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Lecture 4

REI 3350 Lecture 4: Oct 9 - Culture, Identity, Religion and Muslim Diaspora .pdf

5 Pages
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Department
Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity
Course Code
REI 3350
Professor
Ramin Jahanbelgloo

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Description
October 9, 2014 : Culture, Identity, Religion and Muslim Diaspora Readings: Haideh moghissi, "Diaspora of Islamic Cultures: Continuity and Change. (Research Report).- Refuge 21, 2 (Feb 2003): 11. Readings: 4(6) - the study of changing gender and family relations among four dis- placed communities of Islamic cultures (Iranian,Afghan, Palestinian, and Pakistani). - three sets of “circumstances” are analyzed – an individual’s experience in the home and host country, together with an examination of socio-economic conditions and policies in the host. - gender significantly impacts new migrants’experience and how they feel about their “home” country. - changing gender dynamics in the new country can lead to a new under- standing among partners – or, alternatively, to heightened tension, with severely damaging effects, particularly for women and children. - Culturally, when family under standings collapse, this process may be accompanied by an effort to find religious justification for gender inequality. - connection can be seen between difficulties in the new country, the efforts of conservative men to reclaim the dominance they once enjoyed in their countries of origin, and give it a religious justification. Hence, the revival, in the diaspora, of conservative Islamic practice and belief. - about 3 per cent of the world population, live in countries in which they were not born. - effects of displacement on gender relations among four migrant and refugee communities from Islamic cultures - Iranians,Afghans, Pakistanis, and Palestinians, two are studied in developed societies (Iranians and Pakistanis in Canada and Britain). - the challenge to traditional ideas may present itself as a positive experience for many (particularly younger) women, who find an opportunity to break from the extended family, and a relatively negative one for men, who may encounter difficulty in finding satisfying work in the new society, and whose authority, dignity, and sense of self-worth may therefore be threatened - term “diaspora” in a rather self-explanatory fashion to refer to communities of immigrant, exiled, and self-exiled individuals who, despite cultural, economic, and political distinctions, share the experience of separation from home about which they have a collective memory - definition includes characteristics such as a dispersal from an “original center" to “peripheral” places, maintaining a memory about the homeland and perhaps considering it a place of eventual return, and particularly having an underclass position in the “hostland” and a belief “that they are not – and perhaps cannot be – fully accepted by their host country.” - “diasporic consciousness” with its associated effects for communities of Islamic cultures results more from a gradually developed emotional, psychological, and inevitably cultural detachment from the “host-land” rather than a continued attachment to the “home-land;” and that this might be the inevitable result of declared and/or undeclared hostility and exclusionary practices that target diasporic communities of Islamic cultures in Western metropolisis. - development of an “identity conflict” is particularly true of the second-generation migrants for whom, over time, “aware- ness of differences between themselves and dominantAnglo society may increase.” - The sense of exclusion and cultural difference, that is, a feeling of not being accepted or at least tolerated by the host country, adds to the sense of isolation. - Many refugees and immigrants feel that they are expected to work harder, to be on their most impeccable behaviour, to complain less, and always to be grateful in their adopted home - Race becomes ethnicity, then culture; the normative hierarchy and inequality gave way to representation in terms of difference.” - Muslims are perhaps the best example of groups who are continuously targets of racism, without having an identifiable marker such as colour that works against blacks. Their religion, Islam, becomes a source of discrimination and exclusion. - Islamic diaspora in the West is often a product of anti-Muslim propaganda and racism - often immigrants of Islamic cultural backgrounds are entirely conceptualized and their history, culture, and way of life are understood with reference to Islam and Islam alone. - ethnic, regional, and class divisions between and among diasporic communities from Islamic societies define the world views, the ways of life, the attachments to the cultural practices of the homeland, and most definitely the politics of individual migrants of Islamic cultures. - Muslim communities in Britain, France, and Germany, for example, come predominantly from working-class and rural backgrounds and consist primarily of poor, unskilled or skilled migrants. The Muslim diasporic communities in the United States and Canada, at least until very recently, tended to have urban, middle-class, and professional backgrounds - the average income among Muslim males in Canada was substantially lower than the comparable income for non- Muslim males, and this was despite the fact that the level of their educational attainment exceeded the Canadian average - Islam is not a meta-culture bounding all immigrants from Islamic societies together - the Western media that made extensive use of these rallies to reinforced hostile, racist perceptions about Muslims as the ultimate Other made no mention of the anti-fatwa protest - identifiable cultural characteristics often take shape in response to the recurrent Islamophobia of media and governments in the West and the construction of shameless racist imagery about Islam, about Muslim women, and about the Muslim way of life which target specifically diasporic communities. - consciousness develops which is expressed in several ways: a resentment against the dominant culture and its thought of as aggressively, but indirectly, pushing its values on all those considered as Other; a return to cultural practices with a claim of authenticity; often associated with diasporic experience is a sense of self-righteousness which turns into “moral bookkee- ping,” and leads to “guilt- tripping” others. - cultural resistance may suppress individuality, the right to choice, and critical thinking for individual community members. They insist “that they are Muslim, their children are Muslim, without making an attempt to define what that means in the Western environment where they are in minority and they refuse to accept, or relate to, issues facing their communities... such as child sexual abuse and spousal abuse. - close link between the formation of identity and the sorts of moral and social responsibility that individuals take within their family and their communities. - relations within the family are affected by a complex web of class, ethnic, gender, religious, and regional factors and not simply by pre-existing cultural values imported from originating countries - the vision of the homeland, which affects individuals’readiness to adapt to a new country and defines the attachment to cultural and religious values (including values that are hostile to gender justice and equality within the family), is compatible with and differentiated by variables which are external to the diasporic communities themselves. The feeling that they are being watched and have to prove themselves never quite leaves them. - pressures of displacement and the increasing, and often openly hostile, stereotypes about migrants of Islamic cultures pushes a substantial number of individuals in each community to barricade themselves behind an ancestral cultural heritage which reinforces gender inequalities - they may reinforce sexist values and patriarchal power relations within a diasporic community. - pain and the anger caused by anti-Muslim and anti-Islam racism encourage members of the diaspora family to take refuge in their own culture, indeed to value the culture in its totality and to suppress critical positions and “disharmony” in its different forms, including challenges to cultural traditions coming from youth and women - sustaining the native culture and identity manifests itself in maintaining beliefs and practices pertaining to men- women relationships within the family and to culturally acceptable masculine-feminine values and roles. - racism and social and cultural pressures from the host country can create among ethno-racial minorities of Islamic cultures grounds for a solidarity and bonding that would not necessarily exist in the home country. - relations within the family are affected by a complex web of class, ethnic, gender, religious, and regional factors and not simply by pre-existing cultural values imported from originating countries - commonality of the experience which allow us the use of the term “diaspora of Islamic cultures,” and which has inspired this project, may lie in the fact that pressures of displacement and the increasing, and often openly hostile, stereotypes about migrants of Islamic cultures pushes a substantial number of individuals in each community to barricade themselves behind an ancestral cultural heritage which reinforces gender inequalities. - racism and the sharp decline in class position that many migrants experience may have a direct impact on gender relations - pain and the anger caused by anti-Muslim and anti-Islam racism encourage members of the diaspora family to take refuge in their own culture, indeed to value the culture in its totality and to suppress critical positions and “disharmony” in its different forms, including challenges to cultural traditions coming from youth and women - structural
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