There is an urgent need to find suitable ways of integrating Muslim populations into western societies, and, in so doing, to accommodate transnational Islam so that it is suitable for these societies. With respect to these issues, the aim of this research project is to produce new empirical data on the policies of integration developed and used by international bodies, such as the EU, and individual states, such as Finland, Ireland, and Canada.
It is our contention that in order to understand how western political bodies, both international (e.g. the European Commission) and national (e.g. the Finnish state), aim to deal with the challenge of transnational Islam, it is necessary to look into these processes in parallel. We also claim that the policies created as a result of these two rather contradictory aims have clear impacts for the integration of Muslim immigrants and their communities in their receiving countries.
In contemporary political theory, there has been a move from a narrow understanding of government to a broader view of governance in order to understand the changed power relations in western state structures; this is also increasingly noted in the study of Islam. The perspective of governance also takes into account matters outside the direct influence of the state, for instance the creation of mentalities of self-regulation.
We will look at the governance of transnational Islam from an interstate, national, and local perspective. In so doing the project will produce novel theoretical insights for research on transnational Islam and the questions concerning Muslim immigration into western societies. In relation to this theoretical background, the project will produce new empirical data on the governance of Islam in international and national contexts.
Since women are often the target not only of state governance but also the governance of Muslim communities headed by men, we will also pay attention to gender in relation to the governance of Islam.