A conversation with Husein Kavazović

04 May 2017 - 08:30 - 10:00
Husein Kavazović

The presence of Islam in Europe has prompted an often acrimonious debate on the role, rights and obligations of Muslims in European societies. Far Right populists have seized on the arrival of mostly-Muslim refugees and migrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East and the recent ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks in Europe to further intensify their anti-Islam diatribes. As the debate on Islam’s place in Europe becomes increasingly difficult and security-focused, it is important to remember that Islam has deep historic roots in Europe and that while some of Europe’s estimated 44 million Muslims are marginalised or radicalised, a vast majority are law-abiding and tax-paying citizens who are active in politics, business, education and the arts.

  • Are European governments and the European Union doing enough to stop the spread of anti-Muslim hate and combat the negative narrative on Islam?
  • What role can European Muslims play in addressing the challenges, dangers, and threats posed by irresponsible and extremist individuals and groups who claim to act in the name of Islam and Muslims?
  • Can the experience of Bosnian Muslims, who have practised Islam for more than 500 years in an open and tolerant way within a secular state, be shared and made relevant to other European Muslims?
  • Is enough being done by the leaders of Europe’s Muslim communities to ensure the emergence and development of a truly “European Islam” which responds to the realities of modern-day Europe?
  • Is there a fast track to integrating Muslims in the West or is it the case “Western values” are incompatible with those of Muslims in Europe?

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The Development Policy Forum (DPF) led by Friends of Europe brings together a number of crucial development actors. This includes the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the United Nations and the World Bank.


Our work on international development issues is led by the Development Policy Forum (DPF), which was set up by Friends of Europe in partnership with development actors such as Germany’s Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), France’s Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the United Nations and the World Bank.

08.30 – 09.00

Welcome coffee and registration of participants

09.00 – 10.00

Conversation with Husein Kavazović, Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina


End of debate

Shada Islam
Director Europe & Geopolitics
Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic journals.
Husein Kavazović
Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Elected Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2012, Husein Kavazović heads a religious community of more than 4 million people around the world. He leads the efforts of the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina to help prevent the occurrence and spread of violent extremism, with a particular focus on education, and has argued for the need for the EU and its member states to learn from the experience of European Muslims in order to tackle integration challenges. He previously served as Mufti of Tulza between 1993 and 2012.
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