- Published on Tuesday, 21 September 2010 06:47
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2889
The Pew Forum has released a new report on the number and influence of Muslims in Western Europe. It is an attempt to understand why there is a problem with Muslim immigrants and it looks at a number of groups or sub-organizations. But the basic issue is that over the past two decades, the number of Muslims living in Western Europe has steadily grown, rising from less than 10 million in 1990 to approximately 17 million in 2010. According to the Pew Forum, this continuing growth is causing concern politically and socially and has resulted in increased tension over such issues as the place of religion in European societies, the role of women, the obligations and rights of immigrants, and support for terrorism. Complicating the picture is the fact that some European Muslims have ties to religious networks and movements outside of Europe. Fairly or unfairly, these groups are often accused of dissuading Muslims from integrating into European society and, in some cases, of supporting radicalism.
The Pew Forum looked at 7 different groups of Muslims who are transnational in nature and have a major influence on how Muslims think and behave. One of these is explicitly involved in terror but the others are general involved in promoting their religion which wants to dominate the world - much like the Catholic Church did some centuries ago.
The situation in Europe has arisen because of significant immigration from Muslim-majority areas such as North Africa, Turkey and South Asia and this was often encouraged by the countries involved to meet labour shortages for low-paid jobs. Many of the major Muslim networks and movements operating in Western Europe today originated in Muslim-majority countries, including Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The Pew report says: "The overseas origins of the groups, and their continuing ties to affiliates abroad, have prompted concerns that by strengthening Muslims' connections to the umma - the world community of Muslim believers - they may be encouraging Muslims to segregate themselves from the rest of European society. In addition, some in the West perceive many Muslim groups as fomenters of radical Islam and, ultimately, terrorism."
The study looked at the following groups:
- Gülen Movement
- Muslim Brotherhood and Jama'at-i Islami
- Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth
- Radical Islamist Movements: Jihadi Networks and Hizb ut-Tahrir
- Sufi Orders
- Tablighi Jama'at
- Networks of Religious Scholars
Of special interest of course is the one that is most involved in terrorism:
The Radical Islamist Movements: Jihadi Networks and Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Pew summarized it as follows:
Have used Europe for sanctuary and fundraising since the 1970s but began concerted organizing and recruiting efforts on the continent in the 1990s.
To replace democracy and the nation-state, whose legitimacy they reject, with legal and political systems based on Islamic teachings.
Networks and cells affiliated with global jihadi groups, such as al-Qaeda, as well as individual militants without direct operational ties to any group, pursue an agenda that calls for the violent pursuit of a global Islamic political order. Nonviolent radical groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir ("Party of Liberation") seek to establish Islamic rule through political means.
Representative Organizations/Key Figures
- Radical leaders and ideologues who have spent extended periods of time in Europe include Abu Qatada of Jordan and Abu Mus'ab al-Suri of Syria, both of whom have ties to al-Qaeda.
- Abu Hamza al-Masri, formerly an imam at the North London Central ("Finsbury Park") Mosque, has been imprisoned in Britain since 2006 for terrorism-related offenses.
See the full report at Pew Forum here.
Most people understand that only a few Muslims are radical and want to terrorize their neighbours - and it's good that Pew has studied the complex social groups that influence individual Muslims. But the basic problems remain:
- Islam teaches that the Qur'an is the literal word of Allah and the Qur'an says that non-Muslims must be converted or treated badly. Some interpretations teach that non-Muslims must be killed if they won't convert. The only real solution is to give up on or reform their religion - remember how Protestants reformed the Catholic Church!
- The Muslim immigrants, like many with cultures very different to their host country, often refuse to adapt and fit in. When their new generation tries to be like their peers, they are slapped down or worse.