Making European Muslims: Religious Socialization Among Young Muslims in Scandinavia and Western Europe 113878950X, 9781138789500

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Making European Muslims: Religious Socialization Among Young Muslims in Scandinavia and Western Europe
 113878950X, 9781138789500

Table of contents :
List of Figures
1 Introduction: Families, Governments, Schools, Alternative Spaces and the Making of European Muslims
PART 1 Islamic Religious Socialization
2 Islam in the Family: The Religious Socialization of Children in a Danish Provincial Town
3 “Freedom Has Destroyed the Somali Family:” Somali Parents’ Experiences of Epistemic Injustice and its Influence on their Raising of Swedish Muslims
4 Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children in the Dutch Immigration Context
PART 2 Government Policies
5 Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany: Models of Integration and the Presence of Islam in Public Schools
6 Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship in Finnish Islamic Religious Education: Building a Foundation for the Emergence of “Finnish Islam”?
7 Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-Making: Conflicts over the Danish Folkeskole
8 Islam in Christianity: Religious Education in the Danish Folkeskole
PART 3 Public Schools
9 Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim: Religiosity and Masculinity in the Social Worlds of Danish Schools
10 Muslimness and Prayer: The Performance of Religiosity in Everyday Life in and outside School in Denmark
11 Likable Children, Uneasy Children: Growing Up Muslim in Small-Town Danish Schools
PART 4 Alternative Spaces
12 Islamic Private Schooling in Austria: A Case-Study of Muslim Parents’ Expectations
13 Brainwashed at School? Deprogramming the Secular among Young Neo-Orthodox Muslims in Denmark

Citation preview

Making European Muslims

Making European Muslims provides an in-depth examination of what it means to be a young Muslim in Europe today, where the assumptions, values and behavior of the family and those of the majority society do not always coincide. Focusing on the religious socialization of Muslim children at home, in semi-private Islamic spaces such as mosques and Quran schools, and in public schools, the original contributions to this volume focus largely on countries in northern Europe, with a special emphasis on the Nordic region, primarily Denmark. Case-studies demonstrate the ways that family life, public education and government policy intersect in the lives of young Muslims and inform their developing religious beliefs and practices. Mark Sedgwick’s introduction provides a framework for theorizing Muslimness in the European context, arguing that Muslim children must navigate different and sometimes contradictory expectations and demands on their way to negotiating a European Muslim identity. Mark Sedgwick is Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is by training a historian, and works in several fields, including the encounter between Islam and modernity. His most recent book is a biography of the great Egyptian modernist theologian, Muhammad Abduh (2009), and his recent articles include “Something Varied in the State of Denmark: Neo-Nationalism, Anti-Islamic Activism, and StreetLevel Thuggery” (2013).

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7 Christianity, Tolerance and Pluralism A Theological Engagement with Isaiah Berlin’s Social Theory Michael Jinkins 8 Negative Theology and Modern French Philosophy Arthur Bradley 9 Law and Religion Edited by Peter Radan, Denise Meyerson and Rosalind F. Atherton 10 Religion, Language, and Power Edited by Nile Green and Mary Searle-Chatterjee

15 The Entangled God Divine Relationality and Quantum Physics By Kirk Wegter-McNelly 16 Aquinas and Radical Orthodoxy A Critical Inquiry Paul J. DeHart 17 Animal Ethics and Theology The Lens of the Good Samaritan Daniel K. Miller 18 The Origin of Heresy A History of Discourse in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity Robert M. Royalty, Jr.

11 Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of Identities in South Asia Edited by Kelly Pemberton and Michael Nijhawan

19 Buddhism and Violence Militarism and Buddhism in Modern Asia Edited by Vladimir Tikhonov and Torkel Brekke

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22 Abrogation in the Qur’an and Islamic Law By Louay Fatoohi 23 A New Science of Religion Edited by Gregory W. Dawes and James Maclaurin 24 Making Sense of the Secular Critical Perspectives from Europe to Asia Edited by Ranjan Ghosh 25 The Rise of Modern Jewish Politics Extraordinary Movement C. S. Monaco 26 Gender and Power in Contemporary Spirituality Ethnographic Approaches Anna Fedele and Kim E. Knibbe 27 Religions in Movement The Local and the Global in Contemporary Faith Traditions Robert W. Hefner, John Hutchinson, Sara Mels and Christiane Timmerman 28 William James’s Hidden Religious Imagination A Universe of Relations Jeremy Carrette 29 Theology and the Arts Engaging Faith Ruth Illman and W. Alan Smith 30 Religion, Gender, and the Public Sphere Edited by Niamh Reilly and Stacey Scriver 31 An Introduction to Jacob Boehme Four Centuries of Thought and Reception Edited by Ariel Hessayon and Sarah Apetrei

32 Globalization and Orthodox Christianity The Transformations of a Religious Tradition Victor Roudometof 33 Contemporary Jewish Writing Austria after Waldheim Andrea Reiter 34 Religious Ethics and Migration Doing Justice to Undocumented Workers Ilsup Ahn 35 A Theology of Community Organizing Power to the People Chris Shannahan 36 God and Natural Order Physics, Philosophy, and Theology Shaun C. Henson 37 Science and Religion One Planet, Many Possibilities Edited by Lucas F. Johnston and Whitney A. Bauman 38 Queering Religion, Religious Queers Edited by Yvette Taylor and Ria Snowdon 39 Sainthood and Race Marked Flesh, Holy Flesh Edited by Molly H. Bassett and Vincent W. Lloyd 40 Making European Muslims Religious Socialization among Young Muslims in Scandinavia and Western Europe Edited by Mark Sedgwick

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Making European Muslims Religious Socialization among Young Muslims in Scandinavia and Western Europe Edited by Mark Sedgwick

First published 2015 by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2015 Taylor & Francis The right of the editor to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Making European Muslims : religious socialization among young Muslims in Scandinavia and Western Europe / edited by Mark Sedgwick. pages cm — (Routledge studies in religion ; 40) 1. Muslim children—Religious life—Scandinavia. 2. Muslim children—Religious life—Europe, Western. 3. Muslim children— Education—Scandinavia. 4. Muslim children—Education—Europe, Western. 5. Muslim families—Scandinavia. 6. Muslim families— Europe, Western. 7. Socialization—Scandinavia. 8. Socialization— Europe, Western. 9. Islam—Social aspects—Scandinavia. 10. Islam— Social aspects—Europe, Western. I. Sedgwick, Mark J. BP188.3.C5M35 2015 297.083ʹ094—dc23 2014013977 ISBN: 978-1-138-78950-0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-76489-4 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by Apex CoVantage, LLC



List of Figures Acknowledgments

ix xi

Introduction: Families, Governments, Schools, Alternative Spaces and the Making of European Muslims



PART 1 Islamic Religious Socialization 2

Islam in the Family: The Religious Socialization of Children in a Danish Provincial Town




“Freedom Has Destroyed the Somali Family:” Somali Parents’ Experiences of Epistemic Injustice and its Influence on their Raising of Swedish Muslims




Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children in the Dutch Immigration Context



PART 2 Government Policies 5

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany: Models of Integration and the Presence of Islam in Public Schools MARGRETE SØVIK


viii Contents 6

Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship in Finnish Islamic Religious Education: Building a Foundation for the Emergence of “Finnish Islam”?




Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-Making: Conflicts over the Danish Folkeskole




Islam in Christianity: Religious Education in the Danish Folkeskole



PART 3 Public Schools 9

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim: Religiosity and Masculinity in the Social Worlds of Danish Schools



10 Muslimness and Prayer: The Performance of Religiosity in Everyday Life in and outside School in Denmark



11 Likable Children, Uneasy Children: Growing Up Muslim in Small-Town Danish Schools



PART 4 Alternative Spaces 12 Islamic Private Schooling in Austria: A Case-Study of Muslim Parents’ Expectations



13 Brainwashed at School? Deprogramming the Secular among Young Neo-Orthodox Muslims in Denmark



Contributors References Index

269 273 291


7.1 Percentage of newspaper articles with Folkeskole and Islam/Muslim. 8.1 Subject coverage of questions in Life and Religion (by grade level)

128 156

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Thanks are due to the Danish Council for Independent Research, which funded most of the research project on which many of the Danish chapters in this book draw, and also to the Aarhus University Research Foundation, which funded some of the Danish research as well as a conference at which some of the research included in this book was first discussed. Thanks are also due to Eva Gulløv, who helped start the Danish research project but was then obliged to withdraw from it for family reasons; to Sidsel Vive Jensen, who participated in much of the project but did not contribute to this book; and to Lucy Seton-Watson, for her work in making the book as readable as it is.

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Introduction Families, Governments, Schools, Alternative Spaces and the Making of European Muslims Mark Sedgwick

The first decade of the twenty-first century focused attention on northwest European1 Muslims, partly because of the growth of what is generally called the Far Right, but what may be better understood as “neo-nationalism”2; partly because of various real social and economic issues among communities of immigrant origin; and partly because of the impact of occasional jihadi violence. Within this, much attention has been paid to the topic of “European Islam.” There has been general agreement that a European Islam is emerging or should emerge, but there has been a lack of agreement over what is actually happening. This is the discussion to which this book contributes by looking at a key stage in the development of Islam in Europe that has received little systematic attention: how European Muslims become Muslim in the first place and what Islam and being Muslim means for their parents and for them. Unsurprisingly, identity emerges as being important. More unexpectedly, proper behavior—the avoidance of temptation and danger—also emerges as being very important. Conceptions of “European Islam” are varied. Politicians and many members of Europe’s general public often understand European Islam to mean “moderate” Islam. What is meant by “moderate” has never been very clear, but for many the term seems in effect to mean “relatively unimportant”— an understanding of “moderate” that reflects the continued public influence of analyses of modernization that were popular during the first three quarters of the twentieth century. According to this classic modernization theory, religion inevitably fades into insignificance in the face of advancing modernity. Though still popular among politicians and the general public, including many who play a part in the socialization and schooling of young European Muslims, classic modernization theory now attracts little support among scholars. Many scholars have instead understood the dominant dynamic in the Europeanization of Islam as “individualization.” Islam does not fade into insignificance, but becomes an individual matter, as Islamic “religious authorities” lose their influence. As Frank Peter has pointed out, despite much scholarly support for the individualization thesis, disagreement exists about what individualization actually means. For some, notably Joscelyne

2 Sedgwick Cesari, it in effect means liberalization—the growing autonomy of the individual in choosing which elements of Islam to adhere to, a process often referred to as bricolage, which may be described in terms of the supermarket, where each shopper fills his or her basket with an individual selection of the goods on offer. For others, notably Olivier Roy, it does not mean liberalization, but rather the deculturalization of Islam, a deculturalization that is not attended by significant changes in doctrine—not attended, that is, by significant bricolage.3 It seems likely that both approaches are right in part: sometimes liberalization occurs, but core elements of Islam remain constant. This is not, however, necessarily a Europeanization of Islam. Schirin Amir-Moazami and Armando Salvatore have in effect questioned the assumption that Islam was ever monolithic in the first place, pointing out that a variety of discourses on, and understandings of, Islam have been present for centuries outside Europe.4 They have a good point. Bricolage may be characteristic of the religiosity of modern Europe, but it is not exclusive to it. Accompanying the discussion on European Islam has been a discussion on identity. Again, there is a gap between politicians and the general public on the one hand and scholars on the other. For politicians and the general public, questions of loyalty have often been behind the interest in identity. In raising fundamental questions about loyalty, the emergence in the early twenty-first century of “home-grown terrorism” focused attention on identity, since loyalty and identity are often understood to be related. And loyalty and “moderate Islam” are also often understood to be related, with moderate Islam and loyal Islam often being seen as one and the same. Scholars, however, have generally had a somewhat different understanding of the importance of identity. For them, identity is not primarily about loyalty. Scholars commonly distinguish between individual or personal identity and collective identity, generally recognizing two varieties of collective identity, the social and the cultural. Both of these are important sources of meaning for any individual. And, as Sissel Østberg has pointed out, a problem therefore potentially arises when social identity and cultural identity do not coincide.5 There is, however, more to being Muslim than identity. Islam is not just a source of identity, but is above all a religion, and at an individual level religions are about doctrine, myth, practice and behavior, as well as about identity. Doctrine and practice have received more recent scholarly attention than myth and behavior, or what this introduction will call “proper behavior,” so as to distinguish it from practice, which is of course also a form of behavior. With regard to doctrine, Talal Asad has proposed that Islam may be understood as a “discursive tradition,” a body of related understandings or perhaps a series of overlapping discursive traditions.6 This is an understanding that Schirin Amir-Moazami and Salvatore use in their work. It is a useful understanding, and has been expanded to include practice, especially by Saba Mahmood and Charles Hirschkind, who in effect see Islam as also being a ritual tradition.7

Introduction 3 As Mahmood explains, ritual is sometimes understood in opposition to the spontaneous, creating an opposition of “stereotypical versus spontaneous action, rehearsed versus authentic emotions, [and] public demeanor versus private self.”8 Mahmood, however, proposes that Islamic ritual and practice may instead be understood after Foucault as “technologies of the self,” producing a particular habitus, a difficult but again useful term also employed by Bourdieu and Gregory Starrett, among others, though in different senses. Mahmood uses the term to describe a way of being, including not only practice and doctrine, but also all that they, in turn, produce, and linking the individual to the larger society and culture. For Mahmood, habitus is “a quality that is acquired through human industry, assiduous practice and discipline such that it becomes a permanent feature of a person’s character.”9 In this sense one may speak of an “Islamic habitus,” though there is of course more than one possible habitus within Islam. Although Bourdieu would not agree, it may also be possible in this sense for an individual to have more than one habitus. The Islamic habitus is similar to what Iram Khawaja calls “Muslimness” in this book, and to what Laura Gilliam elsewhere calls “habituated dispositions”10 and Østberg simply calls “a way of life.”11 Habitus also overlaps with proper behavior, which is often defined in Islamic terms: the eating only of food that is halal (i.e., religiously permitted) and abstention from premarital sex are both part of proper Islamic behavior. Proper behavior is sometimes defined differently by non-Muslim European society, which cares more about whether food is ecological and fair-trade than whether it is halal. European society and Islamic doctrine agree, however, with respect to some other aspects of proper behavior, including virtues such as altruism and honesty and vices such as the use of narcotics drugs and the criminality associated with gangs. These virtues are encouraged and these vices are discouraged equally by Islamic doctrine and by European laws and social norms. Proper Islamic behavior and European conceptions of proper behavior sometimes differ, but often agree. Habitus and proper behavior, then, are major topics considered in this book, as are related discourses and discursive practices, following in the tradition of “the anthropology of Islam” as represented by Mahmood and Hirschkind. Habitus also brings us back to identity, since, as Gilliam points out, “identification with a Muslim community of practice” is an important aspect of identity.12 The school known as the anthropology of Islam is appreciated by many for having provided a solution to the problem of how to avoid two wellestablished and problematic positions—essentialism and cultural constructionism. At its extreme, the essentialist position, criticized most famously by Edward Said, holds that Islam is one and has an autonomous existence and that Islam is the essence of Muslim societies and individuals and is thus the route to understanding both of these. Cultural constructionism, in contrast, views individuals, cultures and societies as the route to understanding Islam, which has no autonomous existence and is multiple and diverse. Extreme

4 Sedgwick essentialism ultimately denies the existence of the individual, whereas extreme cultural constructivism ultimately denies the existence of Islam. The concept of Islam as a discursive and ritual tradition was thus welcomed as a liberation from the sterile contest between these two opposing positions. The anthropology of Islam, as it has so far developed, however, may also be criticized. In the first place, it may be too normative. It might be argued that Mahmood and Hirschkind’s informants tended merely to repeat normative discourse drawn from classic Islamic sources, and the resulting understandings often merely mirrored those sources. It has been argued by Samuli Schielke that there is “too much Islam in the anthropology of Islam,”13 that the anthropology of Islam forgets that not all Muslims are devout activists, and that even devout activists have lives that include many things that have nothing to do with Islam. This is undoubtedly true, and it is possible that what started with Asad as an attempt to avoid essentialism can become simply another form of essentialism, with Muslims understood only as Muslims, and understood then in terms of normative discourse. Asad noted that power must be considered, because disputes within a discursive tradition do not take place in a vacuum,14 but sometimes much of the anthropology of Islam does seem to assume a vacuum, and to ignore power. Some critics go further, arguing that to understand Muslims as Muslims is not only to essentialize them, but also to reinforce mechanisms of oppression, both those that operate within the imagined “Muslim community” and those that operate from without. In understanding Muslims as Muslims, researchers may join with some European governments, which, it is suggested, accidentally support the construction of restrictive norms and impede the development of individualized, varied, fluid versions of Islam. Normative understandings of Islam promoted by religious authorities that have the ear of government are not necessarily those of many or most Muslims and are not necessarily in the interests of society as a whole. Understandings of Islam that are favored by parents are not necessarily in the interests of their children.15 These are valid concerns. This book’s contributors agree with Shielke that not all Muslims are devout activists, or even devout; that even the lives of the devout contain much that is not related to Islam; and that Muslim children are many other things as well as Muslims. This, and the related point that there are many ways of being Muslim, is important. However, it is also important not to go too far, not to take the Islam out of Muslims altogether. Even though not all those who are identified as Muslim by governments, by Islamic religious authorities, or even by their parents need actually be Muslim in any important way, many are, and some who are not identified as Muslims by these sources of authority choose to define themselves as Muslims, as Gilliam shows in this book. Even if the Islamic habitus is only one part of any individual Muslim, and a part of varying importance and significance at that, it is still one of the most important things that makes a Muslim Muslim—or, by a slightly different definition, it is precisely what it

Introduction 5 is that makes a Muslim. The Islamic habitus of any given individual varies from the normative in various ways, of course. Actual, everyday, lived Islam is not the same as normative Islam, whether that is the normative Islam constructed by Islamic religious authorities or that constructed in books written by non-Muslim scholars. Similarly, the impact of power—of government policies, of parents and schools and of peers—is among the questions that this book seeks to answer on an empirical basis, by examining what religious and nonreligious norms are actually being supported, for what reasons, and with what effects. The origin of the religious habitus and of related identities, like the origin of much else, lies in childhood, though of course it changes, to a greater or lesser extent, in later life.16 And like many other forms of socialization, religious socialization begins in the family, which is why this book also starts in the family. In Part 1, the book looks at Islamic religious socialization in families and in “mosque schools,” which are sometimes also called Quran schools. It shows how this socialization aims not only to develop an Islamic habitus, but also to reinforce identity and to encourage proper behavior, protecting young European Muslims from the many temptations and dangers present in European society—from alcohol and premarital sex to drugs and gangs. Some parents, notably Swedish Somali parents, feel that the proper socialization of their children must be done against the efforts of the surrounding society. In religious Muslim families, in Europe as elsewhere, religious socialization takes two main forms. One is learning those “technologies of the self” that contribute significantly to the production of the Islamic habitus, notably prayer and fasting, but also including the many acts that incorporate Islamic practice into general life: the etiquette (adab) relating to cleanliness, eating, starting a journey and other such acts. Whether or not these are taught intentionally, children in a family where parents pray normally join them, first in play and then in earnest. The same is true of fasting. The other main form that religious socialization takes within the family is more doctrinal: the answers received to the questions that all children ask about life and death involve God, and answers to questions about right and wrong involve the Quran and the Prophet. In addition to these main forms, many other factors, from the social to the emotional, intervene. In the book’s second chapter, Marianne Holm Pedersen looks at how thirteen Muslim families in the Danish provincial town of Slagelse try to pass Islam on to their children, showing that they do this not just because they see Islam as a means to salvation, but also as a way of helping children to avoid dangers and temptations and to live successful lives, and thus ultimately to join the Danish middle class. They thus understand religion as contributing to the same ends as something else they hope their children will acquire—a good education. Pedersen also shows that “religious practices are . . . also family practices.”17 Muslim parents raise their children as Muslims because that is part of what the family is for them. The family can

6 Sedgwick usefully be understood as building a “community of practice.” Identity, then, is important, as is proper behavior, the avoidance of temptation and danger. Pedersen’s chapter shows how the type of Islam that parents try to transmit varies depending on their own relationship with Islam and with issues raised by living in Denmark, from candy that may or may not be halal to religious education at school. She shows that what is passed on is not just what parents wish to pass on: much Islamic socialization happens spontaneously, as children learn by observing and joining in, and much may also derive from sources beyond the immediate family, such as cousins and friends. Pedersen’s research supports the conclusion of Danièle HervieuLéger that religious practices and interpretations necessarily change as they are passed from one generation to another18 and of Susan Ridgely that it is “in the interplay between the generations that both children and adults shape their religious traditions by developing a modifying ritual and theology to fit their particular needs.”19 Pedersen’s Slagelse parents talk about religious socialization and refer only in passing to their experiences of Danish society, but in the third chapter Rannveig Haga focuses on Somali parents’ experiences of Swedish society, deliberately avoiding discussion of what they want for their children or how they want to socialize them, religiously or otherwise. Haga instead shows how Swedish society, and specifically Swedish school teachers and social services personnel, are seen by Somali parents as disempowering them. Haga does not argue that this is their intention, but provides ample and disturbing evidence that this is felt to be the result. In such circumstances, it may be assumed that it becomes difficult for all forms of socialization to take place. Some of Haga’s Somali mothers do indeed say that they have entirely given up, but this is presumably a rhetorical device, not a statement to be taken at face value. Haga’s Somali mothers do not talk much about Islam, but rather about identity and solidarity. It appears from some interviews, however, that Islam is felt by at least some mothers to be important for both of these. For one mother, “The fact that they are Muslims . . . gives the child the knowledge of where they’ve come from.” For another, “The most important thing is faith . . . That is what builds humanity. To respect and help those who need help.”20 Eight of Pedersen’s thirteen Danish Muslim families chose to supplement their own home-based religious socialization with religious instruction carried out by professional or semiprofessional teachers of religion, the individual Muslim child’s closest point of encounter with Islamic religious authorities. Learning to recite part or even all of the text of the Quran has been the foundation of formal Islamic education for over a thousand years. The learning and the recitation are themselves technologies of the self, and the Quran is of course the principal source of Islamic doctrine and myth. Dutch Muslim families, like Danish Muslim families, make use of professional and semiprofessional teachers of religion. In the book’s fourth chapter, Trees Pels looks at the private Islamic “mosque schools” that operate

Introduction 7 outside regular school hours and are used by some 80 per cent of Dutch Muslim parents. Pels explains the history and development of privately run mosque schools in the Netherlands. They first appeared in the 1980s, as establishments resembling traditional madrasas in Morocco and thus focusing primarily on teaching memorization of the Quran. They developed, adding topics such as culture and proper behavior, somewhat adapting to the regular Dutch schools in their methods and even curricula, but still remaining the poor relations of the Dutch system, if only because of their lesser financing from private sources. Pels finds that the objectives of parents using the Dutch mosque schools resemble those of Danish parents identified by Pedersen. She also finds that the concerns of Dutch parents echo those that Haga identified among Swedish Somali parents, though they are expressed rather less dramatically. Dutch parents hope that, as well as teaching Islam, mosque schools will teach proper behavior (and incidentally keep their children off the streets) and maintain children’s links to a larger community—not just the family (as Danish parents wanted), but the national, ethnic and religious community. The teaching of formal Arabic is thus emphasized by parents of Arab origin. In addition, those running the schools add the objective of bridging gaps between Islam and the wider society. The aim of bonding is far more accentuated in the lessons, however, even if the bridging aim is not reflected in the teaching materials (although those used in the Turkish mosque schools at least refer to the migration context, unlike those used in Moroccan mosque schools). Pels finds that although pedagogical methods are now approaching those used in regular Dutch schools, top-down knowledge transfer is still the general approach taken.21 The Dutch mosque schools studied by Pels may be expected to achieve their objectives to some extent with regard to the teaching of the Quran and Islamic myth, doctrine and practice, as also with regard to identity and (when relevant) Arabic. It is less clear—although Pels does not herself suggest this—that they will succeed in teaching proper behavior. In Muslim-majority countries, these processes of religious socialization within the family and in mosque schools or Quran schools take place in parallel with the practices of society as a whole. Parents, and possibly siblings, pray, and the call to prayer is heard constantly outside the home. Parents and other relations fast, and the rhythm of the day outside the home adjusts to Ramadan. “Religion” (or sometimes “Islam”) is part of the school curriculum, and although the interpretations of Islamic doctrine that are taught in school may differ in some ways from those found in the home or promoted by the Quran teacher, there is still a fundamental congruence between school, home and society. In countries where Muslims are a minority, however, these processes of religious socialization take place either in isolation from the broader society or even in contradiction to it. The call to prayer is normally heard in only very few places in Europe, and although in some parts of some European cities Ramadan may cause some adjustment to the rhythm of the day, the

