An intensive discussion on the European Islam has been continuing in Europe for a while. This discussion has been directed towards Muslims and the parties involved in this discussion are all the European states, security institutions, Western academics and writers.
As a matter of fact this discussion is not any untimely discussion. Alongwith the globalization processes peoples of different identities, cultures, religions and languages have been more and more intertwined and living together. While this living together was a well known situation in the Ottoman state, it is quite new for the West. While the relation of the Western countries with the countries of different religions and cultures was a colonialist and colonized relation during the previous centuries, it can be said that the Western countries have come across these differences with the migration of the people of these countries to the West. Since this period is simultaneously a modern, central and a unitary nation-state period living together of differences has become more and more difficult in this period.
A European Culture in harmony with Islam
Today if people with a different history, religion and culture are living together, states, institutions and luminaries will certainly have to take interest in these issues from the stanpoint of the consequences emerged from this situation.
It is an understandable situation that the aim of the European Islam is not to import different Islamic practices from outside of Europe but to put forward practices suitable to Islam from inside of Europe. If the objective is to explain certain localness in language, culture and method with the European Islam, Islam already envisages it within itself. In this perspective Islam in Turkey is different from the Islam in the Far East, the Balkans and the Middle East to certain extent though understanding, practices and core is the same. In this framework if the European Muslims have Islamic practices and approaches harmonious with the European culture, lifestyle and understanding rather than with the geographies of their origin, it is quite a comprehensible situation provided they remain within the Islamic circle. There must be awareness that how it will not be nice to plant African, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern daily life, practices, cultural and folkloric elements, art and literature apprehension in Turkey, similarly it will not be nice to do the same in Europe too. The unwelcoming situation is not because of the wrongness of these cultural elements, actually this is a situation that relates to the awareness of unique cultural elements of a society which are harmonious with its geography. Undoubtedly, in an open and civilized society different cultures might be exerting efforts to cherish their own cultures apart from this common culture in a certain geography.
A European culture harmonious with Islam should not only be evaluated from the standpoint of the people who come to Europe but also from the standpoint of Europe itself. When we say a European culture harmonious with Islam, actually we emphasize on the necessity that the elements like racism, fascism and Nazism should also be excluded which are embeded in the European cultural genetics. In some circumstances the emphasis on the European Islam is used to express that the people who come to Europe are deprived of universal values like equality, freedom, human rights, pluralism and living together despite differences. Whereas it can be said that recently the Europeans have perhaps significantly moved away from these values. The approach of not considering refugees as human beings, rising anti-immigrant and anti-Islam sentiments are the factors that first of all come to mind. In the public opinion surveys, ratios of the people are rising who fear from the people who are not from them and do not want them as their co-workers and neighbours.
There is no question about it. However approaching civil, social, cultural and political problems merely from the security perspective, that concerns millions of people, would only deepen the problems. The establishment of new institutions by the states for the unknown and new situations is extremely understandable and necessary.
An Approach of a Nonliberal and Security Based European Islam
When the writings and policies of the Western states are observed, discussion on the European Islam does not look like a discussion towards any civil and cultural values. The European states approach this discussion more from the security dimension. Therefore these studies are generally run by intelligence and security agencies in connection with security rather than culture, living together, pluralism and diversity.
If there is any security problem they will definitely have to take measures from the security point of view. There is no question about it. However approaching civil, social, cultural and political problems merely from the security perspective, that concerns millions of people, would only deepen the problems. The establishment of new institutions by the states for the unknown and new situations is extremely understandable and necessary. However these efforts should be for understanding rather than supressing, transforming and convicting. Therefore European states should encourage Muslims to establish Islamic council and Islamic institutions rather than directly and mostly appointing people to these councils who do not have any relation whatsoever with Islam. These works must be executed by civil societies rather than security or intelligence agencies.
What Muslims should do?
In the context of the European Islam it will not be an ethical attitude to say that the Muslims have done their part and criticizing the concerned countries only. If the Muslims living in the West have educational, economic, political, intellectual and academic participation problems today, if their crime ratios are high and if their working culture is low, undoubtedly the Muslims and their organizations bear substantial responsibilities.
Not to mention the fact that they should point to their problems regarding their representation and expression.
They are expected to closely work and establish direct and open relations with the authorities of the concerned countries and spend efforts to diffuse atmosphere of fear that has been created.
What can an Islam bring to Europe that has lost Sociability?
The objective of certain segments is to see an Islam and a Muslim who is purified of all claims on society, family and human beings. Whereas Europe has more collapsed families, unprotected children, incests, homosexual relationships and drug abusers than anywhere else in the world. From the social standpoint Europe has been virtually living a period of wildness where every human value has been lost and where legitimate and normal relationships are not satisfactory because of a higher economic level of satisfaction. The Islamic values are perhaps the last resort in this regard that has not been occupied yet. Therefore Muslims purified of all of its claims on society, family and human beings would only accelerate European collapse.
Christians and Jews should also support Muslims
Being such Muslims would not bring anything and we have seen Judaism and Christianity living through similar processes. I think Christians and Jews alike are uncomfortable with the erosion of social values, moral collapse and extreme egoism. No need to mention that the secularists are also disturbed with a complete removal of human values. Actually Christians and Jews both should react against the removal of these core values.
The European Muslims should have a command over their agenda
Beyond all these, Muslims should have a command over their agenda whether it be in Africa, America, China, India, Middle East and of course Europe. How? Let’s continue next week.
Prof. Dr. Kudret Bulbul, Dean Faculty of Political Sciences at Ankara Y?ld?r?m Beyaz?t University