"To Be European Means to Be Me" Cover Image
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"To Be European Means to Be Me"
"To Be European Means to Be Me"

The Perspective of Young Muslims in Kosovo on European Identity

Author(s): Friedrich Püttmann
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Social Sciences, Geography, Regional studies
Published by: Südosteuropa Gesellschaft e.V.
Keywords: Kosovo;Muslims; European Identity

Summary/Abstract: Since the beginning of the integration process into the European Union a continuous discourse has evolved about what characterizes ‘Europe’ and whether there is a common ‘European identity’. Most recently, this discourse has tended to define the European ‘Self’ in contrast to a ‘foreign’ Muslim ‘Other’. The debate is taking place against the background of new Muslim arrivals in Europe. However, the presence of Muslim citizens in Europe is not a recent phenomenon. This empirical research paper explores the effects this discourse has had on the perspective of Muslim youths in Kosovo on European identity. Kosovo is seen as a European country with a centuries-old Muslim presence. It seeks to further ‘Europeanize’ itself in order to connect with the EU. By means of qualitative in-depth interviews with young practicing Muslims in Prishtina the paper reveals that the participants have not started to view ‘Europe’ in any negative way. Instead, they use their positive understanding of European identity which they associate with diversity and freedom of religion for Muslims. The respondents heavily criticize their own government for misunderstanding the concept as denoting ‘un-Muslim’, which leads to an oppression of practicing Muslims in Kosovo in light of the country’s attempt to ‘be European’.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 46-63
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: English