The Atlantic

Competing Visions of Islam Will Shape Europe in the 21st Century

Akbar Ahmed’s new book deals with how migration is reshaping the continent, and whether leaders can cope.
Source: Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

Akbar Ahmed was born a subject of the British Raj. He devoted his career to building a modern Pakistani state, accepting some of his government’s most dangerous jobs, including political commissioner in the tribal agency of Waziristan. He rose to represent Pakistan as its high commissioner in the United Kingdom. Since retiring from government, he has taught at American University in Washington, D.C., where he has written books and produced documentaries about Islam’s place in the modern world. His newest book, Journey into Europe, is the culmination of years of study of the Muslim migration northward, which has accelerated dramatically since the Syrian Civil War. Ahmed and I have debated the impact of this migration for years. We continued the conversation recently over a long written exchange.


David Frum: You are promoting a new book, about Islam in Europe. As so often in your intellectual career, you perceive potential harmony where others see mostly conflict. Terrorism in the name of Islam has claimed many lives in Europe over the past two decades—and the reaction to mass migration from the Islamic world is shaking the politics of the continent.

Meanwhile much of the Muslim world seems to be turning away from the liberal values that have defined Europe since 1945. You see this especially in Turkey, once a candidate for

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Seven Questions That Need Answers Before Any Attack on Iran
President Trump’s threats of retaliation for strikes on Saudi oil facilities seem premature.
The Atlantic11 min readPolitics
Can This Small Party Stop Brexit?
BOURNEMOUTH, England—Standing onstage in front of her party faithful, Jo Swinson had a surprise. At the opening rally of the Liberal Democrats’ conference here at the British seaside, the crowd knew what to expect—all week, rumors had been buzzing th
The Atlantic6 min readScience
When One Big Cat Is Almost Like the Other
India’s Supreme Court has to decide if African cheetahs could sub in for the country’s long-lost population of Asiatic cheetahs.