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Eurslam

Eurslam - Europe, European Integration and Muslim presence

la grande moschea di Parigi

The Jean Monnet Module EURSLAM aims to provide tools for MA students to better understand the complex relationships between Europe (understood both as a cultural entity and as an economic and political subject resulting from the integration process) and the Muslim presence within and outside it, starting from five pillars: 

1. the EEC/EU policy towards the Southern and South-Eastern shores of the Mediterranean; 

2. the projection towards the Western Balkans and the question of enlargement, starting with the Turkish question; 

3. the EEC/EU migration policies, in relation to arrivals from countries with a Muslim majority; 

4. the question of freedom of religion, beliefs and worship in Europe, regarding the growing and plural Muslim presence; 

5. the debate on the cultural and spiritual roots of Europe, the role of religious minorities and the possibility to defining a European Islam. 

With respect to these five pillars, EURASLAM will develop three actions. One, the main one, didactic, by activating teaching modules of 40 hours a year – centred on lectures and seminar activities – conceived for MA students in Historical Sciences and other fields, entrusted to a team of professors, internal and external to the University of Milan, who will deal with the topics from a historical, juridical, geopolitical and sociological point of view. A second activity, of theoretical elaboration preparatory to research, will be carried out by the same team of professors and researcher, with the contribution of some university and non-university research centres, in three study and planning workshops that will be held annually and will lead to 3 publications. A third action will be the dissemination of the project results, which will be carried out in synergy with the City of Milan and other institutions (e.g. Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso - Transeuropa and Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli) in order to share the results with the general public, policy-makers and a group of secondary school students.

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Il progetto

The JMM EURSLAM aims to provide tools for MA students, citizens and decision-makers to better understand the complex relationships between Europe (understood both as a cultural entity and, above all, as an economic and political subject resulting from the integration process) and the Muslim presence within and outside it, starting from five pillars

  1. the EEC/EU policy towards the Southern and South- Eastern shores of the Mediterranean; 
  2. the projection towards the Western Balkans and the question of enlargement towards the South-East, starting with the Turkish issue; 
  3. the EEC/EU migration policies, in relation to arrivals from countries with a Muslim majority; 
  4. the question of freedom of religion, beliefs and worship in Europe, with respect to the growing and plural Muslim presence; 
  5. the debate on the historical-religious roots of Europe, the role of religious minorities and the possibility to defining a European Islam. 

With respect to these five petals EURASLAM will develop three actions

  • One, the main one, didactic, by activating teaching modules of 40 hours a year – centred on lectures and seminar activities – conceived for MA students in Historical Sciences and other fields, entrusted to a team of professors, internal and external to the University of Milan, who will deal with the topics from a historical, juridical, geopolitical and sociological point of view. 
  • A second activity of theoretical elaboration preparatory to research, will be carried out by the same team of professors and researchers, with the contribution of some university and non-university research centres, in three study and planning workshops that will be held annually and will lead to three publications. 
  • A third action will be the dissemination of the project results, which will be carried out in synergy with the City of Milan and other institutions (e.g. Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso – Transeuropa and Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli), in order to share the results with the general public, policy-makers and a group of secondary school students from (at least) three of the city's secondary schools.

Paolo Zanini
Coordinator and Project Manager
Università degli Studi di Milano

Members of the teaching and research Team

Daniela Saresella
Università degli Studi di Milano

Giulia Lami
Università degli Studi di Milano

Marco Soresina
Università degli Studi di Milano

Cristiana Cianitto
Università degli Studi di Milano

Elisa Giunchi
Università degli Studi di Milano

Filippo Scuto
Università degli Studi di Milano

Basem Kharma
Università degli Studi di Milano

Dominique Avon
École Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE)

Riadh Ben Khalifa
University of Tunis

Mohamed Haddad
University of Carthage (Tunis)

Alessandro Ferrari
Università degli Studi dell’Insubria

Giancarlo Anello
Università degli Studi di Parma

Marco Abram
Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso – Transeuropa

Giuliana Laschi
Università degli Studi di Bologna

Filippo Maria Giordano
Link Campus University

Giorgio Del Zanna
Università Cattolica del Sacro cuore

Paolo Naso
Università di Roma La Sapienza

Michele Colucci
CNR Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – ISMED Istituto di studi sul Mediterraneo

