cover of book

Mosques in the Metropolis: Incivility, Caste, and Contention in Europe
by Elisabeth Becker
University of Chicago Press, 2021
eISBN: 978-0-226-78178-5 | Cloth: 978-0-226-78150-1 | Paper: 978-0-226-78164-8
Library of Congress Classification BP65.A1B43 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 297.094

Mosques in the Metropolis offers a unique look into two of Europe’s largest mosques and the communities they support. Elisabeth Becker provides a complex picture of Islam in Europe at a particularly fraught time, shedding light on both experiences of deep and enduring marginalization and the agency of Muslim populaces. She balances individual Muslim voices with the historical and structural forces at play, revealing, in all their complexity, the people for whom the mosques are centers of religion and community life. As her interlocutors come to life in the pages, the metropolis emerges as a space alternative to the nation in which they can contend with degrading images of Islam and Muslims. Ultimately Becker insists that caste is a crucial lens through which to view Muslims in Europe, and through this lens she critiques what she perceives as the failures of European pluralism. To amplify her point, she brings Jewish history and twentieth-century Jewish thought into the conversation directly, drawing on scholars such as Walter Benjamin, Zygmunt Bauman, and Hannah Arendt to describe both Jewish and Muslim life and marginality. By challenging Eurocentric notions, from “progress” to “civility,” “tolerance” to “freedom” and “equality, what is at stake, Becker insists, is the possibility of a truly plural Europe.

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