Islam: Europe's Second Largest Religion
The History of Islam in Europe
European Leaders and Islam
Those Who Turn To Islam
Reports of Islam in The Media

Islam: Europe's Second Largest Religion

As in the rest of the world, Islam is in the midst of a rapid growth in Europe. This development has been attracting more attention in recent years, as evidenced by the many theses, reports, and articles published on "the place of Muslims in Europe" and "dialogue between European society and Muslims." Along with these academic reports, the media has carried frequent reports about Islam and Muslims. The root of this interest lies in the continual growth of Muslim population figures in Europe, and that this increase cannot be ascribed solely to immigration. While immigration certainly has had a significant effect on the Muslim population's growth, so many researchers have addressed this matter for quite another reason: high conversion rates.

The Roman Catholic Church, headquartered in Vatican City, is one of the institutions that follows conversion trends. One of the main topics during the October 1999 meeting of the European synod, which was attended by almost all of the Catholic clergy, was the Church's position in the new millennium. The conference's main theme was the rapid growth of Islam in Europe. The National Catholic Reporter reported that some radical individuals stated that the only way to prevent Muslims' gaining power in Europe was to stop tolerating Muslims and Islam; other more objective and rational individuals underscored the fact that since the two religions believe in one God, there should be no room for any conflict or struggle between them. In one session, Archbishop Karl Lehmann of Germany stressed that there is more internal pluralism within Islam than many Christians perceive, and that the radicals' claims about Islam had no basis in truth.61

Considering the position of Muslims when elucidating the Church's position in the new millennium was quite proper, for a 1999 United Nations' survey showed that between 1989 and 1998, Europe's Muslim population grew by more than 100 percent.62 Today, about 13 million Muslims live in Western Europe: 3.9 million in Germany, 3.3 million in Britain, 7.5 million in France, and the rest in other countries.63

Relevant research also has revealed that while the number of Muslims in Europe continues to grow, there is a deepening of religious awareness among Muslims. According to a survey conducted by the French newspaper Le Monde in October 2001, compared to data collected in 1994, many Muslims continue to perform their prayers, go to the mosque, and fast. This awareness is seen much more among university students.64

In an Aktuel magazine article, which was based on reports in the foreign press, Western researchers said that Europe would become one of the most important centers for the dissemination of Islam about 50 years later.65

Along with this sociological and demographic research, we also must not forget that Europe has not become acquainted with Islam only recently, but that Islam is actually an inseparable part of Europe.

(Above) The Economist commented on the state of Muslims living in Europe after 9/11, and reported on the current and historical relations between Europe and Islam.(Middle) This is London magazine reported on the Muslim converts living in England in its article "The New Face of Islam." Some interesting information about the increasing number of Muslims is that great majority of converts are women. (Below) In a New York Times article entitled "Islam is Part of the West, Too," Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative of the Bosnia-Herzegovina International Community, said it is not possible to separate Islam and the West from each other. According to him, Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of the best examples of the blending of Western and Islamic cultures. Europe streams to Islam, Islam is Europe's second religion, In the West interest in Islam is increasing, Islam settles in Europe, Europe wams to Islam, Islamic life gains stregnth in Europe.

About 12 million Muslims live in Europe, which makes Islam its second largest religion. One of the clearest indications of Islam's rising influence there is the Muslim community's constant growth.

61. "Europe's Muslims Worry Bishops," National Catholic Reporter, October 22, 1999.
62. Ibid.
63. "Muslims in Europe," The Economist, October 18, 2001.
64. Time, December 24, 2001.
65. AktŘel, 1999.

This site is based on the works of Harun Yahya