Muslims in Europe: Our Fears vs. Facts

The terrible act of aggression that took place in London and the protests in the suburbs of Stockholm that have been raging for a week now have reinvigorated the old debate in the bloodthirsty media and among Internet users inclined towards easy explanations. During the time it took to write this text, hundreds of discussions on that particular topic raged throughout the Internet, in cafés, and on benches, with everyone probably coming to the same “revealing” conclusions: Europe has a problem with Islam, multiculturalism is dead, and it’s time to take radical action.

I’d prefer to keep some distance from that debate as I consider deliberations based on sensationalist news to be pointless. There’s no point in defending hoodlums who behead people just as it would be shameful to try and defend the actions Peter Mangs, a Swedish citizen who targeted immigrants for nearly a year during his so-called “hunting parties” in multicultural Malmo. Discussing this type of incidents leads nowhere unless we’re interested in talking about the specifics of media themselves, especially the decision processes that led to the London beheading story circulating the globe in the blink of an eye while the news of the Mangs case were limited to local Swedish media.

Since the public debate now revolves around the European Muslim population, we would do well to get to the bottom of what we’re dealing with. Too often do we fall prey to the myth of confrontation or clash between two civilizations that are supposedly hostile to each other – a construct dating back to the times of the Crusades. Extreme incidents are mistakenly identified as the norm, while in the eyes of the average European pundit, all manifestations of alien customs or traditions become threats to the very foundation of our civilization. YouTube currently hosts a number of very popular short films explaining the alleged danger of growing Muslim populations to “old” Europeans, all of which are based on questionable sources and proffering predictions inconsistent with the data collected by professionals using complex prognostication methods and following strict rules governing statistical and demographical research.

We don’t have a lot of hard data through which we can look at the nature of the problem. One of the more insightful reports – “Muslims in Europe. A Report on 11 EU Cities” – was released by the end of 2009 by the Open Society Institute (later renamed Open Society Foundations).

The study included cities where the recent incidents have taken place – London and Stockholm – but also metropolitan areas in Germany (Berlin and Hamburg), the Benelux countries (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp), France (Paris, Marseille), Leicester in the UK, as well as Copenhagen in Demark. The Muslim community wasn’t the report’s sole focus; it also analyzed the immigrant and native non-Muslim population in the aforementioned areas of interest.

The first thing that stands out after we analyze the data is the incredible similarity between assessments made by Muslims and non-Muslims. Even though there are differences between the two communities, in some aspects these differences are basically microscopic. In certain spheres, Muslims are more prone to discrimination and exclusion, but these issues touch only a fraction of the entire community (which in no way makes these problems small or negligible).

Let’s do a quick review of the data we can extract from the report.

As human relationships develop mostly on a local level, it might be good to try and answer one particular question: are Muslims, Christians, and representatives of other cultures able to peacefully coexist in a multiethnic environment? In this case both Muslims and non-Muslims1 unanimously say: yes, we can live together peacefully [over 60% of the respondents answered in the positive, while over 20% answered in the negative – Table 3, p. 61]. At the same time, in most cities, a higher proportion of Muslim respondents tended to feel that they’re living in a closely-knit community. That might be a result of the fact that they’re living in ethnically homogenous enclaves, but it also might be proof of a mostly overlooked phenomenon, i.e. the potential for developing social capital created by living according to values informed by the culture of Muslim countries, where the spirit of cooperation is still strong among the local communities, which, in turn, stands in direct contradiction to the divisive tendencies exhibited by European societies.

A lower proportion of Muslims tend to trust their neighbors, and among them immigrants are the least trusting. This lack of trust is particularly evident in the younger generations, even though the experiences of young Muslims aren’t all that different from the experiences of young people from other cultures. [Table 6, Table 7 – pp. 62-63]

One disturbing phenomenon, although surely not one that’s irreversible, is the slight decrease in trust towards their neighbors among people living in ethnically mixed neighborhoods. The report also notes that a significantly higher percentage of Muslim respondents believe that they share a similar system of values with the majority of their neighbors. The most divided population, both according to Muslims and non-Muslims, resides in Marseille. [Table 14 – p. 67]

