Get access

British Muslims: Past, Present and Future



Abstract:  Around the European Union, the implication by large sections of society is that there is something intrinsically different about Islam that makes it difficult to integrate Muslims into European societies. Some of these sections of society are non-Muslim, and are reluctant to allow such integration to take place; others are Muslim. These sentiments raise a number of issues relating to plural identities and their compatibility with modern day Europe and Islam, with such issues finding variable expressions in member-states. The British example represents an illustrative case study, having a long history of interaction with Muslims and being the home of a large Muslim population. History bears witness that in terms of religious diversity, the U.K. was never a monolithic society based on a monoculture. From the Middle Ages until the beginning of the twentieth century, there is strong evidence to show that there was, at the least, British contact with Muslims. In Britain, just as all over Europe, Islam has a long lineage: “For British Muslims, the past does not have to be ‘another country.’”