8 Sedgwick rest of the country continues its normal rhythm. Under these circumstances, Islam easily becomes significant to identity in a way that it cannot be in countries where almost everyone is also Muslim, and the religious socialization of children adjusts to European circumstances. Whether a religious Muslim family lives in the Muslim world or in Europe need not make a great difference to some aspects of the religious socialization that goes on within that family. Parents in Europe, however, will emphasize proper behavior in relation to issues that are prominent in Europe, and especially in the “disadvantaged” housing areas where so many of Europe’s Muslims live.22 Parents in a Danish provincial town will also emphasize different dimensions of Islam in response to the role that Islam plays in their own lives, as Pedersen shows in her chapter. It is above all in public schools that there is the greatest possibility for contradiction between the religious socialization of the family and mosque or Quran school on the one hand and other processes of socialization on the other. It is above all in public schools that European states can and do intervene in the process of religious socialization, attempting to use their very considerable resources to remake European Muslims in ways they think most useful for those Muslims and for European society as a whole. Schools have historically been important in the production of national identities; they feature prominently in national debates and discourse on integration. Part 2 of the book therefore looks at European government policies relating to Islam and Muslims in public schools. These vary considerably. In France, government policy is to exclude religion, including Islam, from public schools. Some other countries, such as Germany and Finland, provide confessional Islamic religious education, in accordance with Islamic doctrines, in public schools, on the basis that Islam can support proper behavior and desirable civic values just as other religions can, though more government intervention than usual may be needed to achieve this. Somewhere in between this come hybrid, pragmatic approaches, exemplified in this part of the book by Denmark, which in principle provides Lutheran Christian religious education for all but in practice tolerates more pluralistic approaches. So far, media and political pressure to exclude aspects of Islam from public schools has been resisted. Part 2 opens with a chapter in which Margrete Søvik contrasts French and German state approaches to Islam in public schools. While the French state attempts to exclude Islam, the German state attempts to support Islamic religious socialization, though on its own terms. Søvik shows how historical understandings of the proper relationship between state, group and citizen led in France to the conclusion that Islam should be strictly limited to the private sphere, and thus to the banning of the Islamic headscarf from public schools. She then shows how the different historical understandings of these relationships found in Germany led to the opposite conclusion: that social peace requires “overlapping public and private values,” and thus requires appropriate Islamic religious education.23

Introduction 9 In legal and constitutional theory, Germany might treat Islam as it treats various denominations of Christianity and, in some Länder (federal states), Judaism, working together to provide confessional religious education in public schools. In practice, no Land has yet done this. In theory, this is because Islam has no church body with which Länder can cooperate as they do with the Christian churches. More important, it is because of concerns that the “backyard Islam” (Hinterhof-Islam) of immigrants is unsuited to supporting German values. Instead, various Länder have developed their own Islamic religious education, technically labeled “non-confessional” because of the lack of official Islamic input, to promote proper behavior and civic virtues through “a particular civic ethic that embraces liberal virtues while drawing on religion as a source of personal integrity and social responsibility . . . approaching Islam from a quasi-confessional angle and seeking to fuse it with the norms and values of broader society.”24 In the next chapter of this part (Chapter 6), Inkeri Rissanen looks at Islamic religious education in Finnish public schools. This parallels Islamic religious education in German public schools. Finnish Islamic religious education aims to assist Muslims in strengthening their Islamic identity and religious values while understanding the significance of Islam in the context of a liberal-democratic society. The result, Rissanen shows, is “a space where Finnish Islam [is] being created and negotiated on a grassroots level.”25 This Islam is Finnish, partly because the pedagogical imperative to teach one “general Islam” free from denominational and national difference produces a deculturalized “universal” Islam that is shown by teachers to be fully in accordance with Finnish laws and values. “Sometimes the impression was given that Finnish law might be even more Islamic in nature than practices in some Muslim countries.”26 Teachers also deliberately promoted the idea of being a Finnish Muslim, in opposition to the general tendency (which teachers sometimes seemed to share) of placing “Finn” and “Muslim” in opposition to one another. Rissanen also suggests that the mere existence of Islamic religious education in public schools helps foster a dual identity, because it shows pupils that Finnish society makes room at school not only for Christians, but for Muslims, too. Identity, then, seems a more important issue than proper behavior in the case of Finnish Islamic religious education. In Chapter 7, Lene Kühle looks at Danish political and media debates about Islam in schools. Despite some pressure, the Danish government refused to take measures comparable to those taken in France or even in Germany. In contrast to France, the Danish debate has paid little attention to the headscarf; in contrast to Germany, it has paid little attention to religious education. Instead it has focused on communal showering, the accommodation of Islamic festivals and fasting during Ramadan. All of these, it seems, have implications for identity. Kühle shows how between 1990 and 2003 these questions first began to occupy ever more space in Danish newspapers, and then became the subjects of parliamentary debate. The consequence was that Muslims in Danish public schools became constructed as “a

10 Sedgwick social problem,” one demanding political attention and government action. Despite this, however, and despite one minister on one occasion expressing his sympathy with neo-nationalist fears of Islamization, the Danish government refused to take action, continuing to leave the regulation of these issues up to individual schools, in which it was supported by all political parties save for the neo-nationalist Danish People’s Party.27 Kühle shows how in the case of Denmark “the rhetoric in parliament and the practices in local schools are not congruent.”28 While political and media discussion generally rejects multiculturalism, many or even most public schools continue to take a pragmatic approach to accommodating the needs of their Muslim pupils—and, probably, are reluctant to speak about this in public for fear of media reaction, and possibly also of political attention and even action. In the final chapter in this part (Chapter 8), Mark Sedgwick looks at Danish policies concerning religious education and finds that a version of Kühle’s conclusion applies: government regulations and textbooks used in schools are not congruent. Unlike Germany and Finland, Denmark has no confessional Islamic religious education in public schools. Rather, there is Christian religious education for all, including Muslims, unless their parents withdraw them (which few do, as withdrawal is deliberately made difficult).29 Denmark’s Christian religious education is widely understood by the majority population not to be propagating Christianity, but it is hard to see how some of the activities required by regulations, such as learning to base morality on Bible stories and practicing hymn singing, could actually avoid propagating Christianity to some degree. School textbooks used in Denmark, however, follow various approaches, with the most recent series successfully avoiding the propagation of Christianity and presenting Islam and other religions fairly and objectively. Other series, however, both identify Denmark with Christianity and portray Islam as foreign and inferior. One series even placed Islam firmly within a neonationalist narrative of the clash of civilizations.30 Danish government policies, then, do not attempt to construct a Danish Islam comparable to the German and Finnish Islams considered in earlier chapters. If anything, they remain wedded to the attempt to construct a Christian Denmark. The resources of European states are considerable, but the processes of religious socialization are complex, and often beyond even the power of European states to control. Part 3 of this book thus looks at what actually happens in public schools, focusing on Muslim children. A very varied pattern appears, even within one country, Denmark. Islam may be much emphasized as an oppositional identity, deemphasized in favor of a cool “street” identity, part of an everyday performance of Muslimness, or it may be almost invisible against a background that appears strongly Christian but may in fact be secular. The varying configurations of different classes in different schools seems to be much more important than government policy, certainly in the Danish case.

Introduction 11 In the first chapter of Part 3 (Chapter 9), Laura Gilliam looks at two Danish public schools where Muslims form the majority in class, and finds Islam playing two very different roles. In one school where Muslim children often felt marginalized (by the school, by some teachers and by periodic emphases on Danishness and Christianity), identity came to the fore, and “common Muslimness” was important, “challenging the moral superiority often implicitly ascribed to ‘Danes’ in the media and in the school teaching.” “The Muslimness with the highest status in class was that one most distinct from the values and practices which the children attributed to the Danish identity, and thus, following an oppositional logic, the strictest and most pious practice of Islam.”31 In another class, the dominant oppositional identity, associated with the boys in the class who were seen as most “cool,” was more “street,” involving improper behavior that was hardly compatible with a strict interpretation of either Islam or, of course, Danish law, including petty theft and minor acts of aggression. In this class, pupils favored the “relaxed” interpretation of Islam that was tacitly promoted by the school, including the view that the school was a nonreligious place, but not for reasons that the school would have welcomed, had it known them. Gilliam argues that these two cases show how the roles actually played by Islam in any individual school class, as in the school lives of the pupils in it, “depend on dynamics within the peer group, on relationships with teachers, and on which individual pupils dominate the social norms in class,” and that the “oppositional norm of tough masculinity that has developed in reaction to the marginalization of ethnic minorities” is of paramount importance.32 Just as parliamentary rhetoric and government regulation are not necessarily congruent, then, the intentions of the school with regard to religion and what actually happens in class are not necessarily congruent either. Neither, of course, are the intentions of parents. How parents want their children to grow up and how those children do actually grow up are not the same. But in the case of schools, it is clear that emphasis on Danishness and Christianity can be counterproductive, strengthening a Muslim identity of resistance. Gilliam considers that in the schools she studied, fundamental religious differences were not recognized. Teachers preferred only to recognize “a thin layer of superficial differences that can be pushed aside to reveal the common humanity and the universal child underneath.”33 In these cases, of course, the “universal child” is imagined within the frame of Danish culture, which includes important elements of Lutheran origin. In Chapter 10, Iram Khawaja then looks at how Muslim pupils in Danish schools perform their “Muslimness,” focusing on the performance of the ritual prayer (salat), which all the children she interviews agree has no place in school but that they all say they perform outside school. The school, she concludes, “can be seen as a secular and public sphere.” As Khawaja says, it is impossible to tell whether the children she interviewed actually pray regularly or whether they simply said they did because they know it is expected of them as part of “the proper embodiment and practice of Muslimness.”34

12 Sedgwick Variations in religious practice are to be expected. Other chapters report wide variations in religious knowledge, with Pedersen being told by the children she interviewed in Slagelse that they lacked detailed knowledge of Islam, and Rissanen being told by the teachers she interviewed in Finland that there were greatly varying levels of knowledge of Islam among their students. The last chapter of Part 3 (Chapter 11) looks at a small-town school in Denmark where behavior is generally relatively proper and where Muslim children are so few in number that there is no possibility of Muslimness assuming the importance for identity that it does in the schools studied by Gilliam. Sally Anderson investigates the paradoxical status of religion, not just of Islam, in the small-town Danish school. On the one hand, the schools conceive of themselves as secular and head teachers claim not to ask what religion a pupil follows—though in practice they, and teachers, do actually know this as they make minor adjustments to accommodate the needs of the very few Muslim pupils they have (as happens elsewhere in the Danish system). On the other hand, there is conflation between “Christianity” and “Danish society” to the point where a picture of a Muslim girl lighting a candle in a local church may be proudly viewed as a “perfect picture of integration.” Anderson notes a “consensus that expressions of religion in school do not really denote religiosity, and therefore are not ‘really about religion,’” and suggests that this may be due to the way schools are framed as nonreligious places. This framing “invalidates, reduces, peripheralizes and makes awkward any real religious expression, in that religion in its real form belongs to domains of ‘family’ and ‘worship.’”35 Some of Anderson’s Muslim children go along with the rest of the school, lighting candles and singing hymns, but still retain their separate religious identity: they know they are Muslims, and while they are interested to find out about what Christians do, their own religious tradition remains their baseline: drinking alcohol (wine) for religious purposes is a strange thing to do and churches would look nicer with mosaics, like mosques have.36 Other Muslim children may be ascribed a religious identity they themselves might not recognize, just because they do not, for whatever reason, participate in school-class sociability to the same extent or with the same social ease. In these cases, however, there is no sign of Islam becoming connected to any variety of oppositional identity, as happens in Gilliam’s large city schools. What happens in public schools, however, is not the end of the religious socialization of European Muslims. There are also alternative formal and informal institutions that are sometimes entirely beyond the control of the state. The fourth and final part of the book looks at two of these: an Islamic private school in Austria chosen by many Austrian Muslim parents and informal Islamic training in Denmark run by a group of young Danish Muslims. In both cases, alternative models are intended to remedy the deficiencies of the public school system, but those deficiencies are felt to be more severe in the Danish than in the Austrian case.

Introduction 13 In the first chapter in this part (Chapter 12), Elif Medeni and Barbara Breen-Wenninger look at Islamic private schools in Austria that provide the full range of schooling in an Islamic framework. The focus of their case study is on the Al-Azhar International Schools in Vienna, a group of schools that has been the subject of media controversy. The group has been accused, for example, of fostering a parallel society, a charge against Islamic private schools that is heard not only in Austria. A large-scale survey of parents at this group of schools, combined with in-depth interviews, showed that parents’ motivations were both positive and negative. Among the positive motivations, parents valued the schools’ Islamic character and specific skills taught, such as Quran recitation and, for some parents (presumably those of Arab origin), knowledge of Arabic. Among the negative motivations, they saw the schools as a refuge from issues found in Austrian public schools such as mixed-sex physical education and non-halal food, and also the general problem of discrimination, the fear that “public schools would force assimilation, rather than nurturing faith or promoting religious values.” Medeni and Breen-Wenninger call this the schools’ “protective function.”37 Parents were often less happy about the schools’ educational quality, but evidently found their protective function to be more important. Medeni and Breen-Wenninger report that demand for Islamic private schools in Austria is on the increase. In the final chapter of Part 4 and of the book, Christian Suhr looks at the Muslim Youth Center in Aarhus, Denmark, where a group of young Danish Muslims work on their own religious socialization within a neo-orthodox framework similar to that often identified as Salafism. These young Danish Muslims understand their work as the reverse of the socialization they received in Danish public schools, which they understand as “brainwashing.” Danish public schools, they consider, put humanity at the center, but it is God, not humanity, who should be at the center. Danish public schools also expose Muslims to a range of temptations that are difficult to resist. The Muslim Youth Center is thus also a refuge from temptation, and sometimes from gangs, crime and drugs.38 Suhr’s young Danish Muslims, then, see Islam as protective, just as Medeni and Breen-Wenninger’s Austrian Muslim parents do, and just as Pedersen’s Danish Muslim parents did in the book’s first chapter. Proper behavior is important. Across Europe, parents and families differ, and the school systems of different European countries conceive of and govern religious education differently, as well as conceiving and governing other aspects of school life differently. Dynamics vary between schools with many Muslim pupils and those with few. Individual teachers take different approaches and, as any teacher knows, different classes within the same school are themselves different. Comprehensive coverage of all this variety has not been attempted in this book, partly because the focus is on the issues discussed above rather than on the relative prevalence of particular phenomena, and partly because in-depth treatment of all these issues for the whole of Europe would require several volumes rather than one book.

14 Sedgwick The studies on which this book draws are taken from a fairly narrow range of countries mostly in northern Europe, with a special emphasis on the Nordic region and especially Denmark. This Nordic and Danish emphasis partly reflects circumstances: the majority of the Danish studies result from a collective research project funded primarily by the Danish Council for Independent Research,39 and there were no fully comparable projects outside Denmark. The Nordic and Danish emphasis also reflects the relatively greater availability in the Nordic region of high-quality research into the questions investigated by this book, an availability that reflects a trend noted in 1989 by Marianne Gullestad, then a Norwegian guest researcher at the University of Chicago, who pointed out that one effect of the Nordic region’s long preference for state-based solutions to social problems has been a long history of state-based support for research into social issues. Gullestad lamented that this research was so little read outside the Nordic region, partly because it was too often published only in Nordic languages.40 This problem persists today, and this book is one minor attempt at addressing it. As well as giving readers an opportunity to appreciate Nordic and Danish research, however, this book’s Nordic and Danish emphasis also raises the question of the extent to which experiences in the Nordic region are relevant to the wider world and to which they are specific to that region. There has been much interest in this “Nordic model” since the 1960s, and two approaches to explaining it and the apparent successes of Nordic societies have appeared. One is that the Nordic countries are hyper-modern, that they “reached the future first,” as The Economist put it in 2013.41 If this is the case, “Today the Nordics, tomorrow the world”—or at least, tomorrow northwest Europe. In this case, looking at the making of European Muslims in the Nordic region tells us a lot about the making of European Muslims elsewhere. Another approach to explaining the “Nordic model,” however, is to stress what is specific to the Nordic countries, which is a product of their small size, unusual geography, distinctive history and Lutheran homogeneity, to name a personal selection of the factors that are sometimes suggested. In this case, looking at the making of European Muslims in the Nordic region tells us a lot about Nordic Muslims, and rather less about European Muslims. There are sound arguments in favor of both approaches to the “Nordic model,” which are, anyhow, not mutually exclusive. The small size and consequently greater governability of the Nordic countries, for example, makes it easier to put new ideas into practice, which is one reason why the future tends to arrive first in the Nordic region. The apparent success of the Nordic countries also encourages imitation of their systems elsewhere, as when in 2010 both the British Left and the British Right found different aspects of the Swedish educational system to admire,42 or when in 2009 the Christian Science Monitor argued for applying Finnish models in the US.43 Perhaps most important, however, is that trends in the Nordic countries are often relatively easy to understand, not just because of the quantity and quality of

Introduction 15 preexisting research, but because various factors, including size and transparency, make the researcher’s task easier. To some extent, the Nordic experience of Islam and Muslims clearly has been distinctive. Mass immigration from the Muslim world started later there than in many other European countries, and neo-nationalist reactions were often more dramatic than in countries with a longer experience of ethnic or religious pluralism. In most ways, however, the Nordic experience has been different in degree, not in kind. Identity has been an issue everywhere in northwest Europe, for example, and drugs and petty criminality threaten socially and economically disadvantaged communities everywhere, making proper behavior especially desirable. Within diversity, certain common themes emerge. Religious socialization within the family responds to European circumstances, as reflected in the lives of parents and in the challenges they see awaiting their children. Mosque and Quran schools also respond to those circumstances. There is more emphasis on identity than one would find in the Muslim world, and more emphasis on proper behavior. European publics and politicians have their own agendas when it comes to Islam and Muslims in public schools, agendas that in some ways overlap and in other ways differ from country to country, but these agendas are not always those of the schools themselves. European publics and states are also concerned about proper behavior and identity, though France separates these concerns from religion except in so far as French laïcité comes to form part of French identity. Between these various external points, the children themselves, the future Muslim citizens of Europe, find their own ways, learning to negotiate different and sometimes contradictory expectations and demands in different contexts. Muslim children in public schools may behave in ways that have more to do with “dynamics within the peer group . . . relationships with teachers, and . . . which individual pupils dominate the social norms in class” than with the aims and fears of parents and states, but identity is again often an issue, as is proper behavior (or perhaps its absence). And outside public schools, parents may take matters into their own hands, putting their children in Islamic private schools, or young Muslims may take matters into their own hands, attempting to teach themselves the Islamic habitus and proper behavior that they find to be lacking elsewhere. In all this, European Muslims are made. NOTES 1. What is in fact northwest Europe is often described simply as “Europe,” a practice that will sometimes be followed in this book simply for the sake of brevity. 2. Andre Gingrich and Marcus Banks, Neo-nationalism in Europe and Beyond: Perspectives from Social Anthropology (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2006).

16 Sedgwick 3. Frank Peter, “Individualization and Religious Authority in Western European Islam,” Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 17:1 (January 2006), 106–08. 4. Peter, “Individualization and Religious Authority,” 109–10. 5. Sissel Østberg, “Islamic Nurture and Identity Management: The Lifeworld of Pakistani Children in Norway,” British Journal of Religious Education 22:2 (2000), 93–4. 6. This is implied by Asad’s occasional use of the plural. Talal Asad, “The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam,” Occasional Papers (Washington, DC: Georgetown Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, 1986), 17. 7. Saba Mahmood, “Rehearsed Spontaneity and the Conventionality of Ritual: Disciplines of Salat,” American Ethnologist 28 (2001), 836. Charles Hirschkind, “The Ethics of Listening: Cassette-Sermon Audition in Contemporary Egypt,” American Ethnologist 28 (2001), 624–25. 8. Mahmood, “Rehearsed Spontaneity,” 827. 9. Mahmood, “Rehearsed Spontaneity,” 838. 10. Laura Gilliam, De umulige børn og det ordentlige menneske (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2009), 261. 11. Østberg, “Islamic Nurture,” 98. 12. Gilliam, De umulige børn, 262. 13. Samuli Schielke, “Second Thoughts about the Anthropology of Islam, or How to Make Sense of Grand Schemes in Everyday Life,” ZMO working papers, vol. 2 (2010), 1. 14. Asad, “The Idea of an Anthropology of Islam,” 16. 15. These points were made at a conference at which many of the chapters in this book were first presented by Michael Merry and Jørgen Nielsen. 16. Pierre Bourdieu agrees: Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), 81. 17. Marianne Holm Pedersen, chapter 2, this volume. 18. Danièle Hervieu-Léger, “The Transmission and Formation of Socioreligious Identities in Modernity: An Analytical Essay on the Trajectories of Identification,” International Sociology 13:2 (1998), 214. 19. Susan Ridgely, “Children and Religion,” Social Compass 6:4 (2012), 240. 20. Rannveig Haga, chapter 3, this volume. 21. Trees Pels, chapter 4, this volume. 22. The nature and causes of these problems fall beyond the scope of this introduction. It seems likely, however, that crime rates in European Muslim communities are more or less as would be predicted by age profiles and levels of wealth, education and employment, without the need to introduce other explanatory factors. 23. Margrete Søvik, chapter 5, this volume. 24. Søvik, chapter 5. 25. Inkeri Rissanen, chapter 6, this volume. 26. Rissanen, chapter 6. 27. Lene Kühle, chapter 7, this volume. 28. Kühle, chapter 7. 29. Mark Sedgwick, chapter 8, this volume. 30. Sedgwick, chapter 8. 31. Laura Gilliam, chapter 9, this volume. 32. Gilliam, chapter 9. 33. Gilliam, chapter 9. 34. Iram Khawaja, chapter 10, this volume. 35. Sally Anderson, chapter 11, this volume. 36. Anderson, chapter 11. 37. Elif Medeni and Barbara Breen-Wenninger, chapter 12, this volume.

Introduction 17 38. Christian Suhr, chapter 13, this volume. 39. See Acknowledgments in this volume for details. 40. Marianne Gullestad, “Small Facts and Large Issues: The Anthropology of Contemporary Scandinavian Society,” Annual Review of Anthropology 18 (1989), 73. 41. “Special Report: The Nordic Countries,” The Economist, February 2, 2013. 42. Peter Mortimore, “The Nordic Countries Could Teach Us about Teamwork in Education,” The Guardian, October 5, 2010, education/2010/oct/05/education-policy-nordic-countries. 43. Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, “Lessons from Most Successful Schools Abroad,” Christian Science Monitor , March 24, 2009, Education/2009/0324/p01s02-ussc.html.

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Part 1

Islamic Religious Socialization

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Islam in the Family The Religious Socialization of Children in a Danish Provincial Town Marianne Holm Pedersen

Since the 1990s, numerous studies have examined how young adult Muslims in Europe construct their religious identities and practices and how this process is affected by their living in a non-Muslim setting. They have often explored young people’s participation in associational life, as well as the place of Islam in public spaces and institutions. To the extent that they have looked at young people’s family lives, these studies often dwell on the ways in which the religious identities of young second-generation immigrants differ from those of their parents. Yet this approach is rarely grounded in thorough studies of specific generational relations and builds mostly on young people’s own statements about their situation and on literature on first-generation migrants in general. The study on which this chapter draws is based on the assumption that the family is a useful area to study if we wish to understand processes of change and continuity. In a situation where Muslim parents face the challenge of how (and whether) to pass their religion on to the next generation in the context of a non-Muslim society, it cannot be assumed that parents simply represent continuity while children generate change. On the contrary, as parents teach their children about being Muslim, they are reinterpreting their own religious beliefs and practices, thereby making the constructedness of religion visible.1 Against this background, this chapter explores religious socialization within Muslim families in the Danish provincial town of Slagelse and how this is related to both the reproduction of the family institution and the family members’ encounters with local society. More specifically, the chapter will investigate how Muslim parents set about passing Islam on to their children, and how this is affected by the parents’ own trajectories of learning Islam. Moreover, it will give a preliminary insight into how the children then acquire their religion. In order to explore these processes in more detail, the analysis will shift between discussion of the situation of Muslim families in Slagelse in general and a focus on the case of one Palestinian family in particular. The purpose of applying the case perspective is to pay particular attention to how religious socialization is negotiated across generations and also to how relations of gender and generation affect the family members’ understandings of what it means to be Muslim in a

22 Pedersen provincial town in Denmark. Such an approach emphasizes the actor’s perspective and highlights the ways in which individuals use religion to “navigate a course of life” rather than to reproduce religion as an all-embracing normative doctrine.2 The chapter is based on data from fieldwork in the town of Slagelse, which is located in western Zealand, Denmark. Taking my starting point at a local school, I interviewed members of 17 families with children in the second and fourth grades on the three topics of how parents teach their children about religion; how the children acquire it; and whether family members experience religion as an important dimension of their encounter with the local school. I also carried out participant observation in family homes, in school and during private religious instruction. In this chapter I draw on interviews and visits with parents and young people in the 13 Muslim families among those selected.3 Since the analysis relies primarily on narratives, the purpose of the chapter is not to provide a detailed description of religious socialization, but rather to point to the various family members’ understanding of the processes that were unfolding.