The Muslim and non-Muslim populations differ in the assessment of the values they deem important, although there are noticeable similarities here as well. Respect for the law is the most important value for Muslims and the second most important for non-Muslim populations. Freedom of speech and expression, the most important value for non-Muslim communities is also high on the list for Muslims. On the other hand, respect for all faiths, a crucial value in the eyes of Muslims, isn’t all that important to non-Muslims. To a similar degree, both communities value equality of opportunity and tolerance towards others (although the latter seems to be slightly more important to non-Muslims). What’s most important, however, is that none of the listed values is considered important by a majority of either community – the most popular values were shared by no more than 60% of the respondents. Simultaneously, representatives from both groups unanimously (in the exact same order and in similar proportions) selected the least important values: patriotism/pride in the country, voting in elections, and freedom from discrimination. Taking into account the general character of the three and the multitude of ways in which they can be interpreted, this fact can be considered an indication of significant diversity and a high degree of unanimity on fundamentals of coexisting in open societies. [Table 15 – p. 68]

The feeling of sharing different values – despite objective evidence to the contrary – does not translate into a decrease in the feeling of belonging to a neighborhood or even a city, reported by well above 70% in both groups of respondents [Table 18 – p. 70]. Simultaneously, a smaller proportion of Muslims (although not significantly smaller) claims to identify with their country of residence. Hamburg is an interesting case in light of this fact: it’s the only German city where a greater sense of national belonging was found among Muslim than non-Muslim respondents. This can be used to build an integration strategy based on belonging to a city, mentioned in multiple studies including the works of British researcher Tariq Modood.2

Significant differences appear between Muslims and non-Muslims when we look at their sense of national identity – the extent to which respondents see themselves and feel others see them as nationals. A significant division in opinion is apparent in the Muslim group, with a slight majority (51%) not seeing themselves as British, French, or German. Additionally, 75% of Muslims feel that other people in their countries of residence do not treat them as nationals – which is a direct inversion of the proportions observed among non-Muslim respondents [Table 25, Table 26 – p. 73].

Research shows that the British model of political citizenship, based on citizens’ recognition of the state’s authority, which in turn allows them to freely practice their faith and follow the customs of their culture, has been successful thus far – the highest proportion of Muslims identifying as nationals has been observed in Leicester (82%) and London (72%). In contrast, the German policies based on the Volk model, which grant more rights to Russified Volga Germans than German-born children of Gastarbeiters, have mostly failed. Muslim populations of Hamburg and Berlin exhibited the lowest proportion of national identification, with 22% and 25% of Muslims, respectively, seeing themselves as German. The example of the former clearly shows that identifying with the country does not necessarily mean identifying with the dominant group. More than a half of the Muslim population identifying positively with their country of residence has also been observed in Amsterdam, Marseille, and Antwerp, while in Copenhagen, Paris, Stockholm, and Rotterdam the proportion was less than 50%. Each city might require a separate case study. It is possible that the access of Muslim population to a country’s education system is the primary factor influencing national identification – a factor emphasized by pundits discussing the recent protests in Sweden, which despite its egalitarian approach has failed in making education accessible to everyone, especially people from immigrant districts. National identification is significantly lower among people without higher education. There is no difference, however, between religious and secular people. [Table 31 – p. 75; Table 37 – p. 76]

Respondents were also asked to point out what they think bars them from identifying with a given nationality. The followers of Islam and representatives of other groups all claim that not knowing the local language is the greatest obstacle to integration. For Muslims, ethnic origin and country of origin are also considered important exclusion-driving factors, which might suggest that they were considered “aliens” in the past specifically because of these two characteristics. At the same time, respondents from both groups acknowledge that practicing a religion other than Christianity is negligible as a factor, and is not in and of itself an obstacle to national identification.

The level of religion motivated discrimination experienced by Muslims has been alarmingly high for years. According to the latest Eurobarometer data, in nearly every Western European country the proportion of people claiming to experience discrimination is either significantly higher than the EU average or high enough for discrimination to be considered widespread. The average proportion of people claiming to experience discrimination in the EU, brought down by ethnically homogenous countries, like Ireland and the “new” EU nations, is 39%. However, in France that proportion is 66%, in Belgium 60%, in Sweden 58%, in Denmark 54%, and in the Netherlands51%. Out of all the countries mentioned in the report, only in Germany has the proportion stayed below the EU average (34%). [Eurobarometer – p. 49] Studies conducted by the Open Society Institute indicate that the Muslim community contains a higher proportion of people claiming to experience religion motivated discrimination. Muslim respondents also pointed out that the level of prejudice against them has risen in the last 5 years. Both Muslims and non-Muslims mentioned the followers of Islam as the most frequent target of discrimination, with Jews taking second place according to both groups. In the case of Muslims, religion motivated discrimination is linked to discrimination motivated by ethnicity. Muslim women and EU-born Muslims suffer from discrimination more frequently than any other group. Muslims also complain about repeated acts of discrimination more frequently than non-Muslims. Nearly 50% of Muslims have experienced more or less repeated acts of discrimination, whereas 90% of the non-Muslim respondents claimed to have experienced either none or only rare acts of discrimination.


