Young men’s narratives on Islam: A dance on the high wire between inclusion and exclusion

Journal title MONDI MIGRANTI
Author/s Monika Müller
Publishing Year 2011 Issue 2010/2
Language Italian Pages 29 P. File size 457 KB
DOI 10.3280/MM2010-002009
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In Switzerland, there are heated public debates on Muslim immi-grants who, by some, are seen as a threat to Swiss values. This paper seeks to draw the attention away from polemic views on the Muslim minority and to focus on complex processes of self representation. It aims to analyse young Muslim men’s ways of addressing religion and identifying with Islam, with a special focus on young second-generation Albanians whose parents migrated from Kosovo or Mac-edonia to Switzerland. This paper compares two cases, namely two peer groups consisting of 16- to 21-year-old second-generation members regularly attending religious education in two different urban mosques. The data was gathered by using the methods of focus group and open questionnaires. Both peer groups share a desire to contend with predominant stereotypes of Islam and seek to display their belonging to Swiss society, a position that is permanently chal-lenged in the public discourse by the alleged opposition between Islam and Western countries. This paper argues that the process of multiple belonging is precarious due to symbolic exclusion. There is considerable evidence that a substantial individual effort is needed if identification with Islam and self-representation as a Swiss citizen accompany each other, whatever these processes may imply. Not only religion and citizenship, but also other social categories are involved in the process of multiple belonging. Being at the same time Muslim and Swiss, young and religious or Muslim and mainstream means to transgress social boundaries.

Keywords: Youth, Muslims, Switzerland, second generation, belon-ging

Monika Müller, Le prospettive sull’Islam dei giovani maschi: sempre in equilibrio instabile tra l’identificazione e l’esclusione in "MONDI MIGRANTI" 2/2010, pp , DOI: 10.3280/MM2010-002009