Europeanisation, not Islamisation

Bassam Tibi argues for Euro-Islam as a bridge between civilisations

Linked with Bassam Tibi – Syria.

Published on Sign and Sight, by Bassam Tibi, March 22, 2007.

… The reasoning about the potential of a Europeanisation of Islam in the European Diaspora took a further development at Cornell University. As stated above, Peter Katzenstein chaired the project “Transnational Religion and Accession,” dealing not just with Islam, but also with Eastern Orthodox Christianity. A key assumption of the project is that “accession” – the inclusion in the political culture of the EU – presupposes a “Europeanisation” in the limited sense described above, that is for the territory of the EU. According to secular standards, Europeanisation is separated from religion and ethnicity and linked solely to the values of democracy, individual human rights and civil society. That this concept is not Eurocentric is amply illustrated by the possible synthesis of Islam and Europe in Euro-Islam, an idea I have been advocating for over 15 years summarized in the Cornell formula cited above and published most recently in the book edited by Peter Katzenstein and Timothy Byrnes “Religion in an Expanding Europe”. Are the findings of the Cornell project, which argues for Europeanisation as a criteria not only for accepting the Turks of the Diaspora as European citizens, but also Turkey in the EU, acceptable for the Turks? The Turkish magazine Turkish Policy Quarterly did not see in this idea any European arrogance published 2004 my essay “Euro-Islam. The quest of Turkey and Muslims to become Europeans”. This text met with general approval, although neither the governing Islamists, nor the German Islamic Council under Milli Görüs approve of it, because they are against Europeanisation, a fact corroborated by the enlightened Turks I have spoken with on my repeated visits to Ankara.


In closing I would like to refer to a concept developed by the last major Islamic philosopher Ibn Khaldun, who died 600 years ago. He coined the term asabiyya (esprit de corps, or collective civilizational identity), to measure the strengths and weaknesses of a civilisation. How strong is European asabiyya? Only when Europeanisation succeeds as a democratic response to the Islamic challenge can one speak of a strong European asabiyya in Ibn Khaldun’s sense. The crucial thing is to integrate Europe as a civilisational entity in a pluralistic world. This entity must have its own asabiyya and a clear idea of its make-up, while remaining open to others and incorporating them through Europeanisation. Europe is more than an economic or business community, and it is well worth preserving it as a “beautiful idea.” This can be achieved with Islamic participation, provided the vision of Euro-Islam becomes a political concept approved in the European diaspora of Islam. The task of preserving Europe with Islamic participation is viewed as a peace project for the 21st century. (full long text).

Links:

Europeans Have Stopped Defending Their Values;

War and peace in Islam, I, 06 Feb 2008;

A tough 18 secondes german affirmation on YouTube;

Interview with Bassam Tibi on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum;

Jihadism’s roots in political Islam, Terrorism in Europe II;

Panel discussion on Muslim Diaspora;

Islamic Scholar Warns U.S. of Two-Faced Muslims;

Bassam Tibi says: “It is most disturbing to see how writers who try to warn about the totalitarian character of Islamism are defamed as racists. This wrong-headed political correctness prevents any honest discussion about the subject”;

University of California Press;

Tibi’s smaller vitae: on University of Göttingen/Germany;

Tibi’s expanded vitae (12 pages);

Find him on UN jobs; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search; on wikipedia; on amazon; on alibri; on e-bay.

Islam in the Media: They Still Don’t Get It;

Photo Gallery Muslims in Berlin;

Islamic Europe;

Islamism and Democracy (Harry’s Place & Bassam Tibi);

Newspapers Republish Muhammad Cartoons, February 13, 2008;

The Challenge of Fundamentalism, Political Islam and the New World Disorder.

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