Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN34_01: Muslims and social cohesion I
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Roberta Ricucci, University of Turin
Location: BS.4.05A
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Fourth Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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‘I Used To Be Muslim/I Am Not Muslim’: (De)Activation, Identity Salience and Life-Course

Uzma Kazi

Lund University, Sweden

In an unprecedented Muslim migration context in Sweden, with changing demographics as well as pressures on the welfare state against the backcloth of heightened securitization, terrorist attacks, and Islamic extremism, for second-generation Pakistanis, inheriting a Muslim identity from their parents can barely be considered a windfall gain. On the contrary, as they forge both roots and routes to integrate into the country in which they were born and raised, second-generation Muslims acknowledge/react to the pressures associated with holding a Muslim identity. Moreover, in constructing and maintaining this identity, they are also actively making choices between competing and seemingly opposing identity scripts i.e. religious/ethnic (parental transmission within the Pakistani diasporic context) and secular (Swedish societal context). Drawing on data from 42 qualitative interviews in three major cities of Sweden, in this paper, the cases selected will focus on personal life-story accounts of informants who I call ‘ex-Muslim’ hybrids on account of their disidentification with and exit from the salient familial Muslim identity as a situated negotiation within the continuum of the ‘third space’ to forge alternate ways of belonging as a minority within the Swedish society. Using the concepts of ‘strong evaluations’, ‘neo-tribes’, and ‘interpretive repertories’, the idea is to explore through narratives, (de)-activation mechanisms that constrain and liberate ‘expressive individualism’. Subsequently this paper will discuss identity strategies adopted as means to balance the cognitive load and emotional investments to various relationships of commitments in the maintenance and reproduction of social bonds during the life-course.

Media coverage of Islam: Commonalities and Specificities of the Portuguese case

Francisco Santos Silva


Portugal is an interesting case when it comes to how the media cover Islam and stories related to Muslims and Islamic issues. Firstly, it is a European country which has not experienced Islamic fundamentalist terrorism first-hand, it has also had a comparatively low rate of Muslim immigrants in the last few years. Another interesting factor is the absence of a strong far-right political force or far-right discourse in the public sphere. This is compounded with a historical and romanticised memory of an Islamic past in the country, from which derives a not-necessarily negative view of Islam, but what might be considered a more Orientalist view of an exotic past. Portugal is also a very homogeneously Catholic country, with little experience or tradition in studying other religions or even being concerned about them, unlike much of Europe.

This paper, focusing on the years between 2014 and 2016, seeks to examine how these factors change the discourse on Islam present in the media landscape in Portugal and particularly how stories generated in Portugal, about the Portuguese Islamic community or events in the country, differ from news imported from elsewhere in Europe and North America. This search for common aspects in media coverage and the specificities of the Portuguese case aims to examine how the cultural, political and historical specificity of Portugal has an effect on media coverage and if this is translated into public opinion.

The Effects of Sibling Configuration on the Religiosity among Muslim Youth in Belgium: Does the Migrant Generation Matter?

Hiroshi Kojima

Waseda University, Japan

This study analyzes the effects of sibling configuration on the religiosity of the Muslim male youth by migrant generation in Belgium in the mid-1990s, applying comparable binary logit models to the MHSM microdata. After controlling for demographic, socioeconomic and parental variables, having 3 or less siblings tends to have a negative effect on the experience of lamb sacrifice and having 2 or less sibling tends to have a negative effect on the daily mosque attendance among Muslim youth of each migrant generation. Similarly, having 3 siblings tends to have a positive effect on visiting relatives during Eid.

However, the effects of sibling variables differ by migrant generation. Having 3 or less siblings tends to have a negative effect on the agreement with women’s wearing of a scarf among the first and 1.5 generations but it has a positive effect among the second-generation possibly because of “re-islamization.” Having 3 siblings has a weaker but similar effect on fasting during Ramadan by generation, but having 4 siblings exhibits even weaker effects in the opposite direction.

Birth order has much less pronounced effects. Having 1 or 2 older sibling tends to have positive effects among first and 1.5 generations but it tends to have non-significant negative effects among the second generation possibly because of increasingly more restrictions in urban Belgium. The analysis has revealed larger effects of sibship size and smaller effects of birth order on the religiosity across migrant generations while there are some indications of interaction effects.

Social Remittances And Religiosity: How Migratory Movements Affect Religion And Religious Practices In A Trans-National Social Space

Nicolamaria Coppola

Sapienza - Università di Roma, Italy

Transnationalism refers to the existence of a dynamic flow of human, cultural and economic capital across national borders that connects people and institutions in a trans-national social space. This connectedness also affects religious communities and practices, both in migrants sending and receiving countries.

Contemporary studies have mainly analysed the economic consequences and impact of remittances in the countries of origin of migrants, but the role and the influence of the so-called 'social remittances' have not been explored so far. Social remittances are ideas, practices, identities and social capital that flow from host country to receiving country. Scholars have not dedicated much of their studies on examining how migratory movements and remittances affect religion and religious practices. It has been documented a correlation between religiosity and various social and political attitudes of migrants in a social space. Nevertheless, there is no empirical evidence on the relationship between religiosity and (social) remittances.

The A. intends to address the impact that migration is having in terms of religious patterns in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The A. seeks to examine the transformations – if any – in the religious practices of migrants in the receiving countries and if they affect the countries of origin as well. If religiosity and religious practices facilitate the adaptation of immigrants into a new society and what are the consequences of religious influences between the countries of origin and those of destination.

The New and the Old German Islam Conference: Conceptions of Dialogue With Islam in German Parliamentary Debates

Sebastian Matthias Schlerka

University of Bielefeld, Germany

In 2006, the Deutsche Islamkonferenz, a forum of dialogue between German state officials and several Muslim actors aiming at a better integration of Muslims in Germany, was initiated by the Minister of the Interior. It soon became a well-established institution. However, it is nowadays almost forgotten that already in 1995 the then Minister of Foreign Affairs (Klaus Kinkel) planned a large conference aiming at establishing a dialogue with Islam (Islam-Konferenz). However, after the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and its approvement by the Iranian president, the Bundestag forced Kinkel to cancel the invitation of his Iranian colleague to said conference. As a reaction, Kinkel cancelled not only the invitation but the entire conference.

The paper explores the differences as well as the commonalities between both conferences by analyzing the parliamentary debates surrounding them. This way, it can be seen that back in the 90s Islam and even the Muslim population in Germany was considered an object of foreign affairs, while in 2006 it was seen as a domestic issue. Furthermore, while the debates about both conferences pivot around a concept of "critical dialogue," there are differences in the question of whom to talk to: while in 1995, a number of deputies emphasized a need to establish dialogue especially with fundamentalists, in 2006 the invitation policy aimed at excluding fundamentalist actors. This way, the paper provides insights on how the Bundestag conceived of a dialogue between the German state and Muslim actors in two different efforts to initiate dialogue that are separated by 11 years - and by the september 11 attacks.