These acts of discrimination are usually committed by a member of the public. Muslims experience discrimination in public transport, while dealing with law enforcement officers, landlords, real estate agents, and at the airport. [Table 58 – p. 86] As indicated by the authors of the report, feeling discriminated against is often linked to the person’s current situation in life. Children of immigrants often claim that life is harder for them than it was for their parents. Discrimination and racism are two of the most frequently mentioned obstacles to identifying with the dominant nationality in a given country. We need to remember that fact while trying to evaluate extreme incidents that might take place in such conditions.

Access to education is another important factor in understanding these processes. In this particular sphere, Muslim culture can play a positive role but it’s stifled by problems typical of immigrant communities. Tariq Modood points out an interesting phenomenon: young girls trying to justify their desire to go to school to their poorly educated parents by using the Quran. Islam also lends a support structure to boys from so-called tough neighborhoods, which might isolate them from their surroundings, but gives them a chance at a little more stability in adult life. The phenomenon, compared by Modood to Weberian work ethic, undermines the stereotype portraying Islam as a regressive force, one which reduces the aspirations of its adherents and pushes them towards the fringes. Indeed, supporting Muslim communities might bring about measurable effects and promote the social inclusion of Muslim youth [Report on 11 cities – p. 95].

In many schools we’re witnessing a decrease in pressure put on kids from immigrant communities, including Muslim communities, which has a direct influence on the quality of education they end up getting. The issue of poor quality of suburban schools was raised during the discussion of the Stockholm riots. Kids from certain communities have to overcome multiple obstacles to get a better education, including uniforms, in some countries – the necessity to buy them makes it hard for poor kids, and that sometimes means immigrant kids, to get access to high quality education. Selection in school translates into selection on the job market, which, in turn, ends up creating parallel worlds. Therefore, it’s important to start by constructing proper education systems and thoroughly overhauling them where necessary.

The job market is another sphere that is overgrown with myths. Often during sidewalk debates, someone ends up using the argument about Muslims living off welfare without contributing anything to society. It’s a typical simplification which equates being economically underprivileged with being lazy. Let’s try to look at the situation of these communities through the lens of available data.

In most of the countries that were studied for the report, employment is significantly lower in communities whose members include immigrants from Muslim countries. [Table 63]

The data in the OSI is from 2009, when the global economic crisis was already in full swing. A significant portion of European Muslims are employed in low-wage jobs, usually occupied by those on the lower rungs of the social hierarchy, who are most susceptible to losing these jobs in times of crisis. Even among those in employment, poverty rates are high – for example, in Belgium only 10% of the native population lives below the poverty line but the number rises to 56% for Moroccan and 59% for Turkish households. The situation looks similar in the Netherlands and the UK. Scandinavian countries are struggling with that issue as well. The authors of the report mention three fundamental factors that might be to blame for the situation. The first one is the segregation of Muslims and their overrepresentation in the 3D job sector: dangerous, dirty, and demeaning. That particular problem is especially visible in countries with a longstanding Gastarbeiter tradition, such as Germany or the Netherlands. These countries require extensive job training programs. Although better education is supposed to improve the chances of landing a well-paid job, the position of Muslim graduates of these programs on the job market is statistically worse than non-Muslims with similar skills and qualifications. [Report on 11 Cities – pp. 114-115]

Another explanation involves an informal social network of contacts that is very helpful during job hunting. This social network is often limited for an average Muslim and comprises only people from his or her own environment, which makes it difficult to find a stable and well-paid job. That’s why ethnic mixing is so important already during education period. People with specific backgrounds and origins also have to deal with ethnic penalties and religion penalties, mostly during recruitment. When a group of researchers studied the career trajectories of French graduates, they noticed that persons of North African extraction suffered from segregation and as a result they landed low-skilled, low-wage jobs incomparably more often than their “white” peers. Ethnic penalties remain a significant obstacle to second-generation immigrants. Religion penalties work in a very similar way.

