/spip/IMG/Islam_in_Europe_EN.pdf. []
    101. ibid, p. 103. []
    102. Italy’s Interior Minster Presents Members of Islamic Council. Associated Press. 30 November 2005. []
    103. World Economic Forum. Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of the Dialogue. Page 44. 2008. Available at: http://www.weforum.org/pdf/C100/Islam_West.pdf. []
    104. Secularization and Religious Divides in Europe. Italy. Page 303. 2006. Available at http://www.euro-islam.info/PDFs/ChallengeProjectReport.pdf -4.pdf. []
    105. ibid, p. 304. []
    106. World Economic Forum. Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of the Dialogue. Page 44. 2008. Available at: http://www.weforum.org/pdf/C100/Islam_West.pdf. []
    107. ibid. []
    108. Secularization and Religious Divides in Europe. Italy. Page 302. 2006. Available at http://www.euro-islam.info/PDFs/ChallengeProjectReport.pdf -4.pdf. []
    109. ibid, p. 320. []
    110. ibid. []
    111. “El Gobierno Inicia Una Ronda De Conversaciones Con La Comisión Islámica De España Para Estudiar El Desarrollo Del Acuerdo De Cooperación Firmado En 1992.” WebIslam June 8, 2001. []
    112. US State Dept., 2004. []
    113. “Profile of the Netherlands” European Muslim Network. Available online at: http://www.euromuslim.net/index.php/islam-in-europe/country-profile/profile-of-the-netherlands. Accessed 20 July 2007. []
    114. Netherlands Justice Ministry; EP143. []
    115. European Parliament, Policy Department Structural and Cohesion Policies. Islam in the European Union: What’s at Stake in the Future? May 2007: 143. []
    116. “Dutch ex-Muslims create new organization” Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2 May 2007. []
    117. P. Dunleavy et al. (eds.), Developments in British Politics 8, p. 210. []