Muslims in Europe: divergent perspectives
This chapter explores how Muslims are viewed and represented in academic accounts in Europe and more narrowly in the peripheral country of Ireland. It does so by presenting the divergent perspectives and ideologies that permeate the existing literature. This critical assessment enables a positioning of this philosophical-empirical study within the field of European Muslim studies. It starts by identifying and discussing two opposing paradigmatic perspectives that define the research on Muslims in Europe. The first is the security paradigm, which views Muslims throughout Europe as suspect by viewing them generally through the narrow lens of political extremism and representing them as a potential security risk to be contained. As the advent of the War on Terror, this paradigm has become the dominant perspective. The other approach is the advocacy and participatory paradigm, which critiques the narrowness and ideology of the security perspective and aims to understand the complexities of Muslim action, experience and emotion in the European context. The next two sections explore the characteristics and development of the Muslim community in Ireland as well as providing a constructive critique of the research output emanating from the emerging field of Irish Muslim studies.