Almost 10 years after the 11 September 2001 attacks carried out by the Islamist Al-Qaeda group in the United States, and in an economic context that has been difficult in some European countries for almost 40 years, it would seem that a wave of Islamophobia is developing in Europe. This is attested by the rise of populist or extreme right-wing parties even in countries with relatively peaceable reputations, such as Sweden. But this tendency for public opinion to show a certain tension towards Muslims, described here by Jean-François Drevet, also has its origin in additional pressure from part of the Muslim population of Europe (a minority part, but a very “visible” one) that increasingly wants to impose sharia law on European nationals of Islamic faith.
Now, in a great number of its precepts, sharia (Islamic) law comes into contradiction with the broad principles of European law, beginning with those of the European Convention on Human Rights. There seems, then, to be an urgent case, as this column stresses, for reflecting, on a Europe-wide basis, on possible “accommodations” between the religious practice of Europe’s Muslims and the application of European laws, and for clarifying the various points where problems arise. This is probably the only way to discourage fundamentalist initiatives and enable Muslims to practice their religion in keeping with the democratic principles of the European Union.
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