RELIGIOUS SOCIALIZATION IN THE FAMILY Learning religion is fundamentally a social process and takes place in a specific cultural environment.4 Passing religious beliefs and practices on to the next generation always involves a “crisis of transmission,” because new generations are never just copies of preceding generations, and religious practices and interpretations will necessarily undergo change.5 It is often necessary for both parents and religious institutions to “work hard” at religion if they want the next generation to become religiously active.6 The crisis of transmission can be highlighted particularly clearly in the case of migration, where immigrants with a different religion than the majority need to reinvent their religious practices in a new context.7 This requires special attention if, for instance, Muslim children are to become practicing believers in a non-Muslim society, among other things because the acquisition of religious practices and values is not backed up by religious education or regular religious festivals in the majority society. This makes it interesting to examine the ways in which immigrant parents choose to pass Islam on to their children and in which they make sense of their own practice in the process. As Muslim parents in Slagelse figure out how to pass Islam on or how to respond to a particular situation in Danish society, they are also reinterpreting their own religion and defining how it gives meaning to them to live as Muslims in Denmark. At the same time, children bring their own experiences, desires and interpretations to the family, influencing both family life and the interpretation of religion.8 All family members take part in giving meaning to what this particular family is and what it means to be religious there, even if not all have the same degree of influence. It is

Islam in the Family 23 therefore “in the interplay between the generations that both children and adults shape their religious traditions by developing a modifying ritual and theology to fit their particular needs.”9 Against this background, it seems useful to approach religious socialization in the family as an example of what Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger term “situated learning.”10 Arguing against a scholarly emphasis on learning as confined to educational contexts, they claim that learning is a dimension of all social practice. Rather than existing in itself, knowledge is created in the interaction among actors. Focusing on cases of apprenticeship, Lave and Wenger show that learning takes place through active and increasing participation, together with more experienced participants, in a “community of practice.” Newcomers start as “legitimate peripheral participants,” meaning that there are various positions of partial participation in a community of practice. Rather than being negative, this is part of the process whereby newcomers over time come to fully master the different practices in question.11 In her study of tailoring in Liberia, Jean Lave shows how young novices appropriate the necessary skills and knowledge through a process in which they start by practicing the most basic skills on children’s clothes and then move on to more and more advanced work until they are finally able to produce the most formal, prestigious outfits. In this way the process of learning particular practices goes hand in hand with assuming an increasingly acknowledged position in the tailor’s shop, until the apprentice achieves the status of master tailor.12 Thus the centripetal move toward full participation within a community of practice involves the development not only of practices, but also of social relations.13 In his book on the concept of “community of practice,” Etienne Wenger elaborates on this perspective and points to the interrelations among the appropriation of practice, the development of identities, and the construction of belonging to the community.14 While Lave’s study of Liberian tailors describes the conscious, active process of learning in apprenticeship, Wenger also points to the tacit dimensions of learning. In a particular community of practice you learn not only specific knowledge and skills, but also ways of interacting and co-participating in a particular context, leading to the construction of identities. Though Lave and Wenger’s approaches build on the study of apprenticeship among communities of labor, I argue here that the processes they describe are very similar to the processes taking place in families raising children, including when parents attempt to pass religion on to their children. Though born as Muslims and acknowledged as such from the beginning, children still need to acquire certain skills and knowledge, and they also need to identify as Muslims. The dimensions of acquiring specific knowledge and skills, building relations and constructing identities relate to the four dimensions of religious identification listed by Danièle Hervieu-Léger in her article on the transmission and formation of socioreligious identities in modernity. These are, first, the communal dimension, which defines the boundary of the group and relates to the formal and practical definitions of

24 Pedersen belonging; second, the ethical dimension, which concerns acceptance of the values associated with a religious tradition; third, the cultural dimension, which involves the material, symbolic and practical heritage of a particular religious tradition; and, finally, the emotional dimension, which concerns the emotional experience associated with identification.15 Since practice is an inherent part of all these forms of identification,16 looking at the family as a community of practice may tell us something about how the various dimensions of religious identification become shaped within this context. Obviously, families are not the same as labor communities, and one may ask whether children are not always “full” participants in the family community. Nevertheless, in terms of their religious identity, children can be perceived as peripheral participants undergoing a centripetal movement toward increased participation. Religious socialization across generations can be conceptualized as one aspect of a process in which parents incorporate children in the family by including them in the same religious community as themselves.17 This is not a one-way process. My analysis suggests that religious identification also functions as a process by which children themselves create their relations to the family. However, before discussing this issue further in relation to my empirical material, I will present some background on the context of my study.

MUSLIM FAMILIES IN SLAGELSE The provincial town of Slagelse is located 100 kilometers west of the Danish capital, Copenhagen. While the municipality of Slagelse has a population of more than 77,000, the town itself has approximately 32,000 residents. Approximately 10 per cent of the population in the municipality has an immigrant family background, both European and non-European. The largest minority group is constituted by Turkish immigrants who first came to Denmark as labor migrants during the 1960s and 1970s. Slagelse also received a number of refugees from countries such as Bosnia (and other parts of former Yugoslavia), Lebanon (mainly Palestinians), Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq and Iran. These groups arrived primarily between the 1980s and 2000. The town has a rich religious life, and apart from state-funded Evangelical Lutheran churches it hosts an old Catholic church and various Christian free churches,18 a Turkish mosque, an Arab mosque, a Somali mosque and a number of ethno-religious associations. Muslim groups in Slagelse are thus linguistically diverse. The diversity of the town population is reflected in the group of research participants, who came from the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, Somalia and Bosnia. The parents have lived in Denmark for between 13 and 33 years; the children were all born in Denmark. In 10 out of 13 families, the father sometimes or regularly attends Friday prayer or weekend activities in mosques or religious associations in Slagelse or Copenhagen. Particularly among the

Islam in the Family 25 Turkish families, there is a strong affiliation to the Turkish mosque in Slagelse, which has existed for more than 20 years and receives imams via Diyanet, the Turkish state authority for religious affairs. Hence the mosque community is closely related to the ethnic community. In comparison, Arab Muslims in Slagelse are less well organized, and there seems to be a greater variety of religious interpretation. In all but one of the families interviewed the parents wished to pass on a “Muslim identity” to their children whether or not they themselves attended a mosque. When asked about what their children should learn about being Muslim, they generally mentioned at least two aspects. One was Islamic practices such as praying, reading the Quran and fasting; the second was morality; that is, knowing the difference between right and wrong, respecting other people and not lying or stealing. In terms of practice, several parents mentioned the importance of introducing children to the ground rules early in life, so that they do not confront them suddenly once they are teenagers and have to start practicing. Eight of the 13 families chose to introduce their children to Islam by sending them to religious instruction at the mosque or in private. This was particularly relevant in non-Arabic-speaking families, because the children had to learn Arabic in order to be able to pray and read the Quran. Nevertheless, sending children to Quran school does not necessarily imply that the parents are themselves particularly religious. Rather, it may be a matter of living up to the standards of what it means to be good parents and how a proper upbringing is to take place.19 Thus some parents leave the teaching of religion to those who are considered experts in this field, while others use the mosque to supplement the socialization taking place in the home.20 Moreover, as children are taught about Islam and thereby learn “the basics,” this includes them in a worldwide community of Muslims and gives them the possibility of taking up religious practices at a later point in life.21 Sending children to Islam lessons may thus have a broader purpose than making them practicing Muslims right now. Not surprisingly, there may be a large gap between what parents believe the children should ideally learn and how the parents themselves practice their religion in daily life. As I have pointed out elsewhere, from a parental perspective the transmission of religion is part of the attempt to secure the children a good future, whether in this life or the next.22 This becomes apparent if we look at what parents did not want their children to become. Both parents and young people often replied that if the children had not learned about Islam they would be “badly behaved,” and the parents thought they probably would have rejected a Muslim way of life. As in previous interviews conducted with Iraqi parents in Copenhagen, parents in Slagelse frequently mentioned criminal second-generation youth and young men attracted to radical Islam as what they did not want their children to become.23 This relates to the fact that many immigrant families live in neighborhoods severely affected by social problems, just as crime among second-generation youth is regularly discussed in the media. In Slagelse, nordbyen (the northern part of the city)

26 Pedersen has come to be known as an immigrant neighborhood with severe social problems, and the media report on crime, youth riots and the burning of dumpsters in this part of town. While only a few of my interlocutors lived there, all referred to the place as an example either of parents not taking enough care of their children or of integration gone wrong. In this sense, they appropriated a common discourse about many immigrants being bad parents but located it somewhere other than at themselves. Teaching children about morality in Islam is thus part of making them “good people,”24 and embracing the right kind of Islam will, the parents hope, help them to avoid pitfalls like crime, alcohol abuse or becoming attracted to radical Islamic groups. The notion of the good future is not only closely related to the family’s social position, but also tied to the hope for social mobility. Parents in all families emphasized the importance of getting a good education, whether or not they had one themselves. In this sense, teaching children about Islam can be seen as an attempt to ensure social mobility and social inclusion in a middle-class society—even if it is often associated with the opposite in non-Muslim public discourses in Denmark. The different meanings of a good future illustrate that the societal context has a strong impact on how parents attempt to pass Islam on to their children. However, parents rarely pointed to this when asked about why their children should learn about Islam and about being Muslim. Rather, they pointed to the history of their family and their faith. Teaching children about Islam was regarded as the parents’ duty, but answers such as “I want them to know my background” or “Because I believe Islam is the right path” were also typical. This illustrates that passing religion on to one’s child can be a highly personal, emotional choice, and that it is not only the migration context that is important. As Islam is passed on to the next generation in a minority context, the future of the family, the good future for the child and the future of the religion all come into play. For instance, questions of whether a particular religion will survive and whether a child will be saved in the afterlife merge in the concern over whether the next generation will be able to practice their religion in a social context where they belong to a religious minority. Teaching the children about Islam is simultaneously about reproducing the family as institution, producing a good person and continuing a religion. In what follows, I will further explore religious socialization in the family by presenting the case of a Palestinian family and investigating it as a community of practice.

THE FAMILY AS A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE: NASIM AND HANNAH Nasim is a 42-year-old Palestinian man who came to Denmark in 1986 when he was 17.25 In 1992, he married Hannah, also a Palestinian, and the two have raised three children: a daughter aged 18 and two sons aged 17 and 8. Nasim

Islam in the Family 27 supported the family with various unskilled jobs, while Hannah took care of the children. Though the couple has lived in Slagelse for their entire stay in Denmark, Hannah also has a large number of relatives in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, 200 kilometers to the northwest. For Nasim and Hannah, raising their children as Muslims is important. It is a process that lasts throughout childhood. When the children were small they were not specifically instructed in Islam, but they nevertheless learned about Muslim practices simply from observing their parents and sometimes copying them, for instance as small children imitate their parents’ movements when they pray. Both Nasim and Hannah pray five times a day, every day. When the boys were small Nasim often took them with him to the mosque, and as his oldest son, Muhammad, put it, “When you go there, after a while you know what you believe, right.” The family celebrates the major Muslim holidays, and Islam is also present in the home through a number of material symbols such as pictures on the wall, the Quran, Islamic books and a prayer mat. The call for prayer sounds at the appropriate times from a clock radio in the living room. According to Nasim, once children are seven or eight their parents have a duty to start to teach them their religion more actively. The children are sent to Arabic lessons to learn to read and write the language they speak at home. Nasim and Hannah’s older two children were sent to Quran school to learn to read the Quran and to be introduced to basic knowledge about Islam. At home, Nasim explains what Islam is, who the Prophet Muhammad is, the five pillars, the dress norms and, not least, the differences between right and wrong. Nasim also retells the same stories of the prophets Moses, Noah and Jesus and their miracles that his parents told him, just as family members talk about the situation of Muslims elsewhere in the world. During Ramadan, their children practice fasting for longer and longer periods in order to prepare for the day when they will fast the entire month. Finally, when they are 14 or when their daughter has her first period, they are expected to observe the obligatory practices of Islam: most important, to pray, fast and, in the case of the girl, wear the hijab. Since Nasim and Hannah’s oldest daughter is very interested in Islam, she and Nasim frequently discuss the afterlife and engage in more theological debates about correct behavior. Nasim and Hannah’s case exemplifies a family where Islam is an important part of everyday life. Their case also points to the more general process through which religion is passed on within the family. Here the family can be seen as a community of practice where children are initially legitimate peripheral participants, meaning that they can take part but are not expected to practice by themselves until they are older.26 In introducing the children to the way Islam is practiced by the parents, the family develops a shared repertoire. In this community of practice, the dimensions of religious identification mentioned by Hervieu-Léger are developed. Through reading or listening to narratives about the prophets and their deeds or about Muslims elsewhere, the children become included in the concrete community of the family, but also in a larger, historical community of practice. Ethics are transmitted through

28 Pedersen the continued conversation about norms and morality. The cultural dimension is acquired by observing and imitating what their parents do in daily life. Mealtimes, for instance, may serve as occasions for socialization when parents start the meal by saying bismillah or ending with al-hamdulillah.27 Routines like removing shoes before entering the house in order to keep the floor clean for prayers are not taught explicitly, but simply appropriated as family practice. In this way, before the children explicitly learn the doctrines of religion, Islam becomes embodied through various practices and techniques of the self, and the materiality of the home space itself supports this process. The example here shows something that most parents in the study emphasized, namely that passing Islam on within the family takes place naturally as part of everyday life. It is only to an extent that the children learn by explicit teaching. Rather than a separate task, telling the children about religion is an integral part of life as it is lived, at least in families where Islam is important to the adults. In this way, the process taking place resembles the general process of upbringing in which parents, throughout childhood, are “continuously attempting to direct their children’s awareness to the moral dimensions of particular social situations in which they are engaged.”28 Even if we consider the family a community of practice, not all family members practice in the same way. Among my interlocutors, to the extent that there was a difference between the parents’ relationships with their religion, it was often the mother who was more observant: for instance, the mother would pray and the father would not. Likewise, it was often the mother who had the main responsibility for passing religious practices on to the children, although the father might be involved if the children were sons. This is consistent with findings from other studies that have pointed to gendered divisions of labor within the family, and the role that women often gain as the “keeper of tradition.”29 In some ways, Nasim and Hannah’s case can therefore be interpreted as an example of a fairly traditional division of labor where Hannah brings up the children while Nasim answers the more difficult questions about Islam. Nasim was clearly the authority on religious practice, an impression that was underlined by the fact that he spoke most in our conversations, partly because Hannah did not feel as comfortable speaking Danish. In my interviews with the children they also referred to their father as the one defining religion in the family. However, from a different perspective, Nasim’s fairly large influence on all aspects of the religious upbringing seems to illustrate a situation where the man—due to the fact that he is no longer working—has also appropriated a large part of the home sphere as his domain.

PARENTS’ LEARNING TRAJECTORIES Although there appears to be a certain shared “curriculum” of Islamic knowledge that children should learn, there are significant differences in the interpretation of Islam among families. Rather than completely different ways

Islam in the Family 29 of teaching children Islam, these are differences in emphasis, for instance regarding practice versus moral behavior and the question of how one should live as a Muslim in a non-Muslim society. Such differences between families are closely connected with the parents’ own learning trajectories: in other words, how they have been taught about Islam, how they have acquired religious practices and the role that Islam has played throughout their life courses. In order to understand how children learn about religion, it is thus relevant to examine how the parents themselves have acquired it. In the majority of the families I interviewed, the parents claimed to have had a fairly stable relationship to Islam throughout their lives. They had learned about Islam from their parents, from Quran lessons and from growing up in a Muslim society. Moreover, they had practiced or not practiced at more or less the same level throughout their lives. These parents emphasized that they tried to pass Islam on in the same way as they had been taught about it by their parents. The parents’ emphasis on the reproduction of their religion did not mean that no changes took place, but that changes were more visible in two additional categories of parents: those who had become more observant during their lifetime and their stay in Denmark and those who now practiced less than before. Nasim, for instance, belongs to the category of parents who could be termed “neo-religious.” Despite growing up in an Islamic country, these parents were not particularly observant upon their arrival in Denmark. However, often as a result of a life-changing event or new acquaintances, they started to go to the mosque, and over time Islam became an important part of their lives. In most cases, one parent was originally the driving force in this development, but both are now actively engaging in the family’s pious lifestyle. When Nasim first arrived in Denmark he was, in his own words, “really really integrated” and “more Danish than the Danes.” This is a reference to the fact that he was not particularly observant and probably also enjoyed some alcohol, although—as he emphasized to me—he never ate pork. However, in 1989 a significant negative event took place in Nasim’s life, or rather in the life of his brother who had come to Denmark with him. He never told me what happened, but his brother’s fate made Nasim question the road he had taken and he looked up some Muslim friends who introduced him to the Arab mosque in Slagelse that he has attended regularly ever since. As in Nasim’s case, it is characteristic of this group of families that religious practices play a large role in their daily lives and also in the lives of their children. Even though these parents do not consider being Muslim to be in contradiction with being a Danish citizen, they do maintain that there is a difference between “Danish life” and the life that a Muslim should live. Nasim, for instance, seems to consider “Danish life” morally dubious. Although he has become a Danish citizen and actually feels very attached to Denmark, he has the opinion that Danish culture and Islamic culture are like “minus-minus” or “plus-plus,” the two poles of a magnet that can never meet. This is probably based on his above-mentioned

30 Pedersen experiences as a young man and day-to-day life in a neighborhood where he sees many ethnic Danes with split families and problems such as unemployment or alcoholism. In other words, Nasim’s perception of society has been affected by his social position.30 However, his understanding is confirmed by his encounter with ethnic Danes who equally seem to believe in a big difference between “Muslims” and “Danes.” He told me that many of his ethnic Danish former acquaintances no longer wanted to be friends when he became an active Muslim. Thus, in addition to religious beliefs, Nasim’s convictions seem grounded both in self-identification and in categorization by others. At the other end of the spectrum we find a category of parents who are less observant than in their youth. Having grown up in homes where Islam played an important role, they came to Denmark as children. As part of the family’s community of practice they were very observant, for instance praying regularly, reading Quran, fasting during Ramadan, etc.; however, upon leaving the parental home their activities decreased. One example of this is Mariam, a mother of two in her early thirties who came to Denmark from Syria in 1990. As a young woman living with her parents, Mariam prayed and read the Quran on a daily basis. The family often sat together in the evenings and talked about Islam, because her father was very knowledgeable about it. Mariam still prays the daily prayers, but since marrying and having children religious observance beyond this no longer plays a great role in her daily life. In Mariam’s own interpretation, her “need for God” has become smaller. Her father initially opposed her engagement to the man she wanted to marry. Mariam prayed every day and read the Quran extensively in the hope that her prayers would be answered. They were, and Mariam’s day-today life is now full of family responsibilities. Reading the Quran is therefore no longer so crucial for her. This does not imply that Islam is less important to her, but rather that she uses her time on many other things. Mariam’s case exemplifies the salient point that religion can play a larger or smaller role during different stages in the life course.31 The parents’ different learning trajectories also affect their attitudes to how their children should live as Muslims in Slagelse. At school, for instance, parents in the “neo-religious” category were not interested in making compromises that, from their point of view, conflicted with the children’s Muslim identity. Like Nasim and Hannah, they would exempt their younger children from Christianity Studies (Kristendomskundskab) classes in school, because they did not want them to learn about Christianity before they had proper knowledge of Islam or because they were concerned that the children might become confused about their religious identity. These parents were also typically suspicious of whether foods such as chicken served at school were really halal, despite the manufacturer’s claim that all chicken in Denmark is butchered according to Islamic prescriptions (because it is exported to Islamic countries). Finally, they limited their children’s participation in social events such as the annual “scissors and paste” day when children

Islam in the Family 31 make Christmas decorations before the Christmas vacation. By contrast, parents like Mariam chose a completely different strategy. Mariam chose to let her children participate in Christianity Studies classes: first, because she argued that children should develop their own relationship to their religion, and second, because she thought it was important to participate in school activities in order to be fully included in the class and learn about Danish society. Therefore her children participated in all Christmas activities as well as other events. As for food, Mariam was the first parent to tell me that chicken in Denmark is always halal, and she also let her children eat wine gums, despite many parents’ concern that this candy contains pork gelatin. Having grown up with parents who restricted her own participation in many school activities and having suffered from social isolation during her school years, she was concerned that her children should feel part of the community of practice at school. She also did not want them to find Islam “boring,” but wanted them to feel that they could be Muslims and have fun at the same time. Mariam and Nasim represent two opposites on a long continuum. The examples just mentioned illustrate some of the very varied situations where families had to find their own way of dealing with circumstances. While parents like Mariam and Nasim have fairly strong convictions about the choices they make, the common denominator among most parents seems to be that they improvise, although this takes place within the boundaries of how they interpret—and re-interpret—their religion. They negotiate how to approach particular situations with their children and with the school, and they draw on a variety of sources in working out how their family should live as Muslims in Slagelse. Abdu, a Palestinian father of four, is an example of a parent who emphasized the continuing importance of Islam in his life in both Jordan and Denmark. He explained how he reads Islamic sources to find his own way, a way that fits with life in Danish society: We take the most flexible. Because it’s part of Islam. We don’t go against it [the religion], because it’s Islam. Some people say: “You take that hukm [ruling] because you want the easiest.” Yes, of course I want the easiest way. If it’s Islam, why can’t I take it? Later in the conversation I asked Abdu if it is necessary sometimes to make compromises, and if so, when that is acceptable: If you can’t do it . . . For instance, my son, he has to pray the Friday prayer, but he goes to school. What should he do? Some people say it doesn’t matter; you should go to the mosque, even if you get expelled from school. You ruin your kids’ future that way. And it’s against the rules that the kids leave the school without permission. But in our religion, some people say that if you can’t go to Friday prayer, you can pray like a normal zuhr [noon prayer]. So I take that. It’s Islam, right. But the

32 Pedersen others [say]: “You take the easiest because you don’t want to follow the true way of Islam.” Well, that’s their problem. Abdu’s example shows how some parents read the Islamic sources to interpret how they should live as Muslims in Denmark. He was critical of other parents for thinking that the stricter you are, the better it is. Islam, he said, is not about “whipping yourself” to show that you are good, nor about making it so hard for one’s children that they cannot bear it. On the contrary, it is possible to be flexible. It is worth noticing that Abdu’s example of a compromise is not a matter of whether or not to practice Islam, but an interpretation of how to live up to one’s duties as a Muslim. In other words, an open attitude to some things does not mean a carte blanche for the children to do everything. For example, Abdu and his wife, Fatima, had a long discussion with their teenage daughter about whether she should be allowed to join a one-week school camp with her classmates. The parents continued to say no despite their daughter’s pleas and her argument that another Muslim girl was allowed to go. According to the couple, a young woman does not sleep outside the home for that long. In a subsequent interview, the daughter told me about the discussion and her disappointment with her parents’ decision given that her brother had been allowed to go on a similar trip. When and how it is possible to compromise thus seems to vary in relation to gender, age and the context of the situation.

YOUNG PEOPLE’S LEARNING TRAJECTORIES In what ways do children then acquire what their parents try to pass on? If passing religion on means children learning exact dogma and acquiring precise knowledge, parents were not always completely successful. Across the spectrum of families, more or less all the young people I interviewed said that in some respects they lack detailed knowledge of their religious practices and that they often have problems understanding what is said in the mosque. They also do not understand what they read in the Quran, but since reading the Quran is more important to some than understanding what it says, this might not be an issue. Yet if passing religion on is more a matter of creating a relationship to God and incorporating Islam into young people’s day-to-day lives, then their upbringing worked better. As Jonas Otterbeck has pointed out in a qualitative study of young Muslims in Denmark and Sweden, even if they do not practice as their parents did, young adults often take over their parents’ positive or negative attitude to religion.32 This was the case among my young adult interlocutors, approximately 16 to 25 years of age, all of whom expressed a clear, positive sense that they were Muslim. My interviews with them further supported the impression that the family functions as a community of practice. None of them could remember when they had realized that they were Muslim; they just were. Stories of religious

Islam in the Family 33 learning in the home likewise told of slowly adopting of practices through increasing participation. In this way, a sense of belonging—the emotional dimension mentioned by Hervieu-Léger—was developed during childhood. However, while my conversations with parents focused primarily on practices and beliefs within Islam and how these were taught and learned, my interviews with the younger generation pointed to the great importance of social relations in the learning of religion.33 Learning Islam is also about learning to belong to a community of Muslims,34 and not merely in the abstract sense of a general, worldwide community of Muslims. My material shows that as the young women and men figured out how to live as Muslims in Slagelse, they were also negotiating concrete social relations with others, whether family, peers or other significant persons. Most of the young people cited persons outside the nuclear family as important for their religious development—a mentor in a youth club, a friend’s mother or a cousin who introduced the young people to other dimensions of their religion than what they had learned at home. Within the family, negotiating religious practice was also a way to negotiate relatedness between family members. From the children’s perspectives, learning religion was about connecting with relatives and becoming included in the family. This was illustrated in young girls’ stories about wanting to be like their mothers in deciding to wear the hijab or in a young man’s pleasure at joining his father for the Friday prayer. Religious practices are thus also family practices. Older children often influenced younger ones, and discussions of religious practice could be an important aspect of sibling relations. When I asked Abdullah, aged 10, who had taught him about Islam, he pointed first not to his parents, but to his older brother Recep. When Recep started attending Quran lessons at the Turkish mosque he came home and excitedly shared his new knowledge with the rest of the family, and these discussions made an impression on Abdullah. Yet siblings often develop different religious identities despite being brought up in the same family. Young people’s ways of acquiring Islam are both gendered and individual. This is illustrated in the case of Nasim and Hannah’s two oldest children, Nadia and Muhammad. Both pray five times a day, and both would say a prayer of supplication (du‘a) before exams or sports events. But in other ways their relationships to their religion appear very different. Where to Nadia faith and religious practice are both important and private, to Muhammad they are more a part of his social life. At home Muhammad rarely reads the Quran, whereas Nadia frequently does so as well as seeking other literature on Islam. She often discusses religious issues with her father, whereas Muhammad does not really care that much. However, outside the home he is more active. Nadia would for instance never pray at high school (gymnasium)—“I don’t think you can,” she said, whereas Muhammad has prayed the Friday prayer with other young men at school, just as he has prayed several times at the sports club where he spends most of his free time. Gender plays a role here, because the siblings were brought up in a family where women’s religious practices traditionally

34 Pedersen take place in the home while the men go to the mosque. This also means that Muhammad has greater room to maneuver in relation to his parents. He has no problem combining a Muslim identity with participating in high school parties, while Nadia deliberately chooses not to go. Though social relations are emphasized here, the siblings also exemplify what seems to be another trend among my interlocutors, whereby young women relate their religious identity to a family community, whereas young men relate to a community of peers. I do not intend to argue that this is typical for gender relations among Muslims in general; on the contrary, several examples of Muslim youth and Muslim women’s associations in Copenhagen and elsewhere show that Muslim women are also active with peers outside the home. The fact that young women in this particular case seemed primarily to relate their religious identity to the family may be connected with the fact that the religious milieu in Slagelse offered them very few opportunities to meet with non-relatives in a religious setting.

