Under the organisation of the Shoura – the General Assembly of the Muslim Community of Luxembourg, a round table discussion on the subject of “Perspectives of Islam in Luxembourg and the United States – Development and Challenges of the Establishment of Islam in the Western World” took place at the Islamic Centre “Gazi Isa-beg” in Esch-sur-Alzette.
Those present were first addressed by Dr. Matthew Gordon, a long-time professor at the American University of Miami, who has been working in Differdange for over half a century.
Through his teaching subject “Islam in Modern Europe”, Professor Gordon shared his interesting experiences gained from working with students at the University of Miami. As part of the teaching, Professor Gordon and his students had the opportunity to visit some of the Luxembourg mosques on several occasions and, through direct contact with the Muslim communities, to discuss important topics in the context of their scientific interest in Islam and Muslims.
Sabahudin Selimović, one of the founding members of the Shoura, who served for two terms as its president talked about the commitments of early Shoura members to the institutionalisation of Islam in the Grand Duchy, a process in which, over a period of four decades, a modest Muslim collective has grown from a single mosque to a community that today has some fifteen mosques as well as other important institutions, while adding the recognition of Islam by state authorities, i.e. its conventionalisation by the Luxembourg state in 2015.
Then Ender Ulcun, a lawyer by profession, addressed the audience as a long-standing member of the Shoura. In his brief presentation, Ulcun focused on presenting the efforts of Shoura’s legal fight in 2016 against the decree of the Ministry of Development and Infrastructure, which prevented Luxembourg citizens from having their driving licenses issued with a photo in hijab (“head covering”), i.e. with a veil on the head. In the same year, in April 2016, the Administrative Court of Luxembourg received Shoura’s appeal and ruled in its interest, thanks to which, to date, Muslim women in Luxembourg are issued with driving licences without hindrance while respecting their religious choice. In addition to the above, Ulcun also mentioned the struggle of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Luxembourg (CCIL) in Mamer when applying for a building renovation permit in the context of renovating the premises of the existing mosque, where construction work is currently underway, after great legal and administrative efforts with the municipal authorities.
Muhamed Ćeman, social activist and long-time member of the Shoura, spoke about the activities of the Observatory of Islamophobia in Luxembourg and the work of the Institute for Research, Education and Intercultural Dialogue – IREDI, as well as his experience in representing the interests of the Muslim community.
Michael Bruppacher conceptualised his presentation through the presentation of the “Waqf” Foundation, a very important institution for Muslims in Luxembourg.Anass Doukkali, Imam of the Islamic Centre “Afnane” in Differdange, gave a very interesting speech on religious topics. The moderator of this important gathering, which took place in French and English, was Jean-Luc Anwar Karleskind, former vice-president of the Shoura.