Error message

Wars and oppression—from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan and parts of Africa—last year pushed more than a million people to seek safety and opportunity in Europe. This tide of migrating humanity has heightened Europe’s tensions around its growing Muslim community. Conflict is growing around terrorism, the status of sharia law, the construction of mosques, and the possibility and desirability of multicultural societies. On March 23, American University anthropologist Akbar Ahmed screened his 2015 film exploring these tensions in Europe, and discussed their implications, including those for relations between the Islamic world and the West.

logo for Journey into Europe
Image Courtesy of Journey into Europe

Europe’s recent history with the Islamic world includes decades of immigration by Muslims, often as “guest workers” or from the colonies of European empires. But Europe has struggled over how, or even whether, to assimilate its Muslim peoples. Problems surrounding Muslim identity in Europe have moved to the fore of policy debates since the 9/11 attacks, and especially following last year’s terrorist violence that killed more than 140 people in Paris. 

These tensions are addressed in Journey into Europe, a film based on Professor Ahmed’s travel with a team of researchers through nine European countries. They interviewed prime ministers and street protesters, archbishops, rabbis, muftis and a range of other Europeans. Ahmed is writing an accompanying book, the last of four volumes exploring relations between the West and Islamic world after 9/11. This screening and discussion are part of a long USIP history of engaging with people and institutions working through religion to build peace in areas of conflict. 

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed
Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University

Rev. Susan Hayward, Moderator
Director, Religion & Inclusive Societies, USIP

Related Publications

ISIS Makes Sex Slavery Key Tactic of Terrorism

ISIS Makes Sex Slavery Key Tactic of Terrorism

Thursday, October 6, 2016

By: Fred Strasser

The sexual violence committed against women and girls by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) can only begin to be addressed with a multipronged response from the global to the local level, said Zainab Hawa Bangura, the United Nations’ point person on the issue. Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Bangura cited work ranging from promotion of U.N. resolutions to talks with religious leaders to suggest how the brutal, systematic sexual slavery imposed by the extremist group might be ...

Violent Extremism; Gender; Fragility and Resilience; Religion; Human Rights

Understanding and Extending the Marrakesh Declaration in Policy and Practice

Understanding and Extending the Marrakesh Declaration in Policy and Practice

Friday, September 30, 2016

By: Susan Hayward

In January 2016, the Marrakesh Declaration was issued by Muslim scholars and politicians as a concerted response to the persecution of and violence against minorities in Muslin-majority countries. This report, published with the Cambridge Institute on Religion and International Studies, provides background on the Marrakesh Declaration and recommendations to those from both Muslim and non-Muslim majority contexts to ensure the Declaration’s implementation and legitimacy.

Religion; Democracy & Governance

U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of ‘State Fragility’

U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of ‘State Fragility’

Monday, September 12, 2016

By: William J. Burns; Michèle Flournoy; Nancy Lindborg

The new administration, a coming change in leadership at the United Nations, and an emerging global consensus about the fragility challenge make this an opportune moment to recalibrate our approach. The United States cannot and should not try to “fix” every fragile state. Nor can we ignore this challenge; all fragility has the potential to affect U.S. interests to some extent, especially when left to fester. There is simply too much at stake for our interests, our partners, and the global ord...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism; Economics & Environment; Education & Training; Gender; Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue; Justice, Security & Rule of Law; Education & Training; Youth; Fragility and Resilience; Global Policy; Human Rights

Panel Urges New View of Middle East Refugees

Panel Urges New View of Middle East Refugees

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

By: Fred Strasser

The refugee crisis that has spread to Europe and the breakdown of the Middle East’s century-old political order demand new thinking about the economic role of displaced people and a reassessment of donor strategies to rebuild societies in conflict, a working group convened by the U.S. Institute of Peace concluded. The panel’s report, developed under USIP’s Manal Omar and Elie Abouaoun as part of Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force, calls for refugees to be viewed as potential e...

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Violent Extremism; Economics & Environment; Fragility and Resilience; Human Rights

View All Publications