Featured weekly article: Split Allegiances: Cultural Muslims and the Tensions Between Religious and National Identity in Multicultural Societies

Split Allegiances: Cultural Muslims and the Tension Between Religious and National Identity in Multicultural Societies

By Liza Hopkins and Cameron McAuliffe

Volume 10, Issue 1, pages 38-58, April 2010

 

Abstract

Second generation Australians from a Muslim background have appeared on the political radar recently as a group at risk of disengagement due to their potentially split allegiances. For these young Australians, the traditional tension over diasporic allegiances between the homeland and the country in which they live is further complicated by religious identity. This paper offers two case studies of the second generation of two mainly Islamic, but otherwise very different, ethnonational communities in Australia, Turkish and Iranian. It examines the responses of these groups to the rising essentialisation and ethnicisation of Islam, at the expense of ethnic and sociocultural difference. In particular, the paper focuses on the way secular practice and religious identity converge into ‘cultural Islam’. We use the term cultural Islam as a way of describing those, particularly of the second and third generations in Australia, who proudly claim their Islamic heritage while choosing not to participate actively in religious life.

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