Discrimination during job recruitment is related to ethnic and religious penalties and presents a serious obstacle to entering the job market. That form of discrimination was confirmed in the so-called situational tests conducted in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. These tests indicate that applications from persons of Muslim extraction are evaluated positively less frequently when compared to the applications of natives with similar qualifications. One example of that kind of discrimination involves a Muslim from Leicester whose application only started getting some traction with the recruiters after he changed his name to a more “Christian” one. The persistence of this form of discrimination was also confirmed through studies involving Muslim communities and personnel from HR departments.

Muslims are more prone to claiming that they weren’t hired due to their origin/religion than non-Muslims. The factors driving discrimination may have a cumulative effect. This statement from one of the respondents portrays this phenomenon in action: I have had real difficult situations. I’ve had phone interviews with firms, it went rather well. When I arrived at the office, the face changed. My name is Moussa Saïd, Arab name and first problem. I arrive: I am black. Second problem. “On top of that he is Muslim. And he lives in a rough area. We can’t cope anymore.” I have faced so much difficulty in securing a job that I promise that when a does firm take me, I’ll finish at the top. I have had so much trouble that if I must, I will work 65 hours instead of 35 to prove myself to my colleagues, I’ll do it! [Report on 11 Cities, p. 126]

The environment is the last of the three factors. Most Muslims and non-Muslims live in a multicultural environment; however, there is a higher percentage of Muslims (not significantly higher) living in an ethnically and/or religiously homogenous environment.  [Table 76 – p. 133]

It’s probably linked with another problem – a significant overrepresentation of Muslims in “rougher” districts where poverty is prevalent. It’s a problem in both “liberal” Great Britain and “socialist” Denmark. Segregation and ghettoization were both mentioned as possible reasons behind the 2001 riots in the UK – the same factors were mentioned 20 years earlier during the Brixton riots, only then the Caribbean community dominated the news cycle. It is possible that they were also at work in Stockholm. We must remember about them when trying to dissect and analyze these events.

The Muslim population often uses one of three strategies of securing living arrangements, including renting public / social housing, living with family, or renting a flat on the commercial market. The proportion of people using public housing is markedly higher among Muslims. Contrary to popular stereotypes, they don’t act as if entitled to free housing. The number of people satisfied with their housing arrangements is significantly higher than the number of the unsatisfied, and a larger percentage of Muslims are happy with their living arrangements when compared to non-Muslims. The highest level of satisfaction was observed among Muslim immigrants. Simultaneously, a significant proportion of the respondents were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their housing arrangements.

Muslims are also more prone to being discriminated against by landlords. These acts take place primarily when both attempt to negotiate the terms of the rental agreement and the owners refuse without giving a reason. If we add long waiting periods for public housing (and the fact that not everyone’s entitled to it) to the mix, the result is a housing crisis that pushes even the ambitious members of the community and those able to live in better districts to the poorer neighborhoods. When we consider the fact that the denizens of the poor districts are still discriminated, we will end up with a vicious circle and no means of stopping it.

Law enforcement officers engaging in ethnic profiling are another problem that intensifies the feeling of dissatisfaction with reality. Persons looking a certain way run a higher chance of being stopped on the street by the police or even apprehended without probable cause. People aged 20-30 are the most frequent victims of such profiling, especially if they wear any visible symbols of religious affiliation – headscarves for Muslim women and facial hear for Muslim men. [Table 109, Table 110 – pp. 176-177] Ethnic profiling is most prevalent among people with secondary education, which might in turn be related to the fact that students – next to the unemployed and those with full-time employment – are the most frequent target of discrimination at the hands of the police. [Table 111, Table 112 – pp. 177-178] Ethnic profiling – identity checks, interrogations, and searches without reasonable suspicion – often escalates after terrorist attacks. The actions of law enforcement after such events tend to include detention of random people and searches conducted in offices and private homes, all without probable cause or legal basis for such actions. Excessive force is often used during these “routine” arrests. A quote from a respondent from Antwerp seems relevant here:

I experienced it myself many times. They just do your identity check [the police stop a person and ask for their identity card which everyone in Belgium is obliged to carry with them at all times]. I don’t mind an identity check, this is normal. [But] then you give your identity card and they say: yes, you are up to something. I’m on my way home or to a friend or to my nephew. Then they say:  you are up to something, I can see it. They don’t even do their job. They can’t say: I can see you are up to something. That just isn’t police work anymore, that’s just showing “I’m the boss here.” I can take you away whenever I want to.

[Interviewer:] But when you say identity control is normal … how do you mean it’s normal?

