The workshop “Connectivity and identity of the second generation of immigrants” will be jointly organized by A03 “Migrants, Refugees, and Community Building” and B02 “Trust Building Through Thought and Strategy.”
Islamic Trust Studies Workshop “Connectivity and identity of the second generation of immigrants”
Date & Time: Aug. 4, 2022, 13:00-15:00
Presentation: Kazuki Murakami (Faculty of Sociology, Toyo University)
Title: “Muslim community and the second generation of immigrants in France”
Discussant: Masako Kudo (Rikkyo University, B02 Co-investigator)
Moderator: Hidemitsu Kuroki (ILCAA/Hokkaido University SRC, A03 Principal investigator, Area Organizer)
Venue: Open to public, Admission free, Online via Zoom (Pre-registration is required)
Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A)
“Migrants, Refugees, and Community Building” (Principal Investigator: Hidemitsu KUROKI (ILCAA/SRC) Project Number: 20H05826)
“Trust Building Through Thought and Strategy” (Principal Investigator: So YAMANE (Osaka University)Project Number: 20H05828)
Erina Ota-Tsukada e.otatsukada[at]aa.tufs.ac.jp
France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, with many young Muslims assimilating into French society, and some stratification among minorities. Some societal issues, such as terrorism and the wearing of headscarves, are often cited as Islam-associated issues. And while anti-Islamic sentiment is often reflected in the ascendency of far-right political parties, there are also social movements and academic research by Muslims concerned. To study Islam in France, we must consider the positioning of Islam in society and the resistance against it (i.e. the politics), but also the positioning of Islam in people’s lives, as in Muslim communities and individual identities (i.e. the lived experience). This presentation focused on the lived experience. It examined what sorts of communities arise in Muslim neighborhoods, their function in the establishment of local communities and connectivity, and how families and local communities affect the identities of second-generation Muslims.
Regarding the connectivity of Islam in France, this report showed something of a gender-related paradox at the local community level. Islamic connectivity constitutes the fundamental principles which underly everyday life and form communal bonds that limit the activities of women. Nevertheless, it is female Muslims who tend to be active in the local community. This presentation also addressed how second generation Muslims view Islam as an aspect of their identity. While somewhat influenced by their family ties and community, some choose to keep Islam in their life as a bonding within their family and some explore Islam as a new identity and an “individual’s choice” that contributes to their self-esteem. We must also consider how and to what these identities are connected.
Islam is often raised as a “problem” in French society. But from the perspective of connectivity and identity, the negative view of society can make it more difficult for Muslims to believe and practice their religion like any other citizen. The recognition of connectivity / identity and the social integration in this social and geopolitical contexts are important issues for further consideration.
The Post-Presentation Discussion Period
Here are a few of the many insights offered by event commentator Masako Kudo.
Looking at the everyday practice of Islam in families and local communities could provide important clues to understanding the complexity of the Muslim youth’s feelings, experiences, and memories in a way that the culture versus religion narratives often found in English and Japanese literature might not allow.
In terms of Islamic Trust and Connectivity, some questions remain:
– How can Islamic practices overcome the tensions and contradictions found in societal realities?
– What is mainstream society’s view of Islamic practices that could enable alternative forms of assimilation?
– Could these, rather than a threat, be something that fosters ties with non-Muslims?
The Q&A period brought a variety of questions and comments from seminar attendees regarding: the terminology used in discussing integration and identity, how second generation Muslim youth interpret the principle of laïcité, and examining the Muslim community’s trust in the French education system.
These questions and comments remind us how focusing on connectivity and trust in particular reveals societal contexts unique to France. These societal contexts being revealed, I intend to do comparative research further elucidating the distinctive characteristics of Muslim communities in particular societies. (Kazuki MURAKAMI, uploaded on Sep. 29, 2022)