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Religions 2013, 4(4), 644-656;

Sport, Islam, and Muslims in Europe: in between or on the Margin?

School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 30 November 2013 / Accepted: 4 December 2013 / Published: 10 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity)
Full-Text   |   PDF [219 KB, uploaded 10 December 2013]


The aim of this paper is to reveal how misconceptions—or using the concept of Arkoun, “the crisis of meanings”—about the role and position of Islam in Europe is impacting on the discourse on sport, Islam, and immigration. France is selected as a case study for this paper as it is in this country where the debate on religion in general and Islam in particular seem to be more contentious in relation to the questions of integration of Muslim communities to secular (French republican) values. Recent sources of tensions include the ban of the Burqa in the public space; the debate on national identity instigated by the former French president Nicholas Sarkozy, which became centred around the question of Islam and Muslims in France; the provocative cartoons about Prophet Mohamed in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo; opposition against the provision of halal meal in France’s fast-food chain Quick; and resistance toward Qatar’s plan to invest in deprived suburbs of France, to name just a few. The other context which this paper examines in relation to the question of sport, Islam, and identity-making of Muslims in Europe is the phenomenon of “reverse migration” or the re-connection of athletes of Muslim background in Europe, or so-called Muslim neo-Europeans, with their (parents’) country of origin. The paper argues that sport is another highly politicised space to judge the level of “integration” of Muslim athletes in European societies, and the degree of “religiosity” in their (parents’) country of origin. View Full-Text
Keywords: sport; Islam; identity; Muslims; France; suburbs; reverse migration sport; Islam; identity; Muslims; France; suburbs; reverse migration
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Amara, M. Sport, Islam, and Muslims in Europe: in between or on the Margin? Religions 2013, 4, 644-656.

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