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Muslims and Europe.

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Eddie Mair | 14:13 UK time, Monday, 10 August 2009

Christopher Landau will report for us tonight and he writes: "With the number of Muslims living in Europe set to increase substantially in the coming decades, can Islam contribute to a peaceful future for the continent? That's the question at the heart of a groundbreaking gathering of young Muslims from across Europe, taking place in Switzerland this week. They've been brought together by a Swiss charity with a long history of promoting peace, which is working specifically with European Muslims for the first time."

He sent these words and photos to go with his report.

(Right) "Muslim delegates at prayer, above Lake Geneva"

(Below) "listening to the sermon, with Caux palace, now an international centre for promoting peace, in the background"


  • 1. At 2:59pm on 10 Aug 2009, mittfh wrote:

    If organised religions want to survive in the world without attracting unhealthy levels of criticism, their moderate / liberal wings need to stand up and shout out above the hubbub created by their conservative / fundamentalist wings.

    And it's not just Islam - I still find it ironic that whilst the founder of the world's most popular religion spent most of his preaching career hanging out with society's outcases and promoting peace and tolerance, many leaders of his religion seem to do the exact opposite: condemning society's outcasts (particularly those who practice 'unconventional' bedroom antics, so to speak) and engaging in aggressive marketing ("conversion") and spin (some of the pamphlets produced by outposts of the remaining bit of the Roman Empire cursing policies and attitudes towards start/end of life issues display an alarming ignorance of the policies concerned, the wording of statements supporting those policies, and even basic biology!)
    Not to mention an attitude that if their followers engaged in their campaigns, attended more services, prayed more (particularly antiquated set prayers) and took part in more church-led activities, the world would suddenly become a much better place to live...

    Then again, there is one particular sect which believes that only a set number of people will ever enter heaven, yet an individual's chances of making that number are somehow (and paradoxically) increased if they recruit more people to the cause...the ultimate pyramid scheme?

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  • 2. At 3:19pm on 10 Aug 2009, annasee wrote:

    mttfh - I know the sect whereof you speak. My parents used to have neighbours who were of that belief. An otherwise entirely-normal and lovely couple in every way, apart from that one blind spot in their common sense. We once spent an extraordinary afternoon at their house listening to the wife debate their spiritual beliefs with a Mormon missionary who had unwisely come to their door thinking to convert them. Talk about the clash of titans! Two immovable mountains of belief, backed up with their particular religious books' "proofs".

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  • 3. At 3:22pm on 10 Aug 2009, Charlie wrote:

    "With the number of Muslims living in Europe set to increase substantially in the coming decades, can Islam contribute to a peaceful future for the continent?.."

    The reverse, I fear, is a far more likely scenario.

    Enoch Powell's analysis was, in my opinion, correct as it almost certainly was in respect of "Europe" and Iraq:


    "After Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990, Powell claimed that, because Britain was not an ally of Kuwait in the "formal sense" and because the balance of power in the Middle East had ceased to be a British concern after the end of the British Empire, Britain should not go to war. Powell claimed that "Saddam Hussein has a long way to go yet before his troops come storming up the beaches of Kent or Sussex"; after Britain claimed to be defending small nations from attack, Powell said "I sometimes wonder if, when we shed our power, we omitted to shed our arrogance..."

    Anyway, I fear it's too late now to change things in any meaningful way. But, time alone will tell...

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  • 4. At 3:35pm on 10 Aug 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    I do hope the BBC is not going to be going down the patronising and smug attitude taken by the Guardian which insists on at all times specifying its 'party line' on 'tablets of stone' [see what i did there..] that, hey kids 'religion is crap - er, unless it is islam, in which case it is cool' even though bizarrely both seem at odds with the politically correct values it claims to espouse [despite having zillions of adverts for high carbon footprint holidays] and a trampling on the civil liberties of gay people and the human rights of women.

    I am not particularly pro or anti religion [live and let live and all that..] but I do find this astonishing hypocrisy and small minded "I'm a mac, you're a PC" condescending superiority from people who imagine that decrying people of faith is some sort of badge of higher intelligence is really rather tiresome.

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  • 5. At 4:10pm on 10 Aug 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    In fourteenth century Spain, the Muslim occupiers tolerated both Christianity and Judaism (albeit with a special tax on those beliefs). When the Christians retook the Iberian peninsula, they turned that tolerance on its head.

    I have great respect for (non extremist) Muslims and personally believe that Islam could indeed contribute to peace in Europe.

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  • 6. At 4:43pm on 10 Aug 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Wow !this'll be a lively debate.
    better ruun now before the trolls come out.

    lorde I'd say all religions should be treated with respect as should athiests and agnostics.

    well unless they want to say the earth is 3000 yeras old and life doesn't include the living(US death penalty vrs abortion).

    Islam can teach us a bunch. we could teach them a bunch too. but the best we could teach is we are all really the same.
    and no religion says kill it 'll make you more acceptable to god.

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  • 7. At 4:43pm on 10 Aug 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    I meant to nominate this story
    for the AM Glass Box. I think it very moving. And I sincerely hope this young man will be awarded the George Cross posthumously for his bravery.

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  • 8. At 00:03am on 11 Aug 2009, U14098291 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 9. At 09:45am on 11 Aug 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Then there is this from St Albans:


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  • 10. At 10:25am on 11 Aug 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    McNickle - Great Daily Mail story !!! The Muslim Council of Great Britain says using alcohol hand gels is okay = Daily Mail Headline Generator = Muslims refuse alcohol based hand gels...

    Job Done !!!

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  • 11. At 10:29am on 11 Aug 2009, Sid wrote:

    The real story, of course, is in the fourth paragraph:

    "But Muslim leaders criticised the council’s decision to change the gel, pointing out that Islamic teachings allow Muslims to use alcohol for medicinal purposes."

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  • 12. At 10:48am on 11 Aug 2009, Sid wrote:

    My good lord BG - I see you got there first ...

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  • 13. At 10:53am on 11 Aug 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    LBG 10, Somebody on the Isle of Man told me about it and when I Googled, it turned out to be the Mail. Needless to say, an an Indy reader, I wouldn't normally touch the Mail.

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