At the first glance Polish intolerance of Muslims—expressed in a variety of quantitative and qualitative studies—seems to be puzzling for two reasons. Firstly, Poland has a six century long tradition of peaceful coexistence with Tatars, indigenous Polish Muslims, thus Poles should be used to the Muslim Other. Secondly, the number of Muslims in Poland is marginal (approximately 0.1%), which makes them hardly visible in the public sphere. Based on four hypotheses constructed on two factors (the number of Muslims and the wider regional and European context) the article hopes to provide some preliminary explanations.
The article aims to explore and analyze online activity of Polish female converts to Islam, especially, on forums. Since the number of Muslims in Poland is marginal, Internet forums provide the converts with a sense of a virtual Polish umma as well as information about Islam. At the same time, most of these forums are closed or hidden from the outside world and often only accessible through a network of contacts from the real world. In other words, forum members know each other in person. That is why ideological divisions (mostly between Salafīs and more liberal Muslimas) are visible also in the virtual world. This makes many converts unambiguous when it comes to their sense of belonging to the virtual umma: on one side, the virtual umma is their link to other Muslims but, on the other side, they feel misunderstood or even excluded due to the ideological differences within it.
Making European Muslims: Religious Socialization among Young Muslims in Scandinavia and Western Europe. New York/London: Routledge 2015. 296 pp. £110.00 (hardback). isbn 9781138789500.
Local Muslim populations in Europe have attracted a lot of public interest in recent decades. One of the crucial questions behind this interest was whether and how Muslims can be European. Mark Sedgwick’s edited book Making European Muslims provides one of many possible answers to this question. It offers insights into the religious education and socialisation of young Muslims at home and at school. In other words, it seeks to explain how
Islamist Terrorism in Europe: A History. London: Hurst, 2015. 371 pp. £20.00 (hardback). isbn 9781849044059.
The book under review starts with a promise: it offers to explain what seems to be unexplainable, i.e. the patterns of Islamist terrorism in Europe. Europe became a target of Islamist terrorism only recently and for many years did not attract a lot of attention from Islamist leaders. Moreover—unlike the us or Israel—Europe largely kept away from managing the affairs of Islamic countries, and provided shelter for Muslim refugees, including some hard-core Islamists. The explanation for this sudden shift of
Islamic Leadership in the European Lands of the Former Ottoman and Russian Empires. Leiden: Brill, 2017, 346 p. ISBN: 9789004352681
Muslims in Eastern Europe. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018, 200 p. ISBN: 9781474415781
History of studies on Muslims in Eastern Europe can be divided chronologically into three periods. The first and, so far, the longest one concentrated on local Muslim communities and was carried out by local scholars in local languages. It was largely limited to ethnographic studies of material culture or folklore of autochthonous Muslim communities, their history and literature. As the output