Study by: Erzsébet N. Rózsa.
In the old member states of the European Union, public opinion has been divided over the question of Muslim communities for years. These same communities have also compelled many in these countries to propose isolation and adopt an overall negative attitude vis-a-vis immigrant groups. Parallel to these changes in social attitudes, at the level of government policies ever stricter regulations limiting immigration have been implemented. While the societies and states of Central Europe have their own wealth of experience with Islam, often reaching back several centuries and including both periods of conflict and coexistence, it is the ripple effect of the controversies and the Islamophobia in the old member states of the EU that is stirring up passions and giving rise to debates in a region where there are few traditional Muslim communities (or they are virtually invisible for the wider public), and, where the number of immigrants from Muslim countries is still very low. Bulgaria is the only exception to this pattern in Central Europe, where the Muslim, mostly Turkish, population accounts for 12–14 percent of the total population.