European Society and Islam
Syed Minhaj ul Hassan *
The Muslims’ relations with Europe are spread over many centuries. It started with the Muslims’ conquest of parts of Europe in the early 8th Century but with the decline of Muslims’ political power and civilization, the nature of the relationship also changed. In the 20th century the Muslims went into Europe in search of jobs and political asylum. Though initially due to the Europe policy of multiculturalism and the need for workforce they were welcomed, the 9/11 events changed the whole environment in Europe. The Muslims became unwanted aliens. Europe policy on immigration became more and more stringent and they adopted policies for the integration of the Muslims abandoning their old policy of Multiculturalism and pluralism. The Muslims’ symbols and even beliefs came under attack as Islamism is considered dangerous. This created a situation where the Muslims started feeling insecure, which alienated the Muslims from the mainstream society and radicalized the younger generation, some even joining extremist groups. Both communities now see each other with suspicion and animosity which has also given birth to many conspiracy theories especially in the Muslim world and Pakistan, which is not good for the peace of the world. In order to have a peaceful and prosperous world the need of the hour is to negotiate with each other with mutual respect and emphasizing more on similarities than differences. Only dialogue with open heart and mind, respecting difference of opinion, can save the future of the peaceful world.