The "Problem” of Islam in the Context of the USA and Europe: Contrary Experiences – Contrary Problems – Contrary Solutions?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)


This is an essay of two parts. The first part discusses a ‘solution’ to the potential problem of the colliding of religious traditions provided by the USA. It is a solution based on manners and civility – it is the solution that relies upon the preservation of civility through the suppression of dialogue. In this paper I argue that this is a particularly American solution, a product of the American form of Calvinism which forms the deep roots of the nation’s habits and sentiments. I then argue that while this solution has been exported in the world of ideas much as US movies and consumer items find themselves exported, and much as the United States has tried to export liberal democracy to parts of the world that lack any habitus upon which such institutions could take root, it will not work in Europe where the large influx into Europe of Muslim immigrants over the last fifty years has contributed to a volatile political climate in which religion is once again a source of real faction. I conclude by arguing that Europeans need to cure their social amnesia and engage in serious dialogue with Muslim communities about the future they are building. And this will only be successful if they do better at making a world that is worth living in.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEurope, Migration and Islam - Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China
Duration: 18 Apr 201219 Apr 2012


ConferenceEurope, Migration and Islam
CityHong Kong

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