RECOMMENDED READING: Should Muslims Integrate Into The West?


Writing in the Middle East Quarterly, Israeli scholar Uriya Shavit provides insight into the role of the Muslim Brotherhood plays in hindering the integration of European Muslims. He explains first how Islamic jurists have concluded that for Muslims residing in the West, adherence to Islamic identity and law are the overriding priority:

As Muslim Arabs established themselves in Europe, Islamic jurists developed a legal framework to accommodate them. However wary they might be of the temptations facing Muslims in the West, jurists, aware that migrants are in the West to stay, have retroactively bestowed legitimacy upon all types of migration—whether its purpose is labor, commerce, political refuge or studies. Even ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baz, a strict Saudi scholar who from the 1980s until his death in 1999 was the highest religious authority in the kingdom, left the door for migration open because of its benefits for da’wa (proselytizing). Still, legitimacy was not without commitment. Most theologians conditioned their consent strict demands for Muslims in the West to maintain their religiosity. Many jurists believe Muslim migrants to the West have only two paths to follow: reaffirmation of Muslim identity or its complete abandonment. Such an understanding places a burden upon immigrants’ shoulders: While religious leaders acknowledge migrants’ membership in the Muslim nation, scholars insist emigrants should comprehend the gravity of their situation and work to amend it. To reside in the West, a Muslim must make sure his and his family’s identity are strictly maintained and the Shari‘a remains the comprehensive source regulating all aspects of their lives.

Shavit then goes on to cite rulings by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi that immigrants who cannot raise their children as Muslims should return to their own countries as an alternative:

Qaradawi agreed. He wrote: With Muslims being a minority in those non-Muslim countries, they ought to unite together as one man. Referring to this the Prophet (Peace and Blessing be upon him) is reported to have said: “A believer to his fellow believing brother is like a building whose bricks cement each other.” Hence, Muslims in those countries have to unite and reject any form of division that is capable of turning them an easy prey for others. Success in resisting temptation and seduction for himself, his spouse, and his offspring conditions the legality of any immigrant’s residence in a non-Muslim society. Qaradawi continues, “I told brothers and sisters living in the West that if they find it extremely difficult to bring up their children as Muslims, they should return to their countries of origin.”

Youssef Qaradawi is the leader of the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), the Muslim theological body comprise mainly of non-Europeans and which is affiliated with the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), the umbrella group for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.

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