NEGOTIATIONS ACROSS GENERATIONS So far I have emphasized how religious socialization reinforces a sense of relatedness between family members and includes children in the family community. Not surprisingly, divergent practices within the family can also challenge existing relations. Families are not necessarily homogeneous communities of practice, but may be marked by conflict and disagreement. Rather than being entirely negative or a threat to the relationship between generations, however, this can be perceived as an inherent and potentially productive part of all social interaction. Communities of practice will necessarily involve different perspectives, interests and understandings of practice.35 The question is how relations of power and hierarchy come into play, because not all family members have the same authority to establish what is right and wrong. One example of this concerns the use of sources for interpreting Islam, a common topic within families with older children. For example, Nasim and Hannah insisted that my interviews should take place on Sunday afternoons so that all three children could be present and have their say in the discussion. During my second visit, Nadia took part in the conversation. Among other things, she told me about her difficulties with understanding fusha (modern standard Arabic) and fully comprehending her father’s explanations in Arabic when she asked him about Islamic issues. Therefore, Nadia would go to the library and borrow books in Danish and English about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. I asked her to show me a couple of books and she came back with a copy of Honour and Shame (Ære og Skam), a book written by a Syrian-Danish politician, Naser Khader.36 While this book has had a large readership and has been reprinted several times, neither it nor its author are particularly popular among Muslims. This was

Islam in the Family 35 the case with Nasim, who rolled his eyes, shook his head and said: “This guy has nothing to do with Islam.” Hannah looked at them both in astonishment and asked, “How can he write about Islam when he knows nothing about it?” At this point Nadia had to retreat slightly and explained that she would come and ask her father when she read something that did not correspond with what her parents had told her. In reading books in Danish, she was just seeking additional information that they could then discuss. This example illustrates how Nadia challenges her parents’ understanding of what are the correct sources for further knowledge about Islam. It is natural for her to seek sources that are available in Danish, but in doing so she comes across an author her parents would never read, and with whom they would disagree if ever they did read him. To a certain extent Nadia’s choice of reading is criticized by her parents, but it is still accepted because at the same time she is showing interest in her religion. The incident provides fertile ground for discussion, and spurs further debate in the family about what sources of knowledge are legitimate. Nadia later told me that the book was in fact too easy for her, but there were a few things that she brought up for discussion in the family. Yet sometimes young people seek sources that their parents cannot at all accept. When 18-year-old Mustafa seemed to be heading for trouble, his mother asked his older cousin to get him back on the right track and discuss Islam more with him. However, she was not aware that the cousin was a sympathizer with the international Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, and she was less than pleased when Mustafa started frequenting their local group. According to Mustafa, he became fascinated with the teachings of Hizb ut-Tahrir because they provided a logical, more rational approach to Islam than that he encountered at home. His newfound enthusiasm was thus simultaneously a departure from his parents’ Islam, and it created many discussions in the home because the parents were concerned that he had taken a new, wrong direction. In this way, different communities of practice may compete. Nadia’s and Mustafa’s examples illustrate more and less acceptable ways of challenging parental authority. Interestingly, although many other studies of young Muslims emphasize the younger generation becoming more orthodox than the parents, apart from Mustafa, none of my young interlocutors practiced or interpreted Islam in a markedly different way from their parents. This may be a consequence of the small number of families I worked with; it may also be due to the provincial context of my study. As already mentioned, unlike larger cities, Slagelse offered hardly any Muslim youth associations where young people could interact with other Muslims. In this way, the local context did not provide many options for collective interpretations of religion outside the sphere where parents also participated: the mosque. Obviously, young people can seek additional sources on the internet and participate in online communities, but it is not unlikely that an urban context provides a more fertile ground than the province for developing differing and potentially politicized Muslim identities.

36 Pedersen CONCLUSION In this chapter, I have explored how religious socialization takes place within Muslim families in Slagelse. In conceptualizing the family as a community of practice I have emphasized the practical dimension of the ways in which particular elements of religious identification are passed on to the children. Through observing and participating in the many different religious practices in the family, children acquire particular knowledge and skills and come to identify themselves as Muslims. However, religious socialization takes place in both explicit and tacit ways, and what the children learn is not necessarily what the parents intend to teach them. The parents may focus on passing on particular religious practices, dogma and traditions, but the embodied knowledge that children acquire is much broader than the specific practices. For instance, they also learn how to be part of a particular family, and they learn social relations to their closest kin, as well as to God. Hence if the family is considered a community of practice, teaching children about Islam is both to pass religion on and to reproduce the family as institution. As often argued in debates on lived religion, people do not adopt the entire “package” of an official religion; individuals appropriate different elements that give meaning to them.37 The analysis here has shown that for neither the adults nor the young people is religiosity a static factor in their lives. Rather, it varies in relation to particular life stages and the social context of which the individuals are a part. The role of Islam in the parents’ life courses and the ways in which they themselves have acquired it play a major part in how they pass religion on to the next generation. I therefore argue that processes of change and continuity should be studied not only in relation to young second-generation Muslims, but within the family in general. Studies of young Muslims that pay attention only to the differences and conflicts between generations may ignore the subtle interplay between processes of change and continuity, as well as the ways in which both generations become socialized as parents attempt to bring up their children. Hence a question for further analysis is when and how children and young people can affect family practices. The negotiations on religion that take place in Muslim families are not qualitatively different from negotiations across generations in other, nonMuslim families, but in the political context they are given meaning in public debates in a larger complex of questions regarding change and continuity, notions of belonging and discussions about immigration and integration. This leads us to the obvious point that religious socialization within the family does not take place in isolation from the surrounding society. While I have given only limited attention to interactions between adults and children and persons outside the immediate family, I have shown that parents’ attitudes to religious upbringing are affected by their positions in society. On the one hand, the general position of refugees and immigrants in Danish society has an impact. For example, the concern with social mobility and with what their children should not become seems important to parents in

Islam in the Family 37 both Slagelse and Copenhagen. On the other hand, the local social environment plays a big role. The quote from Abdu, for instance, showed that he was concerned not only with his own family, but also with how others viewed his actions. In relation to the young generation, I have mentioned the limited availability of religious associations and fora in which to develop alternative religious identifications. Thus the provincial context seems also to influence the process of religious socialization. All in all, the interplay between internal family relations and the social context in the migration setting is a topic that deserves much more attention in future research. NOTES 1. Susan Ridgely, “Children and Religion,” Religion Compass 6:4 (2012), 240. 2. Samuli Schielke and Liza Debevec, “Introduction,” in Ordinary Lives and Grand Schemes: An Anthropology of Everyday Religion, eds. Samuli Schielke and Liza Debevec (Oxford: Berghahn, 2012), 1. 3. The remaining four families were not Muslims, but belonged to other religious denominations. They were included in the study for comparative reasons. 4. David Berliner and Ramon Sarró, “On Learning Religion: An Introduction,” in Learning Religion: Anthropological Approaches, eds. David Berliner and Ramon Sarró (Oxford: Berghahn, 2007), 10–11. 5. Danièle Hervieu-Léger, “The Transmission and Formation of Socioreligious Identities in Modernity: An Analytical Essay on the Trajectories of Identification,” International Sociology 13:2 (1998), 214. 6. Hervieu-Léger, “Transmission and Formation”; R. Stephen Warner and Rhys R. Williams, “The Role of Families and Religious Institutions in Transmitting Faith among Christians, Muslims and Hindus in the USA,” in Religion and Youth, eds. Sylvia Collins-Mayo and Pink Dandelion (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 160; Laurence Hérault, “Learning Faith: Young Christians and Catechism,” in Berliner and Sarró, Learning Religion, 163. 7. Marianne Holm Pedersen, Iraqi Women in Denmark: Ritual Performance and Belonging in Everyday Life (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014); Peggy Levitt, The Transnational Villagers (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001); Werner Schiffauer, “Migration and Religiousness,” in The New Islamic Presence in Europe, eds. Tomas Gerholm and Yngve G. Litman (London: Mansell, 1990). 8. See, for example, Susan Ridgely, ed., The Study of Children in Religions: A Methods Handbook (New York: New York University Press, 2011); Robert A. Orsi, Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds of Scholars and the People Who Study Them (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 107. 9. Ridgely, “Children and Religion,” 240. 10. Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). 11. Lave and Wenger, Situated Learning, 35. 12. Jean Lave, Apprenticeship in Critical Ethnographic Practice (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2011), 54. 13. Lave and Wenger, Situated Learning, 52–54. 14. Etienne Wenger, Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 73–75. 15. Hervieu-Léger, “Transmission and Formation,” 219–21. 16. Hervieu-Léger, “Transmission and Formation,” 218.

38 Pedersen 17. This can also be understood as a process of “kinning” or of constructing “relatedness.” See Signe Howell, “Kinning: The Creation of Life Trajectories in Transnational Adoptive Families,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 9:3 (2003), 465–84; Janet Carsten, Cultures of Relatedness: New Approaches to the Study of Kinship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Marianne Holm Pedersen, “‘You Want Your Children to Become Like You’: The Transmission of Religious Practices among Iraqi Families in Copenhagen,” in Mobile Bodies, Mobile Souls: Family, Religion and Migration in a Global World, eds. Mikkel Rytter and Karen Fog Olwig (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2011). 18. Denmark has a national church, the Folkekirke, subsidized by the Danish state. So-called “free churches” are independent churches or communities that do not receive public financial support. Examples are the Baptist and Pentecostal churches. 19. Michele Dillon, “Age, Generation and Cohort in American Religion and Spirituality,” in Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, eds. James A. Beckford and N. J. Demerath (London: Sage, 2007), 538. 20. Cf. Nadia Jul Jeldtoft, “Everyday Lived Islam: Religious Reconfigurations and Secular Sensibilities among Muslim Minorities in the West,” (PhD thesis, University of Copenhagen, 2012), 130–31. 21. Jeldtoft, “Everyday Lived Islam,” 136–37. 22. For further discussion of the “good person,” see Holm Pedersen, “‘You Want Your Children.’” 23. See Holm Pedersen, “‘You Want Your Children,’” 132. 24. Holm Pedersen, “‘You Want Your Children’”; Jeldtoft, “Everyday Lived Islam,” 137. 25. All names are pseudonyms and some information has been changed in order to ensure the anonymity of my interlocutors. 26. Cf. Lave and Wenger, Situated Learning, 29–31. 27. Cf. Elinor Ochs and Merav Shohet, “The Cultural Structuring of Mealtime Socialization,” New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 111 (2006), 35–49. 28. Elinor Ochs and Tamar Kremer-Sadlik, “Introduction: Morality as Family Practice,” Discourse & Society 18:1 (2007), 6. 29. Cf. Nira Yuval-Davis, Gender and Nation (London: Sage, 1997). 30. Cf. Marianne Holm Pedersen, “Going On a Class Journey: The Inclusion and Exclusion of Iraqi Refugees in Denmark,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 38:7 (2012), 1101–17. 31. Cf. Liza Debevec, “Postponing Piety in Urban Burkina Faso: Discussing Ideas on When to Start Acting as a Pious Muslim,” in Schielke and Debevec, eds., Ordinary Lives and Grand Schemes, 33–47. 32. Jonas Otterbeck, Samtidsislam: unge muslimer i Malmö och Köpenhamn (Stockholm: Carlsson, 2010), 139. 33. Cf. Abby Day, “Believing in Belonging: an Ethnography of Young People’s Constructions of Belief,” Culture and Religion 10:3 (2009), 262–78. 34. Jeldtoft, “Everyday Lived Islam,” 125. 35. Wenger, Communities of Practice, 77. 36. Naser Khader, Ære og skam: det islamiske familie—og livsmønster—fra undfangelse til grav (Valby: Borgen, 1996). 37. Meredith McGuire, Lived Religion: Faith and Practice in Everyday Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 11.


“Freedom Has Destroyed the Somali Family” Somali Parents’ Experiences of Epistemic Injustice and its Influence on their Raising of Swedish Muslims Rannveig Haga

This chapter is based on a large and ongoing ethnographic research project initiated in February 2011 among Somali parents in Sweden. The starting point for this project was the observed tendency among Somali communities to increasingly isolate themselves from majority society, and even move with their children to Muslim-majority countries. Somalis speaking in Dubai about their decision to leave Europe said that they had felt estranged from their children, and that this alienation was reinforced by school teachers and social workers. Likewise, Somali parents interviewed in Sweden articulated an experience of what this chapter will call “epistemic injustice,”1 experiencing their voices being systematically disregarded or given little credibility. Somali parents’ views are seldom heard in the public debate in Scandinavia, and if they are considered, someone is usually speaking on their behalf. This chapter, and the research project of which it forms a part, itself risks falling into the trap of being yet another representation of Somalis’ wishes and needs that is allowed to speak so loudly that it silences the very voices it intends to bring attention to. My hope is that a “turn” of the research gaze might enable us to embark on a process that can improve communication. Focusing on Somali parents in Sweden, and on cultural and religious socialization, risks reproducing culturalist explanations for all the challenges that Somali parents deal with, including war experiences, forced migration and experiences of racism in Sweden. Rather than taking that approach, this chapter pays attention to the questions that my conversations in the field led me to ask about assumptions that are taken for granted within European discourse. My attempt to focus on communication should not be confused with cultural relativism, which could be said to produce difference.2 Neither is my point that there are no differences, and that culture does not matter. A focus on Western European and particularly on Swedish discourse could also be said to be a focus on Swedish culture. Such a focus is important, because Swedish culture commonly is the blind spot, and the invisible norm, when debating the situation of migrants living in Sweden.3 This chapter deals with one aspect of religious socialization in the family. However, as I “turn” my research gaze, my main focus is not to problematize

40 Haga the various aspects of socialization, but rather to discuss what is implied when speaking of socialization in Muslim families as religious. In popular usage, the religious and the secular form a dichotomy in which the secular is understood as rational, Western, individualistic, egalitarian and free, while the religious is understood as non-Western, collectivistic, hierarchical and traditional. In all cases, the West has tended to portray itself as superior in its possession of the former qualities. The religious is accepted as a privatized rationality, and can also carry positive connotations such as compassion and love. However, because critique within a European discourse is secular, it is still most commonly seen as being less free, less critical.4 Western societies are commonly described as free and democratic, in contrast to other countries of the world. This concept of freedom, particularly in Northern Europe, is closely related to secularism and individualism.5 Therefore it is probable that Muslim parents, who are assumed to be giving their children a religious upbringing, will be suspected of depriving their children of freedom of choice. Predictably, Somali parents I have interviewed express that they are assumed not to know the best interests of their children, which is that they should be “free.” In this chapter, I examine how such a rhetoric influences socialization in the family.

THEORY AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION Inspired by the Brazilian educationist and philosopher Paulo Freire, I view theories as a tool to hold practice at arm’s length, with the intention of understanding practice and creating possibilities for social transformation. Theories should be developed in a dialectic relationship with practice, rooted in the concrete experiences of listening and learning with the oppressed.6 In order to work for the achievement of an open and direct communication, I wish to focus on transformation rather than representation. I initiate what I hope to be an exchange of ideas. Therefore it is important to emphasize that I do not claim to “give voice” to the research participants. Rather, I reclaim my own subject position as researcher and agent by making it visible that I am constructing an argument, rather than imparting truth. As the sociologist Kitty Calavita phrases it, claiming my agency addresses “the twin problem of how to speak Truth to Power when the possibility of Truth itself is under attack, and how to fight for equality without claiming privileged access to Truth.” Speaking truth to power above all means asking the hard questions, and stimulating public debate on important issues.7 As I have listened and learned with Somali parents, I have come to recognize that they experience Swedish society as being epistemically unjust in that ill is systematically practiced toward them in their capacity as knowers. Paying attention to epistemic injustice should not be understood as a postmodern questioning of the possibility of knowing at all. Suspicion of the category of reason per se and the tendency in most postmodernist work to

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reduce reason to an operation of power actually prevents our understanding how power affects our functioning as rational subjects. It eliminates, or at least obscures, the important distinction between what we have reason to think and what mere relations of power are doing to our thinking.8 The philosopher Miranda Fricker finds there to be two particular kinds of injustice that can be done to people in their capacity as knowers, and she refers to these as testimonial and hermeneutical injustice. Testimonial injustice occurs when prejudices cause a hearer to give less credibility to a speaker’s word than he or she rationally deserves; hermeneutical injustice occurs at a prior stage, when a gap in collective interpretative resources puts someone at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to making sense of his or her social experience.9 Fricker gives as her example of testimonial injustice how a police officer can disbelieve a person’s words based on whether he or she is black. Her example of hermeneutical injustice refers to the difficulty in formulating the experience of sexual harassment in a culture where there is no articulated concept of such a harm done to someone. Hermeneutical injustice is a sort of epistemic injustice stemming from a gap in our shared tools of social interpretation, in a framework where it is no accident that the cognitive disadvantage created by this gap impacts unequally on different social groups. Rather, the unequal disadvantage derives from the fact that members of the group most disadvantaged by the gap are, in some degree, hermeneutically marginalized—that is, they participate unequally in the practices through which social meanings are generated. The social experiences of members of hermeneutically marginalized groups are inadequately conceptualized and therefore not well understood, perhaps even by the subjects themselves. Attempts at communication made by such groups, where they do have an adequate grip on the content of what they aim to convey, may not be heard as rational, owing to their expressive style being inadequately understood.10 Even when they are adequately understood, acknowledgment may be resisted by the hearer if the hearer does not wish to understand. This can be the case if listening to and accepting what is said seriously challenges the hearer’s worldview and self-image. The idea that epistemic injustice might be systematic in Sweden seriously threatens the self-image of Sweden as a state where the official ideology is based on equality for all.11

METHODOLOGY The data presented in this chapter is part of an ongoing ethnographic research project sponsored by the Swedish Research Council and the Baltic Sea Foundation. The project’s initial objective was to understand why Somali parents seemed to isolate themselves and at times even to emigrate with their children. I initially sought to approach the problem by focusing on studying mothers’ parenting strategies and their way of conceptualizing

42 Haga Islam as well as their transnational connections. The hope was that the project might produce new knowledge that could help Somali people feel more comfortable about letting their children grow up in Sweden and Finland. The idea of complementing the ethnographic, individual in-depth interviews of mothers with participant observations in a highly popular educational program—“Better Parenting and Parenting Coach”—for Somali parents in Stockholm arose during the study as part of a newly established collaboration with public health researcher Dr. Barni Nor. The “Better Parenting” course is led by Ismail Miad, who has a master’s degree in human resource development and a practitioner qualification in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). It takes place in a mosque in Stockholm and is given in the Somali language. After observing the course in its initial implementation phase, as well as on other occasions, including one in particular with Muslim imams (religious leaders) as course participants, Nor became interested in understanding the motivation of the very high number of male course participants, as such an engagement in children’s upbringing is not traditionally a task for Somali fathers. Consequently, we agreed that it would be of great interest to the project to conduct a substudy, led by Nor, with fathers and with imams. The main study and the substudy were conducted in parallel. The data presented in this chapter consists of seven focus group discussions with fathers and mothers, eleven individual in-depth interviews with five mothers, and participant observations of the course “Better Parenting and Parenting Coach.” The participants ranged in age from 26 to 43 years. Discussions between Barni Nor and myself were an invaluable part of the project. We come from different academic traditions, with different expectations and perspectives. Nevertheless we share a common goal, which is to seek not only knowledge, but also social transformation, and to be engaged researchers. Such a commitment has been strengthened by the fact that we have several times experienced research participants pleading with us to try to do something to change their situation. We have had many discussions about the responsibility involved in researching a marginalized minority. Many of our discussions have been about the possibility of acting for social transformation. An important part of such an aim is to make the knowledge produced accessible to the research participants and to stay in a continual dialog with them. Through this process I have become strongly aware of the ethics of researching a marginalized minority, as well as of the power dynamics involved in such research. Since initiating the project, in listening to the mothers and fathers I have come to understand that one of the greatest problems these parents confront in Swedish society is that people they meet have a preconceived picture of them and think they already know them. This has led me to question the very production of knowledge taking place within the research, and to ask whether research on marginalized groups is part of the problem or part of the solution. Epistemic psychology has come to be at the core of my research as I question whether the practice of studying marginalized groups

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is a practice in which knowledge is gained or lost. There is no simple answer to this question, and it is a moral duty to keep the question open and to make the core of my research an ethical and epistemic critical (self-) reflection. Because epistemic injustice is normal practice within any discourse, I must rehearse my arguments very readily and easily in order to be a responsible hearer. My methodology consists in the process of continued testimonial practice, together with (self-) critical reflections on such practice, in an attempt to mature as a responsible hearer. I have been challenged as to whether this methodology is simply an attempt to avoid criticism and whether what I am suggesting is a multiculturalist stance or a cultural relativist stance. It might accordingly be suggested that I accidentally support “the construction of restrictive norms, and impede the development of individualized, varied and fluid versions of Islam,” as cautioned against in the introduction to this volume.12 On the contrary, I suggest that if communication is blocked, growth is also impeded. To strive for the possibility to communicate and for a meeting to take place is therefore to work for the possibility of communication and mutual criticism and to enter a process of change. In this chapter I am more concerned with the development of epistemic justice than the development of Islam. Rather than sharing optimism about European influence on Islam, I see a potential in communication as a tool for researchers, social workers, teachers and parents to decolonize our minds and to mature as responsible hearers.

