Ahmed Krausen is a freelance photographer based in Copenhagen, Denmark and specialized in the study and photographic documentation of the Islamic architecture in Europe. The aim of his work is to show the diversity of Islamic expressions and how Islam is interpreted in the physical space by European Muslims. Ahmed´s work has been successfully displayed in many countries since 2005: in Denmark, in Cairo (2008), Kuala Lumpur (2009), exhibition at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization in United Arab Emirates (2010), a travel exhibition through Germany 2013/15, in London 2013 and in Catania in Sicily 2014. Ten of Mr. Krausen’s photos are today an integral component in the Abu Bakr Faith Gallery in the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization in the United Arab Emirates and they make an important educational addition to the displays. Mr. Krausen’s photos have been also published in numerous books and articles.
Currently, Mr. Krausen is working on his photo exhibition and coffee table book project “Mosques in Europe.” The focus is on the theological, social and geographical aspects. The book consists of a series of essays by well-known authors, among others the Universities of Copenhagen, Osnabrück, Warszawa, Oxford and Ahmed´s artwork. The aim is to highlight the diversity of Islam in Europe.
Mosques in Europe – People and Architecture: Photography Exhibition
Mosques have been very visible in the European landscape for centuries, going back to the times of the Moors in Spain, the Ottomans in the Balkans, the Tatars in the Baltic States, and more recently due to the arrival of migrants and refugees from Muslim countries. European engineers and architects have declared mosques some of the most beautiful architectural wonders in the world. Today, the European cultural heritage can have an added aesthetic value if the construction of mosques is integrated into the local architectural styles.
Specific criteria for the construction of mosques and minarets in Europe could be defined which will help to integrate these in the existing architectural space. Such discussions are certainly needed but the end result should be to support the idea of adding the mosques in the public space, rather than banning them. While minarets are not fundamentally important to the construction of a mosque, they are symbolic of the identity of many migrant and refugee Muslim communities in Europe, and they help to prevent a sense of cultural alienation.
There are approximately 45 million Muslims from different countries in Asia and Africa living in Europe, and therefore the diversity of Islam in Europe with regard to ethnicity, race, cultural background, and practice is extraordinary. Furthermore, this population also includes native Europeans who have converted to Islam. With Europe as a new abode for a growing Muslim population, European Muslims are wont to interpret Islam in different ways and adapt to the non-Muslim environment with a lot of creativity. In this process of negotiating what it is to be Muslim in a European context, critical dialogue between both Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Europe is paramount. This project seeks to contribute to that dialogue.
Selected Links and Publications
- Project Description: “Islam in Europe” [.pdf]
- Article: “Mosques in Europe – European Mosques?,” Islamic Arts Magazine, Sarajevo (July 2014)
- Interview: “Photographer Captures Essence of Islam in Europe,” Aquila, Singapore (March 2015)
- Video: “The Orient In Their Arts” / الشرق في فنونهم, Al Jazeera [in Arabic]
- Facebook: “Islam in Europa“