Islam Moves West: Religious Change in the First and Second Generations
University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)
Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 38, pp. 525-545, 2012
What happens to the religious identity, belief, and practice of Muslims who settle in Western countries? Do they, or their children and subsequent generations, gradually become more secular? Or do they react against the dominant ethos and perceived prejudice by becoming more religious? We review recent research that touches on these questions. Most Muslim immigrants outside the United States come from rural areas of less developed countries where religiosity is higher than in the receiving societies. Residence in areas of high coethnic concentration, support from religious communities, and religious endogamy help to maintain religious commitment. The situation is more complicated for the second generation. Western culture has an influence, but structural integration does not necessarily reduce religiosity. Some children of immigrants try to follow a “real” Islam that has been purified of culturally specific practices. Hostility toward Muslims may lead some to react by increasing their own religious involvement.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 16, 2012
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