PREVIOUS RESEARCH If Muslims’ encounter with Europe is understood in a broader historical context including colonization, it is obvious that Islam as practiced and as understood by Muslims has not become more varied and or more fluid as a consequence of European influence. For example, in Somalia, colonial influence “weakened Somali women’s power, legitimizing patriarchal control over women and codifying customary and religious law from an orientalist perspective, hence making it more inflexible.”13 Paradoxically, the demands made on Muslims to integrate in order to become part of the Swedish/European collective are often equated with the demand made to become more individualistic. Researchers in Europe focus on how young people have developed a new type of religiosity that is individualized and is therefore adaptable to the European context. Such an individualized Islam is seen as loyal, yet integrated, Islam.14 According to such studies, it is in the West that Islam becomes modernized, where “modernized” is often equated with “Westernized” and placed within the paradigms of secularization, individualization and privatization. The scholar of religion Peter Frank provides a broad survey of the available literature on individualization and religious authority among Muslims in

44 Haga Europe. In a footnote he questions the supposed adaptation of Islam to the European context: While this narrative of the “adaptation of Islam to the European context” through generational change can to a certain degree be defended empirically, the aura of self-evidence which surrounds it today needs to be questioned. One wonders, in fact, if this self-evidence derives also from problematic ideas about the presumably limited capacity of primomigrants to simply feel “at home” as Muslims in the host environment, just as their children will do later. Also, one notices that the heavy emphasis put on the impact of generational change on the “adaptation of Islam to the European environment” tends to lend weight to those who portray, from different perspectives, the Islam practiced by firstgeneration migrants as “problematic.” This last assertion raises a number of issues concerning the necessary “conformity” of religion to its social environment which are yet to be fully discussed in the literature.15 The assumption that a European Islam, which is equated with an individualized Islam, exists and should develop further—a European Islam in which the individual is the authority who can choose between different options in the marketplace—can be understood as a secularized or a liberal-progressive form of Islam. According to this logic, Muslims can be trusted to be rational if they become free and have agency. As Saba Mahmood has illustrated in Islamic studies, agency is commonly understood as “the capacity to realize one’s own interests against the weight of custom, tradition, transcendent will or other obstacles.”16 According to official European discourse, such a capacity is typical of a “self-owning” Western subject “presumed free from all forms of coercion, including those potentially entailed in religion, commerce, love, belief, and comportment.”17 Ironically, such a view is irrational, as it denies the importance of interdependence for our human condition and survival. The anthropologist and pioneer of Somali studies, I. M. Lewis, has described Somali culture as highly individualistic, while for me other aspects of Somali culture have been more visible, such as sharing, cooperation and solidarity. This may be because I am drawn to people who share my visions. We can learn more about cooperation and communication when we interact with people from different cultures, not because “they” are better at it then “we” are. Such a starting point would lead to further dichotomization and exotification. The existential anthropology employed by Michael Jackson has the potential to take us beyond such dichotomization. He uses fieldwork combined with existential theories in order to explore ways of being and relations between people as they appear in various cultural settings. This is an attempt to understand more of the human condition by examining the various manners in which this condition manifests itself cross-culturally.18 Furthermore, a focus on parents can allow us to question the dichotomy between individualistic and collectivistic cultures. Although social science scholars have represented the developmental goals of autonomy and

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relatedness as separate, reflections by parents from diverse communities suggest that parents do not perceive a contradiction between encouraging both autonomy and relatedness in their children. Tamis Lemonda and colleagues found that mothers, for instance, emphasized qualities that are traditionally classified at opposite ends of the individualistic–collectivistic or autonomy–relatedness spectrum, such as sociability and independence, respect and self-esteem.19 Likewise, I have elsewhere argued for the importance of understanding that it is the privilege of security (coming from relatedness) that allows an agent to experience relative autonomy.20 Moreover, my thesis on Somali women traders in Somalia and Dubai shows that Somali mothers in Somalia teach their daughters the importance of economic independence, while simultaneously teaching them the collective responsibility of sharing their income with their relatives and others who are in need. Only a few studies have been conducted in Finland and Sweden on Somali parenting. In Marja Tiilikainen’s interesting study of culturally accepted paths to healing from mental illness, she states that illnesses were at times caused by Somali mothers’ worries about their children, because they saw Finland as a free society where everybody could do whatever they wanted without any limitations. According to her, Somali mothers were afraid that their children, growing up in Finland, would adopt values and habits that Somali and Muslim parents in general could not accept, such as alcohol use, inappropriate mixing of the sexes and premarital sexual relations.21 In a small study of Somali parenting experiences in Finland, similar concerns were observed. This public health study showed that when they spoke of values and habits that were unacceptable to them, Somali parents contrasted the “Islamic” way of raising children with the “Western” or “Christian” way.22 A question that comes to mind is how these parents’ worries or fears about their children’s adaptation to “freedom” and the “Christian” and “Western” way are related to the discrimination that Somalis experience. Studies conducted in Sweden show that the experience of discrimination among Somalis in Sweden is widespread.23 One study shows how such discrimination affects Somalis’ health negatively. Svenberg showed how Somali mothers’ experience of discrimination could become life threatening, by referring to how one mother gave birth to her child at home because she believed the rumor that they removed the uterus at the hospital.24 According to the report “Vart tog rättigheterna vägen?” (“What happened to our rights?”), discrimination against Somalis is based on both Islamophobia and Afrophobia, and the main consequence is that Somalis have very little trust in persons of authority in Sweden. Further, a study of the school system in Sweden has shown how communication is blocked because immigrant parents, particularly Muslim parents, are infantilized by teachers. Immigrant parents are assumed to have the wrong sort of influence on their children. They are seen either as being too strict and influencing their children too much or as engaging too little and giving the children too much responsibility, and consequently described as abandoning their children.25

46 Haga RAISING SWEDISH MUSLIMS Both in the individual interviews and in the focus group discussions the women in the study on which this chapter is based say that raising their children is challenging because they are repeatedly questioned by Swedish authority persons, particularly by teachers and social workers. They experience that they are undermined in their attempts to teach their children both collectivist and individualist values, or stated another way, in their attempts to teach their children autonomy (such as personal success) and social responsibility. The mothers say that they are repeatedly met with suspicion and judgment rather than affirmation in constantly being asked “Why are you bringing the children up that way?” Generally, it is assumed that they do not know how to raise their children well: My kids, when they are in school, if I am an immigrant woman, if something happens, a small thing, it is already a big deal. Because I am a parent who is an immigrant, [I am seen to be someone] who does not know how to educate my child in a good way. That is a great [challenge], it still is, and I do not know when this will change. Perhaps it will linger for ages. I may be an immigrant, I can be a Muslim. I can [still] be a good parent. But certain teachers, or someone who does not know you, they just take that picture from the beginning. Especially when you’re a parent, it is [challenging]. If you arrive at work, or if there is an obstacle for you [personally], you can fight on. But if you are a parent . . . you must be very strong, or else you will fail, you must be twice as strong. The parents interviewed experience constant challenges to their legitimacy. Fathers, in particular, emphasize that their status has undergone a radical change in Sweden. They say they used to have high status within the family: they were regarded highly and were respected by everyone in society. In Sweden, however, they claim, the family pyramid has been turned upside down. The child comes first, then the mother, and at the bottom you find the father: I grew up with the dream of being a father one day. I wanted to become just like my father. I wanted to be respected and I wanted to receive the love, care and treatment that my father received. But my reality is different, and if I knew what it means to be a father today, I would have acted and thought differently. According to the research participants, the children have not become equal, sharing decisions with the parents. Instead they have power over their parents. Mothers speak of how the rhetoric of freedom delegitimizes the parents’ authority. Within Swedish public discourse Muslims are seen as not free, because they are collectively pressured into wearing the headscarf and staying away from alcohol and mixing with the opposite sex. However, the

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social pressure to drink alcohol, have boyfriends/girlfriends and have an early sex debut is usually not thought to make Swedish youth less free. Parents experience that to be liberated is equated with acting according to Swedish or European norms. Therefore, encouragement to become liberated can be experienced as a demand to assimilate. One mother expresses how difficult it is to let go of her children, because she feels that her lifestyle choices are constantly questioned: Maybe, but I do not know, but I do not know if I would let them go, because we have different religions, different values, different things and all that. If someone knows me and respects me and says “Hey, this is my neighbor’s children, and they do not drink, they do not eat pork . . . and we must respect their way of living.” Then maybe I could let them go. But many here in Sweden do [not respect our way of living and ask] “Why do they do that? Do you understand? Why is that?” . . . I cannot live their lives, I cannot say: “Why do you drink?” I cannot say “What is it worth?” They can drink, it is their culture. They drink, they eat whatever they want, they [have] sex in their lives before they are married. I know that. I never questioned it. [There are a few Swedes who say] “but why don’t you just taste it?” And I am afraid [if my children] taste today there, then tomorrow he will taste more. I’m really scared really, I raise my children here, I know. I’m afraid, but really, I cannot do [anything else] than to let them go. Generally speaking, the parents experience that when their children are told they are free, they are in reality not being encouraged to become independent and to make their own decisions, but rather being encouraged to listen to others instead of their parents: Marian: We tried to show them the right way: That you should educate yourself and become independent and self-sufficient. It happens that the children go another way than where I want them to go. But this is the way I believe is right. Rannveig: How did you go about in order to teach them this here and in Somalia? Marian: It is a big difference. The children in Somalia are in your hands, there are no other authorities or other persons that enter the upbringing. But here the children say “We are free,” they do not only listen to you. There are other people that they listen to, and they say that they can do whatever they want. In Somalia Marian worked as a wholesale trader. She says it was easy to raise eight children in Somalia while working full time. That was because in Somalia her parents, sisters and neighbors all helped her raise them.

48 Haga Therefore, when she says that the children are “in your hands” and that no one “enters the upbringing,” I interpret that to mean that in Somalia, though many were involved, they did not question the parents’ legitimacy or try to influence them in a different direction. This was what she experienced happening in Sweden when people told their children that they were free. Such rhetoric had a tremendous impact on the relationship between parents and their children, and this impact was, according to the parents, influenced by their economically marginalized position, because “A Somali family is different from a family that is rich, and the children compare themselves with them.” Further, the parents’ authority was challenged because “the children learn about the society and the language [before you] and they feel that they know better than you.” The legitimacy of the parents was further challenged by the mothers’ strong fear of the social services. They saw children being free as meaning that children had power over their parents, particularly because they could threaten their parents with the social services. This led a mother in a group interview to say, “Freedom has destroyed the Somali family.” Mothers in this interview spoke of how they had stopped disciplining their children, as they were convinced that the consequence would be that their children would be taken away from them. They did not trust the teachers in school to want their children to succeed in school. Moreover, they believed that teachers would report them to the social services if they attempted to correct their children’s behavior. They emphasized that a white Swede can correct her or his children in public in a manner that is unacceptable for a Somali parent, and she asked, “Why do we not have the same rights?” The mothers felt as if they were under constant surveillance and expressed that they had given up hope of this ever changing by stating, “You will never become Swedish.” In saying this, they were not expressing a wish to assimilate; rather, they had given up hope of being included as full members of Swedish society with the same rights as other citizens. Specifically, they spoke of the right to raise and guide their children. One mother expressed that this had made it impossible for them to live in Sweden, since they did not want to give up bringing up their children: “I raise my children according to my culture and not according to their [the children’s] culture.” In every interview with the Somali mothers, the social services were mentioned. At times these mothers spoke of other mothers’ fears, but all of them acknowledged distrust of the social services as a great challenge for Somali mothers in raising their children. The children’s freedom, or their power over their parents, was seen as being supported by the social services: Ayaan: Here the children are free. Rannveig: What does that mean? Ayaan: The children can do anything here. There are many people who, for example, cannot say to their children if they do anything wrong. Many parents, [that] I’ve seen, they cannot say if the children do poorly:

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“You cannot do so.” Yes [you can], but [then the] social services [will] take away [the children], if we say [to] children, “You shall not do so.” They are afraid of the children themselves. Rannveig: The parents are afraid of the children? Ayaan: Yes. Because they are afraid that the social services . . . [That the] children will report to social services and [that the social services will] take the children away from the parents. Children are free, he might threaten the mother, he might hit the mother, do whatever he wants. In this quote it becomes obvious that the concept of freedom is understood very differently from how it is commonly used in Sweden. If a child is free to hit or threaten his mother, that is a freedom that most teachers and social workers would also characterize as being too much freedom, and it becomes easy to agree that such a freedom is destructive. This is a good example of how communication is impeded when words that are commonly used are given very different meanings. The mothers who experienced constant surveillance spoke of how they had lost the possibility to guide and correct their children, and how they felt they were not able to give them a good upbringing that would allow them to become responsible adults. Consequently, some regret bringing their children to Sweden. This was expressed by one mother when she was asked whether it was difficult to uphold her authority in Sweden: I do not feel that I am under [them], I cannot say that about my children. I brought them here, to a place I thought would be better for them. I feel sorry for them. It is not their fault, it is my responsibility. The mothers emphasize time and again that they are grateful that they at least have been allowed to come to a peaceful place. However, if peace is more than the absence of war, a question is whether these mothers really have found peace in Sweden yet. For the mothers we interviewed, peace in the sense of the possibility of open and trustful communication is not their experience of Sweden. Although all the mothers interviewed shared this experience, not all of them had given up on Swedish society and the possibility of finding peace eventually by taking part in a process of change. For instance, one mother spoke of her hope that things could change, if they could only manage to get the message across to teachers that they as parents are a resource: “Poor you with the hijab and everything.” In the Swedish society, they assume you can do nothing if you are a Muslim. Of course I can, you have to constantly say: of course I can. I am a resource. Am I not a resource as a parent? Obviously I’m a resource for my child, I know how I can love my kids, and they can come to me and all that. But sometimes you think you have to go to the teachers and say to them: “You must

50 Haga change this way. Life is more than this. We will be here, our kids will be here. We need to change this idea.” Another mother elaborates on how being a resource for their children also includes making them aware of, and proud of, “who they are.” This is important to her, not only because she wants her children to become aware that their multiple identities give them many resources, but also because she knows that as black Muslims the Swedish identity is partly closed to them. Identity is the most important thing: that they know who they are. That they are Somali and Swedish. They are Somalis, that is important, it is the foundation, where they come from. So it’s important that they know. The fact that they are Muslims, [it is important because] it gives the child the knowledge of where they’ve come from. There are some [children] who say: I was born here, I’m Swedish. But the mother will explain to them and say: we come from Africa, we come from Somalia, and so on and so on. We must teach them so they do not question themselves when they grow up. Already at a young age her children’s Swedish identity was continually questioned as they were constantly asked “Where are you from?” The mother narrates how her son answered the question proudly: Once they traveled with a Swedish guy, and then the guy said: “Where are you from?” My son said Somalia, and [his friend] said: “I am from Africa.” [The Swedish guy] said: “Actually, you are from Africa, right?” Then my youngest son replied: “You know, Africa is my first name, Somalia is my last name.” When speaking of the importance of teaching and making her children conscious of who they are and where they come from, she also speaks of some of the values that she wants to transfer to her children and the challenges involved in teaching them: [It is important] that they know their story, it is important that we talk about how it is over there, and how we lived there. They always have a lot of questions. I’ve always talked to my daughter, I said: “when I was seven years old I could cook.” “Well,” she said. And then: “I could do so and so, I could wash clothes.” And the question she asked me was: “Did your mother love you?” Then I thought: “What?” I had not expected that. “Yes, she loved me.” “No, I do not think so,” she said. “Then she would not have given you jobs to do. You say you did the laundry, you cooked food.” And then I thought that it does not go in. “Your mother did not love you, she was hard on you, poor you.” And I thought I was doing great, I was proud to say so. But I did not [get the message across],

“Freedom Has Destroyed the Somali Family”


it was quite to the contrary; they think that I had it really hard . . . I think that sometimes they feel . . . how they think sometimes . . . it is difficult . . . they are Swedish . . . If I give you one example. We have a tradition to help relatives. And then they will question: “Why do you give money to that person?” Because they do not [understand]. And so I say: “She’s my cousin.” “Cousin? The cousin is lazy. Why should you give your cousin money?” You feel that she will not understand. We are this chain which cannot . . . we will not cut our chains! The whole family must help each other all the time. It is not easy. The Swedish public discourse and the Somali discourse share the values of personal independence and economic self-sufficiency, yet there are differences. The mother above describes an important difference as being that her daughter does not understand the value of solidarity—that is, that as a selfsufficient and strong individual one is obliged to help other family members. The value of solidarity could also be said to be an old-fashioned Swedish social-democratic value, although Swedish society is changing and becoming more and more of a neoliberal economy. The main difference between a Swedish and a Somali traditional welfare system is that the former is managed by the state, while the latter is managed by the extended family or clan. While in many countries, and particularly within an Anglo-American discourse, the state is viewed as a threat to the freedoms and liberties of the citizens, the Swedish model is based on the idea that the state liberates individuals from subordination and dependency within the family and in civil society.26 The image used by the mother cited above, of the extended family being chained together, calls forth different and conflicting images. On the one hand, being chained together can be associated with a prison, where individuals are not free, and this is a common image of the Muslim family within Swedish discourse. On the other hand, being chained to your family can imply strength if the bonds are made of love, and then cutting the chains would disempower the individuals. That is what the mother means here when she continues to speak of how her main task is to “raise, nurture and love” her child and about how faith is her guiding principle. Faith and social commitment are, for her, intrinsically linked: The most important thing is faith . . . That is what builds humanity. To respect and help those who need help. It is not just to believe in God, there is much else around too.

A PROCESS OF SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION I have tried my best not to generalize when reviewing the empirical data. I have not elaborated on what the parents interviewed specifically want for their children, and how they want to socialize them. Instead I have focused

52 Haga on the challenges faced by mothers (or parents) in Sweden when they attempt to communicate and socialize or transfer their values to their children. Likewise, I encourage teachers, social workers and other people who interact with Somali parents in Sweden not to try first to find out what Somalis collectively want for their children, and instead to try to see the parent in front of them: to trust her words, to listen, and to enter into a process of open communication. It is of course valuable to learn more about the culture and the religion of the parents; however, such knowledge is counterproductive if it disables a listening and open attitude. Just like other parents, Somali parents do not have a set view of what they want that can be explained collectively by anyone. How can we work for better communication, which would be enriching for everyone involved, a conversation where it is not assumed that one part—the Somali parent—has nothing of value to add and is not a resource? As the mother above asked: “Am I not a resource as a parent?” And as she herself answers: “Obviously, I am a resource for my child.” The intentions of those who constantly question Somali parents, and tell their children that they are free, may be to empower the children; however, the consequence seems to be that parents are disempowered. The definition of empowerment is sharing power. Empowerment means having power with rather than having power over someone. Is it possible to empower children while simultaneously disempowering their parents? Or are empowered children raised by empowered parents? Within a Swedish discourse, the concept of freedom is closely related to secularism and individualism. Consequently, those who are seen as religious, particularly Muslims, are commonly assumed to be not free. As illustrated above, when the Somali parents interviewed resist attempts to “liberate” their children by expressing that “Children have too much freedom in Sweden,” and even that “Freedom has destroyed the Somali family,” it is not because they do not want their children to be critical and independent and think for themselves. Rather, what they are resisting is their own and their children’s disempowerment.27 I am not suggesting that there are no teachers, social workers or researchers who attempt to meet and communicate with Somali parents openly. I suggest that being truly open is an ongoing process, and a struggle, and a continuous questioning of that which we think we know about each other. The philosopher Jacques Derrida urges us to live as if another kind of being-together might become possible, a kind of peaceful coexistence that we have not yet seen. Derrida’s is a being-together where our relationship to the other does not build on the need for categorization and knowledge.28 So how can we, as researchers, work for this? Perhaps by living (and writing texts) with an aspiration and a faith in the possibility of such a beingtogether. Perhaps by employing a methodology of the heart that privileges life’s passions, puzzles and possibilities over arguments, logic and facts, as suggested by the communicationist Ronald J. Pelias.29 Such privilege does not exclude arguments, logic and facts; but it entails never letting that which

“Freedom Has Destroyed the Somali Family”


poses as truth triumph over compassion. I agree with Pelias that far too often such “truth” crushes alternative possibilities and silences minority voices.30 Marian Omar, a Swedish–Somali mother and poet expresses her protest against such “truths” beautifully in a poem when she says, “Do not baptize me as if it were my name.” I “turn” my research gaze because I do not want to produce more “truths.” I have reported here the conversations I have had with Somali parents, and I have posed the questions that these conversations have led me to reflect upon. My research project is a process of sensitive reflexivity, a process of training myself to mature as a hearer. I welcome teachers, social workers and others who interact with Somalis and other marginalized groups on a daily basis to join with me in this process. A question to start with might be to examine whether there are practices within the culture of your specific profession that reproduce epistemic injustice. To shape an agenda to counteract such injustice is to invite compassion into the bloodstream of your institution. In the words of Toni Morrison, such an invitation is “more than civilizing, more than ethical, more than humane, it is humanizing.” Or, as the mother cited above put it, to respect and help those who are in need is what “builds humanity.” As an academic, one of my greatest challenges is in using the academic language in which I have been more or less been trained. It is a solidifying and neutral language, which seeks to answer rather than raise questions and therefore does not encourage the mutual exchange of ideas. For peace, or open communication, to be realizable, we must ever be aware of and constantly work to avoid an oppressive language, because “Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.”31 This is an urgent agenda. Such a limiting of knowledge is not only an epistemic but an ethical problem, and it has real consequences in people’s lives, some of which I have brought before the reader in this chapter.

NOTES 1. Miranda Fricker, Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 2. Lila Abu-Lughod suggests that the very concept of culture produces difference and suggests that we write against culture. See Lila Abu-Lughod, “Writing against Culture,” in Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the Present, ed. Richard Fox (Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research, 1991), 137–62. 3. One example of an anthology where the Swedish norm is in focus: Kerstin Sandell and Diana Mulinari, eds., Feministiska interventioner: berättelser om och från en annan värld (Stockholm: Atlas Akademi, 2006). 4. Talal Asad et al., Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury and Free Speech (Berkeley: Townsend Center for the Humanities, 2009). 5. Eva Hellman, Vad är religion? En disciplinteoretisk metastudie (Falun: Nya Doxa, 2011), 11.

54 Haga 6. Henry A. Giroux, introduction to The Politics of Education: Culture, Power, and Liberation by Paulo Freire (South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey, 1985), xiii. 7. Kitty Calavita, “Engaged Research, ‘Goose Bumps’ and the Role of the Public Intellectual,” Law and Society Review 1 (2002), 14. 8. Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 3. 9. Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 1. 10. Fricker, Epistemic Injustice, 7. 11. See, for instance, Anna Towns, “Paradoxes of (In)equality: Something Is Rotten in the Gender Equal State of Sweden,” Cooperation and Conflict, 37 (2002), 157–79. 12. Mark Sedgwick, chapter 1, this volume. 13. Ladan Affi, “Men Drink Tea While Women Gossip,” in Putting the Cart before the Horse: Contested Nationalism and the Crisis of the Nation-State in Somalia, ed. Abdi M Kusow (Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, 2004), 97. 14. Frank Peter, “Individualization and Religious Authority in Western European Islam,” Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 17:1 (2006), 106–8. 15. Peter, “Individualization and Religious Authority,” 108. 16. Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 8. 17. Asad et al., Is Critique Secular? 18. Michael Jackson, Existential Anthropology: Events, Exigencies and Effects (New York: Berghahn Press, 2005), xxviii. 19. Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda et al., “Parents’ Goals for Children: The Dynamic Coexistence of Individualism and Collectivism in Cultures and Individuals,” Review of Social Development 17:1 (2008), 183–209. 20. Rannveig Haga, “Tradition as Resource: Transnational Somali Women Traders Facing the Realities of Civil War” (PhD diss., Uppsala University, 2009). 21. Marja Tiilikainen, “Somali Women and Daily Islam in the Diaspora,” Social Compass 50 (2003), 59–69. 22. Ilio Degni, Seppo Pöntinen and Mulki Mölsä, “Somali Parents’ Experiences of Bringing Up Children in Finland: Exploring Social-Cultural Change within Migrant Households,” Forum: Qualitative Social Research 7 (2006). www. 23. Victoria Kawesa et al., Var tog rättigheterna vägen? En kartläggning av upplevelser av diskriminering och rasism bland personer med somalisk bakgrund i Sverige (Stockholm: Centrum mot Racism, 2011). 24. Kristian Svenberg, “Møtet mellan patienten och läkaren—erfarenheter hos somaliska flyktningar och läkare under utbildning” (PhD diss., University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy, 2011). http://hdl.handle. net/2077/27961. 25. Lena Sawyer and Masoud Kamali, Utbildningens dilemma: demokratiska ideal och andrafierande praxis. Rapport av utredningen om makt, integration och strukturell diskriminering (Stockholm: SOU, 2006). 26. See Henrik Berggren and Lars Trägårdh, “Social Trust and Radical Individualism: The Paradox at the Heart of Nordic Capitalism,” in The Nordic Way: Equality, Individuality and Social Trust, eds. Annika Rembe and Kristina Persson (Stockholm: Swedish Institute, 2011), 12–29; also Lars Trägårdh, “Rethinking the Nordic Welfare State through a Neo-Hegelian Theory of State and Civil Society,” Journal of Political Ideologies 15:3 (2010): 227–39. 27. Research reports made on behalf of the Open Society Foundation in two other Nordic countries, Finland and Norway, suggest that Somali children’s achievement lags behind that of other immigrant groups. Open Society Foundation, “Somalis in Helsinki,” 2013,

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29. 30. 31.


files/somalis-helsinki-summary-20131121.pdf, and Open Society Foundation, “Somalis in Norway,” 2013, default/files/somalis-oslo-summary-20131210.pdf. Jacques Derrida, “Hospitality, Justice and Responsibility: A Dialogue with Jacques Derrida,” in Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Continental Philosophy, eds. Richard Keamey and Mark Dooley (London: Routledge, 1998), 65–83. Ronald J. Pelias, A Methodology of the Heart (Oxford: Alta Mira, 2004), 12. Pelias, Methodology of the Heart, 1. Toni Morrison, Nobel Lecture 1993, World Literature Today 68 (1993), 7.


Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children in the Dutch Immigration Context Trees Pels

Several studies have been conducted since the 1990s on child-rearing and development in Muslim immigrant families in the Netherlands.1 These studies indicate that although all parents want their children to succeed in the formal educational system, many of them are ambivalent about the integration of their children within Dutch schools. While schools are seen as instrumental in social mobility, they are often also seen as “depersonalizing” children and bringing about their cultural and religious estrangement. Many parents feel that their social and moral values and beliefs—which are inspired by the religion of Islam—are not reflected by the manner in which children are educated in the Netherlands. For some, the Dutch formal school system is seen as a threat because of the teachers’ informal, egalitarian interaction style and because of the perceived lack of support for propriety of behavior according to age and gender. One way for parents to counteract these influences and support the development of a proper “Islamic habitus” in their children is to send them to Islamic schools, which offer religious and normative education in addition to the curriculum common to all schools.2 Another, more widespread means parents use is supplementary education provided by private, after-hours schools, mostly situated in mosques. The majority of Muslim families in the Netherlands delegate a part of the religious and normative socialization of their children to these private schools: both to compensate for their own perceived lack of religious expertise and to counteract the opposing influences of the Dutch schooling system. An important question is whether and to what extent the curriculum and pedagogical style in these mosque schools differ from or even conflict with what is customary in mainstream education. Are rote learning and harsh discipline, which are common in traditional Quranic schooling in the countries of origin, still dominant? What efforts are being made to bridge the gap between what children experience in the world of the mosque and the world outside of it, such as the formal school system? What adaptations are taking place in the migration context, and what adaptations are needed? These are the questions that will be addressed in this chapter, which focuses on mosque education in the Dutch context.

Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children 57 Today, education in mosque schools is highly contested. Since the attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the murder of Dutch film director and media personality Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri (the son of Moroccan immigrants), the “integration debate” in the Netherlands has intensified even beyond that in other European countries. Much of the debate focuses on Muslim minorities, who form the majority of the immigrant population in the Netherlands. The building of mosques; the use of religious symbols, such as the headscarf; gender inequality; anti-integration pronouncements by ultra-orthodox imams and Islam-inspired political extremism are all popular subjects in politics and the media.3 While the majority of citizens believe that polarization is a bigger problem than radicalization, both of these phenomena are related to increased opposition to immigrants, and especially to Muslims.4 The education activities in mosque schools, mostly involving children of elementary school age, are also viewed with much suspicion. This is not wholly without reason. With some regularity, the media has reported on the authoritarian pedagogical style in these schools and, even more often, on incidents of corporal punishment, which has been prohibited by law since 2007. In 2010, after another political stir following media coverage of such incidents, the Dutch minister of integration instructed the Dutch public health service (GGD) to examine reports of physical violence in mosques. Some years before, such an incident led the municipality of Rotterdam to commission an independent study of the pedagogical quality of one mosque school compared to two others. The practical goal of that study was to make recommendations for supporting the development of a “mosque pedagogy” that would be more in line with the Dutch educational context. In this chapter I will report the results of that study,5 which is a somewhat unique one, since research in this area is extremely scarce, both nationally and internationally. First, the chapter will depict the general socialization context that Muslim children in the Netherlands grow up in. This section will focus predominantly on families of Moroccan descent, the second-largest group of Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands. Much of the available literature concerns this minority group, but the more substantive reason is that Moroccan parents are often more ambivalent about the integration of their children within Dutch schools than parents of other minority origins.6 After discussing socialization in general, I will present an overview of the literature on education in mosques in both Morocco and the Netherlands. A third section will describe the aims and methods of the Rotterdam mosque study, followed by three sections dealing with empirical data on the educational goals and practices of the mosque schools and their relations both with parents and with formal schools in the neighborhood with which they share pupils. Here I will examine the findings pertaining to the two Moroccan mosques in the study, but important similarities and differences to the Turkish mosque will also be mentioned.

58 Pels MOROCCAN–DUTCH FAMILIES AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION Male “guest workers” from Morocco have come to the Netherlands to fill gaps in the lower segments of the labor market since the early 1960s. Although both the immigrants and the Dutch state initially presumed their stay would be temporary, history has learned otherwise. Gradually, most of them sent for their wives and children, and today over 260,000 Moroccans reside within the Netherlands. Although the immigrants of the pioneering generation hesitated over accepting the permanence of their stay, nowadays a large majority of parents of Moroccan descent agree that the future of their children lies in the Netherlands. This has brought about a process of reorientation toward the host country and of adaptation with respect to parenting.7 According to the existing literature, however, Moroccan parents have been more ambivalent about the integration of their children within Dutch schools than parents of other minority origins. This can partly be explained by premigration feelings of distrust toward the Moroccan formal educational system. This system, introduced by the French colonizers early in the twentieth century, was inaccessible to the lower classes. This exclusion, along with the secularized curriculum, over time caused formal education to inspire distrust among parents from the non-privileged milieus, even after it became more widely available with Moroccan independence from France in 1953. While schools were seen as instrumental in social mobility, they were also seen as bringing about cultural and religious estrangement among children.8 This may hold even truer for Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands, the majority of whom have come from relatively underdeveloped rural areas in which formal schools are still scarce. These migrant families were expected to hand over their children to an institution that was perceived as even more distant from their cultural and religious ideals than formal education in Morocco.9 On the basis of an ethnographic study among first-generation Moroccan families,10 I concluded that parents not only invested in their children’s integration within the Dutch educational system, but also aspired to transmit elements of their own culture held in high esteem. All parents were Muslims. The Islamic religion had an important place in the lives of a majority of them, and a substantial majority deemed it important to educate their children about Islam. Some of them regularly spoke with their children about religious matters, read the Quran to them or told them about it. However, other parents felt too ignorant to perform this task and so left religious communication and teaching in the hands of the imam of their mosque. Other parents provided their children with videos or television programs about Islam. Many more mothers addressed themselves actively to the task of educating their children in the do’s and don’ts often associated with Quranic prescriptions. Especially the less educated mothers of the older generation put more stress on educating their children, though more in the sense of civilizing them

Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children 59 than of stimulating psychological development. From the age of three, they would start talking to their children about what was allowed and what was not, and about the norms and values they should comply with. Teaching and preaching in this sense were at least as important as imitating the exemplary behavior of others, which had been an important means of cultural transmission in the parents’ past and still is in Morocco today.11 I related this to the fact that immigrant parents felt that their social and moral values and beliefs were not reflected in the dominant methods of child-rearing in the Netherlands, and that these parents became aware of the necessity of offering their children explicit counter-information.12 The Dutch formal school system was not perceived as a vehicle for cultural transmission of this kind. For some it was actually a threat, because of the informal and egalitarian interaction style of teachers and their perceived lack of skills in maintaining discipline and instigating respect for their authority. One important method of counteracting these influences and initiating children into the Islamic religion, its norms and values and the Arabic language was to send children to private schools founded by the Moroccan community, located in mosques or neighborhood centers. Most of these private schools were open to children between six and twelve, who could attend after regular school hours and on Saturdays between one and five times a week. Four out of five of the parents either sent their children to attend one of these private schools, had previously done so or planned for their children to attend on reaching the appropriate age. Four out of five of these parents wanted their children to gain mastery in the Arabic language. Two out of three wanted their children to learn about religion, half wanted them to learn the Quran and one out of three mentioned motives related to childrearing: learning norms and values and the commandments and prohibitions prescribed by religion. Parents with a more orthodox conception of religion tended to prefer the mosque activities. Some of the more highly educated parents chose not to send their children to a “traditional” mosque school and felt that the teachers (mostly volunteers) had an unfavorable attitude toward the integration of children within Dutch schools. These parents preferred a didactic approach that was more akin to regular school. They were aware of the necessity of seeking convergence between private and formal education. Whether and to what extent this convergence took place in the mosque schools described in this chapter was the central question of the study “Pedagogy in the Mosque” as presented here.

MOSQUE EDUCATION: PRE- AND POST-MIGRATION In the early twentieth century, the mosque school was the only form of education accessible to the majority of children in Morocco. Now it serves mainly as a form of early childhood education. There is not much research

60 Pels offering detailed pedagogical information on current mosque education in Morocco.13 The following account of education offered in mosque schools in the pre-migration context is based on a review I published in 1991.14

Mosque Education in the Pre-Migration Context Morocco has roughly two types of mosque schools: the traditional and the modernized. The traditional schools are mainly found in rural areas and in the medina, the old city quarters. They are managed by a faqih whose income often consists mainly of donations from the community. In the traditional schools, memorization of the Quran is the main goal. Children learn the alphabet first by chanting letters, then single words and shorter suras of the Quran, and then by copying them out on a slate. The language of instruction is classical Quranic Arabic, which is not a spoken language. At home the children speak Berber or Moroccan Arabic, while the media often use a form of standard Arabic. Mathematics may be part of the program, but often mainly consists of memorizing and writing numbers. Strong discipline is practiced, and the children show great respect for the faqih. Next to the traditional schools, a modernized version is on the rise, influenced by the increased availability of public schooling in the second half of the twentieth century. In these schools, blackboards, notebooks and pens are more available. Furthermore, teachers talk with the children about what it means to be a Muslim: they teach them hygiene, the washing rituals, and the rudiments of the morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night prayers. Attention is also paid to manners and morals in the form of stories, with themes such as cleanliness, obedience, respect, help for others and love. The country’s history is taught by conversations about national holidays and by songs in which major themes, such as patriotism, love for the king and his authority and respect for the national flag play a prominent role. Physical education is practiced through play combined with singing. The teaching of arithmetic starts off with learning to count from 1 to 100 by using concrete objects. Attention is also paid to the four operations of subtraction, addition, multiplication and division. As for reading and writing, the pupils begin by writing the alphabet on a slate or in a notebook and learn the letters by heart. Then the faqih writes the first verses of the Fatiha, the opening sura of the Quran, on the slate. The pupil must copy the text, and thus gradually learns to read and write.15 In the more modern schools, the faqih has usually completed both a religious and a high school education. In addition, memorizing suras from the Quran, reading, writing and arithmetic are usually equally important, and the teaching methods are often more child-centered. Religious teaching is less geared toward memorizing without understanding and more tailored to the child, more concrete. In addition to these two types of schools, there are also versions more akin to the (French-style) Western schooling system. Even in this modern,

Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children 61 secularized schooling system, however, the transfer of knowledge as oneway traffic was still dominant in the later twentieth century, with the emphasis on imitation rather than self-discovery. Both mosque and public schools in Morocco still adhere to the idea of the teacher as the giver of knowledge, a figure of authority who is not to be overtly challenged. Methods tend to be based on the lecture, rather than interactive or pupil-centered.16

Mosque Education in the Dutch Context Several studies have been conducted in the Netherlands among parents of Moroccan descent.17 More than half of the first-generation parents I studied earlier18 had sought additional education for their children, and subsequent studies showed an even larger share of Moroccan mothers and fathers doing the same.19 According to a policy memo from the early 1980s on religious facilities for immigrant groups in the Netherlands, religious education among Moroccan and Turkish children at that time mainly took the form of Quranic teaching in and around places of worship. The teaching was confined to group memorization of Quranic texts under the guidance of a teacher. This could be the imam, but also anyone else who was able to read the Quran and recite suras by heart. The teaching was usually modeled on traditional Quranic education in Morocco.20 Gradually a change occurred in the mosque schools’ approach. As my 1991 study showed,21 the lessons in some mosques were no longer limited to Quran classes: language, culture, child-rearing and how to behave also became part of the curriculum. The education had become more like that of the modernized schools in Morocco, which were characterized by a more child-centered pedagogy. Lessons were usually aimed at children of primary school age. They took place on Saturdays and Wednesdays and sometimes one or two other weekdays, the total number of hours amounting to 10 to 15. Teachers were usually volunteers. While teachers often lacked specific educational qualifications, knowledge of the Quran and a good command of Arabic were required, and they had to be respected within the community. The less traditional schools used booklets that were mostly imported from Morocco, if the schools could afford them; their financial situation did not always allow for the purchase of such materials. Buying or renting, furnishing and maintaining rooms for lessons is expensive, and the costs largely had to be covered by the members of the mosque community. In the eyes of the children, the contrast with the material wealth of the formal schools was sometimes striking, and this could give the children a negative self-image, as one of the imams in the study claimed. Until recently, pedagogy in the mosque was like a black box. Unlike in formal schooling, the content of the curriculum and the pedagogical-didactic style of teaching remained hidden from the public eye. Mosque education is considered a private initiative and is not subject to inspection by the Dutch

62 Pels government. The few data available at the time seemed to indicate some modernization, in parallel with developments in Morocco. However, the scarce evidence pointed to the continuing dominance of the one-way traffic between teachers and pupils, authoritarian relationships and an emphasis on memorization and discipline, including the use of physical punishment. As I concluded, for children of Moroccan descent this meant being confronted with two rather different school systems, in addition to extra hours of schooling.22

The Need for Reform Both nationally and internationally, the reform of mosque education is increasingly advocated. It is seen as a necessary requirement in assisting the Muslim youth of today to find their way in the migration context.23 Several factors affect how youngsters in the largely secular Dutch context shape their religious identity: the reception by the host society, the “expatriation” of Islam by migration and the globalization of Islam and accompanying (political) tensions.24 In this context the mosque’s role as an educating agency becomes increasingly important and therefore requires greater input from the community of Muslims, especially as tradition is lacking and the ideological and theological basis of Islam is underdeveloped in Western immigration countries such as the Netherlands.25 One of the main challenges faced by the mosque school is the adaptation of its teaching activities and its contribution to bridging the gap between the different worlds that children must navigate. More specifically, the creation of linkages between teaching practices and primary education deserves more attention. Western primary education has moved away from whole-classroom instruction, one-way traffic, memorization and rigid discipline toward more open, interactive and reflexive forms of teaching. Another concern is that, in contrast with the early years of migration, a new generation of parents and children has now emerged that increasingly rebels against the authoritarian educational style that characterizes many mosques.26 Both nationally and internationally in Muslim circles there is growing insistence on the reform of mosque education in order to create a better support system for parents and children finding their way as Muslims in the migration context. Especially in the United States, several organizations are committed to this purpose.27 The well-known scholar of Islam, Tariq Ramadan, is one of the fiercest advocates of such a renewal. In his book Western Muslims and the Future of Islam28 he suggests that mosques are often a closed world, a parallel reality, with little connection to society at large. In his view, the transmission of religious knowledge and values in such an “artificial space” does not suffice to breed individuals who can stay afloat in daily reality. Children should stand at the heart of society, and should be guided as they do so. As a means to this end, Ramadan advocates

Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children 63 that mosque schools should establish links with formal education, involve parents and take the time to listen to young people. Tauhidi29 and Khan et al.30 likewise claim that the “traditional” Islamic religious education does not provide Muslim youths with the critical skills they need to deal with the difficult moral and social dilemmas that they face in the migration context. They argue that emphasis should be shifted from memorization and “‘lecturing” to more open, interactive forms of education. Teachers should respond to the needs of young European Muslims by paying heed to the history of Islam in Europe and by discussing Islam and issues that affect pupils’ daily lives. Halstead31 argues that interactive teaching methods are compatible with the conventional practices of Islamic religious education, because this education is traditionally rooted in the community it serves, providing answers to its needs and aspirations. The sections that follow address the study of educational practices in three mosques in the Netherlands, starting with a description of methodology.

THE “PEDAGOGY IN THE MOSQUE” STUDY: AIMS AND METHODS This study, commissioned by the municipality of Rotterdam, involved one Turkish and two Moroccan mosques. One of the Moroccan mosques, the Othman Mosque, was accused of physically abusing its pupils. The mosque fired the teacher in question, and its board agreed to cooperate with a study oriented toward educational innovation. In order to broaden the scope of the research and draw more informed conclusions, it was decided to include two other mosques in the study. These mosques were recruited through the intervention of Rotterdam’s Platform of Muslim Organizations (SPIOR). The platform invited a number of mosques to participate. After some refusals, another Moroccan mosque (Al Wahda) and a Turkish mosque (Ayasofya) agreed to participate.32 Thus the selection process was not random, which might have led to a (positive) bias in the results. However, only in a few cases could other mosques’ non-response be interpreted as a refusal to cooperate: in most cases practical circumstances such as teacher illness, rebuilding or reorganization work in the mosque hindered participation. The objective of the study was twofold: 1. To gain insight into the goals, content and pedagogical climate of the lessons in the mosques and into educational exchanges with the parents of pupils and with (collaborating) institutions dealing with the pupils. 2. To contribute to pedagogical innovation by making recommendations to support the mosque.

64 Pels The project started with two meetings in each mosque at which the research was introduced and support for the project was gathered. The first meeting focused on the mosques’ board and education committee, the second on regular mosque attendees, including the parents of pupils attending the lessons. Once broad agreement with the study was obtained, the mosques cooperated fully with the researchers and their activities. The researchers spoke with the various stakeholders involved in the lessons about their educational goals, beliefs and experiences. There were conversations with the board members, with two of the teachers, with a group of parents, with a group of pupils and with representatives of the neighborhood pedagogical network (regular schools, welfare and health agencies, police) in which the mosque took part. The researchers also observed two half-day-long active lessons in each mosque, working in pairs with at least one researcher familiar with the mother tongue of the teacher and pupils. In addition they studied the course materials. Reports of conversations with board members and teachers were submitted to them for validation. After completion of the studies, the draft reports and especially the conclusions and recommendations were discussed with representatives of the municipality of Rotterdam and with the boards and education committees of the mosques. With the approval of these representatives, the final version of the reports was produced. RESULTS: EDUCATIONAL GOALS This section discusses the objectives that the mosques aimed to foster with their educational activities. The results indicate that the intended goals of the mosques were rather similar. The transfer of knowledge of Islam and of Islamic religious education occupied a central place. In the Moroccan mosques, teaching of the Arabic language was also pivotal. Furthermore, the mosques aimed at forming and strengthening the children’s religious identity and, through this, at maintaining their ties with the country of origin and their ethnic/religious community. In addition to the transfer of language, culture and basic knowledge about Islam, the children’s moral education also received much attention. The function of the lessons in this regard was twofold. On the one hand they were meant to civilize the children, to contribute to their development as good human beings. On the other hand, the lessons also functioned as a way of keeping the children off the street, where they might come into contact with negative environmental influences. Some fathers in the group conversation at the Othman Mosque articulated this in the following way: Father 12: Tarbiyya mzyana [Moroccan dialect], that they remain on the right path and refrain from misconduct. Father 8: Parents are responsible for the children. If something happens, for instance if they behave badly on the streets, people and also

Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children 65 other kids may say “Dad did not teach them anything.” . . . In mosque schools they can teach them things that parents have no knowledge of, for instance history . . . : the values of our faith should help the children. Father 3: The children are taught the basics, basic knowledge about Islam, language and culture, so that they are not going to feel strange in their own culture or in a large part of their own culture later on. It also keeps children off the streets, so that they are not free the whole day. Father 13: The streets have a negative impact, just look at where you live . . . Father 3: [Children] can learn other things, they are curious about other things. It is better to have them spend their time usefully. In Mosque Al Wahda, fathers also regarded the mosque as an ally in education, which they said provided a necessary supplement to what was offered by regular education. Father 3: In Dutch elementary schools, they learn about democratic countries, but they misunderstand it: you are allowed to do this and to do that. Here they learn how to deal with people appropriately and how a society can be maintained. That they know what respect is. Father 2: Norms and values: our way, and the Dutch way. We must reach an equal level. Children should do their best at school and here [at the mosque] as well, then problems may be avoided. Here the children also are educated on what is allowed and what is not [halal wa haram]. Whereas the fathers emphasized proper behavior, the members of the education committee and the teacher of Mosque Al Wahda took this one step further. They believe that education in the mosque should also focus on connecting the various worlds in which the children live and on their integration into the wider society. The following quotation from one of the teachers well exemplifies the mosque’s view on how to achieve this goal: Tomorrow we have a lesson with the theme “neighbors.” Some people say you only need to respect Muslim neighbors. Here you have Muslim neighbors, Christian neighbors, Catholics and stuff. Islam says that you should respect everyone. The Prophet (peace be upon Him) had a Jewish neighbor who he looked after well, and said that you must respect your neighbors and help them. Children should remember those kinds of ideas and rules, and they also should wish others “Happy holidays” at Christmas. You will respect yourself more if you respect the other person . . . It is also important to apply the knowledge of Islam in society. One is a European, and one should not stick to how it is applied in the country of origin or in Saudi Arabia. The Netherlands is their country and they must integrate their faith in society: freedom of religion, everyone has it here.

66 Pels All three mosques see the teaching of respect and decency as the main path to reaching the objective of bridging the world of the mosque school with the world outside. As is clear from the interviews with our respondents, the purpose of preservation and bonding is primary, and that of bridging is secondary. The chairman of the education committee of Mosque Al Wahda summarizes the mosque’s bridging function as follows: “It is pivotal that the children do not lose their Moroccan roots, whether they are Berber, Jewish, Christian or Arabic. And with those roots they have to find their place in Dutch society, with a positive attitude.” This mosque is most open in the approach it advocates. Mosque Othman is more neutral, while the Turkish Ayasofya mosque adopts a much more defensive position: armed with knowledge of Islam, children must be empowered to cope with the wider society, portrayed as ignorant of or even hostile toward Islam.

EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES This section focuses on the means by which the mosque schools carry out lessons—the manpower, the materials and programs, as well as the pedagogical approach. All three mosques offer lessons to younger pupils between the ages of about 6 and 13, with lesson periods ranging from four to six hours per week. As mentioned in the literature, the number of lessonhours in these mosques is below the average of 20 years ago, indicating a reduction in lesson frequency over the course of time. In the Moroccan mosques, girls and boys follow classes together but are seated at separate ends of the aisle. In the Turkish mosques, girls and boys are taught in separate classes. The curriculum and teaching materials correspond with the main goals of language and Islamic religious education, in varying degrees. Mosque Al Wahda has a brand new program and possesses some materials for teaching Arabic. For the Islamic religious education, however, teachers must collect the lesson materials themselves. Mosque Othman works with a wider array of materials. The materials used in both mosques are of varying, but especially Moroccan, origin, and do not form a systematic package. References to the Western and Dutch context are absent. Mosque Al Wahda does not have lesson materials in Dutch, which would help children to better understand the lessons. The Turkish mosque has a stronger curriculum. Texts and illustrations in the textbooks frequently contain references to the migration context, next to the Turkish context. The differences between the mosques are mainly attributable to the fact that the Moroccan mosques are autonomous and therefore need to fend for themselves, whereas the Turkish mosque is part of the Europe-based federation Milli Görüş. This organization plays an important role in the development and renewal of curricula and related materials.

Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children 67 The secondary aim—that of bridging the gap between the various lifeworlds of the child—has yet to materialize in the form of tailored materials in any of the mosques. The pedagogical approach of the three mosques testifies to the changes from the traditional Quranic education that was still common in the countries of origin and the Netherlands alike in the 1980s. The once-narrow orientation toward rote learning and rigid discipline is gone. The mosques have espoused an open and child-friendly approach and, fairly recently, the use of corporal punishment has become taboo. “It is a fact in pedagogics that if you hit a child you also undermine its self-esteem,” Rafik, a teacher at Mosque Al Wahda, says, “There are milder ways of imposing discipline.” Another teacher, Badr, thinks being strict just causes problems, because it means “they stop listening.” Nonetheless, he does think children should be “a little afraid.” We found that these attitudes were reflected in practice. The relationship with the children was friendly and the style of behavior regulation mild. Inductive methods were used, in the Turkish mosque in particular, with talking preferred over more authoritarian methods: the teachers draw children’s attention individually or collectively to the consequences of their behavior for themselves and others or to rules and agreements. This aspect is much less in evidence in the Moroccan mosques, where more authoritarian methods of control are dominant. Most lessons, in all three mosques, are often one-way traffic from teacher to pupil. Teacher Samir: “Why is the month of Ramadan so important?” A child answers: “Poor people in Morocco, they give them money.” Another child: “Sir, why are they poor in Morocco?” Samir: “Because they have no work and therefore no money.” He abruptly waves his hand to stop further discussion and continues asking about the zakat: “What else . . . Fasting, why fasting? What is Ramadan?” The openness of interaction varies. The researchers saw few examples in the Moroccan mosques. Mosque Al Wahda’s aim of bringing social issues closer to home would appear to have materialized only to a limited extent into observed practice. Judging from the lessons observed, the envisaged turn toward greater openness has yet to lead to clear two-way traffic in the classroom interactions. The teachers’ statements would appear to reflect this state of affairs. For instance, when asked if and how social issues such as the murder of Theo van Gogh are raised for discussion, Rafik says, “I tell them that that sort of thing mustn’t happen, and explain why not. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but you do have to correct a child in the form of discussion.” Teacher Badr also sees it as his duty to explain thorny subjects: “Because the person involved was Moroccan, and a Muslim, I have to explain to them why he did it and that it was wrong. I go on to say how

68 Pels a Muslim should behave, how a Muslim must be, and not make the same mistakes.” Badr adds that so far there has been “no input from the children yet,” which he says is also hampered by the limited lesson time. All in all, judging from the observations and the teacher statements, the pupils are addressed mainly in moralizing terms. Otherwise there would appear to be scant communication about social issues, and as and when any does happen, it is initiated (or at any rate dominated) by the teachers. The pupils in the group discussion in Mosque Al Wahda would appear to confirm the above two conclusions and express a clear preference for more frequent informal discussion of events in their everyday life to be on the agenda. According to Fatima, a pupil, “Sometimes I think it’s a bit boring. You learn a lot, but you can’t say much. I would enjoy it better if there was more talking.” There was more freedom of exchange in the Turkish mosque. Social issues such as the emancipation of women and child abuse were raised for discussion in one of the observed lessons. However, in this lesson, too, there was no explicit reference to the identity of “Muslim in a Western country.” Ideas about how to bridge the gap between the life-worlds of the child had scarcely crystallized in the Moroccan mosques, as we saw in the previous section. The exception was moralizing about norms and values in the interaction with others. The dominant attitude apparent in the Turkish mosque was defensive, although the teachers held differing opinions on whether controversial or political subjects should be mentioned. In all cases pedagogy is still at a basic level on this point. For the objective of connecting with the pupils, a multilingual approach would be appropriate. None of the mosques conducted lessons in Dutch. The Dutch language proficiency of the average pupil points to the importance of using Dutch as an auxiliary language in the lessons. The observations also reveal that pupils would appreciate its use. On one occasion, a girl correctly guessed the word in a word game, which meant it was her turn next. With hands clasped, she implored Samir: “Can it be [ . . . ] Dutch?” Another girl, returning from the blackboard: “Sir, Moroccan is difficult!” Samir: “Yes, but you have to learn it, don’t you? It isn’t so hard if you practice a lot.” Some children do use Arabic. One boy who did so guessed the word immediately, to which Samir responded with: “Arabic is much easier, isn’t it?” Several children have another turn. Meanwhile hands are being raised enthusiastically: “Sir, Dutch, Sir, Dutch!” Although Arabic is the dominant language used by the teachers at the two Moroccan mosques, the use of language varies somewhat, depending, in part, on how good the teacher’s command of Dutch is. For instance Hussein, a teacher at Mosque Othman, occasionally uses Berber as an auxiliary language with children who were not taught Arabic at home and therefore have difficulty following the lesson. However, Samir uses Dutch more often. His use of Dutch went beyond merely helping to explain some point or other, and in the lesson observed he tended to coordinate his use of the two

Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children 69 languages by translating concepts from one to the other. As stated, in doing so, Samir was complying with the children’s preference. The mosques aim to teach the children a lot in a relatively short time. They are well aware of the risk of overload. In all three cases, attempts were made to alleviate the problem by making the occasional joke and by taking time out for discussion, singing and methods of learning with an element of play. All three mosques would like to provide greater variety through sport and other additional activities, such as educational outings, but say they lack the necessary facilities.

