Islam in Finland

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Islam is a minority religion in Finland. The first Muslims were Tatars who immigrated mainly between 1870 and 1920.[citation needed] After that there were decades with generally a small number of immigration in Finland. Since the late 20th century the number of Muslims in Finland has increased rapidly due to immigration. Nowadays, there are dozens of Islamic communities in Finland, but only a minority of Muslims have joined them. There are about 50,000–60,000 Muslims in Finland.[citation needed] There is also an indigenous Finnish Muslim community.

In December 2017 the city of Helsinki rejected a proposal to build a large mosque financed by funds from Bahrain. The application was rejected as it was unclear which movement of Islam would dominate its prayers and the attendant risk of radicalization and conflict between different religious communities.[1]

Baltic Tatars[edit]

The Baltic Tatars arrived in Finland as merchants and soldiers at the end of the 19th century. They were later joined by other family members. The Finnish Islamic Association (Finnish: Suomen Islam-seurakunta) was founded in 1925. In practice, this society only accepts people from Tatar origin, or Turkic origin in general, as members, excluding non-Turkic speaking Muslims. The Finnish Tatars's Islamic congregations have a total of about 1,000 members these days.[2]

Modern immigration[edit]

The number of immigrants, and Muslims as well, in Finland rose dramatically in the early 1990s. Soon new immigrants established their own mosques and societies. In 1996 these groups came together to form a cooperative organ - the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Finland. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 Finns have converted to Islam. The vast majority of these are women who have married Muslim men.[2]

Islamic societies[edit]

Table 1: Largest Islamic Societies in Finland 2009[3]
Name Registered Home Members
Finnish Islamic Association 1925 Helsinki 567
Islamic Society of Finland 1987 Helsinki 1 097
Helsinki Islamic Center 1995 Helsinki 1 817
Tampere Islamic Society 1998 Tampere 837
Islamic Rahma Center in Finland 1998 Helsinki 575
Islamic Society of Northern Finland 2000 Oulu 361
Resalat islamilainen yhdyskunta 2001 Vantaa 486

There are dozens of independent Islamic societies in Finland. The oldest one is Finnish Islamic Association which was established in 1925. It has about 700 members of whom all are Tatars. The society has mosques in Helsinki, Tampere and Lahti. The only building established only as mosque in Finland is Järvenpää mosque.

The Islamic Society of Finland was established in 1987. Its members are mainly Arabs, but also Finnish converts. The society has a mosque and Koran school in Helsinki. The Helsinki Islamic Center is currently the biggest society with almost 2,000 members. Furthermore, there are a dozen other Islamic societies in Helsinki region, some of them are not officially registered.

Most of mosques are multilingual, but the most commonly used languages are usually English and Finnish. Religious services are held in Arabic.

Muslim majority ethnic groups by language[edit]

Numbers are based on the Statistics Finland (language, 2012).[4]

Total: 50,087


See also[edit]


External links[edit]