Review (of Book, Film, Etc.)
The mood of European scholarship with respect to the recognition and integration of Islam is typically pessimistic. The rise of anti-immigrant and anti-Islam political parties – Golden Dawn in Greece, the Northern League in Italy, Marine Le Penn and the National Front in France, and the English defense league in Britain – have exposed a hitherto hidden or ignored under-current of resentment against foreigners. In the context of these developments, Maud Mandel’s study of Muslims and Jews in France is a welcome corrective to the dominant focus on anti-Islam in the academic literature and in the popular media. The historical picture is far more complex and contradictory, because, despite religious conflicts around the world, Jews and Muslims often have shared interests as a consequence of having a common experience as outsiders and minorities. Her study is also somewhat unusual in that the dominant comparison in the academic literature is between Christians as the majority and Muslims as a minority.