Western Europe hardly seems a model for harmonious relations between Muslim minorities and the non-Muslim societies in which they reside. Controversies have flared recently over the wearing of burkas in public, construction of mosques, and an ironic suggestion from a French ex-political official that his fellow Muslims wear green stars.
But Associate Professor of Political Science Jonathan Laurence tells a different story in his new book, The Emancipation of Europe's Muslims: The State's Role in Minority Integration. During the past two decades, he says, European countries have stepped up efforts to integrate Muslims into the institutional, political, and cultural fabrics of European democracy. Foremost among such initiatives has been the government-led creation of Islamic Councils to help resolve public disputes over Islamic practices.
The book caught the attention of The Economist, which called it an "original and thought provoking study...[focusing] on a crucial new mechanism of state-mosque relations."