Islam in Europe: A Research Guide

Neal Wyatt, Editor
Jessica Adamick, Guest Columnist

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The firestorm of controversy over the recent vote in Switzerland to ban the building of minarets on mosques highlights the perilous and contentious state of Islamic community, culture, and religion in Europe. Finding reliable and current research and resources on the many threads that informs the debate surrounding the European Islamic community, Western perceptions, and the tensions between factions can be difficult. Jessica Adamick offers a comprehensive and up to date survey of resources that can aid reference and collection development librarians when working in this subject area. Adamick received her MLS from the School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University Bloomington, with a specialization in Digital Libraries in May 2009 and currently works as the Ethics Clearinghouse Librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is working on a National Science Foundation-funded project to build the Ethics in Science and Engineering National Clearinghouse Beta (ESENCe), a subject repository on the responsible conduct of research. Adamick developed her interest in the topic of Islam in Europe when she studied in Amsterdam as an undergraduate. She subsequently explored the topic at Earlham College, where she graduated with a BA in Women’s Studies in 2007.—Editor

Over the last three decades, events involving the conflict between European Muslims and secular or Christian European states have been highly visible. Protests of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses dominated the media in 1989, following a denied appeal by the United Kingdom Action Committee on Islamic Affairs for the British government to ban the book’s release. Also in 1989, the Affaire du Foulard (“the Headscarf Affair”) began in Creil, France, when three Muslim girls wearing headscarves were sent home from school. A national controversy ensued that led to the passing of a law in 2004 that banned obvious signs of religious affiliation in French schools. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, debates that associated Islam with violence became widespread. The murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by Dutch Muslim Mohammed Bouyeri and the Al-Qaeda bombing of trains in Madrid only fueled the flames of the heightened rhetoric. In response to these events and their political aftermath, there has been an enormous increase in publications on the topic of Islam in Europe. This annotated guide includes relevant, informative, authoritative, and influential reference sources, databases, periodicals, books, and websites that focus on Islam in Europe during the last three decades. Readers should note that in addition to this guide, several comprehensive bibliographies have been published on the subject: Jochen Blaschke’s Muslims in Europe: A Bibliography (Berlin: Edition Parabolis, 2002), Robert Goehlert’s Muslims in Contemporary Europe: A Guide to Selected Resources in English (Bloomington: Center for the Study of Global Change, Indiana Univ., 2006), and Jürgen Jensen’s Africans in Europe: A Bibliography, Interethnische Beziehungen und Kulturwandel, Vol. 51 (Münster: Lit, 2002). None of these, however, are annotated. It should also be noted that the current political environment in much of Europe supports the conflation of Islam with Islamic fundamentalism and the conception of all Muslims in Europe as immigrants. Researchers should be aware that some of the materials available reflect this confusion, and they should find sources that account for the level of diversity among Muslims in Europe.

Several methods and tools were employed in the identification and selection of the items for this guide. Reference sources were located by browsing the shelves of Indiana University Bloomington libraries and using standard reference sources such as American Reference Books Annual, Booklist, Choice, College & Research Libraries, and Reference & User Services Quarterly. Books were identified using Choice, Public Library Catalog, WorldCat, and book reviews in scholarly journals, and were selected on the basis of their relevancy, their citation count according to Arts and Humanities Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index, the number of library holdings, favorable reviews, reputation of the publisher, and date published. Databases were selected on the basis of the number of relevant items they indexed on the topic, and journals were selected on the basis of the frequency at which they published relevant articles. The Web resources, which were found by searching Google and Intute, were evaluated on the basis of their authority and the depth of information they provide.

References Sources

The following sources are ideal for preliminary research as they are concise and provide accessible, general overviews of current developments in Islam in Europe. Most of the entries include a bibliography or further reading suggestions.

Cook, Bernard A., ed. Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 2001 (ISBN: 978-0-8153-1336-6).
The entry “Muslims in Europe” traces the history of Muslim immigration to Europe post–1945 and briefly discusses main groups of Muslims in France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and the Balkans, with attention to differences between Muslims in Western and Eastern Europe. The entry concludes with a discussion of issues such as laws, integration, education, and Islamic identity.

Ember, Melvin, Carol E. Ember, and Ian Skoggard, eds. Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures Around the World. New York: Kluwer/Plenum, 2004 (ISBN: 978-0306-48321-9).
One notable entry in this source by the highly cited Pnina Werber, “Pakistani Migration and Diaspora Religious Politics in a Global Age,” discusses Pakistani migration and Pakistani–British community from World War II to the present, with a section titled “Islam, the Rushdie Affair, and the Development of a Diasporic Consciousness.” The other relevant entry in the encyclopedia is “Turks in Germany,” which gives a recent history starting with the employment of labor migrants in the early 1960s and includes a section on religious beliefs and practices.

Bearman, Peri et al., eds. The Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2nd edition. 12 vols. Leiden, the Netherlands: Brill, 2006. Brill Online.
The entry “Muslimūn (A.), Muslims” includes the sections “The Old-Established Communities of Eastern Europe” and “Migrant Muslims in Western Europe,” which provide excellent historical overviews, country profiles, and a breakdown of the demographics of each. There are thorough country profiles of Poland, Finland, Hungary, Rumania, Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Yugoslavia, France, Great Britain, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and the countries of Southern Europe.

Esposito, John L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Pr., 2003 (ISBN: 978-0-19-512558-0).
This dictionary includes entries that present a short, broad overview of Islam in Europe, as well as in France, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Germany, Great Britain, the Balkan States, Albania, and Turkey. There are numerous other related entries that will provide quick reference.

Frucht, Richard, ed. Encyclopedia of Eastern Europe. New York: Garland, 2000 (ISBN: 978-0-8153-0092-2).
The entry “Muslims” gives a brief overview of the following areas: Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Yugoslavia, and Kosovo.

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