Valedictory speech “The Janus-face of bureaucratic incorporation of Islam in Europe. Tales from the field” by Prof. J.T. Sunier — Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 28 October 2022
Valedictory speech by prof.dr. J.T. Sunier
Faculty of Social Sciences
The valedictory speech can also be followed online
Muslims in Europe are facing a strongly negative image and an increasing tendency on the part of politicians to view Islam as a problem and a security risk. On the other hand, a process of bureaucratic incorporation of Islam has taken place in recent decades. This has generated a certain level of legal stability, enabled access to resources and services, and in some cases resulted in formal recognition as a religious community. Bureaucratisation provides Muslims with relative protection against political volatility and hate campaigns on the internet.
The downside of this process, however, is that this bureaucratisation also provides governments with tools with which Muslim activities can be effectively controlled. European governments want an Islam in accordance with policy goals. Representatives and spokespersons of Muslims either have to comply with the political demands, or they are seen as a problem and excluded from negotiations. Moreover, Muslims increasingly have to comply with the imposed image of the ‘ideal Muslim’, even if they were born and raised in Europe.
In his valedictory speech (in English) Thijl Sunier discusses this two-sidedness of bureaucratisation on the basis of examples from own fieldwork and shall reflect on the question of how the position of Islam and Muslims in Europe will develop in the coming years.
Prior to the valedictory speech, a seminar will be organised around the theme of the lecture: Six experts in the field of Islam in Europe will give a short presentation, followed by a debate with the audience.
Prof. dr Schirin Amir-Moazami (Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany)
Prof. dr Egdunas Racius (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania)
Prof. dr Annelies Moors (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Dr Dominik Müller (Zürich University, EZIRE, Erlangen, Germany)
Dr Martijn de Koning (Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands)
Dr Nisha Kapoor (Warwick University, UK)
Moderator: Roemer van Oordt (projectmanager Zasja, Amsterdam)
Chair: Prof. dr Fridus Steijlen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
If you would want to attend the seminar, please, send a mail to the secretary of the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology for registration: secretariaat.sca.fsw[at]vu.nl