Muslims in Poland

Tatar Mosque

Tatar Mosque

According to various estimates, between 15,000 and 25,000 Muslims live in Poland. Most of them escape statistics. For example, it is unknown how many students and immigrant war veterans have Polish citizenship or a permanent residence permit, or even how many immigrants temporarily stay in Poland before travelling to Western Europe. 26 January is the day of Islam within the Catholic Church in Poland, and the largest national Muslim groups in Poland include Egyptians, Palestinians, and Turks (many of whom live in Warsaw), but also many Moroccans, Libyans, and Syrians. During communist times, many Arabic students came to major cities and later often settled in Poland. Nowadays, Muslim immigrants moving to Poland are business people and political refugees. During the Balkan war, a great number of Bosnians and Albanians from Kosovo fled to Poland. In recent years, many Chechen immigrants have been arriving. Samir Ismail, the chairman of the Muslim Student Association in Poland, says that this country has become their homeland, because the Muslim homeland is the place where a Muslim prays. Ismail is a Palestinian who comes from the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The last time he saw his home country was when he was twelve. He moved to Poland several years ago to study medicine. After Samir graduated, he married a Polish Catholic woman who converted to Islam. They have three children: two sons with Polish-Arabic names (Hamza-Adam and Aladin-Jakub) and a daughter Salma, with an Arabic name. He is currently preparing to defend his PhD thesis in pediatrics. The association he works for aims to integrate the dispersed environment of the Muslim community and propagate Islam. It also combats stereotypes, because, as he points out, “not every Muslim is a terrorist.”

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