Deconstructing Islamophopia in Poland
Fig. 1. Deconstructing Islamophobia in Poland. Courtesy of University of Warsaw, 2014.

University of Warsaw released a new book titled "Deconstructing Islamophobia in Poland: Story of an Internet Group" written by Katarzyna Gorak-Sosnowska.

Publication Data

Gorak-Sosnowska, Katarzyna. Deconstructing Islamophobia in Poland: Story of an Internet Group. University of Warsaw, 2014. ISBN: 978-83-936280-8-7.


Deconstructing Islamophobia in Poland analyses the interactions of Muslims and critics of Islam in the Internet with a focus on the way in which anti-Islamic rethorics is constructed and processed in a country where Muslims constitute less than 0.1% of the population.

From the book's introduction:

So far Poland sticks out in the reports on Islamophobia in Europe with hardly any such cases, due however to lack of data. Only recently - in the last couple of months of 2013 - have there been some incidents against the Polish Muslim population, which are to be linked to the European rise of Islamophobia. The Muslim population is very small, scattered all across the country, and quite well integrated with mainstream society (in fact, around 5 thousand out of the estimated 35-45 thousand Muslims in Poland are Tatars, an autochthonous ethnic minority). The probability of an incident is small - at least theoretically and in quantitative terms. In practice, however, there is still the dominant negative media discourse (even though again there is no hard data, only some qualitative studies on this aspect) and unfavourable results of some opinion polls (scanty, and often dealing with ethnicity rather than religion).

A fruitful, but also depressing and frustrating, research field could be the Internet. In fact, as I will show in the following chapters, the European rise of Islamophobia has fueled the online activity of Polish critics of Islam. I decided to select and take a deeper look at just a small sample of the whole Polish-language Internet - one particular and peculiar Facebook group called "Islamic-... dialogue" (Pl. Dialog muzułmańsko-...). Over the course of its existence lasting half a year, it was a vibrant virtual space where Muslims and critics of Islam conducted fervent discussions and debates. While the group cannot be generalized onto the entire social categories of Muslims and critics of Islam in Poland, it was definitely a place where one could find an entire range of narratives which were critical of Islam and - what is as important - the Muslim responses to such critique. Therefore, it was not just a Facebook group, but rather a unique collection of puzzles which will help to understand how Islamophobic discourse is constructed in Poland, and what sort of strategies Muslims use to counteract it. The discourse has a local, Polish dimension - the group members are rooted in Polish reality and often take it as a point of reference. However, the vast majority of the discussions go far beyond this level: entering the (Western) European or even global one. In this way, international events (or interpretations of them) provide a reference framework for local discussions between Polish Muslims and critics of Islam.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1. Muslims in Poland - Past and present
1.2. Methodological approach
2. Insights into the group's dynamics
2.1. The chronology and numbers
2.2. Personal expectations and reflections
2.3. The hardcore group
2.4. The qualitative shift
2.5. Why the hardcore became unbearable
3. Is there one Islam? Questions, clashes, and other interactions
3.1. Across the divisions
3.2. The test
3.3. With a pinch of salt
3.4. Is a Muslim a human being?
3.5. A variety of Islams
4. The Din - Islam, its dogmas and origins
4.1. The Creator
4.2. The man
4.3. The Book
5. The Dunya - Daily and special issues
5.1. The status of women
5.2. Going halal
5.3. Muslims and terrorists
5.4. Muslims for Europe
6. Concluding remarks
7. Attachments