EU: The challenge of a European khalifate

"European View" is a journal published by the Centre for European Studies, the official foundation/think tank for the European People's Party, the largest trans-national European party, representing the center-right. Its winter 2007 issue focuses on "religion and politics".

One of the articles in that issue is "The Challenge of a Single Muslim Authority in Europe", by Mustafa Ceric, PhD, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Though it also discusses fighting radicalism, it is in essence an appeal to establish the imamate (also known as khalifate) in Europe. I bring here a few selections:


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There is nothing wrong with bringing the Sunnite and Shi'ite concepts of authority together with the objective of creating a global Muslim authority that is capable of coping with the challenges of Muslim integration in the contemporary world. It is too risky for the Muslim global community to be left at the mercy of Kharijite political thought, which might lead Muslims to undesired isolation. There is therefore no reason for the Shi'ite not to accept the logic of the Muslim majority, in the sense of the reality of Muslim history, which is not perfect because it is human, not divine.


Of course, it is, for the time being, utopian to think that a single Sunnite-Shi'ite global authority is possible, but I see no other way forward for future Muslim generations than to come together to fuse the intellectual and spiritual energy of these two main branches of Islam into one acceptable global Muslim authority. Europe or the West in general, is a good place for such a dream. It is here in Europe that Muslims have the opportunity to experience the power and beauty of universal Islam.

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First, Muslims have to understand Europe as a house of peace, not a house of war. Second, Muslims have to be clear that their minimum claim is to be free from social interference in their cultural life and that their maximum claim is for social recognition because of their positive contribution to the common good of European society as a whole. And thirdly, Muslims have to establish a single Muslim authority that can speak for both Islam as a world religion and Muslims as good citizens of Europe.



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What is to be done so that the shared values of Islam can become a common ground for all Muslims in Europe? It is now time that we seriously consider a way to institutionalise the presence both of Islam as a universal religion and Muslims as global citizens. It is clear to everyone that for the representation of Islam and Muslims to exist only on a voluntary level in Europe would be misleading inasmuch as it would be contrary to Muslim dignity and European peace. It is not enough that Europe recognises the presence of Islam on its territory. Muslims deserve more than that. They deserve that their presence be legalised in the sense of creating a political and economic climate in which European Muslims can represent themselves through the institutions that should have both governmental support and public acceptance.


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Muslims in Europe should meet this historic challenge to change long-standing Muslim patterns tribal, ethnic and national conceptions of Islam which are not functional in today's global world. Instead, the Muslims in Europe have an historic chance to create a new version of the global imamate, one that is based on universal Islamic identity.



Source: European View (English), h/t NRP (Dutch)

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