Attempts to define a type of Islam compatible with European values and embedded in European history have intensified in the 1990s and early 2000s, amidst concerns about the growing Muslim population on the continent. Though the fear of and fascination with the Muslim Other is a barely new phenomenon: besides the centuries-long tradition of Orientalist thought, the second half of the twentieth century, in particular, produced new interpretations and images of Islam as the religion for Europeans. For many, it manifested a cultural critique of post-Enlightenment rationalism, secularisation, as well as political opposition to economic and cultural liberalism. The lecture looks at some of the complex forms of how Islamic teaching and culture have been reinterpreted and appropriated to produce a response to socio-economic transformations in Western Europe of the 1970s-90s and in post-Soviet space in the early 2000s.
Gulnaz Sibgatullina is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational, and European Studies (ARTES) at the University of Amsterdam and the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at George Washington University. Her research interests focus on the history and presence of Islam in Europe, sociology of religion and religious language, and postcolonial translation studies. She is the author of Languages of Islam and Christianity in Post-Soviet Russia (Brill, 2020).