A Brief History of Islam in Europe presents an overall presentation and discussion of developments ever since Islam appeared on the European stage thirteen centuries ago. The events and stories presented increase the understanding of present debates on, and notions of, Islam and Muslims in Europe. The leading questions in discussing the role of the Islam in Europe are: how and in what ways did Europeans and Muslims interact, and what is the role of religion therein? And for those Europeans who had never met a Muslim: what was their image of Islam, and how did they study the Muslim?
This book shows that in the course of thirteen centuries the Muslim as well as Islam have undergone many metamorphoses. The Muslim has entered the European stage as a conqueror, antichrist, scholar, benign ruler, corsair, tradesman and fellow citizen. The image of Islam has meandered accordingly, as a religion that was feared as an enemy or embraced as a partner against heretical Christians, despised as an abomination or admired as a civilization, and studied for missionary, academic, colonial or security purpose.