Europe and Islam. The perception of Islam in Europe throughout history was extremely complex and contradictory; it moves between fear and fascination. The contemplation on Islam in important political and cultural debates has contributed to the emergence of European self-understanding through critical demarcation and positive adaptation. As intense and fruitful as the encounters between Europe and Islam may have been, they led a kind of long-distance relationship until about half a century ago. Meanwhile the relationship between Europe and Islam has acquired a new quality: it has become a «close» relationship in which spaces and times, hopes and fears are shared, since at least fifteen millions of Muslims are European citizens. Both Muslims and Europeans have the responsibility to work more intensively and constructively together towards a common future. It is about nothing less than defending, deepening and expanding our humanity.