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Islam in Modern Societies: Facts, Issues, and Perspectives in the West

The writer of this book considers that Muslims born in France and in the West now build their identity not from an imported model but from a strong sense of belonging to the nation, which they claim at the same time as their Islam. He wants to shed light on his reading of texts guided ‘by the spirit of flexibility and openness advocated by Islam.

The different themes discussed in this book are subject to debate and tension, caused by the confrontation of two civilisations that must find together a constructive dialogue. Through this book, we intend to read across these two visions of the world, founded on a themed analysis supported by examples. Our work focuses on civilizational dialogue, between two worlds that live together without meeting each other. One of goals of modern societies today is to deepen connections, to fight self-isolation, and to analyse the link between Islam and spirituality, and what it might become. At a time when social and professional stability is less seen as an obstacle in the socioeconomic crisis, even in wellbeing, the question of resurgence in spirituality resurfaces in the West. What are the real challenges of “living together” that each person preaches without truly defining the limits, in a multicultural, secularised society, victim to disintegration and violent acts? In this book, we will study the paths that could allow the Western World and Islam to communicate. Our ambition is to contribute as well as understand the tensions and frictions that are present throughout countries like France.

Islam’s place in this country establishes a debate in society (wearing headscarves, street prayers, halal meals, etc.). Here, we will try to bring answers to the questions about Islam’s place in modern societies, particularly in secular countries such as France. Islam is in the background of every European’s day-to-day life. It has been subject to various interpretations and heterogeneous practices. The Islam we see every day in public spaces, in our neighbourhood, is the result of understandings, practices, experiences, and adaptations of specific contexts. In this way, Islam is dynamic, constantly evolving, and complex. It is sometimes deeply disconnected from Man’s aim to a higher spiritual level. For some, Islam is an absolute regression of the human condition, and particularly of the place of women in the world. It is therefore condemned because of its positions on this or that matter not being compatible with Western democracy. Believers, Muslim or not, give their faith and spirituality a leading role in society’s progress. In this, Muslims in France and around the Western World try to go back to theirs basics, to practise their faith, and acquire their place in the world. Only an open-minded approach to the realities and constraints of modern society can achieve this. Why go back to basics? It’s important for Muslim citizens to differentiate what is part of the foundations of Islam, and what they think is a travesty of its essence, an overhanging heritage of the spirit of its words. Today, Islam isn’t experienced and practised by European Muslims homogeneously. It’s subject to many interpretations, and the results of these understandings are widely permeated with sociocultural contexts. These can mold the perceptions of people that grew up in a predominantly Muslim country, and who eventually settled in the West. For a number of Muslims who grew up in the West, their priority is to define their identity so they may join their nation’s identity, to which they belong. In this book, we will specifically focus on France’s example. Today, there is a need for French Muslims to achieve a contextual “Islam de France”, a “French” Islam. It’s important to not stop at its title, but to look into its content. Muslims are conscious of their dual belonging, spiritual and cultural. They manifest their wish to live peacefully within their faith while being in harmony with their collective identity, and to be in line with their society’s goals. Some think that Islam is one, that it’s universal, and that a French Islam would be useless. Muslims living in the West believe that Islam’s foundations are unchangeable and unchanging. However, within exists a vast area which stays forever open to interpretation and context of scriptural sources. According to them, on a practical level, Islam cannot be understood or experienced in conflict with its context in time and space. We will concentrate on the issue of Islam in France. What is there to be understood? What are its priorities, its projects, its perspectives? How and by whom is it thought through? There are many projects implying the rise of a contextualised Islam in France and other Western countries. The questions at the back of our minds ask about identity and the link in culture. These will be our guides in our thought process.

About the Author

Jamel Khermimoun is a Researcher and author of several books, PhD in Geography and Territory Development, graduated Master of Political, Cultural and Historical Geography and Master of Town Planning and Development (Paris Sorbonne University), member of CERII (European Center for Research on Islam and its Interactions). He is member of the International Political Science Association (IPSA): “Human Rights”, “Religion and Politics” and “Comparative Studies on Local Government and Politics” research committees.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Terminological Approach


Jihad and Fundamentalism

“Integration” and “Colonialism”

Fatwa and Case Law Substratum

Chapter 2 Society’s Challenges

Place of Women

Women in Islam: Between Fantasy and Reality

The Headscarf Issue

Educational Issues

Chapter 3 Civilisation Issues

A New Spiritual and Socio-Demographic Landscape Islam-West: Clash of Civilisations?

Questioning Nation

The September 11th Effect Men’s Rights as an Interface to Civilisations

An Islamic Concept of Human Rights

Chapter 4 Integration and Disintegration Issues

The Republic’s Suburbs

Troubled Youth and Territories

An Open and Evolutional Conception of Secularism

Chapter 5 Western Muslims and the Weight of Literalism and Rigorism

A Restrictive Conception of Islam

French Muslims Faced with Radicalism: What kind of Belonging? What kind of Interpretation and Practise of Islam?

Chapter 6 Conceiving Islam in Secularity: Identities, Institutionalisation, and Representability Goals

A Contextualised Conception of Islam

Citizenship Goals

Training Issues, Structure, and Representation of France’s Islam

Concerning Wearing the Veil in School

Chapter 7 French Muslims and the Nation’s Collective Identity

Culture and Identity

The Migration Factor

The Historical Factors

Chapter 8 Moving Identities: Spirituality, Culture, and France’s Islam

Cultural Legacies, Identities and Belonging

France’s Islam, belonging to nation and cultural challenges

Bibliographic Information

Title: Islam in Modern Societies: Facts, Issues, and Perspectives in the West

Author: Jamel Khermimoun

Publisher:  Westbow Press

Language: English

Length: 120 pages

ISBN: 978-1973633013

Pub. Date: July 2018

About Ali Teymoori

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