Luigi Vergallo
Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli

The question of relations between Europe and the Muslim presence within and outside it touches on a very wide range of issues: historical, legal, geopolitical, sociological and religious. This dimension is present in the events of European integration from the earliest years. The early EEC, through France, also included Algeria, while even after decolonisation the Community developed preferential relations with many African states, some of which were predominantly inhabited by Muslims. Since 1963, Turkey has also enjoyed the status of a country associated with the European Economic Community and then with the European Union. In the following decades, relations with the countries of the Muslim world have been an important aspect of the external policies of the Community, first, and the European Union, later, through a series of association agreements covering the Mediterranean, the Balkan and even the Caucasus area. Relations of association and, in perspective, of accession to the EU (think of Turkey's candidature and those, in the making, of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo), do not represent the EU's only relationship with the Muslim societies. Since the 1960s, increasingly, EEC member states have been reached by significant immigration from countries with a strong Muslim majority: in France mainly from North Africa, in Federal Germany mainly from Turkey, according to a dynamic that in the following decades spread to most countries of the European Community. As a result of these waves of immigration, the Muslim presence now represents one of the most significant and numerous religious components within the EU, according to a trend that appears destined to increase in the coming years.

In the light of this overall context, the project intends to focus on relations between Europe and the Muslim world in a historical dimension, capable, however, of adopting a multidisciplinary approach. To this end, it intends to address five main strands that, considered as a whole, appear capable of sketching the whole of relations between Europe and the Muslim world:

  1. The Mediterranean policy of the EEC and then the EU, starting with relations with the riparian countries on the South and East coasts. This has been an issue since the origins of the Community, due to the French colonial presence in North Africa, and in Algeria in particular. It regained, however, a new centrality starting with the 1978 Cooperation Agreements, established with Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, replaced, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, by the Euro-Mediterranean Treaty, soon extended also to other East Coast countries with a majority or strong Muslim presence, such as Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon.
  2. The EU's relations with the Western Balkans, and the enlargement policy in that area, which also concerns countries with a strong Muslim presence. Also from this perspective, the starting point goes back to the initial phase of the EEC's history and, in particular, to the association agreement with Turkey in 1963. It was, however, from the collapse of the Communist bloc in Eastern Europe and the dissolution of the Yugoslav Federation that the question of relations between the EU and the Balkan states returned to the centre of debate. Among the Western Balkan countries covered by agreements with the EU, but not yet part of the Union, unlike most of the other Eastern European countries - Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia Herzegovina, Albania, Northern Macedonia - three are in fact Muslim-majority countries (Bosnia Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo), while significant Muslim presences are also present in Northern Macedonia, Southern Serbia and Montenegro.
  3. Migration dynamics and policies adopted by the EEC/EU towards the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean riparian countries. A topic that has become dramatically relevant in recent decades, but which, once again, has been present since the early days of the EEC. It began, in fact, already with the end of European colonisation in North Africa, and the consequent 'repatriations' of populations of European origin or, in any case, linked to the colonial administrations. It then became structural between the 1960s, especially in France and in the Federal Republic of Germany, and the 1970s, when EEC institutions began to play a relevant role in the definition of immigration policies. Finally, this phenomenon, long structural and fairly stable, experienced a dramatic acceleration following the destabilisation of the Mediterranean basin resulting from the Arab Springs of 2010-2011 and their failure.
  4. The issue of freedom of religion, belief and worship. The growing Muslim presence in EU countries forcefully re-proposes the question of freedom of worship for religious minorities, from a formal as well as a substantive point of view. This is, once again, an ancient issue: the great mosque in Paris was inaugurated in 1926, while it was during the second half of the 19th century that European countries adopted secular systems and accepted religious pluralism. This issue has, however, undergone a major acceleration in recent decades, precisely in the face of the emergence of an increasingly large, and heterogeneous, Muslim presence in Europe. Given its technical relevance, and its important aspects also with respect to public policies and political decision-making processes, this issue will be tackled primarily from a legal and legal-historical perspective.
  5. The debate about the cultural and spiritual roots of Europe, the relationship between religious matrices and secular order and the role of religious minorities in the construction of the European unification process. This is an old debate, which was particularly evident as early as the 1940s and 1950s, at the beginnings of the European integration process, then mainly in relation to the different Christian components present in the six founding countries. This debate, which was then long dormant, has been reactivated in particular at the beginning of the 21st century, in connection with the process of drafting a possible constitution and the post-11 September 2001 debate about the controversial 'Jewish-Christian roots' of Europe and the ensuing discussion about the possible identification of a European Islam, and its inclusion within the EU paradigm.