RELATIONS WITH FAMILIES AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS Regarding parent involvement, we again see many similarities. The mosques are easily accessible to parents. In contrast to normal practice in primary schools, there is room for consultation when (for instance) dropping off and picking up children, with no need to make an appointment and no time pressure. The emphasis is on informal exchange about children’s progress in the lessons or problems with children. Parents can also assert themselves on a more collective level, as was apparent at the Al Wahda Mosque: dissatisfaction with children’s progress in the Arabic class culminated in significant educational reforms. It is notable that, by and large, “parents” means “fathers.” At the Othman Mosque, all contact is via fathers, while at the Al Wahda Mosque mothers are increasingly crossing the threshold to ask how their children are doing. This is even more true of Mosque Ayasofya, which provides many services to both fathers and mothers, going well beyond the teaching activities. All three mosques wish to invest in their relations with parents and increase their involvement in teaching activities. Moreover, all three perceive a substantial need among parents for information about formal education and about the connection between parents and the education system. The mosques also wish to be more instrumental in this respect. The above facts already point to the importance of cooperation with local primary schools. The depth and nature of the mosques’ current embedding in a local network, however, varies. The Al Wahda Mosque is still in the initial phase of network creation. A year ago the Othman Mosque joined a working group collaborating with other local institutions involved with the pupils, such as those for education, social work and the police. The Ayasofya Mosque is not a permanent member of a network, but does maintain functional links with various institutions. The interplay between the mosque and the neighborhood primary schools—an interplay aimed at improving the pedagogical climate for the children—is a crucial point of interest for all three mosques. Subjects covered could include approaches to aggressive children, school disadvantage, arriving at a shared view of “pedagogy in the neighborhood,” engaging in

70 Pels joint activities or avoiding children getting an overload of tasks. Collaboration could also help to put parents and school on an equal footing: services oriented to parents could be more readily accessible through the mosque. A subject discussed in this connection in the Moroccan mosques was professional improvement through reciprocal visits and observation by teachers of the mosque and primary schools. Sharing the space and facilities of nearby primary schools would help to resolve material obstacles for all three mosques. The mosque schools’ reliance on donations from parents make them worse off than mainstream schools in terms of space, equipment and available materials. The contrast between the poor mosque schools and the materially prosperous primary schools is often harsh. The three mosques do say that the stated opportunities for neighborhood collaboration are conditional on them being recognized as full partners. Their perception is that it is all too common for external parties only to “take,” while “giving” nothing in return. For example, mosques are much sought after as a way to approach target groups that are “difficult to access” for a variety of purposes, such as providing information about parenting support, education and crime prevention. However, they tend to find doors closed to their own requests for collaboration.33

CONCLUSION Many Muslim families in the Netherlands aspire to further their children’s religious education. Since the formal educational system is usually not perceived as an ally in this respect, the majority send their children for lessons provided by mosques. Both nationally and internationally, pedagogical innovations in mosque education are increasingly advocated as an important facilitator in supporting parents and children in finding their way as Muslims in the migration context. To enable such innovation, insight is needed into current teaching practices and beliefs about them. Empirical research into this issue is extremely rare. The commotion that followed after reports were published in the media about the alleged physical abuse of children in a mosque school led the municipality of Rotterdam to commission such a study into mosque pedagogy. Its purpose was to work with stakeholders to gain insight into the pedagogical quality of the teaching activities, how they could further develop and how the process of pedagogical innovation could be supported. To summarize, we may conclude that the pedagogy in the mosques investigated has much improved compared to the traditional approach witnessed in the first decades after migration in which rote learning and harsh discipline were dominant. However, a further shift is deemed necessary, from top-down knowledge transfer to a more open interaction with pupils, enabling pupils to bridge the gap with life outside of the mosque. Currently, the pedagogy in the mosque is too inwardly focused; it should be more

Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children 71 tailored to the task of educating children for their life as a Muslim in the migration context. For this purpose, mosques and other institutions with a pedagogical responsibility, especially schools, should strengthen their ties. This could help to increase their professionalization and sharing of facilities, to improve parental involvement, and especially to develop a joint educational climate. The results of this study indicate that three improvements must be made. First, as argued above, a pedagogical alliance should be built at the neighborhood level between the relevant institutions, with the mosque’s role that of a structural partner. Second, more unity should be realized in the curriculum of the mosque schools. Teaching materials should be developed in which life as a Muslim in the migration context has a more prominent place and that allow for the use of Dutch as an auxiliary language. This would enable the children, for most of whom Dutch has become their first language, to benefit more from the lessons, but also to maximize their ability to navigate between both worlds. Third, the pedagogical quality of mosque teachers should be raised. In addition to training courses, a website could be developed, including a database of good practices and lesson examples, providing interested parties with the possibility of giving and receiving online advice and promoting the exchange of tips and experiences. NOTES 1. Maja Dekovic, Trees Pels and Suzanne Model, Child Rearing in Six Ethnic Families: The Multi-Cultural Dutch Experience (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2006), 23–25; Trees Pels, “Educational Strategies of Moroccan Mothers in the Netherlands,” European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 11 (2003), 70–74; Trees Pels, Marjolijn Distelbrink and Liselotte Postma, Opvoeding in de Migratiecontext: Review van recent Onderzoek naar de Opvoeding in Gezinnen van nieuwe Nederlanders, in opdracht van NWO (Utrecht: Verwey–Jonker Instituut, 2009), 19–20. 2. The Netherlands has about 50 such schools for elementary education. 3. See, for example, Justus Uitermark, Ugo Rossi and Henk Van Houtum, “Reinventing Multiculturalism: Urban Citizenship and the Negotiation of Ethnic Diversity in Amsterdam,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29(3) (2005), 622–24. 4. Hans Moors et al., Polarisatie en Radicalisering in Nederland: Een Verkenning van de Stand van Zaken in 2009 (Tilburg: IVA, 2009), 9. 5. Trees Pels, Gülsen Dogan and Halim El Madkouri, Pedagogiek in Moskee Ayasofya (Utrecht: Verwey–Jonker Instituut en FORUM, 2006); Trees Pels, Fadua Lahri and Halim El Madkouri, Pedagogiek in Moskee Othman (Utrecht: Verwey-Jonker Instituut en FORUM, 2006); Trees Pels, Fadua Lahri and Halim El Madkouri, Pedagogiek in Moskee Al Wahda (Utrecht: Verwey– Jonker Instituut en FORUM, 2006). 6. Jannet van der Hoek and Martine Kret, Marokkaanse Tienermeisjes: Gezinsinvloeden op Keuzen en Kansen (Utrecht: Van Arkel, 1992), 30; Trees Pels, Opvoeding en Integratie: Een vergelijkende Studie van recente Onderzoeken naar Gezinsopvoeding en de pedagogische Afstemming tussen Gezin en School (Assen: Van Gorcum, 2000), 13.

72 Pels 7. Trees Pels and Mariëtte de Haan, “Socialization Practices of Moroccan Families After Migration: A Reconstruction in an ‘Acculturative Arena,’” Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Research 15 (2007), 83–84. 8. Abdelwahid Radi, “L’adaptation de la famille au changement social dans le Maroc urbain,” Bulletin économique et social du Maroc, 135 (1977), 27–28. 9. Trees Pels and Mariëtte de Haan, Continuity and Change in Moroccan Socialization: A Review of the Literature on Socialization in Morocco and among Moroccan Families in the Netherlands (Utrecht: Verwey–Jonker Institute/ Utrecht University, 2003), 65. 10. Pels, “Educational Strategies,” 70–74. 11. Pels, “Educational Strategies,” 73; Pels and de Haan, Continuity and Change, 36. 12. Pels, “Educational Strategies,” 73. 13. See, for example, Pels and de Haan, Continuity and Change, 38–44. 14. Trees Pels, Marokkaanse kleuters en hun culturele Kapitaal: Opvoeden en Leren in het Gezin en op School (Amsterdam/Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger, 1991), 99–107. 15. See also Helen N. Boyle, “Modernization of Education and Kur’anic Adaptation in Morocco,” in Educational Strategies among Muslims in the Context of Globalization: Some National Case Studies, eds. Holger Daun and Geoffry Walford (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill, 2004), 132–38. 16. See also Boyle, “Modernization,” 132–38. 17. For a review, see Pels and De Haan, Continuity and Change, 47–69. 18. Pels, Marokkaanse kleuters, 136. 19. Trees Pels, Opvoeding in Marokkaanse Gezinnen in Nederland: De Creatie van een nieuw Bestaan (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1998), 126–28; Trees Pels, “Marokkaanse Vaders: Van Patriarchen naar betrokken Paternalisten,” in Diversiteit in Vaderschap: Chinese, Creools–Surinaamse en Marokkaanse Vaders in Nederland, eds. Marjolijn Distelbrink, Paul Geense and Trees Pels (Assen: Van Gorcum, 2005), 265–66. 20. Jacobus Waardenburg, Religieuze Voorzieningen voor etnische Minderheden in Nederland: Rapport tevens Beleidsadvies van de niet-ambtelijke Werkgroep ad hoc (Rijswijk: Ministerie van WVC, 1983), 100–105. 21. Pels, Marokkaanse kleuters, 99–107. 22. Pels, Marokkaanse kleuters, 108. 23. See, for example, Abdul M. Mujahid, “Rethinking the Masjid in America,” accessed November 4, 2005, http:/; Tariq Ramadan, Westerse moslims en de toekomst van de islam (Amsterdam: Bulaaq, 2005), 172–83. 24. Martijn de Koning, “Ambivalent Purity,” ISIM Review 22 (2008), 40–41. See also Olivier Roy, De globalisering van de islam (Amsterdam: Van Gennep, 2003), 51–75. 25. Roy, Globalisering, 76–80. 26. See, for example, Trees Pels, Fadua Lahri and Halim El Madkouri, Pedagogiek in Moskee Othman (Utrecht: Verwey–Jonker Instituut en FORUM, 2006), 6. 27. Daud Tauhidi, The Tarbiyah Project: Towards a Renewed Vision of Islamic Education, accessed May 17, 2001,; Soundvision. com, “Challenges of the Weekend Islamic School,” accessed June 2, 2003, 28. Tariq Ramadan, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (New York: Oxford University press, 2004). 29. Tauhidi, Tarbiyah Project. 30. Shaza Khan, Wajahat Husain and Sehar Masood, Situating Weekend Islamic Schools in the American Muslim Context, accessed May 25, 2013, www., 8–10.

Dilemmas of Educating Muslim Children 73 31. Mark Halstead, “An Islamic Concept of Education,” Comparative Education, 40 (2004), 517–29. 32. The Moroccan mosques were autonomous; the Turkish mosque belonged to the Milli Görüs organization. 33. See also Marjan de Gruijter, Suzanne Tan and Trees Pels, Frontlinie versterken: Interculturele Methodieken van Zelforganisaties in het Voorportaal van de Jeugdzorg (Utrecht: Verwey–Jonker Institute, 2009), 35–36.

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Part 2

Government Policies

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Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany Models of Integration and the Presence of Islam in Public Schools Margrete Søvik

Across Europe, Islam is conceived of as a challenge to cultural and political integration. Muslims are generally held to be unfamiliar with core liberal values such as freedom of belief and gender equality. A process of transformation and adjustment is called for in order for Islam to find its place in the European religious landscape and for Muslims to fit in as citizens in a liberal democracy. Schools are regarded as the key instrument in this regard. Through schooling a new generation of European Muslims, socialized to liberal-democratic norms and values, is to be reared. On a general level, the interpretations of Islam and the process of integration bear striking similarities across different countries. Looking closer at the national debates, however, there are also manifest dissimilarities reflecting the political cultures, school traditions and church–state systems of the countries concerned. Using the cases of France and Germany, this chapter explores how differing perceptions of the role of religion in education and socialization produce different approaches to Islam and its legitimate space in society and affect the way in which Islam and Muslim identity claims are seen to fit with civic education and civic virtues. The chapter draws on the examples of the headscarf debate in France and the debate on Islamic religious education in Germany. In France, after 15 years of controversies, the Islamic headscarf was banned in French public schools in 2004, together with other “conspicuous religious symbols” such as the Jewish kippa and large crosses. The purpose of the law was to reinforce the integrative function of public schools by securing their “neutrality.” In Germany, the debate on Islamic religious education goes back to the 1970s, when the first Muslim applications for the right to their own religious education were addressed to the German school authorities. Islamic religious education is still not organized according to the same principles as Catholic, Protestant and Jewish religious education: that is, as a regular, compulsory subject based on curricula that are negotiated with a Muslim partner and with teachers appointed by this partner.1 In recent years school experiments with confessional Islamic religious education have been organized in several Länder (federal states). The instruction is carried out only in some schools, however, and is generally based on roundtable discussions where several

78 Søvik Muslim organizations participate, together with pedagogical scholars and Land (state) officials.2 The two examples are different in that the French case deals with symbols and the German with teaching and curricula. On a more general level, however, both raise questions as to how schools address minorities and how religion in general and Islam in particular are to be configured in relation to civic education and societal integration. These are the questions that will be discussed in this chapter. The French headscarf debate mirrors French Republican ideology and its notion of secularism: la laïcité. The Republican concept of nationhood does not acknowledge groups, only individual citizens. The secularity of the public school is seen as the precondition for this national community of individual citizens. The ethic conveyed in schools is ideally blind to ethnic and religious differences, reflecting only “universal” values and principles such as reason, democracy and human rights. Civic education consists in assenting to this division between private and public, particular and universal, religious and secular. In Germany, by contrast, confessional religious education is based on the opposite rationale: that religion and culture provide the citizen with a moral compass and a sense of social responsibility that are valuable to society at large. The question is if and how Islam can be taught so as to fit this purpose.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT: TWO CONTRASTING CASES Although the Republican concept dominates, various ideas of what constitutes the French nation coexist in present-day France. The American scholar William Safran has distinguished between four categories: the Jacobin, the organic, the pluralist and the pragmatic.3 The pluralist and the pragmatic notions are based on contemporary ideas, born of anti-colonial discourses and the anti-authoritarian movement of 1968. Both maintain the value of cultural pluralism, but the pragmatic approach puts somewhat more emphasis on the need for adaptation to a shared set of values. The Jacobin and the organic notions go back in history to the battle between the so-called “two Frances,” the Republican left and the traditionalist monarchical right (rooted in the Catholic Church and the army). For the traditionalist camp, the French nation was represented by the ancient regime, the monarchy, the church and the peasant culture of provincial towns. It was a community based on descent.4 This conception clashed with the Jacobin concept (referred to below as the Republican concept) that was promoted by the revolutionaries of 1789, according to whom the nation was a political community generated by the state, not an ethnic community existing prior to and independently of the state. Central to this conception is the idea of national membership as based on reason and free will, rather than destiny and blood ties. Reason, free will and social contract: these were thoughts inherited from the Enlightenment philosophy of the eighteenth century.

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 79 Enlightenment philosophy placed man at the center of the world, celebrating his reason and capacity to discover universal truths, in nature as well as in politics. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, the founding document of the French Republic, was in line with this and was understood as having universal validity: all men were born free and equal, and all citizens were endowed with the same rights, without distinction as to race or religion. Given its universalism, support for the declaration was held to be only reasonable for all free and enlightened men. Membership in the nation was in principle accessible to all who consented to these values—in theory every man on earth—and the Republican concept has therefore been described as open and inclusive, in contrast to closed ethnic communities.5 The French notion of secularism—la laïcité—is intrinsically linked to the Republican concept of the nation, both historically and philosophically. As a result of the political struggles and deep ideological divisions between the “two Frances” in the nineteenth century, the Republicans urged the exclusion of religion from the public realm after seizing power in 1871. A system of recognized, state-supervised and financially supported denominations prevailed until 1905, when a law was enacted that abolished state recognition of religious communities along with all financial support. Henceforth denominations became entirely and solely part of the private sector. The public school had already been secularized by law in 1882.6 Gaining control over public education was deemed crucial by the Republicans in order to secure democracy and national integration. Thus so-called civic instruction replaced religious education. Its purpose was to endorse a common morality based on the Enlightenment ideals of the French Revolution.7 Philosophically, laïcité implies differentiation between a private and a public sphere: the public sphere is defined as a neutral ground where citizens participate in the elaboration of the “general will,” whereas particular cultural and religious interests are restricted to the private sphere. The rationale for this differentiation between public and private spheres is to secure the equality of all citizens and to allow political unity to be combined with a diversity of opinions, interests and identities. Political equality is seen as resting on the de-contextualization of the individual.8 Consequently, the state acknowledges only individuals, not groups, and ideally there is no intermediary level between the citizen and the state. The historical roots of this model of democracy and national integration lie in the revolutionaries’ fight against the society of estates and social predestination. In the real world, the ideal of political equality and unity was accompanied by harsh policies of assimilation. Democratization in the late nineteenth century went hand in hand with cultural and linguistic nation-building. Given the belief in the “genius of the French civilization” and in the universality of Republican values, assimilation was never considered a burden, though, but rather a gift.9 The public school became the primary site of cultural assimilation and civic integration.10 Laïcité as a politico-philosophical doctrine and ideological force has changed during the last century: the postwar era was marked

80 Søvik by a relaxation of secular-religious antagonisms, and in the early 1980s steps were taken to reformulate the ideal of laïcité so as to include the expression of cultural pluralism. Faced with the new Islamic presence, however, a more combative form of laicism has regained strength, sanctifying the integrating power of an “independent neutral” ethic. However, religious pluralism and an increase in conflicts where religion has played a part have also in recent years raised the question whether the teaching of some sort of history of religion is required in French schools.11 The history of the German nation-state and the traditional (romantic) notion of German nationhood differ fundamentally from their French Republican counterparts. Based on shared language and culture, German national consciousness developed before the construction of a unified German state in 1871. And while assimilation has played such an important role ideologically and historically in France, in Germany it has never been viewed as a path to genuine “Germanness.” In contrast to the universalism of the French Republican concept, the German nation has historically been seen as a particularistic community. The emphasis on particularity emerged as a response to French universalism and opposition to French occupation under Napoleon, which had been justified as incorporation of the German states into the “Great Nation.” According to Johann Gottfried von Herder, perhaps the most influential contributor to German romanticism and the German idea of nationhood, a nation was not an open political community with universal range. It was a unique ethnic community, defined by its history, culture and language, whose autonomy should be respected. For his thoughts Herder has also been depicted a forerunner of contemporary cultural relativism and resistance to the supremacy of Western modernity.12 The human being, for Herder and German romanticism more generally, is not foremost to be understood as free and rational, but rather as shaped by history and community: grasping the true human nature demands contextualization, not decontextualization. In fact, as claimed by the French sociologist Dominique Schnapper, on a more general philosophical level the French Republican and the German romantic notions of nationhood represent two different ideas about human nature: as created by society or as creator of society.13 To speak of a French Republican and a German romantic conception of nationhood represents, of course, a simplification of matters. Various different ideas about what constitutes a nation have coexisted and blended with each other not only in France and Germany, but in all nation-states. As organic understandings of the French nation have coexisted with the Republican approach, so have ideas about citizenship and popular sovereignty added to the understandings of German nationhood. Still, the Republican approach has been more influential in France, as the organic conception has been more important in Germany. A fierce break between state and church, as in France, never occurred in Germany. Rather the well-being of society is seen as resting on the two cooperating together. The current constitution has incorporated the articles of the

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 81 Weimar Constitution of 1919, according to which state and churches were officially separated. This official separation did not, however, imply a break with the long tradition of church–state links. The churches gained complete internal autonomy while maintaining their public legal status. Finances were secured through state subsidies and church taxes collected by the state.14 Confessional religious education in public schools was adopted: according to Article 7 of the present constitution (Grundgesetz), confessional religious education is an ordinary and compulsory subject in all public schools. The Weimar Constitution was a compromise. The Social Democrats, originally favoring a strict separation as in France, pushed through a regulation in the constitution offering religious communities outside the dominant churches the right to apply for public legal status provided they could prove their lasting presence in the country and a certain minimum number of adherents.15 Confessional religious education in public schools is also in principle accessible to all religious communities. It is widely agreed among legal scholars that such communities need not have achieved the precondition of the status of Corporation of Public Law. The constitution simply uses the term religious community (Religionsgemeinschaft).16 In some Länder, Orthodox and Jewish instruction is provided, but religious education is generally either Catholic or Protestant. Within the legal discourse this limping division is not held to be contrary to the neutrality of the state. Freedom of belief is interpreted as a positive freedom. True neutrality, it is claimed, requires the state not to favor secular worldviews, but rather to provide the appropriate frameworks for religious life.17 For defenders of the German system of church–state relations, this system is more just than the French system, which they describe as anything but neutral. The French form of secularism is seen as biased and anti-religious; there cannot be such a thing as a neutral, independent ethic promoted by the state.18 In contrast, the German system undeniably favors the historical churches and places those religious communities not possessing public legal status in an inferior position. The legitimization of German ecclesiastical law is not based solely on the discourse of neutrality and religious liberty, but also on the benefits to the state. Historical religious communities are expected to share in society’s normative basis and to contribute to social unity.19 Viewed from an international perspective, German churches have a remarkably strong impact on public education.20 The status of religion as an ordinary school subject implies that pupils are expected to attend religious education classes corresponding to the denomination they belong to. Instruction is in principle mandatory, though pupils may be exempted on grounds of freedom of belief.21 The German Länder are in charge of education and are financially and administratively responsible for it. They have the right to supervise courses, but the contents are still to be based on the teachings of the denomination. Religion is not to be taught from a comparative or anthropological perspective, nor in the shape of a purely informative history of religion, nor as general ethics. It is to be presented with its particular

82 Søvik theological claims to the truth.22 Confessional religious education in public schools is perceived as ensuing from a notion of neutrality that does not seek to install laicism in citizens but provides appropriate frameworks for their religious lives.23 Concurrently, the state itself is assumed to benefit from the religious education of its citizens, while sustaining their moral and ethical standards, and thus social peace and coherence at large. The totalitarian past still figures as an argument in favor of a religious education that preserves the moral conscience of citizens. Due to the past it is also considered crucial that the state’s impact on civic values is limited. Only when experienced as authentic and non-instrumentalized is religion equipped to foster a truly autonomous and critical character. Since the Second World War religious pedagogical thinking has nevertheless changed noticeably. As the legitimacy of missionary churches in the schools was weakened in the 1960s, new ways of interpreting the aims of religious education emerged. The key idea of the new concept—still influential in public religious syllabi—was to replace Bible-centered instruction with instruction in which texts and teachings were interpreted from the perspective of pupils’ “life-worlds.”24 This approach, the so-called didactics of correlation, transformed religious education into a sort of “life skills.” The ambition was to make religion available as a source of identity-construction and life-orientation. In a “postmodern age” characterized by individualism and a multiplicity of choices, the so-called therapeutic aspect of confessional religious education was held to be of particular importance.25 Confessional religious education has wide support in Germany. Nevertheless, as increasing pluralism has challenged the idea of a secular neutral ethic in France, so have cultural and religious pluralism confronted the German institution. Islamic religious education, together with its organization and contents, is one of the questions raised. Another question is whether inter-religious dialogue and understanding requires children to be gathered together, rather than divided into different confessional classes.26 As the intellectual traditions of the Enlightenment and romanticism shaped European notions of the nation-state, they have likewise had a great impact on ideas about education. Education in the Enlightenment philosophy is secular in its very nature: devoted to objective, scientific knowledge and associated with socio-political and economic benefit and progress. The romantic idea of education, in contrast, values the subjective and the particular, emphasizes cultural and historical contexts and sees the purpose of education as nurturing the human spirit, not reason alone. The two approaches have coexisted in modern European educational thought, although the impact of the Enlightenment tradition clearly has been stronger in shaping education systems.27 In values instruction and civic education the romantic tradition has had influence, though. The rationale of religious education in Germany reflects an understanding of the human being as essentially religious, struggling with questions about “origin and destiny . . . meaning and value, or the meaninglessness of it all.”28 But it may also be said to reflect a romantic perception of education: education is a holistic endeavor,

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 83 addressing all aspects of the pupil’s life. The French public school on its side is solidly rooted in Enlightenment culture, and not just because of its secular nature. A determination to shield the public school from the influence of the outside world, particularly parents and diverse civil corporations, follows the logic of a separation between private and public spheres. It also reflects a particular understanding of the school institution and the knowledge it disseminates; that is, “objective” scientific insights. School-based knowledge is exclusively the domain of the state and the teachers, and parents are not invited to participate in any classroom issue.29 This is very different in Germany, where school–home cooperation is the norm. In French schools “personality development” is not an issue, and teachers are not expected to address the emotional aspects of their pupils’ lives. French state schools are dedicated to the cultivation of a public person, the citizen. In Germany, such a distinction between the private and the public person appears strange. Socialization in family and community is regarded as a crucial part of civic education. As put by the German scholar Sabine Mannitz: “Where the French system appears to express a certain mistrust about the negative potential of private backgrounds as inhibiting the achievement of equality, German programmes [seem] more directed toward an excessive influence of the state.”30 Values instruction and civic education in France and Germany are inspired by different intellectual traditions. The Enlightenment tradition definitely has been important in Germany as well, and is a card frequently played out in the debate about Islam. Still, comparing prevailing discourses on values and schooling in the two countries, different perceptions of society and human nature appear, which seem to reflect differing ideas inherited from romanticism and the Enlightenment, respectively: society as a product of the interaction between rational individuals versus society as a historical and cultural community and the individual as a sovereign agent consciously partaking in the shaping of society versus the individual as ingrained in history and culture.

