The Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) and the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) jointly organised a Workshop on "Muslim Diaspora: Prospects and Challenges for Global Peace and Prosperity" on 12-13 May 2018, in the historical city of Istanbul, Turkey.
The Workshop brought together scholars, experts and representatives of governments from key diaspora authorities of OIC Member States, representatives of regional, international and OIC institutions, as well as NGOs.
The 2-day workshop explored the collaboration opportunities among Diaspora Authorities of the OIC Member Countries that are in charge of the citizens living abroad. The Workshop gathered information on policies and works done by the OIC Member States on Diasporic communities to improve the overall economic, social, and political, well-being and enhance their success, including their contributions, both in the host countries and the countries of origin.
Participants at the workshop were welcomed by HE Amb. Musa Kulaklıkaya, Director General of SESRIC, Mr. Sayit Yusuf, Deputy President of Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) and HE Amb. Umit Yardım, Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey.
During his opening remarks, HE Amb. Musa Kulaklıkaya addressed the participants and emphasized the importance of the Global Muslim Diaspora (GMD) Report and its main aim to create an interactive atlas through a range of useful statistics on Muslim population living in non-Muslim-majority countries.
“This report provides a range of useful statistics on the Muslim diaspora, as well as insights on similarities and differences of challenges faced by them in different countries,” he said.
Amb. Kulaklıkaya added that this report aims to fill the gap in the limited and fragmented knowledge that exists on Muslim diaspora and said that this is the first comprehensive effort of its kind.
“Despite the recent growth of the literature on Muslim diaspora, our knowledge on this issue remains limited and fragmented. With the intention to fill this gap and engage more closely with the Muslim diaspora, in September 2016, SESRIC has launched the “Global Muslim Diaspora Project” and commissioned a comprehensive study of Muslim communities living in the non-Muslim countries. A booklet providing preliminary outcomes of this study was prepared by the Ankara Social Sciences University,” he added.
In addition, His Excellency emphasized the importance of the Workshop on Muslim Diaspora, by taking into consideration the fact that in today’s world individuals and societies are in closer contact and the fact that Muslims today constitute one of the largest diasporas in the world.
Although a large number of Muslim populations continue to live in Asian-Pacific and the Middle East and North Africa, a considerable number lives in “non-Muslim” countries and the number is growing every day.
It is estimated that Muslims will constitute 8 percent of the European population by 2030 and 2.1 percent of the American population by 2050. Countries like Belgium, Canada and Netherlands will be in the top seven countries who will host more than 1 million Muslims until 2030.
Over one fifth of the World’s Muslim population today lives in Europe, North America and Australia. The Pew Research Center estimates that there were about 3.5 million of Muslims living in the U.S. in 2017. On the other hand, according to estimates presented in the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe, estimated size of the Muslim population in 2016 was around 25 million. If we add to this number around 20 million Muslims living in the Russian Federation, then the Muslim population in Europe is reaching up to 45 million.
These numbers indicate that the size of diaspora Muslim communities is growing rapidly and therefore it is critical to pay attention not only to their problems and challenges, but also to improve the conditions and opportunities for them to make a greater and impactful contribution to the social, cultural, economic and political life of their countries.
The Report also reaffirms the view that the main concern of Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries remains racism, Islamophobia, institutional discrimination, as well as discrimination by the society.
For instance, 56.1% of respondents in London mentioned racism and Islamophobia as the main challenge of living in the United Kingdom. However, 72.7% of them indicated the religious and cultural freedom as the main advantage of living in the country.
Furthermore, the workshop provided an opportunity to assess the current state of affairs of Muslim diaspora. It also provided a chance to exchange ideas and views and to identify the relevant outcomes of the workshop, in order to take the necessary steps for further cooperation and solidarity among OIC countries regarding the Muslim population living abroad.
GMD Workshop Presentation (English)
Muslim Diaspora in Britain Muhammad Abdul BARI (English)
Muslim Diaspora-Existing and Emerging Challenges-Presentation (English)
Presentation of Afghanistan (English)
Presentation of Pakistan (Zahid Mustafa) (English)
University of Social Science (ASBU) Presentation-Gürol Baba (English)