16 May 2008

Travels among Europe’s Muslim Neighbours

The Quest for Democracy

Joost Lagendijk / Jan Marinus Wiersma

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In Travels among Europe’s Muslim Neighbours – The Quest for Democracy, two Dutch Members of the European Parliament, Joost Lagendijk and Jan Marinus Wiersma, report on their talks with leading politicians of democratic and moderate Islamist convictions in the Balkans, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. Their accounts have a vivid quality that gives the reader the sense of having been part of their missions. The underlying theme is the search for ways in which Europe’s Muslim neighbourhood might eventually become more democratic, rather than remain – at least in the case of the Arab Mediterranean states – ruled by largely authoritarian regimes. The role of democratic Turkey as an important reference throughout the region is highlighted. The authors also argue the case for EU policy to engage in dialogue with all democratic parties in the region, including in particular the Muslim democrats, which is not the case at the moment. The book complements two other related works recently published by CEPS: European Islam – Challenges for Society and Public Policy and Political Islam and European Foreign Policy.