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A Brief History of Islam in Europe

Thirteen Centuries of Creed, Conflict and Coexistence

Maurits Berger
15 October 2014
Leiden University Press

A Brief History of Islam in Europe presents an overall presentation and discussion of developments ever since Islam appeared on the European stage thirteen centuries ago. The events and stories presented increase the understanding of present debates on, and notions of, Islam and Muslims in Europe. The leading questions in discussing the role of the Islam in Europe are: how and in what ways did Europeans and Muslims interact, and what is the role of religion therein? And for those Europeans who had never met a Muslim: what was their image of Islam, and how did they study the Muslim?

This book shows that in the course of thirteen centuries the Muslim as well as Islam have undergone many metamorphoses. The Muslim has entered the European stage as a conqueror, antichrist, scholar, benign ruler, corsair, tradesman and fellow citizen. The image of Islam has meandered accordingly, as a religion that was feared as an enemy or embraced as a partner against heretical Christians, despised as an abomination or admired as a civilization, and studied for missionary, academic, colonial or security purpose.


"Maurits Berger's  A Brief History of Islam in Europe, is a tour de force which synthesizes the multiple encounters of Islam and Europe since 700 BC until now. It provides a fresh perspective on the ways history is politically and academically reconstructed to make sense of the Muslim presence in today‚Äôs Europe, and highlights the special status of Islam as the other of Europe over thirteen centuries of continuous encounters. This book is a must read for students of immigration, religion and politics." 

Jocelyne Cesari, Senior Research Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Director of the Islam in the West Program at Harvard University.

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