History of Muslims in Europe and in the US Research Paper

Pages: 21 (6849 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Drama - World

History of Muslims in Europe and in the U.S.

Islamophobia - the United States and the European continent

The Islam is at the moment one of the most important religious, cultural, and eventually political entities of the world today. According to studies made in 2009, it represents 23% of the global population of 6.9 billion people

Even so, there are numerous accounts in which the Muslim population is the subject of discrimination or political differentiation. At the moment, this entire phenomenon is defined as Islamophobia. The present paper addresses the issue of islamophobia from the perspective of the two most important regions where it developed and where is most visible. In this sense, the research takes into account the way in which the United States as well as Europe deal with the issue of the Muslim presence. In recent years, especially after the 9/11 events the perception on Muslims has been very controversial, some arguing in favor of identifying better means to include them in the cosmopolite societies, while other argue for a marginalization and eventual exclusion of the Muslims from the respective societies. In this sense, the research paper focuses on several directions of judgement.

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The first part of the paper deals with the historical background of the Muslim presence in the United States and in Europe. Indeed, the presence of the Muslims dates back centuries ago; yet, the controversies surrounding this situation has determined increased dissensions between the sides of the pros and cons.

TOPIC: Research Paper on History of Muslims in Europe and in the US Assignment

The second part of the research focuses on the way in which the Muslims are regarded in the U.S. And Europe. The paper points out in this sense that Europe is much more affected by this islamophobia than the United States from a political point-of-view, especially given the vicinity and relations with Turkey, a potential future member of the European Union. On the other hand, the United States is more affected by the issue of Muslims from a security point-of-view, despite the fact that to this moment, there is no clear result of the causality of the Muslim presence and the terrorist threat. Even so, the reticence of the American population in general is more intense when asked about terrorism.

The third part focuses on the conclusions of the research and points out the need for better understanding of the cultural differences and religious acceptance.

The present research paper is descriptive by nature, but analytical in content. Therefore, its main aim is to present the current situation of what is islamophobia, to describe its origins, manifestations, and its reactions. However, it is important to point out that the paper addresses the issue from a political related point-of-view, thus trying to underline the fact that islamophobia is in fact a politically driven phenomenon, both in the U.S. And the EU.

Part I: Brief history of the presence of Muslims in the EU and the U.S.

The presence of the Muslim population in Europe is rather old. In this sense, it dates back to the 6th and 7th century as a result of the conquest of West Africa by the Arabs. More precisely, the islamic conquest of the Mediterranean started with the conquest of present day Syria and the Palestine between 633 and 640, after the departure of the Romans from the region

. However, despite the fact that there is proof to point out the presence of the Arabs in Africa, there is still controversy fueling the Arab Jewish conflicts which point to the actual claim of the Arabs over the Palestinian state. Although this conflict is not a part of the scope of the present research, it is important to underline that the conflict dating back to the 19th century has represented a subject for conflict since the end of the Second World War and has contributed to the image of the Islam as a terrorist religion.

The conquest of Spain by the Arabs is viewed as one of the most important events in early European history. More precisely, "the Muslim expansion continued throughout the sixth and into the seventh century. In 711 the Berber Tarik invaded and rapidly conquered Visigothic Spain. Famously by 733 the Muslims reached Poitiers in France. There a battle, more significant to westerners than Muslims, halted the Muslim advance. In truth by that stage Islam was at its limits of military expansion. Tarik gave his name to "Jabal (mount of) Tarik" or, as we say, Gibraltar. In 712 Tarik's lord, Musa ibn-Mosseyr, joined the attack. Within seven years the conquest of the peninsula was complete. It became one of the centers of Moslem civilization, and the Umayyad caliphate of Cordova reached a peak of glory in the tenth century. Spain, called "al-Andulus" by Muslims remained was at least partially under Muslim control until 1492 when Granada was conquered by Ferdinand and Isabella"

. The Reconquista period, the one started by Isabella was as well a turning point in the history of Europe because it marked, on the one hand, the end of the Arab influence in the peninsula and the start of the expansion of Spain as one of the most important colonial powers of its time.

The influence of the Arab conquest of Spain is considered as having a pivotal role for the creation of Europe as it is today. In this sense, "according to the French historian Henri Pirenne, the Islamic conquest created Europe - at least Europe as it has existed since the end of the Roman Empire. Unlike the invasions of Rome by the Germanic barbarians in the first century after Christ, which were easily absorbed into existing institutions, the Islamic invasion changed everything (...) both powers - Europe and the West and Islam as a civilization - arose together historically and constitute a challenge for one another (...) (in terms of, n.a.) European pharmacology and troubadour poetry, in the Muslim custodianship of many works of Greek philosophy through the Dark Ages"

. Despite the views of the historians, there is little consensus on this matter, as there are many who consider the stay of the Arabs to have been an inevitable ruin of the true European spirit.

The Ottoman empire played as well a crucial role not only in shaping the borders of the European continent but also by the influence it exercised throughout the centuries over countries in Eastern Europe in particular. After the Reconquista period, the Arabs became mostly identified with the Ottoman Empire and acted as a single powerful entity. The rule of the Empire in countries such as Romania, Bulgaria affected the linguistics of the region as well as their borders in the sense of the way in which territories were conquered, regained, and again set under occupation. However, the influence exercised by the Empire on the political front of the region cannot be viewed as decisive in the sense other empires extended their rule. More precisely, for instance the rule of the Russian Empire, especially during the 17th and 18th century included the creation of Russian systems of governance in the countries in its vicinity. Another point which is essential for the development of the Turkish Empire is related to the actual degree of pressure placed on the territories. In this sense, the influence the Turks had on the systems of government in Romania for instance stretched only to small regionals pasalics as called at the time, which represented administrative regions of the territories

. Still this type of organization was possible to change in exchange for a proper sum of money often guaranteeing the regional autonomy of the territories and the clear independence from the Ottoman Empire in terms of internal affairs. Therefore it can be said that not even the organization of the Empire and that of its territories was not imposed, as it could have been bought.

The actual history of the Arab world in Europe however starts after the end of the First World War and in particular after the Second World War. This is largely due to the fact that the First World War had as major consequences the break up of the European Empires. In this sense, the Ottoman Empire broke apart and left the place for the Turkish Republic which would soon become the subject of the famous Ataturk revolution. In the early 1920s the changes made by Ataturk shifted the power from a clearly oriented religious state to one which leaves place for the laicization of the country. This is one of the most important moments in the history of modern Turkey because it started the journey of a new, democratic oriented country. At the same time, this change of perspective laid the grounds for the claim that Turkey is facing more the European continent rather than the Asian one.

The migration of the Arab turks to Europe started after the end of the Second World War. The international context allowed this migration to take place and even encouraged it. In this sense, the massive loss of lives during the war… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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