Many European countries have major parties which call themselves "Christian". But Wikipedia only lists 5 parties in all of Europe with an Islamic agenda, and 3 of them as defunct, leaving only "Party of Democratic Action" in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the "Finnish Islamic Party" (which doesn't seem to be very notable).

Notable parts of the European population self-identify as Muslims. In many EU states the percentage would be high enough to justify a political representation. There are even regions in Europe where Muslims outnumber practitioners of other religions, so the voter potential should be high enough to reach a notable representation on the communal level.

What are the reasons Muslims in Europe do not become more politically organized? Considering how afraid the radical nationalists in Europe are of "the Islamization of Europe", there doesn't seem to be much Islamic political activity to justify that fear.

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    Wild guess...historically there have been a whole lot more Christians in Europe than Muslims combined with an overall trend of becoming more secular? – user1530 Dec 31 '15 at 18:35
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    In all fairness, how many of the parties with "Christian" in their name have anything even remotely related to Christianity in their platforms or positons or actions? (I would wager none but I'm not that familiar with EU politics) – user4012 Jan 1 '16 at 22:09
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    To further support the point of @user4012: Why should they need a seperate political representation? "Christian" parties have very few to nothing to do with Christianity. They are simply conservatives and the old values are mainly Christian. And as state and confessions ought to be seperated (secular states), where is the need for being organized in a specific party? They could defend their interests and are doing it (at least in Germany) in the parties of their particular politic spectrum. Which political interests are specificly muslim? There are religious associations. – Philip Klöcking Jan 2 '16 at 14:51
  • Wild guess : Even if there is a large muslim population in western Europe, most of them immigrated less than 20 years ago, the vast majority of them are residents, but not citizens, and as such do not have right to vote or being elected. – Bregalad Jan 3 '16 at 11:46
  • @Bregalad That guess seems to be wrong. Migration from Muslim countries to Europe is nothing new. In Germany, for example, about 45% of Muslims have German citizenship [German source]. Many are immigrants in the second and third generation. – Philipp Jan 3 '16 at 11:53

The exact answer will vary from country to country. Restrictive immigration laws may mean that a country has many Muslim immigrants and children of immigrants without granting citizenship, I think this describes Germany fairly well.

The bigger reason is that to my knowledge all or most large parties with "christian" in their name in Europe are somewhat conservative, right of center parties that don't practice a christian identity politics. I think "Christian" in this context means a set of values of which religion is only a part. This means that non-Christians may find their political home in these parties: In Germany, Turkish-descendant entrepreneurs tend to support the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) in Germany more than the SPD (Social Democrat Party, other large party), something they share with German-descendant entrepreneurs.

This points to the second reason. There's certainly voters to whom a religious stance is an important consideration in casting their vote, but many also consider other factors. Maybe some Muslims wish for an Islamic party, others will vote (if they are allowed to and vote at all) according to other interests - a parties stance on workers rights, security, xenophobia, ...

  • I've never seen "chiffre" used in English. In French I know it can mean "cypher / cipher" or "code". Do you mean the word in that sense? – Lostinfrance Jan 4 '16 at 15:17
  • I've changed the sentence to avoid the word, ince it was confusing. – mart Jan 4 '16 at 19:40

A major reason is the diversity. Christianity in Italy means Catholicism, while Danish Christians are predominantly Lutheran. (The Dutch, being on the boundary, only got a unified Christian party in 1980).

However, Islam is Europe is nowhere as uniform. Muslims come from all over the Islamic world to Europe, bringing religious divides. Furthermore, many Muslim immigrants have limited mastery of the language of their host country, so the different Muslim groups are further divided by language. Finally, many of the countries of origin have internal divisions that are brought over (Turkey/Kurds, Morocco/Berbers).

The result is that "the Muslim community" simply does not exist. This isn't limited to political parties. There are Turkish mosques and Tunisian mosques, precisely because there is no shared community.

Probably secondary is that the best integrated Muslims are on the edge of the Muslim communities. They speak the language of the host country, and could thus form a bridge between the distinct Muslim communities, but often these people are also well integrated into the host country itself. Even if not secular themselves, they might be members of secular parties (especially on the left), instead of forming unifying Muslim political parties.

Around 10% of Bahrain are Christians and there is a notable Indu population in this country, but there is not any single Christian politician in this country. In Saudi Arabia, there are around 1.5 million Christians and it is forbidden for them to practice their religion, and they are not even allowed to enter cities Makkah (Mecca) or Madinah (Medina). In Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and in some Balkan countries, Christians can be active at politics.

In the most of European countries, Muslims are free on politics as well. In Bulgaria, the Turkish party DPS has 36/240 chair of Bulgarian parliament, in Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, in the Federative Republic of Russia, Muslims are quite active at politics.

And as different from Christian Democracy, Islamist political parties are far from freedom and there is nothing to compare. In Europe or anywhere else in the world, there shouldn't be any Islamist party. I am also against the label "Christian" for a political party.

This is an entirely UK-based answer, because that's where I live and I actually know something about this subject here, whereas I have no clue about other European countries.

In the UK, there's generally a disengagement among Muslims with wider politics, because Muslims tend to stick to certain areas, which become dominated by Muslims. Remember Donald Trump saying there are places where police don't go because of Muslims? He was exaggerating greatly, but something like that does happen. It's because Muslims go to areas where there are others like them.

There's a good reason for this- there's a lot of intolerance towards Muslims and they're aware that there are areas considered more or less friendly to them.

It's about identity, really. Back in the 70's, when it all started, there were a lot of Pakistani immigrants, and they identified as such. Nowadays they identify more as Muslims, but the important thing is that they don't feel British, so they feel more than a little disconnected with politicians that they don't think represent them. Instead they deal more with their own isolated communities.

As a result of this, those that want to involve themselves with political Islam tend to focus on Muslim-majority countries. There's a theological basis for this as well, which complicates the whole thing horrendously, as Islam doesn't have as clear a distinction between religion and state in its doctrine. That means that Islamic political ideologies tend to be less secular and therefore less friendly to non-Muslims. That makes them somewhat unpopular ideas to non-Muslims.

  • A lot of this info was gathered from a book I read over Christmas, Radical by Maajid Nawaz. If you're interested in the subject I'd highly recommend it. – PointlessSpike Jan 6 '16 at 14:41

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