Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
11Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Islamophobia/Islamophilia: Beyond the Politics of Enemy and Friend -- Chapters 7-9

Islamophobia/Islamophilia: Beyond the Politics of Enemy and Friend -- Chapters 7-9

Ratings: (0)|Views: 469|Likes:
Edited by Andrew Shyrock; published by Indiana University Press.

"Islamophobia" is a term that has been widely applied to anti-Muslim ideas and actions, especially since 9/11. The contributors to this provocative volume explore and critique the usefulness of the concept for understanding contexts ranging from the Middle Ages to the modern day. Moving beyond familiar explanations such as good Muslim/bad Muslim stereotypes or the "clash of civilizations," they describe Islamophobia's counterpart, Islamophilia, which deploys similar oppositions in the interest of fostering public acceptance of Islam. Contributors address topics such as conflicts over Islam outside and within Muslim communities in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia; the cultural politics of literature, humor, and urban renewal; and religious conversion to Islam.

You can find the book on the IU Press website: http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=287820
Edited by Andrew Shyrock; published by Indiana University Press.

"Islamophobia" is a term that has been widely applied to anti-Muslim ideas and actions, especially since 9/11. The contributors to this provocative volume explore and critique the usefulness of the concept for understanding contexts ranging from the Middle Ages to the modern day. Moving beyond familiar explanations such as good Muslim/bad Muslim stereotypes or the "clash of civilizations," they describe Islamophobia's counterpart, Islamophilia, which deploys similar oppositions in the interest of fostering public acceptance of Islam. Contributors address topics such as conflicts over Islam outside and within Muslim communities in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia; the cultural politics of literature, humor, and urban renewal; and religious conversion to Islam.

You can find the book on the IU Press website: http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=287820

More info:

Published by: Voices and Visions Project on Jul 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

06/08/2012

pdf

text

original

 
7
German Converts to Islamand Their Ambivalent Relationswith Immigrant Muslims
Esra Özyürek 
“I would never have become a Muslim i I had met Muslims beore I met Islam.”I heard these words over and over again during my yearlong ethnographicresearch among ethnic German converts to Islam in Berlin.
Te rst time,it was uttered by a sel-declared German imam who had converted to Islamwhile trying to convert Arabs and urks to Christianity. Te second time, thespeaker was a twenty-ve-year-old ormer East German woman who came toIslam through her Bosnian boyriend, whose amily never accepted her. Tethird time, the comment was made by a y-year-old man who converted toIslam about thirty years ago aer meeting Iranians who came to Europe tocollect money and organize or the Iranian revolution. Aer that I stoppedcounting. Although all o the several dozen German converts I talked to (andthe dozens o converts whose narratives I read on the internet) claim thatthey embraced Islam in a context o signicant personal relationships withMuslims,
a substantial portion o German Muslims are quite discontentedwith born Muslims, especially those o immigrant backgrounds. Tis paper isan attempt to comprehend the paradoxical eelings o love and hate or Islamand Muslims that many German Muslims experience. My aim in exploringthis issue is to understand what it takes to be a (supposed) Islamophile in apolitical and social context that is highly Islamophobic.
Embracing Islam in an Islamophobic Context
Islamophobia is rapidly increasing in Europe. In the post–Berlin Wall era,the exclusion o Muslims has become an essential element o European sel-
172
 
