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Muslims in Ireland

Past and Present

Oliver Scharbrodt, Tuula Sakaranaho, Adil Hussain Khan, Yafa Shanneik, Vivian Ibrahim

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The first complete study of a little known Muslim presence in Europe

Since 9/11, the interest in Muslims in Europe has increased significantly. There has been much public debate and academic research focused on Muslims living in larger Western European countries like Britain, France or Germany, but little is known of Muslims in Ireland. This book fills this gap, providing a complete study of this unexplored Muslim presence, from the arrival of the first Muslim resident in Cork, in the southwest of Ireland, in 1784 until mass immigration to the Republic of Ireland during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period from the mid-1990s onwards. Muslim immigration and settlement in Ireland is very recent, and poses new challenges to a society that has perceived itself as religiously and culturally homogeneous. Ireland is also one of the least secular societies in Europe, providing a different context for Muslims seeking recognition by state and society. This book is essential for anyone who wants to understand the diversity of Muslim presences across Europe.

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About the Author

Oliver Scharbrodt is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Chester. He is the author of Islam and the Baha’i Faith: A Comparative Study of Muhammad ‘Abduh and ‘Abdul-Baha ‘Abbas (London and New York: Routledge, 2008) and editor of the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe (Leiden: Brill).

Tuula Sakaranaho is Professor of Study of Religions at the University of Helsinki. She has published extensively on methodological issues in the Study of Religions and on Muslims in contemporary society and is the author of Religious Freedom, Multiculturalism, Islam: Cross-reading Finland and Ireland (Leiden: Brill, 2006).

Adil Hussain Khan is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at Loyola University, New Orleans. His study of the history the Ahmadi Muslim community is forthcoming as From Sufism to Ahmadiyya: A Mulim Minority Movement in South Asia (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2015).

Yafa Shanneik is Research Fellow at the Study of Religions Department, University College Cork. She has published on Muslim women in Ireland, converts and migrants, in Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Religion and Gender, Religion, Journal of Muslims in Europe and in Religion, Gender and the Public Sphere (ed. by Niamh Reilly et al., London and New York: Routledge, 2013).

Vivian Ibrahim is Croft Assistant Professor of History at the University of Mississippi. She is the author of The Copts of Egypt: The Challenges of Modernisation and Identity, 2nd ed. (London: IB Tauris, 2013) and co-editor of Political Leadership, Nations and Charisma (with Margit Wunsch, London and New York: Routlegde, 2012).


'A very helpful book to start to flesh out the reality of the Muslim communities in Ireland... For those of us who are part of a religious minority, looking at how Ireland engages with a new religious minority helps us to understand better our own context.'

- Stephen Skuce, Irish Methodist Newsletter

- Stephen Skuce, Director of Scholarship, Research and Innovation, The British Methodist Church, Irish Methodist Newsletter

Set on the margins of Europe, Ireland is different - and this extends to its Muslim communities. In this first full-scale account the authors present a middle-class, professional community, of immigrant origin certainly but more reminiscent of the situation in the US than in Europe. This is a valuable new perspective on the subject of Islam in Europe.

- Jørgen S. Nielsen, University of Copenhagen

‘A comprehensive analysis of the Muslim experience in Ireland by combining historical, sociological, political, and ethnographic research approaches to better understand this complex topic.’

- J. Christopher Soper, Pepperdine University, Journal of Muslims in Europe