Under the veil of multiculturalism: The minority religion’s community experience regarding places of worship in the Helsinki metropolitan Area

Hewidy, H. (Speaker), Emma Terama (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference presentation


Paper accepted to Poster Session
The backlash against multiculturalism in Europe is obvious. Multicultural urban planning in the Nordic countries is positioned within two conceptions: 1) the academic discourse dominated by the Anglo-Saxon literature; and 2) the planning policies directed at functions rather than individuals, fuelled by biopolitics (Foucault). The former is confronted with a different immigrant composition to the European receiving countries. The latter colours these policies with a ‘veil of neutrality’ with respect to cultural diversity when in fact the needs of the individual should be addressed irrespective of the source of difference.
Religion, as a component of culture, is not reflected in current urban planning in Finland. This manifests as lacking support for certain services, such as minority worshipping spaces. This research project targets the Muslim community using worshipping spaces in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. It examines a minority religion’s community experience regarding places of worship and their influence as destinations, in shaping the mobility routines of Muslims using them. Postcodes, used as the survey respondents’ identifiers, are used to create mobility patterns in a spatial analysis. It also examines whether the community, with its limited knowledge and resources, has unconsciously created a conflict zone and negatively impacted the surroundings of these worshipping places.
We suggest that a review of the worshipping spaces and personal mobility (reflecting personal activity, need and demand) around these spaces will highlight the need for cultural awareness in the design of public spaces and transit routes.
Period14 Jun 2017
Event titleNordic Demographic Symposium
Event typeConference
LocationTurku, Finland
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Multiculturalism, minority, Muslims, Helsinki, religion, planning