The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe

Edited by
December 2012 9781849041683 336pp
Temporarily out of stock
December 2012 9781849042703 336pp


The Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East has always attracted widely divergent attention. Scholars have regarded it both as the source of terrorism and, more recently, as the potential harbinger of democratisation. The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe has attracted far less attention, but its ambiguous reputation in the Middle East has led to widespread speculation about its character. Its critics regard the European organisations as part of a suspicious, secretive, centrally-led world-wide organisation that enhances the alienation of Muslims in Europe. Its sympathisers, on the other hand, regard the Brotherhood as a moderate movement that has been Europeanised and promotes integration.

This volume brings together experts on the European Muslim Brotherhood who address some of the main issues on which the discussion has concentrated. After an introduction dealing with the debate in the European press, the first section shows that the Brotherhood consists primarily of a network of informal ties, which have developed a host of localised practices and contradictory trends. The second part deals with the Brotherhood organisations in different European countries and traces their highly specific trajectories and relations with the local non-Muslim press and authorities. The third section concentrates on the ideological developments of the movement in the Middle East and Europe.


‘This volume is a rich documentation and critical assessment of political movements related to the Muslim Brothers and their changing ideologies in various European nation states since the 1960s. It systematically addresses not only the often negative perceptions by journalists and politicians in Europe, but also the contradictions and ambiguities within the organisations. It is a highly qualified academic approach that helps to paint a much-needed differentiated picture.’ — Bettina Gräf, Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin, co-editor of Global Mufti: The Phenomenon of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi 

‘This is a very timely collection of contributions on a much vilified movement by a fine group of first class scholars. They portray the Muslim Brotherhood and its complex intellectual and ideological heritage, trying to come to grips with the many contemporary and multiple challenges it faces. While critically assessing its enduring secrecy and monopolistic claims about its representativeness, this volume convincingly argues that the Muslim Brotherhood has dramatically changed over the decades. It is now a moderate movement, as diverse as the national environments in which its affiliated organisations operate. This volume confronts head-on the argument of pundits who argue that Islam cannot change.’ — Rik Coolsaet, Ghent University, author of Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge: European and American Experiences

‘A penetrating assessment of the origins and inner workings of an influential and diverse Islamist movement operating in Europe. Where the Brotherhood is widely portrayed as a counter-Enlightenment Trojan Horse, this volume offers an impressively more nuanced understanding of its evolution, moving away from its totalising dogma and militancy towards political pragmatism as it engages with democracy, secularism, and Muslim minority status.’ — Humayan Ansari, Professor of Islam and Culture, Royal Holloway, University of London, and author of The Infidel Within: Muslims in Britain Since 1800


Edwin Bakker is Professor of (Counter-) Terrorism Studies at Leiden University and is director of the Centre for Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in the Hague.

Roel Meijer  teaches modern Middle Eastern history at Radboud University in Nijmegen and is Senior Researcher at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, ‘Clingendael.’

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