Analysing the five points listed, with specialists identified with respect to each area, will make it possible to fully meets the general objectives of the call.

  1. EURSLAM promotes excellence in teaching and research in the field of EEC and EU studies, bringing together knowledge and disciplines that are related but independent (historical, legal, geopolitical and sociological), creating a formal and informal network between scholars of European integration, scholars of migratory movements, scholars of the Muslim presence in Italy and Europe, lawyers, contemporary historians and historians of Eastern Europe. This network will be led by the Department of Historical Studies of the University of Milan, through the EURSLAM coordinator, and will also involve the Centre for the Study of Foreign Policy and Public Opinion of the University of Milan. Synergies will be developed with other research centres, both university (REDESM - Research Centre Religions, Rights and Economies in the Mediterranean Area, University of Insubria; Jean Monnet Chair CIAK-EU, Link Campus University; Jean Monnet Chair in the History of European Integration Disinformation, Euroscepticism and European Union Policies, University of Bologna; Jean Monnet Module Europe in the Global Age: Identity, Ecological and Digital Challenges, University of Eastern Piedmont) and extra- university: Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation; CNR - Institute for Mediterranean Studies; Balkans and Caucasus Observatory - Transeuropa, ICEI (Institute for International Economic Cooperation). The informal network that will develop from these relationships will allow for continuous interaction, both internally and through discussion with the students involved in the activities. In particular, through a series of annual planning, elaboration and research workshop, it will help to fine-tune and better define the EURSLAM project in all five areas.
  2. EURSLAM will provide the students involved in the module with a detailed knowledge of these particular aspects of the political, social and religious history of the EEC/EU, as well as of the external projection of the European integration project. It will bring together a core group of students interested in European Union Studies, involving them in the Module, and a group of students less familiar with European issues, who will be introduced to them through the EURSLAM project;
  3. EURSLAM will function as a vector for public diplomacy towards third countries, showing in a historical perspective the role of the European institutions as central actors in the promotion of cultural diversity, religious pluralism and values of tolerance. From this point of view, the promotion and dissemination of knowledge about the relationship between the EEC and the EU, on the one hand, and the Muslim world, on the other, in the various dimensions mentioned, is central. This objective is of great interest from a historical, legal and geopolitical point of view. The relationship with the states on the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean is, in fact, one of the great challenges for the Union of the future, on a par with enlargement towards the South-East and the full integration and enhancement of the growing Muslim component within European society, from a legal, social and political point of view;
  4. EURSLAM involves active outreach and education work to spread knowledge about EU issues to the wider society (beyond academia and specialised audiences) and to bring the EU closer to the public. It will involve public institutions – starting from the City of Milan (in particular, the Milano è Memoria project and EU Direct Funds Department) –, centres of research and historical dissemination (e.g. Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation, Balkan and Caucasus Observatory - Transeuropa, and ICEI) to share and disseminate the project results through a series of public initiatives, which also involve the students in an active role, aimed at citizenship, and designed to arouse debate in society and confrontation with local, national and European policy-makers, as well as through the creation of multimedia contents. Thanks to the support of the Municipality of Milan, a number of city secondary schools will be identified to be involved in the project in order to disseminate the results.

Conclusion: as is evident from what has been said, the activation of the EURSLAM JMM appears capable of responding fully to the demands of the call.

Indeed, EURSLAM will contribute to strengthening the dialogue between EU institutions and the states and societies of the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, as part of a general rethinking of the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue. Likewise, it will help make the role of Muslim components within the EU more visible and better understood, enhancing the contributions of religious pluralism to EU building.

As is evident from points 3 and 4 above, EURSLAM will develop important synergies with society, with research centres outside the academy, and with secondary schools. Collaboration with the Municipality of Milan, will make it possible to involve policymakers, in particular at the local and regional level, in EURSLAM activities, raising their awareness of the project's themes, which appear to be of great interest for the future of the EU. Dissemination activities will inform a wide non-academic audience about multiple aspects of EU policy, regarding external projection in the Mediterranean, enlargement towards the Southeast, migration policies, the protection of religious freedom, and the debate about the cultural and spiritual roots of the continent. Due to its specific focus, EURSLAM will generate historical knowledge and insights that can support EU policy-making and strengthen the role of the EU in a globalised world, in particular in the Mediterranean. Analysing the role of Muslim components in European societies from a historical perspective can contribute to active European citizenship and the protection of European values of pluralism, multiculturalism and diversity, promote awareness of the Union and encourage the pluralist development of society.

