The "New Europe" refers to a continent no longer split by cold war rivalries. How does Islam compare in its eastern and western portions? Actually, the comparison makes little sense, for in addition to their differing developments since 1945, the two parts host fundamentally dissimilar Muslim populations. The eastern peoples are nearly all indigenous converts of centuries' long standing; the western ones overwhelmingly consist of immigrants who arrived after 1960.
If the comparison of communities serves little purpose, the gathering of academic analysts within the covers of a single volume does make one contrast strikingly clear: that the easterners, formerly subjects of Moscow's writ, stand up for the secular approach so long exemplified by France, while the westerners, beneficiaries of this system, are more ready to weaken it through the application of group rights and multiculturalism.
The editor calls Islam in Europe a "neglected" field of academic study, a surprising remark in light of the voluminous literature on this subject, but an accurate one in so far as the general level of writing and analysis in this volume's sixteen essays leaves much to be desired. Even so, it has some interesting points: that 23 percent of Brussel's population under the age of 20 is Muslim; that Sweden is the country most transformed since World War II by immigration; and that Mussolini not only liked to portray Italy as a "friend of the Islamic world" but even as a "great Muslim power."