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Session Overview
RN34_07a_H: Religion, Migration and the Refugee Crisis
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Roberta Ricucci, University of Turin
Location: HA.2.4
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 2.

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Diversities Reconsidered: Religion, Identity and Belonging of Young Muslim People with Migration Background in Germany

Vladimir Kmec

University College Dublin, Ireland

The purpose of this paper is to provide a perspective on the identity formation of young Muslim people of Turkish migration background in Germany. While presenting how the second- and third-generation people with Turkish background in Germany perceive their religiosity, ethnicity and nationality, the paper investigates how these young people negotiate the narratives of belonging and citizenship. The paper observes different trajectories of young people's identity formation. Some young people distance themselves from their migration background, while others are passionate about exploring their ethnic and cultural background. Some young people become religiously active and devoted while emphasising their German citizenship. Others embrace secular ways of live while identifying with Islam in ethnic terms at the same time. The paper thus argues that these young people construct multiple and hybrid identities, combining different, and sometimes even contradicting identities, into one. The paper observes that this process of identity formation is influenced by both social and contextual factors, and individual decisions. Young people of Turkish background in Germany seek to overlap their Turkish identity with their German identity, and at the same time their secular lifestyle with their Muslim religiosity. The societal context influences the modes of young people's identification. At the same time, the individual agency of young people in the formation of their identities is equally important; young people decide by themselves who they are - whether and how they identify with Islam, their ethnic background and Germany.

The Heart City. Solidarity as transformative dialogic process between collective actors: the case of the religious movement in Catania

Anna Maria Leonora

University of Catania, Italy

From the very beginning of the recent migratory emergency in Southern Europe, catholic religious movements and church public lay associations – as the community of Sant’Egidio – intensified their cooperation involving homologous groups from other confessions and religions [Italian Ministry of Interior 2013; 2015]. This experience fosters many issues about the potential of the bottom-up integration process and cooperation between groups and association belonging to different religion realizing a multi-ethnic and inter-religious community still effective in managing the increasing migration crisis [Kymlicka 2015].

This work is focused on solidarity dynamics analysis of religious movements activity in Catania between 2013 and 2017 taking as framework of reference the 2017 joint return of solidarity and brotherhood among Christians, Muslims and Hindu of the city. The research design started from the reconstruction of the first-aid presence into the city territory (the Heart City); a campaign of semi-structured interviews to key informants of three main religious movements. The presentation synthesizes results from two work packages, covering a period of activity from 2013 to 2017: 1) First interpretation of archival research providing analytical categories for the further narrative interviews phase; 2) Semi-structured interview campaign administered to the representative members of the religious movements and solidarity associations involved in the process.

One aspect of this peculiar cooperation between religious movements seem to trigger a specific social space of dialogue related to solidarity practices [Ferrante e Zan 1994] managed by different religious movement in Catania, realizing a sort of “elective integration” about this interreligious and intercultural symposium among their members.

The Role of Serbian Orthodox Custom Slava in the Lives of Serbian Immigrant Families in Sweden

Sabina Hadzibulic

Uppsala University, Uppsala Religion and Society Research Centre, Sweden

This paper aims to present an ongoing research dealing with Serbian immigrant families in Sweden and the role religion has in their identity formation. The primary focus is on a unique Serbian Orthodox custom called slava, which, besides Christmas, is one of the most important celebrations in the life of each Serbian Orthodox family. It represents family’s annually celebration of its patron saint. The goal is to analyze how slava is practiced and interpreted by Serbian immigrant families in Sweden. Additionally, the ways in which slava affects the identity formation, and the consequences of it for the integration into Swedish society will be analyzed. The two key research questions to be studied are: How is religion entering the lives of Serbian immigrants in Sweden? How is slava custom transmitted and incorporated into Swedish society by Serbian immigrant families? The research is based on in-depth interviews conducted with 15 Serbian immigrant families in Sweden in their mother tongue. In adition to that, appropriate ethnographic work based on observation and participation is done.

Socio-Cultural Relations and (Im)migration in the Greek Orthodox Christian Community in Hatay, Turkey

Sonyel Oflazoglu3, Sule Can1, Zerrin Arslan2, Ugur Akgul4

1Binghamton University, State University of New York USA; 2Hatay Mustafa Kemal University, Hatay, Turkey; 3Hatay Mustafa Kemal University, Hatay, Turkey; 4Institıte for the Middle Eastern Arap Peoples, Hatay, Turkey

Ethnic minorities were recognized as official “minorities” when the Republic of Turkey got established in 1923 through Treaty of Lausanne, which recognized Greeks, Armenians and Jews as minorities. The Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey are also a substantial part of the country's minority population. Most of the Greek Orthodox Christians live in Istanbul, Dardanelles: Imbros and Tenedos, Adana, Mersin and Hatay. This study focuses on the socio-cultural and political transformation among Greek Orthodox Christians in Hatay by examining social and instutional discrimination in the context of Islamization in/of Turkey.

Hatay, which was annexed by Turkey in 1939, is located on Turkish-Syrian border. Ethnic combinations, demographic characteristics and socio-cultural relations have been transformed after the annexation. Currently, the Greek Orthodox Christians inhabit Antioche, Samandağ, Altınözü, İskenderun and Arsuz districts and their population is approximately 6 500- 7 000. The community’s religious practices take place in Arabic and partly in Turkish in recent years due to cultural and linguistic assimilation. Furthermore, this community has experienced several mass (im)migration waves and the community’s population has dramatically declined following the mass migrations. All these historical and cultural issues have created new socio-cultural and economic context, strategies and (im)migration. This research aims to determine the community’s struggles; strategies to solve current problems, (im)migration patterns since the annexation of Hatay and the impact of the turmoil in Syria on the community.

The qualitatively designed research’s data has been provided from in-depth (37) and focus groups (3) interviews with the community members in different ages and observation in these districts between November, 2016 and February, 2017. Data will be analysed using ethnicity and ethnic relations theories.

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