Background of EMN


There are an estimated 25 million Muslims currently living in Europe. One half of this number has been living in Europe for centuries, though on the continental fringes.
The other half, i.e. 12 million people are part and parcel of the emerging European Union. Their presence can be explained by the flow of legal migration in the beginning of the 20th Century from the outposts of the former European colonial empires, as well as the large scale immigration from Turkey and the Maghreb, during the early 1960s.

From 1973 to 1974 the majority of countries in Western Europe ended their active appeal for migrant labor due to economic stagnation. But over the years, the Muslim populations from different ethnic backgrounds had rooted themselves in European societies and they resisted the attempts to entice them to return to their countries of origin. With the presence of Muslims in Europe originating from the Muslim majority countries, the number of native Muslims in Europe also started to grow in large numbers.This rich blend of Muslims from different backgrounds, who have decided to settle permanently in Europe allows for the creation and gradual development of a distinct Muslim identity within the environment of Europe.

The increasing prominence of this community of faith, which is erroneously perceived as new to Europe, had and still has the effect of being a challenge to prevailing norms and causes collective introspection. On the other hand it also causes a mixture of fear, suspicion and rejection due to unfortunate events happening on the international stage.

Indeed, the last few years have been characterized by the notion of a potential clash of civilizations, erroneously deducted from the violent confrontations on a worldwide basis.

However, beyond the irresponsible political portrayal of Muslims as a danger to a still undefined European culture an alternative and hardly noticed reality of unnoticed normalcy exists. A couple of European Muslims have taken up the challenge of mutual enrichment and initiated a fresh dialogue between European Muslims and Non-Muslims, based on the reality of Islam in Europe, an Islam that feels at home in Europe.

They have re-contextualised their religious references in order to link the two intellectual universes to which they belong.

Starting from the elaboration of an Islamic discourse founded upon shared Universal values, these Muslims have built their Muslim identity, born from the encounter between the religion of Islam and the European idea of a modern social contract.

The members of EMN believe that a new, contextualized approach to the Muslim heritage is crucial in the evolving process of identification and in the context of the challenges of our time.

The EMN calls upon Muslims to realize their responsibility and participate in the construction of an Islam in Europe that is modern, defiant, reflective and self-conscious, for the benefit of the European society at large and in the interest of the Muslim communities in Europe in particular.

It is against this background that the “European Muslim Network” has emerged and aspires to become an important platform of ideas within Europe, a vocal platform for those who are not heard.

It is our aim to honour and promote common values.

It is our goal to demonstrate that Islamic teachings and values are in harmony with the rights and responsibilities of a European Muslim citizen.

The European Muslim Network aims at bringing together Muslim activists and academicians across the continent, who share common concerns and commitments related both to the Islamic tradition and the European societies.

The “European Muslim Network” is encouraging its members to exchange ideas and think collectively about a range of related topics central to contemporary societies.

The “European Muslim Network” subscribes to the idea of a Europe with Jewish, Christian and Islamic roots, by promoting amongst the Muslim communities of Europe the development of constructive criticism, unbiased reflection, peaceful debate and other rational activities with regard to Europe presence and future from within the perspective of the cultural universe of Islam.

The “European Muslim Network” intends to facilitate the blossoming of a distinctive European and at the same time Muslim personality.