UCC begins survey of Irish Muslims

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

UCC begins survey of Irish Muslims

BARRY ROCHE Southern Correspondent

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1028/1224257556115.html

A NEW study aiming to provide an in-depth survey of the Muslim community in Ireland and its future place in Irish society was launched last night by Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin.

The research project is being carried out by Dr Oliver Scharbrodt of the study of religions department at University College Cork who will collaborate with three other researchers in the course of the three-year study.

Dr Scharbrodt, who has written extensively on Islam, explained that Islam has become one of the fastest growing religions in Ireland and is currently the third largest religious community within the State.

“The research project is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) and the Department of An Taoiseach and based in the study of religions department at UCC,” said Dr Scharbrodt “The aim of this project is to provide an in-depth survey of the Muslim community in Ireland, its establishment and historical development, its various organisations and mosques and its current and future place in Irish society.”

Joining Dr Scharbrodt in the research will be Dr Adil Khan, who will look at various mosques in Ireland run by Muslims from Pakistan, and Dr Vivian Ibrahim, a historian from the University of London, who will search for traces of Muslim presence in Ireland before the second World War.

Dr Yafa Shanneik will investigate the activities of various Muslim women groups in Ireland, said Dr Scharbrodt, adding that none of these issues have ever been explored before, making the project groundbreaking and original.

The study of religions department was established at UCC in 2007 and currently over 200 students are enrolled in the undergraduate programme with plans under way for postgraduate teaching and research in the near future.

“It is the first and only department of this kind in Ireland and fosters an academic, non-confessional and non-theological approach to the study of religions. A variety of religions are studied in the department without giving priority to any.

“Staff members have expertise of a range of very different religious traditions. This subject is open to a diverse student body interested in the academic study of religions, regardless of personal religious views,” he added.

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