Insight Turkey
Insight Turkey
Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs

Insight Turkey > Articles |

For a New Alterity of Islam in European Perspective

The depiction of Islam and Muslims in Europe has, in general, been dominated by an ‘Othering’ in which they are considered inherently different, because of their ethnic or geographical origin or due to conceptions of Islam as a non-modern phenomenon, incompatible with Western democratic societies. Without ignoring successful integration experiences, recent cases of Islamophobia in Europe demonstrate the continued assumption of the Islamic ‘Other’ from a negative point of view. This otherness is particularly visible in the case of Turkey, which due to its truncated process of accession to the European Union has been subject to constant debates on its Europeanness. To overcome this harmful vision, the application of a democratic ‘Alterity’ is proposed. This allows, based on identity, a dialogue between different parties, in which the other is not only recognized but their position can also be assumed as one’s own.

For a New Alterity of Islam in European Perspective
The Virgin Mary and child mosaic fresco on a dome and a calligraphic Roundel with Arabic letters bearing the name of Allah hanging on one of the columns of the Hagia Sophia mosque. İstanbul, Turkey on July 2, 2020. ÖZAN KÖSE / AFP
 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

Islam in the West has not only been defined by the experience of immigration and the associated assimilation or integration. Islam has also been portrayed through the West’s idea of it in general and of Muslims in particular. The way in which the religion and its practitioners are seen in Europe either fosters a better process of adaptation or pushes to increase expressions of rejection (because of their status as immigrants) or open Islamophobia (in principle, due to their religious biases). The starting point is the assumption of the Muslim as someone different. However, the internalization of another person’s difference is not itself a negative thing. In fact, the ability to understand others as different is the basis of the recognition of one’s own identity. The problem arises when this ‘Otherness’ is composed of harmful elements (inadmissible in democratic societies) by which the others become enemies or antithesis whose only treatment is the direct (physical) elimination or their displacement from the shared inhabited space.

Already have an account? Sign In.
Print Subscription
4 Print Issues
Subscribe
Digital Subscription
4 Digital Issues
Subscribe
Premium Subscription
4 Print Issues
4 Digital Issues
Subscribe

Labels »  

We use cookies in a limited and restricted manner for specific purposes. For more details, you can see "our data policy". More...