EUS 4905/EUS 6905: Islam in Europe



Center for European Studies
3324 Turlington Hall
PO Box 117342
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 294-7142
(352) 392-8966 (fax)

Departmentally Controlled Section
Meeting Time: February 23 – March 6, 2009 | periods 11-E2 (6:15pm-9:10pm)
Location: 3312 Turlington Hall
Visiting Scholar: Dr. Anne Sofie Roald

This course will deal with the various faces of Islam in Europe; past and present. The short historical survey of how Muslims in history settled and developed community practices in southern and eastern European countries will be followed by lectures and discussions of contemporary challenges confronting Western European countries as Muslim communities again have started to settle and develop in Europe.

During the course debated issues, such as multiculturalism, integration, segregation, individual versus collective rights, gender, family law, democracy, Islamism, extremism, terrorism, etc, will be dealt with in view of the Islamic sources; the Koran and the Prophet’s example, and European Muslim culture. Apart from looking at historical events in the Balkan and Spain in medieval time, the lectures will mostly focus on the more recent established Muslim communities in Great Britain, Scandinavia, and France.

The course will consist of lectures and discussions. In some of the lectures the students will be expected to participate by presentations. There will also be a final workshop (tentatively scheduled for Friday, March 6, 2009, Time: tba) and all students, regardless of credits, are expected to participate.

Variable Credits

The number of credit varies from 1 to 3 and it will be assigned based on the student preference and the amount of work completed as follows:

  • 1 credit = active participation in class and final workshop on March 6, 2009 plus completion of exam covering the assigned readings
  • 2 credits = all of the above and in addition in-class presentation and a short 5-7 page final paper due April 22, 2009 – the last day of the Spring 2009 semester
  • 3 credits = all of the above except final paper will be 20-25 page research paper due April 22, 2009 – the last day of the Spring 2009 semester

Meeting Time

The course runs the whole semester but it will only meet for the period of two weeks (a total of 30 class periods) and it has been scheduled for periods 11-E2 (6:15pm-9:10pm). Dr. Roald will be on campus the last week of February and the first week of March and her schedule is quite flexible; the Center for European Studies will work with the registered students to come up with the best possible office hours. Students will need to complete many readings in advance.

Final Workshop

The final workshop has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, March 6, 2009 (Time: TBA) and all students, regardless of credits, are expected to participate.

Students With Disabilities

Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.

Academic Honor

Students are expected to adhere to the UF Student Honor Code. The academic honor system of the University of Florida is based on the premise that each student has the responsibility (1) to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity in the student’s own work, (2) to refuse to tolerate violations of academic integrity in the University community and (3) to foster a high sense of integrity and social responsibility on the part of the University community. Students violating the honor code will receive zero (0) points for the assignment or exam in question, and may receive an “F” for the class.

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Lectures & Readings

The readings will be available online either through E-RESERVES at the UF George A. Smathers Libraries Course Reserve System (ARES), or as direct links below:

Monday, February 23

This first lecture will give an introduction into Islam. Issues which will briefly be dealt with are: the ascent of Islam, the Islamic sources, the Islamic law, the spread of Islam, some important developments from historical time until contemporary time.


Non-compulsory Readings:

  • Vikor, Knut. 2005. Between God and the Sultan: A History of Islamic Law, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. “Introduction”, pp. 1-19.
  • Waines, David. (1995). 2003 An Introduction to Islam, Cambridge: New York: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 1 “There is no god but Allah…”, pp. 7-32. Chapter 2 “Tradition in the making”, pp. 33-59

Tuesday, February 24

This second lecture will primarily deal with the coming of Islam to Europe. The focus will be on Spain and Balkan in medieval time. The role of the Turkish Ottoman Empire will also be discussed.

Non-compulsory Readings:

  • Esposito, John L. 1998 (1988). Islam the Straight Path, New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 2, “The Muslim Community in History”, pp 32-67. (Particularly pp. 57-67)
  • Waines, David. (1995). 2003 An Introduction to Islam, Cambridge: New York: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 7 “The Heartlands and beyond”, pp. 175-210.

