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Becoming Muslim: Western Women's Conversions to Islam by A. Mansson McGinty

By A. Mansson McGinty

Whereas Islam has turn into a arguable subject within the West, an increasing number of Westerners locate strong that means in Islam. changing into Muslim is an ethnographic examine in accordance with in-depth interviews with Swedish and American girls who've switched over to Islam. continuing from the women's life-stories, the writer explores the charm of Islam to a couple Western girls and the private that means assigned to the faith. whereas conversion is usually perceived as entailing a dramatic switch in worldview, the women's reviews element to an both very important continuity. particularly, the conversion is caused via specific own principles and quests, and inside Islam the ladies can extra discover already salient recommendations. The paintings appeals to scholars within the fields of anthropology, non secular stories, psychology, and women's reviews, drawn to identification, conversion, and gender.

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Extra resources for Becoming Muslim: Western Women's Conversions to Islam (Culture, Mind and Society)

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I will let parts of our conversation serve as examples of how the narrative is created within a particular intersubjective encounter, reflecting the negotiation of meaning between self and other. As the reader will notice the interview was maybe not very “successful,” ethnographically speaking, but nevertheless interesting. In my encounter with Zarah, the interview itself became a moment when Zarah openly and critically contemplated the different reasons why she actually converted to Islam. In the dialogue below, she is stepping away, looking at her own life from the outside, as the other, asking herself as much as trying to give me answers.

To counter charged political statements about “us and them,” the West versus the Muslim world, and “clashes between civilizations” and Islam as the new enemy, we need analyses that show nuances, contradictions, and complexities. Both in Sweden and the Unites States Muslims are establishing and practicing their religion and faith through different institutions, forming a “Swedish Islam” and an “American Islam,” respectively (Svanberg and Westerlund 1999, Schmidt 2004). A couple of the women that I interviewed in Sweden mentioned this phenomenon and identified themselves with a “Swedish Islam,” pointing to environmental issues and social politics, ideas they find supported in Islamic discourse.

By connecting to a religious background she demonstrates temporal coherence and that conversion is a natural step that is sometimes even a fated decision. Anna: Where were you born and how old are you? Layla: I was born in the middle of Sweden. I’m 48 years old. Hmm . . Anna: Can you tell me about your upbringing? Layla: Hmmm, I do not know what to say. I went to Sunday school when I was small. I have always had a faith in God, which I have never left. Layla’s “faith in God” has significant meaning, linking past and present, constructing a sense of life continuity.

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