A Multireligious Approach to the Integration of Migrants in Europe: An Examination of Migrants’ Views on and Experiences of Taking Part in Multireligious Integration Projects

Majbritt Lyck-Bowen

Abstract

Violent conflicts continue to force many migrants to seek protection outside their own country. Some of these migrants have come to Europe, leading to states relying on assistance from civil society organisations, some of which are Faith-based Organisations (FBOs), to meet the migrants’ complex needs. Whereas the important roles religious actors can play in integration processes have been increasingly addressed and acknowledged in the literature, multireligious cooperation on integration has yet to attract the same attention and recognition. Hence, in the first phase of the research project, Name of Project, a range of possible advantages of multireligious cooperation, from an organisational point of view, were identified. These included four benefits for the integration of migrants: 1) Understand and meet the religious/cultural needs of migrants; 2) Help migrants understand the roles of religion in their host community; 3) Counter the narrative that it is more important to help migrants from a particular religion and 4) Opportunity to meet the “other” and build relationships. Acknowledging that further research was needed, phase two has focused on migrants’ opinions on, and experiences of, multireligious cooperation on integration. Data was collected via a survey and semi-structured interviews with migrants that have participated in multireligious projects in Germany, Sweden and the UK. In this article, the data is used to interrogate the organisational perspectives. The article concludes that in certain contexts multireligious cooperation has some distinctive benefits for the integration of migrants and calls for the further development of a multireligious approach to integration.

Keywords

multireligious; cooperation; migrant; integration; religious actors

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