[Man 5:] Yes, I mean it’s not so bad when they say give me your identity card. For identification or whatever. But when they say: you are up to something. You have to have some evidence before you can say something like that. You have to think first before you say


[Man 4:] You’re suspected until proven innocent.

[Report on 11 cities, p. 180]

The prevalence of ethnic profiling was confirmed through studies of vehicles that were subject to a police stop and pedestrians who were subject to an identity check. Persons with dark skin and physical characteristics suggesting North African extraction were stopped more frequently than any other group. One famous example of ethnic profiling involves a (bearded) teenager from Hamburg who was arrested when coming back from school only because of a backpack he had though. He handed it over for inspection and it contained nothing more than books and tools required for schoolwork.

Another important factor is the way that media present the image of the European Muslim. Studies conducted in the UK indicated that even before 2001 the media equated the adherents of Islam with social problems. That distortion took place in basically every European country and was repeated by multiple news organizations, including all national media outlets. Stories aired by local media, on the other hand, often portray representatives of Muslim communities and organizations in a more positive way, thus trying to pass a more balanced message. Emphasizing the religious affiliation or ethnicity of a person who perpetrated a highly publicized crime is also a very questionable practice and one that can easily establish a reputation for pathology on a particular ethnicity. One striking example of such practice took place a few years ago when the same media outlets that love to emphasize the nationality of criminals decided not to mention that a local hero who saved people from a burning house was a member of the Chechen minority, a community which is very often accused of criminal tendencies.

The media has tremendous influence on the way a nationality is perceived and treated by the general public. The report mentions an incident where a Belgian teenager was murdered, and the media announced that the alleged murderer was of Moroccan descent. One of the respondents, a member of the Moroccan minority, elaborated on the treatment he and his friends received for over a week after the attack took place, when it finally became public that the perpetrators were of Polish origin. In his words: “we had all of Belgium against us for a whole week. And when that happens, you don’t really feel like a citizen in Belgium any more. I was born and raised here, but at that moment I really felt foreign in Belgium because of something I didn’t actually do. I kept myself informed of current events a lot and that feeling of guilt was directly due to the media” [Report on 11 cities, p. 214]

After Theo van Gogh was assassinated, the Dutch media outlets managed to keep the debate balanced. According to a study conducted a year after the murder, the Dutch society wasn’t more prone to Islamophobia than it was prior to the killing, the attitudes of the committed Islamophobes, however, turned towards the more radical (probably because they believed that the media were “manipulating” the public opinion, i.e. did not justify their phobias).

In this place I’d like to conclude my analyses of the data from the Report. I didn’t write about all the aspects and didn’t present all the data, as I wanted to focus on the more problematic situations. It might be worth mentioning, however, that these problems afflict only a part of the Muslim community and aren’t necessarily part of the everyday Muslim experience. These mechanisms, however, affect not only a certain proportion of European Muslims but also other immigrant communities and non-white Europeans. If we look at the shocking events that took place in London or Stockholm only from a cultural viewpoint, we will only end up blinded by ideology, discussing our ideas of others – often shaped by the media – without actually diagnosing the essence of the problem. The goal of this analysis was to portray the situation as it is experienced by a significant portion of our continent’s population. We need to remember that there are people behind riots and tragedies – and we should treat them as people, not as sources of trouble.

To conclude this analysis I’d like to mention a report prepared by the Pew Research Center. A team of demography experts and analysts working for the think tank prepared a prognosis of the demographic development of the global Muslim population in next 20 years. It contains a series of predictions about Europe, allegedly nearly taken over by Muslims. What does the report say? Well, the Muslim population in Europe will grow. The growth, however, won’t be rapid and will not allow for the “Islamization” of Europe. The majority of Muslims will keep living where they live right now, i.e. the Balkans and in Eastern Europe (primarily in Russia and the Crimea) – and there the Muslims are natives and an inherent part of Europe’s cultural heritage. The non-Muslim population growth will decrease slightly to reach -0.2% but simultaneously the growth of the Muslim population will decrease from 2.2% to 1.2%. [The Future of the Global…, p. 123]

In practice this will mean that both populations will one day have more or less equal numbers. A few examples:

– Great Britain – current fertility rate: 3.0 among Muslims, 1.8 among non-Muslims. In 2030: 2.5 among Muslims, 1.8 among non-Muslims

– Belgium – current fertility rate: 2.5 among Muslims, 1.7 among non-Muslims. In 2030: 2.2 among Muslims, 1.7 among non-Muslims

– France – current fertility rate: 2.8 among Muslims, 1.9 among non-Muslims. In 2030: 2.4 among Muslims, 1.9 among non-Muslims.