Wednesday, February 25

This lecture will mainly deal with contemporary Muslim communities in the Balkan and the role Muslims from this region play as migrants in western European countries. Being primarily a “European” Muslim community, the lecture (and the discussion) will explore links between Bosnian Muslims and “Europeanness”.


  • Bringa, Tone. 1995. Being Muslim the Bosnian Way, University Presses Of California, Columbia And Princeton. “Introduction” pp. 3-11 “Chapter Six“, pp. 197-231. (E-RESERVES)

Thursday, February 26

In this lecture the immigrant patterns in European countries will be explored. Who are the Muslims in the different European countries? European majority society’s approach to Muslim communities will also be dealt with. A short survey of different European countries’ approaches to immigrants in general and Muslim communities in particular will be presented. One important question for discussion is whether it is the composition of the Muslim communities or the dynamic between the communities and the majority society’s approaches which creates particular expressions of Muslim communities in various European countries?


  • Bowen, John R. 2004. “Beyond Migration: Islam as a Transnational Public Space,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 30 (5).
  • Yazbeck Haddad Y. (ed.) 2001. Muslims in the West. From Sojourners to Citizens. Ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, Introduction, Chapter 1-13. (Required Book)

Friday, February 27

Gender issues in the Muslim context have been dealt with in various studies. This lecture will explore the Islamic sources and discuss how various Islamic texts have been understood in the traditional Muslim context and in Europe. The debate of headscarf in Turkey and France will be discussed in particular.


Non-compulsory Readings:

  • Roald, Anne Sofie. 2001. Women in Islam. The Western Experience, London: Routledge. Chapter 12, “Islamic female dress” pp. 254-294.

Monday, March 2

The multicultural issue of individual versus collective rights has come to the forefront in the matter of Muslim family law. This law has been the last bastion of Islamic legislation in various Muslim countries, and it has become “sacred” for many Muslims living in European countries. How do European authorities deal with issues of marriage, divorce and children custody when it comes to Muslim communities?


Non-compulsory Readings:

  • Vikor, Knut. 2005. Between God and the Sultan: a history of Islamic law, Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. Chapter 15 “Family Law”, pp. 299-325.

Tuesday, March 3

This lecture will focus on Islamist movements and the Islamic leadership in Europe. Most of the Islamist movements are global and elitist movements with roots in various Muslim countries. The lecture will provide a view of how the Islamist movement has developed from being mainly a unified trend in the late 19th century to becoming a multifaceted movement including moderate as well as extremist forces, all claiming to hold the one true understanding of the Islamic message.


  • Caeiro, Alexandre. “The European Council for Fatwa and Research
  • Klausen, Jytte. 2007. The Islamic Challenge, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chapter 1. “Europe’s new Muslim Political Elite“, pp. 15-51. (E-RESERVES)
  • Laurence, Jonathan and Vaisse, Justin. 2005. Integrating Islam: political and religious challenges in contemporary France, Wahington DC: Brooking Instn. Chapter 4. “Islamic organisations and leaders in France”, pp. 98-131.
  • Peter F. “Individualization and Religious Authority in Western European Islam.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 17.1. London: Routledge, 2006. 105-118.
  • Roald, Anne Sofie. 2001. Women in Islam. The Western Experience, London: Routledge. Chapter 2. “Arab Muslims in Europe”, pp. 23-57

Wednesday, March 4

In the last decades many Europeans have converted to Islam. Studies on converts have dealt at length with reasons on conversion. During this lecture this topic will be discussed, however the main focus is on the role played by converts in Muslim communities as well as in majority society.


Thursday, March 5

This lecture will explore into the topic of Muslim generations born and bred in Europe. Which Islamic expressions can be found within this group compared with the so-called first generation Muslims who came to Europe as grown-ups?


Friday, March 6

The last day of the course will be a workshop with invited scholars on European Islam.