The Governance of Transnational Islam: The Case of Finland, Ireland and Canada


This project investigates Muslim immigration into western societies, the challenges Islam poses for these societies, and the policies that have been used to meet these challenges. In particular, the project studies how transnational Islam shapes the development of minority communities and modes of minority governance in Finland, Ireland, and Canada.

Finland and the Republic of Ireland are both EU Member States and post-1980 immigration societies. Canada will serve as a point of comparison as a major, non-European immigration country with a federal multicultural policy in place since 1971.

A fast-growing body of research looks separately into the process of controlling or accommodating Islam in western democracies. It is our contention that in order to understand how western political bodies, both international (such as the EU) and national (such as states and societies), aim to deal with the challenge of transna­tional Islam, it is necessary to look into these processes in parallel. We also claim that the policies created as a result of these two rather contradictory aims have a clear im­pact on the integration of Muslim immigrants and their communities in their receiving countries.

In order to conceptualise what this two-fold process of both controlling and accommodating Islam in western democracies entails, we will utilise recent theories of governance. In so doing this project will produce novel theoretical insights into studies on transnational Islam and the questions concerning Muslim immigration to western societies. In relation to this theoretical background, this project will produce new empirical data on the governance of Islam in international and national contexts.

Since women are often the target not only of state governance but also the governance of Muslim communities headed by men, we will also pay attention to gender in relation to the governance of Islam.

The research team of this project consists of three scholars, Dr Tuomas Martikainen, Professor Tuula Sakaranaho and Dr Marja Tiilikainen, who are internationally known experts in their own fields of study. Working together in this project will make it possible for them to co-ordinate their expertise so as to put the issue of Islam in Finland into a new theoretical and internationally comparative perspective.

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More information: Prof. Tuula Sakaranaho
Tel. +358 (0)2941 24334
tuula.sakaranaho(at)helsinki.fi