The ref:EU project – “Muslim minorities and the refugee crisis in Europe” is an international project that combines academic and educational perspective carried out by the Middle East and Central Asia Unit and the Department of Political Studies of the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) within Jean Monnet Activities of the EU Programme Erasmus+.

The project is an answer to the growing intolerance against Muslim minorities (and those perceived as Muslim) in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), fuelled by the refugee crisis in Europe. The EU member states from this region showed (to a varying degree) political reluctance to accept any refugees, despite often belonging to the top EU enthusiasts. Moreover, negative sentiments towards Muslims, as well as ethic and religious Others grew significantly stronger, leading to acts of violence. This is particularly disturbing as there are hardly any third country nationals, not to mention Muslims in those states. In other words, intolerance is widespread against people who are hardly even there.

The aims of the project are therefore as follows:

  1. Providing teaching tools for counteracting and counterbalancing Islamophobia and any other “phobias” related to migrants/refugees/asylum seekers, and “distant Others” in the EU member states,
  2. Understand and explain the reasons for the current wave of Islamophobia and its relations with the European refugee crisis.

The outputs of the ref:EU project are centred around two core set of activities, each responding to one of the aims: a workshop (related to aim 1) and a scientific conference (related to aim 2). The detailed list of outputs is as follows.

Aim 1:

  • An intensive workshop for 20 young researchers, professionals and activists on Muslim minorities and Islamophobia with a focus on the CEE;
  • At least 20 follow up activities, i.e. events organised by the workshop participants (1) in their home countries (in total 600 participants targeted);
  • A project website with teaching units prepared by the workshop trainers (1) and workshop participants basing on their follow up activities (2) accessible online to be used by teachers or educators;

Aim 2:

  • An international conference about Muslim minorities and the refugee crisis in Europe for around 100 participants;
  • An academic book published in English comprising papers from the conference and some other chapters on Muslim minorities and the refugee crisis in Europe;
  • A series of 16 local events on Muslim minorities and the refugee crisis in Europe (in total 640 local participants targeted).

The project is planned for 24 months and will target over 1300 participants.

The ref:EU team consists of scientists and professionals from Polish and foreign academic institutions with a wide range of profiles and research interests including: European studies, Islamic studies, media studies, migration studies and psychology. The team members work in the EU member states (Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, UK), Russian Federation (Tatarstan) and Tunisia.

The project is headed by Dr. Katarzyna Górak-Sosnowska – associate professor at Warsaw School of Economics together with Dr. Jan Misiuna, Dr. Marta Pachocka and Ms. Irena Senator.