The Founding of the Islamic Council of Finland

in Muslims at the Margins of Europe
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Abstract

The role of national, representative Muslim councils in Western Europe has become a matter of scholarly interest. The creation of national Islamic councils is part of the legal, political and structural incorporation of immigrant religious traditions into Europe. The aim of this chapter is to describe the organization process of the Islamic Council of Finland (in Finnish, Suomen Islamilainen Neuvosto, abbreviation sine) that took place from 2004 to 2007. It discusses the roles of church–state relations and an emerging neoliberal governance of religion in the organization process. The chapter starts with a brief presentation of Muslims and state regulation of religion in Finland. Then it looks at the founding process of sine. Next, it analyses this process by looking at the creation of political opportunity structures, Muslims’ resource mobilization and the securitization of Islam as explanations. Finally, it concludes that the founding of sine sits well among broader trends in public administration that are related to changes in the Finnish welfare state and cannot be understood solely in the framework of historical state–church relations.

Muslims at the Margins of Europe

Finland, Greece, Ireland and Portugal

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