The presence of Muslim populations in Western European societies is a relatively new phenomenon which is raising questions about how these societies treat religious minorities. This article considers the situation in Sweden, beginning with a brief history of the development of the Swedish state from one based on the Lutheran faith to today's secular society in which state and religion are officially separated. It moves on to discuss the emergence of a sizable Muslim population in the latter part of the 20th century and considers the ways in which the secular character and religious neutrality of the state offer such religious minorities space to practise their religions. However, as Swedish society, politics and law are still premised on certain Christian notions of what religion should be, Muslims and more particularly Islamic organizations in the country have to find ways to adapt themselves to these pre-existing religious structures. Thus the presence of a large Muslim minority has affected the mindset of the members of this minority as well as the Swedish host society.

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