Ozyurek, Esra, Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe, Princeton, Princeton University Press


oyzurekEvery year more and more Europeans, including Germans, are embracing Islam. It is estimated that there are now up to one hundred thousand German converts—a number similar to that in France and the United Kingdom. What stands out about recent conversions is that they take place at a time when Islam is increasingly seen as contrary to European values. Being German, Becoming Muslim explores how Germans come to Islam within this antagonistic climate, how they manage to balance their love for Islam with their society’s fear of it, how they relate to immigrant Muslims, and how they shape debates about race, religion, and belonging in today’s Europe.

Esra Özyürek looks at how mainstream society marginalizes converts and questions their national loyalties. In turn, converts try to disassociate themselves from migrants of Muslim-majority countries and promote a denationalized Islam untainted by Turkish or Arab traditions. Some German Muslims believe that once cleansed of these accretions, the Islam that surfaces fits in well with German values and lifestyle. Others even argue that being a German Muslim is wholly compatible with the older values of the German Enlightenment.

Being German, Becoming Muslim provides a fresh window into the connections and tensions stemming from a growing religious phenomenon in Germany and beyond.

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction Germanizing Islam and Racializing Muslims 1
Chapter 1 Giving Islam a German Face 24
Chapter 2 Establishing Distance from Immigrant Muslims 51
Chapter 3 East German Conversions to Islam after the Collapse of the Berlin Wall 69
Chapter 4 Being Muslim as a Way of Becoming German 87
Chapter 5 Salafism as the Future of European Islam? 109
Chapter 6 Conclusion 132
Notes 137
References 149
Index 163

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