It seems to be very clear that there is no single _face’ to Islam in any European country, but a mosaic of _faces’. That makes government policy work in terms of engagement very difficult, says H. A. Hellyer: Who speaks for European Muslims? It is a pressing question as far as policy makers in Europe are concerned. Even prior to 9/11, they were interested. After the 7/7 London bombings, finding an answer to the question has become imperative. Before the attacks of 9/11, I had decided to map out the Muslim communities in Europe; as an academic, I was interested in their organisation. What I found was that whereas the Christian churches in Europe all pretty much have single bodies representing them, Muslims do not. But does it really matter who represents Muslims? Many Christians, after all, would prefer that their churches did not represent them. The simple answer is that it does. When al Qaeda decided to attack the United States, supposedly in the name of Islam (but more accurately, in the name of their own frustrations and heretical ideology), European nations realised the necessity of engaging with their Muslim communities. It was deeply appreciated, as it meant that governments could send a positive message to mainstream society that Muslims were not all threats to western civilisation.

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