PhD 'True Islam'

Zoeken naar een ‘zuivere’ islam. Geloofs-beleving en identiteitsvorming van jonge Marokkaans-Nederlandse moslims

Searching for a ‘pure’ Islam. Religious beliefs and identity construction of Moroccan-Dutch Muslim youth

In this research the religious identity of young adolescents will be explored in the practices of these young people and in the beliefs they use in order to give meaning to these practices. It’s clear that in the case of young people religious identity is hard to separate from other identities such as adolescent, Moroccan or male/female. Therefore not only religious practices are the topic of this research but practices of which young people think they are important in their life as a Muslim. When the research would be limited to religious practices, the interplay of the different identities and it’s influence on the religious identity could not be looked into. It would also mean that the question of their religious identity would be partially answered, while the aim is to look into the way these young people are religious according to themselves.

The research was conducted in a very turbulent period in recent history: between 1999 and 2005 in which major events such as the attacks of 9/11, the rise and murder of populist leader Fortuyn and the murder of Theo van Gogh infuenced the identity construction and religiosity of Moroccan-Dutch Muslim youth. Even before 9/11 there was already an increase in interest for religion among young Moroccan-Dutch. But once the debate on Islam flared up, their interest increased enormously. They were continually asked about their Muslim identity; not just by the media, but also by school mates and teachers and by people at their sports club. They started looking into Islam so that they could answer these questions.

They wanted a pure Islam, without compromise. Not an Islam that had been watered down because they happened to live in the Netherlands. Nor did they want an Islam peppered with Moroccan traditions. It is a form of Islam with clear rules, which makes a clear distinction between good and evil. An Islam which is stricter and more orthodox than that of the older generation, but nevertheless seemed to provide better answers to their complicated lives in modern Dutch society and still leaves enough room for negotiations and compromise.

Status: completed

More information:

In Dutch:

  1. Old website
  2. Weblog
  3. Publisher Bert Bakker

In Arabic

  1. Hespress

In English:

  1. Old website
  2. Weblog
  3. ISIM Review ‘Ambivalent Purity‘ (PDF)

The PhD thesis is in Dutch and published by Bert Bakker. Non-Dutch readers can ask for a copy of the English summary by sending an email.
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