The Integration of Europe’s Muslims in its Political Aspects
Professor, Department of Comparative Politics, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University), MFA Russia, email@example.com_id: 252015 |
The article discusses the problem of Muslim political integration into European society, which cause considerable controversy both in political science community and among general public, and is insufficiently studied in Russian historiography. Analyzing the issue the authors follow the logic of Rokkan-Hirschman model, explaining the impact of the center-periphery polarity on the creation of boundariesand membership in the nation-state. It is shown that Muslim immigrants form today the inner periphery of European polities which generates a new socio-cultural and socio-economic cleavage. They point out that over time there appeared a human right based liberal-democratic paradigm, which now underlies the different immigration policies of European authorities. This policy of unmanaged multiculturalism allowed immigrants to remain a closed community (inner periphery) within the country of residence. The growth of Islamic extremism prompted the European governments to intensify work on political integration of Muslims and to tighten the immigration policies in a number of aspects. The authors believe the participation of Muslims in the political life of European countries is becoming more significant. They take part in national and local elections, enter the national representation bodies and hold demonstrations so as to defend their interests. Much attention is given to the analysis of intercultural communication. It is noted that in Europe now exists an extensive layer of moderate Muslims to varying degrees integrated into Western society. A hybrid identity has become widespread and many consider themselves to be representatives of both a European country and Muslim community. However, in a heterogeneous environment Islamist influence grows and although they often hold moderate positions they do not always share Western values, but support Sharia-guided lifestyle. On the other hand in the wake of the global economic crisis anti-immigrant sentiment has intensified and strengthened the right-wing nationalist forces. The authors come to a conclusion that in spite of existing challenges the democratic ideals and practices are supported by a large part of Muslims, which makes their political integration into European society quite possible.
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