Ted Thornton
History of the Middle East Database
Muslims and Europe

Origins of Key Geographical Terms


History by Region or State


History by Time Period


Special Topics









669-718: Muslim jihad on Christian Byzantium.

710: Tariq Ibn Malik conducts raids into Spain.

732: Charles Martel halts northward expansion of Muslims.

756: Revival of Umayyad Caliphate in al-Andalus (Spain).

820: Muslim conquest of Sicily.

844: Muslims raid Rome.

858: Muslims raid Byzantium.

1085: Muslims lose Toledo.

1087: By this date, Arab medicine is being taught in Salerno.

1236: Muslims lose Cordoba.

1238: Construction begins on the Alhambra in Granada.

1389: Battle of Kosovo.

1453: Ottomans conquer Constantinople.

1469: Christian unification of Aragon and Castille.

1480-1481: Ottomans occupy southern Italy.

1486: Latin translation of al-Razi's Arabic Medical Encyclopedia appears in Europe.

1492: Fall of Muslim Granada to the Christians.

1529: First Ottoman siege of Vienna.

1531: Second Ottoman siege of Vienna.

1571: Battle of Lepanto.

1593-1606: Ottoman wars against the Hapsburgs.

1648: Peace of Westphalia.

1683: Third (final) Ottoman siege of Vienna.

1791: Treaty of Sistova.

1800s: European colonialism in the Middle East and Africa.

1821-1829: Greek war of independence from the Ottomans. (See also: Ottomans jettison jihadist ideology.)

1912-1913: The Balkan Wars.

1920s-1940s: French and British Mandate rule in the Middle East - 1920-30 ; 1930-1947.

1956: France and Great Britain join Israel in attacking Egypt.

1972: Palestinian commandos attack Israeli Olympic team in Munich.

1978-1979: Exiled Iranian cleric Ayatollah Khomeini lives in Paris.

1985: Abu Nidal attacks Vienna and Rome.

1989, Feb. 14: Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini issues fatwa on the life of London based writer Salman Rushdie.

1992: War in Bosnia.

1995, July: Massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica.

1995, October: Wave of terror bombings in Paris (term "Londonistan" coined). (see also)

1995: Ibn Warraq publishes Why I am Not a Muslim.

1997: Enes Karic on Bosnia as part of Europe.

1998, February: French Muslim philosopher Roger Garaudy prosecuted for denying the Holocaust.

1998, September: Fighting breaks out in Kosovo.

2002, May 6: Murder of Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands highlights growing clash of cultures there.

2003, January: Germany bans Muslim group Hizb al-Tahrir for violating laws against anti-Semitism. (More on Hizb al-Tahrir)

2003, January 23: Raid on London's Finsbury Park Mosque.

2003, June: Controversy in France over Muslim women and the veil.

2004, March 11: Madrid bombings.

2004, October 12: Germany deports radical Muslim cleric Metin Kaplan back to Turkey and awakens to the multicultural gulf beginning to divide its society.

2004, November 2: Slaying of Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands. (See also Ayaan al-Hirsi below)

2005: Term "Eurabia" popularized. (see also)

2005, July 7: Bombings in London. (see also arrests in Canada)

2005, October: Riots in France.

2006, February-March: Cartoon controversy. (see also)

2006, May: Liberal MP Ayaan al-Hirsi in trouble in the Netherlands.

2006, June: Pew survey shows deepening suspicions between Muslims and the West.

2006, August: Bomb plots in the United Kingdom and Germany broken up.

2006, mid September: Pope's remarks spark uproar among Muslims worldwide. (see also)

2006, late September: Debate over German production of a Mozart opera and French teacher goes into hiding after death threats. Former British Foreign Secretary suggests Islam may not be compatible with modern European values.

2006, November 9: Great Britain's leaders warn of formidable terror threats.

2006, November: Dutch weigh ban on face coverings.

2006, November: Pope Benedict XVI tours Turkey and calls for Muslim countries to grant full rights to non-Muslims to practice their faiths.

2006, December: EUMC report on state of Europe's Muslims.

2007, May: Walter Laqueur's new book attacking liberal European immigration policies.

2007, May: Campaign to ban minarets in Switzerland.

2007: Swiss Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan comes under fire. (see also Ruthven article below).

2007, November: Moderate Muslim leaders in Britain propose steps to fight extremism.

2008, February: Archbishop of Canterbury proposes incorporating some Sharia law into civil law code.

2008, February: New controversy in Netherlands over alleged desecration of Qur'an.

2008, March 23 (Easter Sunday): Pope baptizes Muslim into Roman Catholic Church.

2008, June: Europe's problems assimilating and accepting the Muslims in its midst.

2008, June: France denies citizenship to Muslim woman wearing the veil.

2008, December:  Islamic revivalism on the rise in Bosnia.

2009, January 21:  Dutch MP Geert Wilders charged with defaming Islam.

2009, June: French President Sarkozy calls for ban on wearing of full body veil. 

2009, August: German song lyric controversy.


See BBC "Muslims in Europe" page.

See also Adonis on the veil controversy in France (2003).

See also "Wars of Words and Images."


Other Resources:

Fouad Ajami, "Strangers in the Land," a review of a book by Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West (Doubleday, 2009), New York Times Book Review, August 2, 2009

Timothy Garton Ash, "Islam in Europe," New York Review of Books, vol. LIII, no. 15, Oct. 6, 2006, 32ff.

Malise Ruthven, "The Islamic Optimist" (profile of Tariq Ramadan), New York Review of Books, vol. 54., no. 13, August 16, 2007

Juan Jose Escobar Stemman, "Middle East Salafism's Influence and the Radicalization of Muslim Communities in Europe," MERIA, vol. 10, no.3, Sept. 2006.


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email: tthornton@nmhschool.org

Last Revised: August 5, 2009