Archive for the ‘Islam’ category

Islam in Europe: Threat or Opportunity

February 28, 2018

Islam in EuropeWhat is your perspective on the huge increase in Europe’s Muslim population? Do you see it as a threat or a huge opportunity for the gospel?

In this edition of Vista you will almost certainly find one article that supports your perspective. But perhaps more importantly you will find another that challenges it.
Darrell Jackson’s lead article sets out the most recent statistics on Muslim populations in Europe but also highlights important qualifications regarding the interpretation of this data and of concepts of Muslim identity.

The heart of this edition though are four opinion pieces. Bert de Ruiter writes of the Europeanisation of Islam and gives a call to loving engagement. Jenny Taylor provides a critique of integration narratives and highlights the threat that Islamic terrorism continues to pose. Bryan Knell tells stories of conversions among some communities and stubborn resistance among others. And Colin Edwards provides a classification of Believers from a Muslim Background (BMBs) and writes of how the need for intense community among these converts is a challenge to our concepts of church in Europe.

Finally, Jo Appleton set out some helpful resources for Christian Muslim engagement.

Our prayer as an editorial team is that this edition of Vista would make you think more deeplyabout these different perspectives. But perhaps more importantly, to think about how to  “love your neighbour” who in today’s Europe is often a Muslim.

Download Vista 29 here

Sufism in the Balkans

December 2, 2010

Another post on Islam in Europe. This time the article’s about Sufi forms of Islam in the Balkans. A form of Islam at odds with its more extremist versions, it is frequently dismissed by the latter as ‘communist Islam’. In an earlier post we covered tensions between Sufi and Wahibi Muslims in Georgia.

The article is accompanied by several YouTube clips that feature different elements of Sufi practice in the Balkans.

The full article can be read at

Religion, European secular identities, and European integration

November 8, 2010

A recent posting of an English essay by Jose Casanova points to the presence of Islam in Europe as a benchmark of European liberalism versus illiberalism. The article will stretch but is written by an important social scientist and commentator from Spain.

The article is available for free download at:

Sufi & Wahhibi tensions surface in Georgia

August 27, 2010

Transitions Online reports on a growing generation gap between older followers of Sufism and younger, Saudi-educated, Muslims who espouse a form of Islam often refered to as Wahhibism and which is based on Sunni Islam, similar to that in Saudi Arabia.  Sufiism is a mystic form of Islam popular among the small ethnic groups of Kists that originate in the north Caucasus. The Kist communities are located in the Pankesi Gorge in the north of Georgia.

Tensions surfaced three months ago with the construction of a new mosque by the Jamaat congregation on the site of an earlier Sufi shrine. Speaking for the Jamaat congregation, Amur Khangoshvili, a 28-year-old imam in Duisi, told TOL, ‘We are against any recently emerged practices in Islam that the Prophet Muhammad didn’t mention.’

Eka Chianava, a journalist working for Liberali, visited the village of Duisi in October of 2008 and reported in her Catword blog that although the youth were turning away from the traditional Sufi form of Islam, there nevertheless appeared to be little tension at that time between the two Islamic groups.

The dominant presence of the new mosque and the dwindling size of the existing Sufi congregation in Duis, a little over 50, suggests that the ‘purist’ form of Islam espoused by the Jamaat congregation is the more likely to survive in the immediate future in this corner of Georgia. Similar tensions between ‘traditional’ and ‘Wahhibi’ forms of Islam exist  among the Islamic populations of the Balkan countries.