Finnish Muslims’ Journey from an Invisible Minority to Public Partnerships
The article discusses the historical growth and development of the Muslim population and its contemporary situation in Finland. Finland was annexed as a grand duchy by the Russian Empire in 1809, which led to the presence of Muslim military personnel on Finnish territory and later enabled the settlement of Tatar Muslims from central parts of Russia. These Tatars were for a long time the only organized Muslim community in Finland. They maintained their cultural and linguistic traditions, while being very much at home in their Finnish civic identity. During the 1980s and especially since the 1990s Finland has received many Muslim immigrants, including international students, spouses, refugees, and asylum seekers. The article addresses several complexities in Muslim organizations’ ethnic, national, and sectarian varieties, and takes on board the change in official policies towards Muslims over the years. It also examines the media debates and public attitudes to Islam. The historical Tatar minority’s role has in many respects been important for more recent Muslim immigrants, and though little remarked in public debate, remains very important in seeking a relationship between Islam and north-western Europe.
Copyright (c) 2020 Tuomas Martikainen
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