Counting Deviance: Revisiting a Decade’s Production of Surveys among Muslims in Western Europe

In: Journal of Muslims in Europe
Birgitte Johansen University of Copenhagen Denmark

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Riem Spielhaus University of Copenhagen Denmark

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This article looks at the emergence of Muslims as a category of knowledge in surveys and opinion polls that have been conducted as a reaction to the rising demand for data about Muslim populations in Western Europe within the last ten years. The most prevalent feature of the conceptualization of Muslims is that they are inherently immigrants, or of immigrant descent, who are living within a certain nation state. This creates a continuous statistical invisibility of certain Muslims, for instance those without immigration backgrounds, as well as Muslims with national backgrounds other than Muslim majority countries. Further, this identification of the Muslim as immigrant, even if unintended, contributes to upholding a subtle exclusion of Muslims from the national community as always foreign and always potentially in need of integration.

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