chapter  17
Religious dimension of Polish fears of Muslims and Islam
WithKonrad Pędziwiatr
Pages 13

Anti-Muslim sentiments can thrive even in a country that does not have a statistically significant Muslim community and which has never experienced any religiously motivated terrorist attack on its territory. Although Poland is a home to only approximately 35,000 Muslims, who make up less than 0.1% of the country’s population, cross-European research shows that among various European nations involved in the studies, Poles are the most critical towards Islam and Muslims. The presence of small Muslim Tatars group within the Muslim community, living in Poland since the 14th century, does not help much to restrain Islamophobic views being expressed increasingly frequently in the last years not only in the private sphere but also publically by key figures in the country. Thus, Islamophobia can thrive both in the countries where Muslim communities emerged in the last centuries as well as in those where Muslims have been living for centuries. This chapter sheds light on various dimensions of Islamophobia in one of the most ethnically and religiously homogeneous countries of the European Union. It argues that the processes of Muslim ‘Othering’ have been closely linked in Poland with wider socio-political transformations in Polish society and state as well as pan-European identity construction. The chapter also shows how Islamophobic views have been mainstreamed in the last years in the country as a result of coupling of a number of internal and external factors.