Arriving in Europe in the 14th century, the Qipchaq Tatars are the longest surviving Muslim people in Europe. They form the historical core of the Muslim community in the Baltic States, Belarus and Poland where Muslims are few in number compared with those in other parts of the European Union and in Russia. In the first historical study of this important community, Harry Norris investigates the earliest contacts between the Baltic peoples and the world of Islam. He examines the trade routes of the Vikings and the early Slavs and Balts who had commercial relations with Arab merchants, trading in amber, furs, Middle Eastern silks and other luxury goods. Norris surveys the Qipchaq Tatars' history, their Muslim faith, their culture, their literature and their life as indigenous Europeans in New Europe today. He draws contrasts and similarities between other Muslim communities in Europe, including the diverse immigrant Muslim groups in the Nordic countries that border the Baltic Sea: Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
This book is of importance to those studying the rich cultural heritage of minority groups of European Muslims and their position in Europe today, as well as those interested in the study of migration.
Harry Norris is Professor Emeritus of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of London. Before this he was Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS and an associate Fellow at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London.