The Muslim Question in Europe

July 11-24, Sarajevo and Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

In 2004 we met in Sarajevo and Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss “The Muslim Question in Europe.” We concentrated on the many facets of European “otherness,” with special reference to the “Muslim question,” and focused on the “other” as a political and symbolic resource, not merely a problem for Western Europe. Can the relationship with the “other” help the European Union as a global political actor? Can the “other” help the “old continent” in developing into a real political institution? Is there any way to include Muslims and the Muslim intellectual tradition in Europe without denying the assumptions of that tradition? This challenge informed much of the heated debate on the first principles of the European Constitution—regarding the “Christian roots” of Western Europe.

“This school is the work of God.”
(Fellow, 2004)

In fact, the identity of Europe as a whole and of Europeans individually cannot be articulated without the presence of Jews and Muslims. However, despite their central role in the making of European identities, these groups are often seen as the “other,” existing on the margins of European identity. Today, of course, the “Muslim question” has become an unavoidable part of the ongoing European discourse, recalling the salience of the “Jewish question” in the 19th century. Now, as then, discourses range from dangerous Islamaphobia to fruitful and promising dialogues. Any evaluation of individual and collective responsibility for the protection of human dignity cannot avoid this issue today.

2004 Local Host: International Forum Bosnia