– Sweden – current fertility rate: 2.5 among Muslims, 1.8 among non-Muslims. In 2030: 2.3 among Muslims, 1.8 among non-Muslims

The statistics look similar for other studied countries. The numbers will eventually be basically the same, with the Muslim population exhibiting a slightly higher birth rate. Higher growth rate will be observed in countries where the Muslim population is currently fairly small (Austria, Ireland, Finland, and Norway – although in the case of the latter, Oslo seems to be an exception).

Additionally, net migration rate of the Muslim population will also decrease. The authors do not fully explain the cause behind such a development, but we might presume that it might be a result of either the improvement of quality of life in the Muslim population’s countries of origin, development of other regions of the world – including African and Asian countries, or the loss of appeal of particular countries as targets of migration due to market saturation (immigrants, however, tend to have a keen sense of the latter, which might explain why the European poor haven’t flooded prosperous oases such as Liechtenstein, Monaco or Luxembourg). The decrease in migration will be felt by all the countries of Western, Southern, and Northern Europe.  [The Future of the Global…, p. 135]

Muslims will dominate the younger age groups, the proportions, however, will be similar to those we’re observing today. [The Future of the Global…, p. 136]

When it comes to absolute numbers, Muslims will comprise the dominant population in Eastern Europe. The percentages, however, will be nearly equal, with Muslims making up 8.6% of the total population of Western Europe and 8.8% of the total population of Southern Europe. [The Future of the Global…, p. 125]

In relation to specific countries, such a change will bring the following results:

– Countries which currently have the largest percentage of population that is Muslim – Belgium (6.0%) and France (7.5%) are estimated to have that percentage rise to 10% of total population (an additional 0.5 million people and 2 million people, respectively)

– The Muslim population in the UK is expected to increase from 2.9 million to 5.6 million, eventually making up 8% of the total population – a similar trajectory is predicted for Switzerland (currently 5.7% of total population).

– In Sweden, the Muslim population will grow from 451,000 people to 993,000 people, eventually making up nearly 10% of the population. The remaining countries will not see a significant increase in the size of Muslim populations. [The Future of the Global…, p. 124]

The situation the report envisages might give rise to a host of problems, but it will be possible to solve them with a rational implementation of public policies. Muslims are fully-fledged denizens of the European continent and should be treated as such, and their problems should be framed as legitimate concerns rather than being reduced to nothing more than threats to public security. In the interest of brevity, I decided to entirely forego the question of Muslim values – but we should assume that Muslim communities are no less diverse than any other community and that seeking compromise and rational action are both deeply ingrained in human nature. Therefore, I’d like to express my sincerest hope that we will soon be able to engage in a substantial debate that does not intend to humiliate either party. And we should encourage everyone to participate. There’s no reason to panic. So keep calm – and talk about reality!


  1. “Muslims in Europe. A Report on 11 EU Cities” – Open Society Institute, 2009
  2. “The Future of the Global Muslim Population. Projections for 2010-2030” – Pew Research Center, 2011
  3. “Special Eurobarometer 393. Discrimination in the EU in 2012” – European Commission 2012
  4. „Post-immigration ‘difference’ and integration. The case of Muslims in Western Europe” – Tariq Modood, 2012


1     Following the example of the report’s authors, in this article I’ll be using both terms in the broadest possible context. I am aware, of course, of the immense diversity of the Islamic world, as well as of the even greater diversity of people who are not followers of Islam – however, operating in the macro scale requires certain necessary simplifications

2     From: T. Modood, “Post-immigration difference and integration,” p. 47: Faas (2010) argues that young Turks in Germany prefer to think of themselves as ‘Europeans’ and it is probably the case that ethnic minority identification with the city one lives in (for example, Liverpool or Rotterdam) may be easier than ‘British’ or ‘Dutch’ because of all the national, cultural, historical and political baggage that go with the latter. For example, one can say one is proud to be a Liverpudlian without feeling that this implicates you in the US-UK occupation of Iraq. Moreover, co-citizens may say of you ‘you are not really Dutch’ even if you were born in the Netherlands but are less likely to say ‘you are not a Rotterdammer’ if you are a long-term resident of that city. Some current social science and policy thinking stresses the importance of urban and regional identities as a way of bypassing more emotive and divisive debates about national identities.