Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies


The Janus-face of bureaucratic incorporation of Islam in Europe. A seminar on the occasion of the valedictory lecture of prof. dr Thijl Sunier

Date: Friday the 28th of October 2022

Time: 12.00-3.00 p.m.

Location: Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam

Room: NU-4A67 or WN-C147 (depending on the number of participants)

Valedictory lecture at 3.45 p.m., main hall Vrije Universiteit.


Muslims in Europe are facing a strongly negative image and an increasing tendency on the part of politicians to view Islam as a problem and a security risk. On the other hand, a process of bureaucratic incorporation of Islam has taken place in recent decades. This has generated a certain level of legal stability, enabled access to resources and services, and in some cases resulted in formal recognition as a religious community. Bureaucratisation provides Muslims with relative protection against political volatility and hate campaigns on the internet.

The downside of this process, however, is that this bureaucratisation also provides governments with tools with which Muslim activities can be effectively controlled. European governments want an Islam in accordance with policy goals. Representatives and spokespersons of Muslims either have to comply with the political demands, or they are seen as a problem and excluded from negotiations. Moreover, Muslims increasingly have to comply with the imposed image of the ‘ideal Muslim’, even if they were born and raised in Europe.

During the seminar we will explore the Janus-face of bureaucratic incorporation, discuss the manifold aspects of this process, and formulate possible themes for research. Six experts in the field of Islam in Europe will give a short presentation, followed by a debate with the audience.


Prof. dr Schirin Amir-Moazami (Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany)

Prof. dr Egdunas Racius (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania)

Prof. dr Annelies Moors (University Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Dr Dominik Müller (Zürich University, EZIRE, Erlangen, Germany)

Dr Martijn de Koning (Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands)

Dr Nisha Kapoor (Warwick University, UK)

Moderator: Roemer van Oordt (projectmanager Zasja, Amsterdam)

Day chair: Prof. dr Fridus Steijlen (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam)