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The Governance of Islam in Finland and Ireland

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The questions of how western European states have related, and should relate, to their Muslim populations have in recent decades generated a rapidly growing body of research, aimed at answering the above questions from different theoretical perspectives. It has been argued that the main problem with the existing theories is their failure to take into account historically evolved church–state relations that have a bearing on the way that Muslim religious practices are accommodated in a given country. In order to test this argument, we will examine the representational structures of Muslims in Finland and the Republic of Ireland as well as questions pertaining to Islam and education. Even if under different legal arrangements of church–state relations, both Finland and Ireland have opted for a policy where they aim at securing the status quo of a dominant national church while also extending some of the legal privileges enjoyed by the mainstream church to religious minorities. What we will demonstrate in our article is that while this kind of “policy of extended privileges” can work for, it can also function against securing the rights of religious minorities such as Muslims.

Affiliations: 1: University of Helsinki, Finland,; 2: University of Helsinki, Finland,


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