German Converts to Islam and Immigrant Muslims
173
denition (Asad 2003: 164), and numerous political parties, including JörgHaider’s Freedom Party in Austria (Bunzl 2005), the Flemish Interest Party in Belgium, Le Pen’s National Front Party in France, and the Swiss People’sParty have successully based their election campaigns on anti-immigrant andanti-Muslim positions. Ironically, as Islamophobia becomes more prevalent,more ethnic Europeans are embracing Islam. oday there are more convertsin France, Britain (Köse 1996), Italy, Sweden (Roald 2004), Denmark (Jensen2006), the Netherlands (Van Nieuwkerk 2004), and Germany (Wohlrab-Sahr1999) than ever beore. Muslim immigrants are consistently discriminatedagainst in Germany, as they are in most European countries, and Islam itsel is not generally respected. At an institutional level, despite the act that Islamis one o the most actively practiced religions in Germany, regional Germangovernments have resisted granting Islam the status o a state-recognized reli-gion, a status that would allow Muslims to teach about Islam in public schoolsand make use o taxes imposed on mosques by state authorities (Fetzer andSoper 2005; Jonker 2000; Özyürek 2009).Despite these unavorable conditions, ethnic Germans are steadily embrac-ing Islam by reciting the Islamic creed in the presence o at least two witnesses,declaring their belie that “there is no God but God and Muhammad is themessenger o God.” Because this conversion process is so simple and requiresno registration, there is no reliable gure regarding the number o new Ger-man Muslims. Estimates range rom 20,000 to 100,000. Regardless o theirexact numbers, new German Muslims carry great symbolic weight in Germansociety. Tey play a central role in Muslim organizations nationwide and havebecome important mediators between Muslim communities and the majority society (Özyürek 2007).
Furthermore, they attract negative public attentiondisproportional to their numbers and are oen suspected o being potentialthreats to the nation (Özyürek 2008).Tere is a budding literature on converts to Islam in the Christian-majority societies o Europe (Van Nieuwkerk 2006; Wohlrab-Sahr 1999; Roald 2004;Mansson 2002) and North America (Hermansen 1999; Jackson 2005; Rouse2004). Although inormative about the kinds o processes individuals passthrough when they convert, ew o these studies (Roald 2004) emphasize theact that these converts choose to embrace a minority religion in contexts whereIslam and Muslims are eared, hated, discriminated against, marginalized, andorced to assimilate. Converting to any minority religion is a dicult process.Converts coming to the minority religion rom the majority religion typically ace exclusion rom their earlier group aliations, suspicion rom both themajority and the minority group, and new kinds o discrimination o which
 
Violence and Conversion in Europe
174
they were previously unaware. But when ethnic Europeans, Germans in ourcase, convert to Islam, the stakes are even higher, because Islam is a persis-tently and negatively Othered religion. Te discrimination to which convertsare subject oen comes as a surprise to them. One German Muslim womanwho converted to Islam in her early twenties and donned the Islamic headscar described how shocking this process has been or her: “I didn’t expect so many negative reactions. Beore people used to call me ‘sunshine’ because my hair isreally blond. Especially men used to always compliment me or my hair. Nowwhen people look at me they only see an oppressed woman. Maybe someonewith dark skin knows better how to deal with this eeling. But I really didn’texpect things to change so ast and so dramatically.
Elsewhere I have argued that German converts to Islam are under extremepressure because they are accused o being traitors to German society and areeven perceived as potential terrorists (Özyürek 2008).
In their personal lives,German Muslims are constantly questioned, eared, and at times subjected toacts o violence. In this essay I discuss strategies some German Muslims havedeveloped to deend their choice in this highly Islamophobic context. Althoughmany German Muslims identiy with born Muslims and many others spenda good portion o their time ghting to improve conditions or Muslims o immigrant backgrounds in Germany, many other (and sometimes the very same) new German Muslims try to distance themselves and Islam itsel romborn Muslims in Germany and the Middle East. Tey are eager to underlinethe act that Muslims and Islam are two dierent things. Like non-converted,non-Muslim German intellectuals, many converts believe that immigrantMuslims need to be educated, integrated, and transormed. But or them, thistransormation should happen not through leaving Islamic practices behind,as atheist le-wing Germans would suggest, nor through reorming Islam, ascenter-right-wing Christian Democrats would support, but, on the contrary,by making immigrant Muslims leave their Middle Eastern or Arican culturesand traditions behind and persuading them to apply undamental Islamicteachings in their everyday lives. In other words, the German converts argue,it is Muslims who need to change, not Islam.
Muslim Tradition and Islamic Essence
Anne Soe Roald (2006), an ethnic Swedish convert to Islam and a proessor o religious studies at the University o Lund, argues that converts go through athree-stage developmental process o love, disappointment, and maturity. In therst stage converts become ascinated with everything born Muslims do, and

Activity (11)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
psykosomatik liked this
Akhtar Janjua liked this
articipate liked this
arjunp72bs liked this
mana1962 liked this
wmfazrul liked this
m_salam2525 liked this
jameslennard liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->