Leaders of the small but growing Muslim community also speak warmly of their good relations with the Irish state and public, emphasising their preference for the respect paid to religion in Ireland compared to the secular atmosphere of a country like Great Britain In the following discussion, the new Islamic presence is connected with the notion of Irish exceptionalism.
The rapid increase of the Muslim population within the last 20 years is a striking example of the major socio-economic and cultural transformations in Ireland following the Celtic Tiger Years. The Muslim population has grown substantially and also diversified ethnically and socio-economically with high numbers of labour migrants, refugees and asylum seekers The census data of the last four censuses, in which a question on religions have been included , , , , illustrates the massive increase of the Muslim population in Ireland similar to the increase of other faith communities comprised of migrants.
While in the census 3, residents of the Republic of Ireland identified themselves as Muslims, the number increased to 49, in rising from 0.
Source: CSO The census data also suggests a socio-economic gap within the overall Muslim population which is linked to patterns of Muslim settlement in Ireland post-WWII. Sustained Muslim settlement from the s until the early s was made up primarily of students who came for higher education and then stayed, or those wishing to set up businesses. Thus, they had solid educational and professional backgrounds. A significant proportion of Muslims are highly qualified, possess tertiary educational degrees and work as educated professionals on higher salary scales.
Growing numbers of Muslim asylum seekers have also arrived from Nigeria, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Iraq, as well as large numbers of economic migrants from across the world Such events have become markers of the postcolonial memory reflecting the degree of repression by British colonial rule and the hardship of the Irish struggle for independence.
This postcolonial historical memory is often used to suggest commonalities with African and Asian countries in the shared historical experience of colonial subjugation by British and European imperialism. In the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries, Irish nationalists were part of a global network of anti-colonial activists including Egyptian, Indian and Iranian nationalists 17 — connections that buttress Irish postcolonial credentials.
Cliché 2: Arab-Islamic education is only memorising the Koran
Ireland is exceptional among the EU member states because for centuries it experienced colonialism from the perspective of the colonised. While this history remains tragic, today it gives the country a unique position in Europe. Not only could this experience help Ireland to accommodate the growing cultural diversity in its own society; it also enables the country to play a leading role in redefining the European stance towards other cultures In addition, with the increasing importance of commemorating the Great Famine of , efforts have been made to connect this paradigmatic tragedy of colonial Ireland with Muslim relief efforts at that time.
To honour the contribution of the Ottoman Sultan, the football club Drogheda F. The discourses brought forward serve different purposes; they suggest a special rapport between the Irish and Muslims, facilitating an easier integration and acceptance of Muslims in Irish society because historical colonial barriers and their postcolonial continuities between Muslim migrants and their European host societies do not exist This explains the weak securitisation of Muslims in Ireland as compared to other Western European countries 32 The recently discovered anecdote of Turkish relief aid during the Irish famine — though not entirely factual — is supposed to create a space for Muslims in the Irish postcolonial memory of the Great Famine.
The Changing Global Religious Landscape | Pew Research Center
Many Home Rule MPs were personally involved in colonies with various business interests and not opposed to British imperialism outside of Europe as such. While they denounced British colonial excesses in Africa and Asia, they also considered Canada or Australia as examples of how autonomy can be achieved within the Empire The racialisation of anti-colonial discourse also becomes evident in notions that the very whiteness of the Irish is the reason why they should be independent It will also take care in critique, examining the presuppositions of all critical viewpoints. Most universities are well on their way to addressing these issues.
One of the first buildings built in the early s on the original campus of Monash University was a multi-faith religious centre. It has since been re-plumbed several time to accommodate increasing numbers of Muslims students and staff. Prayer facilities are available on each campus and a diversity of chaplains is available. However, some universities seem not yet to have caught on. At a deeper level, universities need to turn their well honed critical gaze inward at their core business Sommerville Is history taught from a European perspective, or do other cultures and societies get a look in?
If a Muslim student attends history of philosophy lectures will the indebtedness of the West to Islam be made clear? Is Islamic banking taught, so that MBAs will have some clue about how a major section of the globe's economy operates? Is Islamic law taught so that its workings are understood and demystified?
Many universities, in fact, do offer subjects in these areas. There is a federally funded Islamic Studies program that is being put together to address the need for systematic education about Islam and Muslim societies. Sydney's University of Technology offers courses in Islamic Law. While many other examples could be noted, many others hide their heads in the sands of secularism.
The great challenge is for universities to confront the institutionalised anti-religious bias of a secularist culture that is taken as normal in many. The challenges to secularist biases are being taken seriously as the origins of this ideology become clearer and are re-visited with the critical gaze needed to deconstruct this aspect of university life Sommerville , Stark Far from killing discussion or muzzling debate, the elimination of a secularist bias, as with the removal of any bias, opens debate, enlivens discussion and revitalises university life.
Berger, Peter ed The Desecularisation of the world: Resurgent religion and world politics. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. Bouma, Gary Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sommerville, C. John The Decline of the Secular University. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stark, Rodney Princeton; Princeton University Press. Tacey, David The Spirituality Revolution: the emergence of contemporary spirituality. Sydney: HarperCollins.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Search query. Site Courses Search query Submit. Search query Submit. Equity and Diversity. Increases in Religious Diversity Post-war migration has brought Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus in sufficient numbers for significant communities of these religious groups to become well established in Australia. Meanwhile conversion has produced significant numbers of Pentecostals and followers of many spiritualities Tacey , Bouma Many Australians Current religious diversity in Australia is made clearer by the following data from the census.
Waqf and Financing Islamic Education. Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Islam, and Education. Muslim Orientations and Views on Education. Islam and the West: Clashes and Cooperations. Islam, State, Civil Society, and Education. Women and Education in Muslim Context. Islam, Sexualities, and Education. Islam and Democracy in Muslim Educational Settings. Islam, Globalizations, and Education.
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