Interreligious Dialogue and Muslim Migration to Europe
Islam and Muslims have been present in Europe for a very long time, and many Muslims today are of European origin, some of them European converts (or reverts as they are called in Islam) but many are second or third generation immigrants. Despite this, it is true to say that, until very recently, Islam and Muslims seemed to have very little impact on European society and pubic life; this is even truer in Ireland than in many parts of mainland Europe. Until maybe just ten years ago, in Falcarragh, my home village in Ireland, I doubt anyone was even aware of the presence of Islam in the country! However, today it is clear that Islam is part of Europe’s demographic and cultural landscape and Muslims are not just here as guests but they are Europeans of Muslim faith who will remain a permanent part of Europe’s social and political fabric.
Unfortunately, questions on the relationship of Islam and Muslims to and in Europe tend to focus on mutual fears rather than on benefits that both parties can derive from this situation.