In 2010, the size of the Muslim population in Europe was 44.1 million, which accounts for approximately 6% of Europe’s total population. By 2030, their proportion is expected to have reached 8% (Hackett, 2016). According to the same source, countries with largest Muslim populations in absolute numbers are Germany (5.8% of the population), France (7.5% of the population), UK (4.8% of the population), and Italy (3.7% of the population). Roughly 13 million of the European Muslim population in 2010 was foreign-born. In Germany, the Muslim immigrant population, estimated at more than 3 million, is primarily from Turkey, but also from Kosovo, Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Morocco. France’s Muslim immigrants (also about 3 million) originate mostly from former French colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
Accounting for the diversity of the Muslims’ origin should help to refute stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims and Islam. Contrary to what large sections of the general public and media believe, most European Muslims are tolerant of other religious communities, have a feeling of belonging and show strong ties to the country. It is worth noting, however, that the facts are often presented in a manner which suggests that Muslims “want to be apart” by distinguishing themselves from other communities. Muslims, however, pay dearly for this ‘difference’; many face discriminatory attitudes every day.
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