The JMM EURSLAM is an autonomous multidisciplinary unit that can support itself in terms of skills, research, teaching, production of contributions and in the organisation of activities and events due to the excellent quality of its Team. However, to deepen certain issues, to enhance the range of its action and to broaden the effects of the dissemination of products and the results of the activities promoted, it will be supported by a number of partners: research centres, within and outside academia, Jean Monnet actions, and public institutions.

The university and non-university research centres that will be involved in EURSLAM, and whose availability has already been verified, offer the best guarantees for bringing the project to fruition. These are:

The Centre for the Study of Foreign Policy and Public Opinion. It was founded in 1980 at the University of Milan. Its director, professor Giulia Lami, is a member of EURSLAM Team. In the same way, another member of the EURSLAM team, professor Daniela Saresella, is also a member of the Centre for the Study of Foreign Policy and Public Opinion advisory board.

The Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation. It will be present in EURSLAM through its Research Area Storia e Memoria. The coordinator of this Research Area, doctor Luigi Vergallo, is a member of the EURSLAM team. The Feltrinelli Foundation will be a strategic partner for EURSLAM, especially for dissemination activities and the elaboration of multimedia content. It is one of the main historical research centres in Italy and it is leader in public history and public engagement.

The Balkans and Caucasus Observatory – Transeuropa. It was established in 2000 and is now the main non-academic Italian centre for the South-Eastern Europe, active both in historical research and public history, and in political and peace-keeping initiative. It will be involved in research and dissemination activities as well as in teaching through its director, doctor Luisa Chiodi, and one of its researcher, doctor Marco Abram, who is a member of the EURSLAM team.

ISMED-CNR Institute for Mediterranean Studies. It is the most important Italian research centre for the Mediterranean see. It will be involved in EURSLAM through its Migration Research Line. The director of this Research Line, professor Michele Colucci, is member of the EURSLAM team and other researchers will be involved in EURSLAM teaching and dissemination activities.

ICEI-Institute for International Economic Cooperation. It is a centre that works with local communities to improve social and economic conditions and to promote inclusive, equitable and sustainable societies in a participatory manner. Its role within EURSLAM will be relevant for dissemination and research, particularly with regard to the existence of stereotypes about communities of Muslim origin in Europe.

REDESM-Research Centre Religions, Rights and Economies in the Mediterranean Space, University of Insubria. It is a research centre whose mission is to strengthen dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean, with particular attention to the promotion of religious pluralism. It will be involved in research, dissemination, and teaching. It will collaborate with EURSLAM through its director, professor Alessandro Ferrari, who is a member of the EURSLAM team.

Synergies with other Jean Monnet Chairs, Modules and Centres of Excellence will allow EURSLAM to develop in contact with Jean Monnet projects already underway, connecting EURSLAM to many experts in European studies and historical knowledge related to the European integration process. Jean Monnet Chair in History of European Integration Disinformation, Euroscepticism and European Union Policies, University of Bologna, held by professor Giuliana Laschi. Professor Laschi is a member of the EURSLAM team. Her participation in EURSLAM activities will focus in particular on the Mediterranean policy of the EEC/EU institutions.

Jean Monnet Chair CIAK-EU! EU-rope through films: History, Identity, and Policies, Link Campus University, held by professor Filippo Maria Giordano. Professor Giordano is a member of the EUSLAM team. His involvement in EURSLAM activities will focus on the representation of Muslim presences and communities in Europe and that of Arab countries in European culture.

Jean Monnet Module Europe in the Global Age: Identity, Ecological and Digital Challenges, University of Eastern Piedmont, held by professor Stefano Quirico. This JMM is a very important partner of EURSLAM, especially with regard to the issue of the Idea of Europe. Professor Quirico is not officially a member of the EURSLAM team, but he and his research group will be involved in the elaboration and teaching activities of the project.

Synergies with the City of Milan will be particularly useful to share and disseminate the project results through a series of public initiatives. These will include the final conference and dissemination activities promoted in at least three secondary schools. The relationship with the Municipality will be developed in particular with the Milano è Memoria project, directed by Luca Gibillini and with the EU Direct Funds Department, directed by Marco Mazziotti

Eventi Eurslam