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Va' vad det vi sa... : Representationer av sharia i Europaparlamentet och dess möjliga konsekvenser för EU:s mångfaldstänkande, enhetspolitik och muslimsk identitet i Europa
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2012 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Muslims and islam are unquestionably a part of European social life. In recent times, however, different events, such as the enlargement of the EU and the fact that muslims to a higher extent demand their rights, have brought a number of questions to the fore concerning muslims and islam in Europe. Moreover, we can see an increasing level of islamophobia in contemporary Europe, but also that the EU has launched several programs to increase both the diversity and the unity throughout the Union and to combat islamophobia. However, most of these programs focus on islam as religion and muslims in general, and such a narrow viewpoint runs the risk of missing important issues.

In this new context it would be interesting to widen the scope and ask what place not only the muslim community and islam, but also sharia (an important element in islam), may have in future Europe – especially when it comes to muslim identity?

My main objects are to see how the concept of sharia is constructed in the debates in the European Parliament, how that discourse relates to a social practice – the increasing islamophobic ideas in Europe – and what effect this may have on muslim identity in a European context.

The results shows that the Parliament constructs sharia as, for example, something archaic, threatening, inhuman and misogynistic. In that sense, the discourse fits in with the predominant order of discourse regarding islam and muslims (in Europe) – and strengthen it. Though my results are neither absolute nor uniform, they show, persuasively enough, that sharia (as it is seen by the Parliament) is not consistent with and can not be included in or accepted by “European norms and values”. However, this must be said with one reservation: sharia is not always excluded as a whole. Still, it is not difficult to maintain that it is sharia as such that activates the (negative and) excluding connotations. Thus, an “approved” European muslim identity, as it seems, can not have too close connections with sharia, if (any) at all. Moreover, there is a risk that muslims themselves take on a restricting practice concerning their identity. In all, this will to a large extent circumscribe the possible muslim identities in Europe.

To form a substantial and really pluralistic diversity in Europe, the EU, and others, must liberate itself from the logic of these discourses. But this is not an easy thing to do. One way that might be profitable, is to challenge the prevailing discourse with new narratives – narratives and voices that for the most part must come from the muslims themselves. Despite the fact that these voices do exist, as has been shown, the question is how and under what circumstances they can be seen – or rather heard. Unfortunately the answer is not to be found in this thesis; the need of further research is obvious.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 132 p.
Keyword [sv]
Europa, EU, European parliament, Europaparlamentet, muslim identity, muslimsk identitet, islam, sharia, islamophobia, islamofobi, socialkonstruktionism, diskursanalys, Norman Fairclough, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, inkludering, exkludering
National Category
History of Religions
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-170910OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-170910DiVA: diva2:509738
Subject / course
History of Religion and Social Sciences of Religion
Educational program
Master Programme in Theology and Religious Studies
2012-01-17, Uppsala, 10:15 (Swedish)
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2014-12-15 Created: 2012-03-13 Last updated: 2014-12-15Bibliographically approved

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