Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe

Article excerpt

Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe. By Esra Özyürek. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. 172 pp. $24.95.

Ethnographer Özyürek, born and raised in Turkey and now living in America, explores Muslim life in Germany. She investigates Muslim immigrants and post1989 East German converts. Her key thesis is highly controversial: that the search by German and other European-born converts for a purified Islam can best be understood in a climate of increasing xenophobia and hostility to Islam. The reader might ask if that hostility is indeed increasing, and, if in a less heated climate, would there be no search for a "true Islam?"

Religious minorities, Özyürek posits, cannot fully embrace their minority position, nor entirely abandon it, nor cause it to disappear completely. Politicians insist that Muslims can live in Germany as citizens, but their religion or Islamic identity is often not accepted. In turn, they try to respond to this challenge by showing that one can be, for instance, a conservative Muslim and a good German citizen at the same time. Thus, they willingly let their ethnic identities as Arabs, Turks, Bosnians, or Indians slip into the background, says the author. Members of the Muslim Youth of Germany, founded in 1994 by the German convert Muhammad Siddiq Borgfeldt, have been successful "in conflating the categories of German and Muslim, confusing insiders and outsiders." However, according to Özyürek, they remain perceived by some officials as "internal enemies" who might potentially disrupt the society, and "they must be kept under constant observation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.