Monday 7 March 2005, by Cesari Jocelyne
The 9/11 terrorist attacks have modified the traditional dilemma of balancing security and civil liberties in liberal democracies. Since the attacks, security has been defined as the main priority at both the national and European levels. The increased political focus on danger and the necessity of protecting citizens has made many concerns about freedom and civil liberties secondary.
This change in balance is particularly striking for Muslims living in Europe. The securitization of European politics leads to an externalization of Muslims living in Europe. They are easily understood as essentially an extra-national threat; potential terrorists or allies to terrorists. Immediately after 9/11, Muslims were victims of verbal abuse, physical aggression and harassment in both the USA and Europe. These problems were sometimes exacerbated by a tendency of domestic media to misrepresent the teachings of Islam and to offer inaccurate portrayals of the beliefs of ordinary Muslims.
Although there are current similarities between the situation in Europe and the United States, the externalization of Muslim groups was already present in major European countries before 9/11. Our main hypothesis is that 9/11 did not create the perception of Islam and Muslims as a threat in Europe rather led to intensification of an existing trend. Since the 1980s, for a variety of geopolitical reasons, Western nations have often considered Islam as a risk factor in international relations. This has had direct consequences on the condition of Muslim immigrants living in the midst of European societies, who are then often perceived and treated as the Enemy within. However, the situation for Muslims in the US was quite different before 9/11, a distinction was generally drawn between Islam as an international threat and Muslims in the domestic space. Further research should help determine what trans-Atlantic differences still remain, and whether the domestic situations of Muslims in Europe and America are converging over time.
Since 9/11, various reports have listed the prejudice encountered by Muslims as a consequence of the terrorist attacks. These studies have tended to be focused on specific national contexts. None have yet provided an in-depth analysis of the process of discrimination and externalization process against Muslims from a transatlantic perspective, nor has this comparative analysis been combined with empirical research on the political and cultural consequences for Muslims and their integration within European societies. Given the many similarities between Western Europe and the United States, a comparative study should make it possible to better identify the key factors which contributed to the relative divergence in the situation of Muslims prior to 9/11. When the cross-national comparison is combined with a cross-temporal comparison (before and after 9/11), dynamic processes also become more visible. With two levels of differentiation, this approach to the research should be able to provide more sophisticated theoretical models than are currently available.
The main objectives of WP 10 are:
A) To deconstruct and analyze the exceptionalism of Islam and Muslims in European political discourse and policy-making at both the national and European Union levels.
B) To identify changes in the orientations and content of policies after 9/11.
C) To compare the European situation with that of Islam and Muslims in the US.
D) To analyze the consequences of these changes on the processes of Muslim integration into European societies in terms of social situation, citizenship, political participation and religious recognition.
We will cooperate with all WP involved in national investigation and transversal investigation on Security and anti-terrorism policy.
Information to the observatory will come through links with the euro-islam.info website managed by GSRL devoted to the situation of Muslims in Europe.
Leader:Groupe de Sociologie des Religions et de la Laïcité GSRL - Ecole pratique des hautes études en science sociale, France.
FIVE PARTICULARLY SIGNIFICANT BOOKS FOR THE RESEARCH
Calhoun, C., Price, P. Timmer, A. (eds) (2002), Understanding September 11. New York : New Press ; Distributed by W.W. Norton, 2002.
Theoretical and methodological attempt to rethink radical Islam and globalization after 9/11.
2) Cesari, J. (2004), When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
First systematic comparison of the religious and political adjustments to the post 9/11 era by Muslims in Europe and the United States
3) Mamdani, M. (2004), Good Muslim ,Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror. New York: Pantheon Books.
Critical approach to the dominant cultural framing of Islam and its relation with foreign policy and security issues.
4) Hershberg, E and Kevin W. Moore, (eds) (2002), Critical views of September 11 : Analyses from Around the World. New York : New Press : Distributed by W.W. Norton.
Systematic comparative approach to changes in foreign policy multiculturalism, and anti-terrorism policy after 9/11
5) Fijnaut, C, Wouters, J & F.Naert (eds) (2004), Legal Instruments in the Fight Against International Terrorism: A Transatlantic Dialogue. Boston : M. Nijhoff.
Unique comparative compilation of legislation relating to international terrorism following 9/11.
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INFORMATION ON THE WORKPACKAGE LEADER
Dr. Jocelyne Cesari’s training, professional experience, and academic expertise are in political science, the Middle East and Islamic studies. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris and University La Sorbonne.
She has written numerous books and articles on Muslim minorities in Europe and the US and their transnational links with the Muslim world at large. She has coordinated several European research programs on Islam in Europe (see http://euro-islam.info ). The most recent are: «Islam and Human Rights in Europe,» and «The consequences of security policies on European and American Muslims after 9/11» both under the auspices of the European Commission.
Her continuous investigation on Islam as a minority in secular and democratic contexts brought her to the US. Since 1998, she has held several fellowships and professorships at Columbia University and Harvard University. She is currently a Research Associate at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a visiting professor at the Divinity School at Harvard University.
When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States. New York: Palgrave, 2004.
L’islam a l’epreuve de l’Occident, Paris, La Decouverte, 2004.
«Modernisation of Islam or Islamisation of Modernity? Muslim Minorities in Europe and the Issue of Pluralism,» in Jamal Malik (ed), Muslims in Europe, From the Margin to the Centre. Frankfurt: Verlag editor, Frankfurt, 2004. 93-99.
«Islam in the West: Modernity and Globalization Revisited», Birgit Schaebler and Leif Stenberg (ed.), Globalization and the Muslim World, Culture, Religion and Modernity.Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, in Press, 2004. 80-92.
"Muslim Minorities in the West: The Silent Revolution" in John Esposito and Francois Burgat (ed). Modernizing Islam: Religion in the Public Sphere in the Middle East and in Europe.Rutgers University Press, 2003. 251-269.
"European Islam: A Profile" Shireen Hunter (ed), Islam in Europe and in the United States, A Comparative Perspective Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC, 2002. 11-15.