Muslim Women in the United Kingdom and Beyond: Experiences and Images

Muslim Women in the United Kingdom and Beyond: Experiences and Images

Muslim Women in the United Kingdom and Beyond: Experiences and Images

Muslim Women in the United Kingdom and Beyond: Experiences and Images

Synopsis

The book explores ways in which Muslim women are portrayed, alongside their experiences of being Muslim and part of a predominantly western culture. It engages with Muslim women living predominantly in the United Kingdom, with contributions from other countries such as Australia, America and Sweden. Religious prejudice is a major theme that permeates the book, providing empirical evidence of ways in which islamophobia and visible symbols, such as the hijab, influence life experiences and perceptions of Muslim women negatively. Accounts of the impact of discrimination on life chances and opportunities are vivid. The book recounts ways in which the women cope in challenging diasporic contexts and concludes with recommendations for positive change. The text will be particularly valuable to anyone interested in issues of gender, religion and ethnicity, including students, employers, politicians and professionals.

Excerpt

The role of women in Islam and the Muslim world is one of those issues which are a constant source of misunderstanding and sometimes ill will. Much has been researched and written about this, to the extent that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find an excuse for the generalisations and misconceptions which characterised the past. However, the same is not yet the case with the study of the situation of Muslim women in western Europe. Certainly a lot of valuable work has taken place but the rapidly changing nature of the subject quickly serves to make such work obsolete, even before anything like an overall picture has been achieved. The study of the situations, perceptions and expectations of Muslim women in western Europe is complicated by the change: the daughters of the immigrants now have their own children; many of them are in the employment market and many have been educationally successful. Their experiences growing up in Europe have meant that they have often had to respond directly to the encounters of tradition and modernity in more absolute forms than have their sisters in the Muslim world itself. They have also more directly and personally had to discover what scope and facilities Islam grants them in the face of cultural traditions which have subjected them. And they are having to do this in an environment where there is widespread racism and, more specifically, mistrust of Islam and Muslims. It is this situation of 'double jeopardy' which the papers in this volume deal with, making an important contribution to a subject which has implications for students of Islam, of Europe, of migration, of race and ethnic relations, and of gender studies.

Professor Jørgen S. Nielsen Director, Graduate Institute for Theology and Religion Department of Theology University of Birmingham England

May 2002 . . .

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