chapter  13
Processes of Localised and Globalised Islam among Young Muslims in Berlin
BySYNNØVE BENDIXSEN
Pages 19

Muslim communities of Western Europe deal with a range of new and diverse challenges in their everyday life compared to Muslims in countries where the majority population follows Islam. Each European country presents distinct structural, political, and institutional approaches in how they deal with Muslim minority claims (see Triandafyllidou 2010), offering both opportunities and limitations in establishing Muslim institutions and in promoting religious practices. This continuous interaction between a minority Muslim population and non-Muslim majorities and institutions in different European countries impact how Islam is institutionalised and practised. Some scholars suggest that one consequence of this process is the formation of ‘Euro-Islam’, or ‘German Islam’, French Islam’, etc. The Euro-Islam perspective (i.e., Bassam Tibi 2010), an imagined new branch of Islam which supposedly combines Islamic principles with contemporary European cultures and values, highlights the pluralistic and democratic character of the European public sphere. However, it is rightly critiqued for de-legitimising the mobilisation of Muslims that deviate from this ‘“enlightened” European system of values’ (Amir-Moazami & Salvatore 2003: 52). Furthermore, such perceptions of Islam also fuel the practices by certain media, politicians, and researchers in Europe of depicting Islam as an unchanging unit with a particular set of characteristics (essentialisation of Islam), or as haphazardly chosen rules of behaviour which differ between the various sociocultural groups (fragmentation of Islam). For example, Khosrokhaver (1997) advances the idea of a fragmented Islam in his research. He says: ‘There exists not one Islam in France, but several, each one of which obeys its proper dynamic which allows itself be influenced by the others only in a limited way’ (1997: 23).1 This artificial construction of a fragmented Islam ignores that ‘[t]he fact that local traditions developed; did not produce many Islams but rather many versions of a theme that was continuously developed in those local traditions, but within a greater tradition’ (Manger 1992: 53).