Experiences of Muslims in Western Europe

Oliver Scharbrodt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The chapter provides an overview of the development of the Muslim presence in Western Europe focussing on the period after World War II. The discussion deals with the experiences of Muslims in 19 countries which were located West of the “iron curtain” during the Cold War era (1946/1947–1989) and were therefore integrated in the capitalist world order and politically aligned with the USA. Beginning with an overview of Muslim migration and settlement, the chapter identifies the trajectories and dynamics of the formation of a permanent Muslim presence in Western Europe after World War II. The institutionalization of Islam is discussed identifying major actors in this process, placing it in the context of church-state relations across Western Europe, pointing at the challenges in the formation of Islamic educational institutions, and providing an overview of patterns of Muslim political and civic activism. The final part distinguishes different types of Muslim religiosities that emerged in Western Europe to highlight the diversity of Muslim experiences. In order to investigate the experiences of Muslims in Western Europe, a triangulation is proposed which distinguishes between (a) individual Muslims (their identity formations and religiosities); (b) Muslim communities (their local emplacements and transnational ties); and (c) the national contexts in which they reside (including the governance of Islam and church-state relations).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Contemporary Islam and Muslim Lives
EditorsRonald Lukens-Bull, Mark Woodward
Place of PublicationBerlin
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2020


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