In this article I want to address a number of issues thrust into the open by different manifestations of Islamist politics and the intersection of religion and identity politics in Western societies. This intersection should be read in conjunction with the emergence in Muslim-majority societies of forms of political activism that ground themselves in Islamic doctrines and invoke religious traditions as frames of reference. It is necessary in reading the contentions surrounding Muslim identity politics in Western settings that we take into account factors shaping the dynamics of interaction between Western countries and Muslim societies, not least among which are the long-standing historical relations associated with the colonial experience and its aftermath.An earlier version of this paper was presented at the conference, Diversity and National Identity in the European Union: Multicultural Challenges, at the Instituto Portuges de Relaçoes Internacionais, University Nova de Lisboa. Lisbon, March 22–23, 2007, Lisbon. This revised version benefited from presentations by Nacira Guénif-Souilamas and Schirin Amir-Moazami at the workshop, Conceptions of Islam, University of Bergen, August 27–31 2007, Bergen.