Although the thousands of those seeking refuge inthe country have only one official mosque to share, few complain about their new lives.

The history of the Muslim community of Finland dates back to the 19th century when the country was under Russian imperial rule. Tartar muslims from Russia were the first to make their home in the Nordic country.

Since that time the population has grown to fourty thousand, with most coming into the country seeking asylum.

Mohammed al-Hello, who moved to Finland twelve years ago from Baghdad, at first found it quite difficult getting used to his new home.

"What I miss about the lifestyle in Iraq is the communication between people," said al-Hello.

Even native Finns are embracing Islam. Abdullah Tami heads the Finnish Islamic Party and has hopes to gain a foothold in elections in 2011. His party's platform consists of more emphasis on social and green issues, not joining NATO and imposing Sharia Law, which is the legal framework of Islam.

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