NEUTRALITY AND EQUALITY IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: THE HEADSCARF DEBATE IN FRANCE The debate on the Islamic headscarf (“l’affaire des foulards”) has been an ongoing political debate for years. It culminated in 2004, when a law was enacted prohibiting all “conspicuous” religious signs in public schools. The debate erupted 15 years earlier, in September 1989, as three Muslim girls were expelled from a school in the Parisian suburb Creil for wearing headscarves in the classroom. According to the school’s principal, Ernest Chenière, the headscarf was in conflict with the principle of laïcité in French public schools.31 The school was a neutral space, not to be infringed upon by religious symbolism. The issue quickly caught the interest of the media and commentators. Political parties were at first more hesitant. Danielle

84 Søvik Mitterrand, wife of then President François Mitterrand, denounced the expulsion, however. This intervention provoked reactions among political opponents: on whose behalf did she speak? After a while the minister of education, Lionel Jospin, commented on the case in support of the president’s wife: “The French school is made for education and integration, not for expulsion.”32 This response provoked further intense reactions, also within Jospin’s own party, the Socialist Party. Many agreed with the school principal in Creil: the Muslim headscarf represented an intolerable violation of the school’s neutrality. Chenière was not a racist. Being black and originating from the French overseas territory of Martinique, he was, rather, presented as the product of the French tradition of integration, uniting individuals of diverse backgrounds in a community of shared political ideals. He was in fact a hero for standing up for Republican values in the face of rising religious fundamentalism and ghettoization.33 The alignment of the case as one touching upon the foundations of Republic and French national identity emerged fully after the publication of an open letter signed by five prominent intellectuals in the newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur. The letter, entitled “Teachers, let’s not capitulate!” was mainly a reaction to Lionel Jospin’s position, described as “the Munich of the Republican school,” in reference to France and Great Britain’s fatal appeasement policy toward Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. The main argument of the five intellectuals was that tolerating the Muslim headscarf was not an act of liberty but rather an enslavement of free individuals. The headscarf could not be tolerated within the school, whose mission was to educate free and equal citizens. Accepting an infringement upon the secular nature of schools would ultimately threaten the Republic itself, which was founded upon its school system: The future will tell whether the bicentenary of the Revolution will have seen the Munich of the Republican school . . . The French model of democracy is the Republic. It is not a mosaic of ghettos where personal freedom can be used to disguise the law of the strongest. Devoted to free enquiry, linked to the expansion of knowledge and confidently relying on the natural light of human reason, the Republic’s foundation is her schools. That is why the destruction of the school system means the destruction of the Republic itself.34 In November Lionel Jospin called upon the Conseil d’État, the highest administrative court, to judge in the matter. In opposition to what had become the dominant position in the public and political debate, the court concluded that the headscarf, as such, did not violate the principle of laïcité in public schools. The obligation of neutrality was directed toward teachers and curricula, not pupils, who enjoyed freedom of belief also within the school institution. An exception could be made in cases where the headscarf evidently represented an act of pressure or proselytism and, as such, disturbed the order of the school institution. It was left to the schools to

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 85 interpret the use and meaning of the headscarf on a case-by-case basis.35 With this conclusion the floor was open to new controversies, and the debate continued. In 1994 François Bayrou, minister of education in a new right-wing government, issued a circular confirming that “overt religious symbols” were prohibited in schools. Bayrou explicitly excluded the wearing of a crucifix or a Jewish kippa, thus demonstrating that the target was the Muslim headscarf. The following year, however, the Conseil d’État stated that the Bayrou circular did not have the force of law. It was still up to the schools to decide case by case.36 This remained the situation until the law was enacted in 2004. In cases where pupils were excluded, they were obliged to continue their schooling through distance education. The number of open conflicts over the Islamic headscarf was never large, though, and most cases were resolved peacefully without ever entering the court system. In the beginning of the 2003 school year there were 1,256 counted cases of veiled pupils; in December of the same year, 20 remained unresolved, and in 4 of those pupils had been excluded from school.37 Thus the law in 2004 cannot be understood as a response to a radical leap in the number of veiled girls in French schools; rather, it should be interpreted in the light of a political and rhetorical shift toward a stricter line in integration matters and a desire to resolve the headscarf controversy once and for all. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, nurtured an already existing image of Islam as a security threat to Western countries and as a civilization fundamentally in collision with the West. Islamism had emerged as a political force in the Muslim world in the 1970s, culminating with the Iranian revolution of 1979. Several terrorist attacks purportedly committed by Islamist groups targeted France already in the 1980s and 1990s, and France was particularly touched by the developments in Algeria of those years. In parallel with this development, Islam had become more visible in European cities, as immigrant workers settled down and brought their families. Fear of and hostility toward Islam were manifest from the early 1980s, mostly in opposition to the building of mosques. In France the extreme right-wing party Front National gained its national breakthrough in 1983 on the basis of this growing fear both of immigration and of a new cultural and religious pluralism. Along with the discourse of resentment on the extreme right wing there existed, nevertheless, a discourse of openness and tolerance toward cultural difference. This discourse, born out of decolonization and the anti-authoritarian movement following the events of 1968, was particularly influential on the left wing. When the socialists achieved power in 1981 a more open approach to immigrants was announced. Rather than assimilation, the term in use henceforth was insertion, meaning integration as well as equal rights without loss of cultural identity. “Droit à la différence”—the right to be different—was the slogan. This policy of openness was gradually downplayed, however, as Front National gained terrain.38 In brief, when the headscarf affair erupted in 1989 it was after a decade of increasing uneasiness about immigration

86 Søvik and integration issues and, in concert with that, with the emergence of Islam, construed in the light of international Islamism. The open letter of the five intellectuals represented in many ways a watershed regarding the interpretation of Islam in France: up until that time liberal values such as tolerance and freedom of belief had served to defend minority cultures, as in the examples of Danielle Mitterrand and Lionel Jospin. The organization SOS Racism responded in the same way. According to the five, however, these very values were, on the contrary, in peril in the face of Islam as expressed through the headscarf. To tolerate the headscarf was to tolerate intolerance and to consent to the suppression of the free individual. The emphasis on culture and cultural relativism that had inspired the liberal integration discourse since the 1970s represented an intellectual deadlock, they argued: “The right to be different that you cherish so highly is a liberty only if it implies the right to differ from your difference. On the contrary it’s a trap, indeed slavery.”39 This thought was also developed in a book by one of the five, Alain Finkielkraut, which appeared in 1987.40 In the book the ideas of multiculturalism and the “right to be different” are represented as based on a group logic seen to oppose the individualism born of the Enlightenment era. Finkielkraut sees the intellectual roots of multiculturalism in German romanticism. In both cases, Finkielkraut argues, people are locked up in collectives that they cannot escape and that predestine their lives forward from birth. It was this model of society that came to an end with the emergence of political modernity, symbolically instigated by the French Revolution with its emphasis on free and equal individuals.41 According to Finkielkraut the ideas inherited from romanticism re-emerged as part of the decolonization movement after the Second World War. The superiority of the West was challenged and the independence of nations was claimed with reference to culturalist arguments: no culture was better or more advanced than others; all were unique and self-contained. Westerners also adopted these arguments out of what they believed to be empathy and solidarity with the suppressed. However, what appeared to be an ideology of liberation would ultimately serve as a new instrument of oppression.42 The message of the open letter was that the misunderstood solidarity with the culture of the oppressed described in Finkielkraut’s book was now evident in relation to minorities in France, with the effect that individuals, in this case girls and young women, were being held back from individual liberation. To deny the headscarf access to public schools was thus not an act of racism, but rather protection of the individual and of the basic principles of freedom and democracy. This rationale quickly spread in the headscarf debate and gained broad acceptance, and with it a new dichotomy was introduced: the clash was not one between French ethnocentrism and racism on the one hand and oppressed Muslims on the other, but between individual emancipation and group oppression, between fanaticism and enlightenment, between tribalism and political modernity. By means of this dichotomy, the headscarf and Islam behind the headscarf were also characterized: the

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 87 headscarf was not the expression of personal belief and chastity, as claimed by Muslim girls who appeared in the media, but of suppression and politicoreligious fundamentalism. To allow this in schools—the “temple of Enlightenment philosophy” and the breeding-ground of French citizenry—would be an admission of complete defeat. The devaluation of communities is essential to what is frequently presented as the French model of national integration, founded on individual citizens. This model of integration has a double basis: one ideological (rooted in Republican ideas of equality and universalism and the intense desire to break away from a society of estates [états] and social predestination), the other based more on political realism (i.e., cultural assimilation as part of French nation-building). The headscarf quickly became the symbol of an allegedly closed Muslim community that clashed with this model of integration. Whether the concern was cultural standardization or individual emancipation, protecting the school as a “neutral space” was presented as vital to the survival of the model. In both cases neutrality was read not as by the Conseil d’État (i.e., as directed toward teachers and curricula to protect pupils’ freedom of belief), but as the absence of all “private” identitymarkers among pupils. The five intellectuals argued on the basis of the ideological position and construed the headscarf as a threat directed toward the emancipating aspirations of the Republican school. Neutrality, as described above, was essential if the school was to be a place of individual development, a place to escape the “oppressive communities:” It is necessary that the pupils have the chance to forget about their communities of origin and to think about other things than who they are in order to be able to think independently. If we want the teachers to be capable of helping them in this and the school to remain what it is –a place of emancipation—belongings cannot be decisive in school. . . . The adherents of a “new laïcité,” amidst whom you [Lionel Jospin] place yourself, extol an indistinct tolerance. They want a school exposed to communitarian, religious and economic pressures, . . . a school where each pupil is left to his or her parents, reminded of his or her condition, riveted by his or her “roots,” this is a school of social predestination. . . . Instead of offering [the] young girl a space of liberty you communicate to her that there is no difference between the school and the house of her father.43 In many cases, however, discomfort with visible difference and cultural pluralism was clearly the real underlying concern, exposing the French assimilationist tradition. Communities, in this case the Muslim community, were not read primarily as a threat to individual liberty and emancipation, but to the unity and stability of the larger social body. Neutrality, or laïcité, is simply part of a canon of values to be shared by all, as a sort of secular civil religion. The distinctiveness of the French model was frequently

88 Søvik explained by pointing to a contrasting “Anglo-Saxon model,” characterized by ghettos. Typical for the French debate on integration is, however, that these two approaches—the tradition of assimilation in French nationbuilding and the Republican ideology of equality and emancipation—are intertwined. The distinction between the two is often fluid. To outsiders this fusion may appear paradoxical: individual freedom and emancipation can be seen to clash with the rather authoritarian requirement of adaptation and assimilation. To the French, however, there is not necessarily a contradiction between the two. In line with the tradition of Enlightenment philosophy, the values of the Republic are regarded as universal. To adopt these values cannot therefore be a burden, but is, rather, a gift. As put by Jean Daniel, founder and editor of the newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur: “We have to ensure that the headscarf falls by itself, as an effect of the assimilating genius of France and the attraction of her civilization.”44 Assimilation and emancipation are, in this perspective, two sides of the same coin. In the headscarf debate it became clear that laïcité was not simply a legal institution that secured the neutrality of the state and citizens’ freedom of belief. It is also a part of Republican self-definition and French national identity. Like the French model of national integration, laïcité in itself has a double face: freedom of belief and impartiality on the part of the state on the one hand and political doctrine on the other. The first aspect, impartiality and freedom of belief, was emphasized by the court system from 1989 until the new law was inaugurated in 2004.45 The political aspects of laïcité became visible in the public debate: laïcité was associated with a set of values and a model of society that exceeded the mere principle of institutional separation and state neutrality. Interpretations of the term encompassed democracy, gender equality, a worldview based on science and the French model of national integration.46 The German scholar Christian Joppke speaks of a “soft” or liberal form of laïcité, in defense of religious liberty, and a “combative” form, in defense of the Republic and the French model of national integration. When the headscarf affair first erupted in 1989 the liberal form prevailed.47 The Catholic Church no longer represented a threat to the Republic and the relationship between state and church had eased, the combative form having been prevalent in the nineteenth century. This form of laïcité has made a comeback in recent decades facing Islam, and in a way the turning point was the open letter by the five intellectuals. The combative version of laïcité was also invoked by two officially appointed commissions in 2003. The Debré commission, headed by Jean-Louis Debré, argued that within the school laïcité could not simply be understood as a matter of rights enjoyed by pupils and to be held against the school institution, as maintained by the Conseil d’État. Emphasis on individual rights has been part of an international development in recent decades, but in the eyes of the Debré commission this logic of rights undermined the Republican school as an educational community populated by citizens-to-be. Rather, the mission of the school was to

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 89 form the pupils. The Stasi commission, led by Bernard Stasi, on the other hand, was particularly concerned with women’s rights.48 In both cases individual rights in the religious field and nonintervention by the state were downplayed for a larger political project: the strengthening of national unity and the restoration of classical Republican virtues and the Republican idea of emancipation.

THE SOCIAL BENEFIT OF DOMESTICATED RELIGION: ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN GERMANY Islam was not an issue of broad public concern in Germany until the latter half of the 1990s. Immigrants were regarded as foreigners or guest workers, and as such they constituted a group essentially apart from the national community. German identity was considered a German–German problem, one that in the early 1990s was tied up to the process of reunification. After 2000 the public debate on Islam intensified as a result of the attacks of 9/11, but also as an effect of reformed citizenship laws that incorporated a large Muslim population into the political community. Still, Islam in Germany has never stirred up a comparable debate on political values as in France. As noted with astonishment in an article in the newspaper Le Monde: “Islam [in Germany] is not a debate about society. It is a legal debate, based on a logic of rights and not of values.”49 Intellectuals have not played a similar role in the German debate to the debate in France, which may partly explain why the German debate has been less ideological. The lack of a tradition of integration also explains the absence of explicit reference to a German model of integration, and the German past would make a celebration of German culture comparable to that in France improper. In narrower circles, however, Islam has been discussed among school politicians and pedagogical and legal scholars as a challenge to integration, with a special focus on Islamic religious education in public schools, since the late 1970s. Implicitly identifiable in these discussions is a model of integration that is remarkably different from the French Republican approach. In the media the issue of Islamic religious education has been presented as a purely technical and legal one: as Islam knows no church hierarchy and is distinguished by loose and decentralized community structures, the state lacks a representative negotiating partner, which is required in order to appoint teachers and develop curricula, it has been argued. Below the surface, though, the impediment to Islamic religious education in public schools appears above all to be a question of content: can Islam adjust to the philosophy of religion’s societal role that is intrinsic to the German church–state system? Can Islam be taught in such a way as to sustain German civic virtues? In the absence of satisfactory answers to these questions, denying Muslim organizations the status of religious communities has apparently been the door-keeping procedure to limit their influence in the public domain.

90 Søvik The term religious community lacks a clear and broadly accepted definition in the legal literature. At the so-called German Islam Conference (Deutsche Islam Konferenz) of 2008, initiated by then-minister of interior affairs Wolfgang Schäuble and gathering together the main Muslim federations in Germany, a religious community was defined as a community that gathers natural persons, having as its purpose the cultivation of shared beliefs (organizations with mostly cultural and social purposes are thus excluded). Public corporation status should not be required, but a minimum of inner-organizational structure and bureaucracy should be required. To this it was added that a religious community should be loyal to democratic and constitutional principles.50 In the legal literature reference has generally been made to a definition from 1933, describing a religious community as a group of persons within a given region, attached to equal or related beliefs and gathered to fulfill comprehensively the same religious rituals and obligations.51 Faced with applications from Muslim organizations to school bodies from the 1970s onwards, more restrictive interpretations have ruled. The focus has been on the organizations’ representativeness within the Muslim community in Germany and their capacity to negotiate with the state. Firm organizational structures and formal membership in a particular organization are indeed unfamiliar within Islam, and a myriad of competing organizations have been established in Germany, as in other countries. The claim for more representative structures has, however, been a major impetus for the building of larger federations, particularly since the late 1980s, but these, too, have failed to win recognition. Diverse reasons have been given. Although the Evangelical (Protestant) Church and the Jewish community are organized as federations, the federative structure has been held against Muslim umbrella organizations. The limited tasks undertaken at the central level have been adduced as evidence of limited involvement in the religious life at the grassroots level, and the theological consensus among the organizations has been questioned. The ability to cooperate with the state has been disputed on the basis of a purportedly too weak internal bureaucracy. Lack of personal membership has been presented as an insurmountable obstacle, as without it the state risks installing Islamic religious education for pupils who have not explicitly consented.52 Further adjustments by Muslim organizations, aimed at making bodies more representative and professional, even the introduction of personal membership, have not resolved matters. In fact, such technical modifications have been held against the Muslim organizations as a proof of untrustworthiness: they have been charged with expressing not “religious authenticity” but mere opportunism.53 As Muslim umbrella organizations became more and more sophisticated and better attuned to formal requirements, some scholars went a step further, claiming that the status of religious community should no longer be sufficient for the organization of religious education in public schools. Rather, public corporation status, with even more stringent conditions and that is even more difficult to obtain, should be required. Others argued that the

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 91 content of religious education should be scrutinized, as Muslim organizations increasingly met the formal criteria of a religious community.54 As a result of this range of legal and administrative barriers, Islamic religious education is still not provided as a confessional subject in line with the stipulations of the constitution. Rather, the Länder have opted for interim solutions: religious education for Muslim children has until recently been given as part of native-language classes, which are organized either by consulates or by the Länder. The latter model has been officially nonconfessional, due to the neutrality of the state.55 Very recently, school experiments with confessional Islamic religious education have been undertaken in several Länder.56 However, these remain experiments under the auspices of the Land, as long as no Muslim partner is officially recognized. The Land of North Rhine-Westphalia has been a pioneer in the field of Islamic religious education, and in 2011 entered into discussions about confessional Islamic religious education with organizations attached to the so-called Committee for Muslim Coordination (Koordinieriungsrat der Muslime). This project, however, represents a new transitional solution: the committee has not been acknowledged as a religious community and curricular issues are discussed in an advisory council that also includes pedagogical experts and independent Muslim representatives appointed by the Land. As these representatives make up 50 per cent of the council, the project has been denounced as a violation of the state’s neutrality and an attempt to create a German state Islam from above.57 Despite a continuing reluctance to acknowledge Muslim organizations as religious communities and state partners, Islamic religious education in public schools has not been rebuffed on grounds of principle. On the contrary, it has been considered a fruitful way of integrating Muslim children and securing social peace in a pluralistic society. The discourse on the political and pedagogical benefits of Islamic religious education has remained strikingly constant since the 1970s. In line with the philosophy of religious education, Islamic religious education is construed as providing Muslim children with a historical and cultural awareness that may serve as a moral comfort and a device of orientation. Given often-difficult life conditions, with poor resources and torn between different cultures, Muslim children are even considered as being in particular need of the moral comfort and orientation allegedly provided by a proper rootedness in culture and religion. This approach reflects a perception of the individual and its relation to society completely unfamiliar to French Republican ideology: cultural characteristics are not subjected to rational choice and cannot easily be stepped in and out of depending on the social arena. The individual is entrenched in its community, and cannot be cut loose from its culture and history without losing itself. In French Republican discourse, the public manifestation of private identities threatens social peace. In the German pedagogical discourse on Muslim children there has rather been a tendency to consider “uprooted” people as a threat to social peace. As expressed by Klaus Gebauer, one of

92 Søvik the most prominent pedagogical scholars in the field of immigration and religious education in Germany: The democratic state cannot allow that such a large population [loses its] identity without running the risk of jeopardizing its liberal constitution. Politically unpredictable social conflict can lead to violence and unrest and [threaten] democracy and liberal achievements. The German government therefore has an objective interest in an established cultural identity of immigrants.58 Concurrently, however, scholars and politicians have faced the basic dilemma that Islamic values and practices do not straightforwardly sustain broader societal norms, as expected in the case of Christianity. The allegedly illiberal dispositions of guest-worker Islam have rendered its impact on the minority population problematic for the very same reasons as those that serve to underpin the legitimacy of public Christianity: rather than stabilizing society, guest-worker Islam represents a potentially destabilizing force, and rather than adding to liberal-democratic virtues, it is seen as nurturing an authoritarian outlook. Already in the 1970s and 1980s, Islam as practiced by immigrants was described by German scholars as a popular, rigid and uneducated form of religion, inappropriate to life in Germany. It impeded communication with the new surroundings and failed to provide immigrants with “suitable” moral guidance under changed living conditions. Parents’ generally low educational level and scanty scholarly knowledge of Islam made the religious education within families inadequate for socialization in a German context. As described in an early publication on the implications of Islam for the process of integration: In Turkish working class families, religious education is focused on imparting a relatively small canon of religious duties, the practice of daily prayers and the ritual exercises related to the prayers. The spectrum of religious education is low and based on traditional forms. The mediated action and patterns of interpretation are poorly differentiated and are not sufficient as devices of orientation and identity formation for the children.59 The Quran schools that were established by Muslim organizations as Muslim families settled down in Germany were likewise held to convey an inappropriate and insufficient religious knowledge. They were associated with an untamed and ominous subculture that was removed from public insight and state control, as reflected in the vernacular expression “backyard Islam” (Hinterhof-Islam), which drew on the hidden location of small mosques in backyards and rundown industrial buildings as well as the remoteness of an unfamiliar religious and cultural system. It was widely accepted that the Quran schools spread political and extremist propaganda, and it is indeed

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 93 likely that the radical agenda of several Muslim organizations in the 1970s and early 1980s did have an impact on the courses. Not only did the schools’ political proclivities cause concern, but so did their focus on religious practices. Within mainstream religious education in Islam, correct practices are more important than intellectual exercises. As put by Sachiko Murata and William C. Chittik: “Islam recognizes that correct practice makes people Muslims, and that, for most people, correct belief follows upon correct practice. Muslim children are rarely taught a catechism. Rather they are taught to pray and perform other rituals. . . . The point is for the practices gradually to become a natural and organic part of the human configuration.”60 To German pedagogical scholars, however, this was interpreted as a rigid and rural religious tradition, characterized by external and mechanical ritual. The tradition of memorizing Quran verses by heart in Arabic, incomprehensible to the Turkish children and even to many of the Quran teachers, appeared the very opposite of the emancipative and intellectual Bildung favored by German scholars. As the meaning of a text was not explained to the children, it was felt they did not properly understand their religion and thus were unable to relate it to life in Germany or constructively communicate it to the German surroundings. Inadequate religious education appeared just as unfortunate as no religious education. Both risked rootlessness and alienation.61 The double security concern—to undermine Quran schools on the one hand and to sustain a socially beneficial socialization of Muslim children on the other—inspired the establishment of non-confessional Islamic religious education in several Länder in the 1980s. This was considered the secondbest solution, awaiting the “maturation” of Islam required before ordinary confessional instruction would be proper. North Rhine-Westphalia was the first Land that initiated a teaching program for Muslim children, as early as 1979. This was mainly developed by German scholars under the auspices of the state. There was no official collaboration with a Muslim partner, and the program was therefore officially non-confessional. The program figured as a pilot project in the national debate from the early 1980s. In 1986, a syllabus for the first four classes (ages 7 to 11 approximately) was published. In 1991, syllabuses for the fifth and sixth classes (ages 11 to 13 approximately) were published, followed in 1996 by syllabuses for the seventh to the tenth classes (ages 13 to 17 approximately). In 1999 the subject “Islamic Instruction” (Islamische Unterweisung) was introduced as a pilot project as an independent subject in German. In 2005 the name changed to “Islamic Studies” (Islamkunde). Both names were intended to differentiate the program from regular confessional instruction according to Article 7 of the constitution. The program has inspired similar programs in other Länder and is still the most ambitious attempt in Germany to introduce Islamic religious education for Muslim children.62 The program has also influenced curricula developed by Muslim organizations in their quest for public recognition. The program represents in many ways the embodiment

94 Søvik of the norms to be fulfilled by public religious education and expresses as such the legitimate space for Islam in German society, as broadly endorsed by scholars and politicians. Although officially non-confessional, the program is clearly inspired by religious pedagogical thinking and has a distinct quasi-confessional character. As expressed by Klaus Gebauer of the Land Institute of School and Further Education (Landesinstitut für Schule und Weiterbildung), which developed the program: The curriculum is committed to carefully enlightening lessons. The intention is to strengthen the existing religiosity of the pupils and to expand the existing religious knowledge. At the same time superstition and misuse of religious truths shall be counteracted. Particularly at this point it is difficult for the forward-thinking teachers to encounter the children in the milieu of their families while at the same time avoiding pushing them into family conflicts.63 The program deliberately seeks to shape the expression of Islam and develop a new Muslim identity, apt for life in Germany. The aspired transformation, which involves a veritable domestication of Islam from above, has made the project contentious among Muslim organizations and even among the churches, which vigilantly guard the principle of separation between state and church. According to Gebauer, the project represents a strategy different to that chosen in France. In separating the religious from the public realm, Gebauer has claimed, France fails to make use of the civilizing potential inherent in Islam. Rather, Islam is left to develop on its own, in the ghetto, where its destructive potential can unfold undisturbed.64 Due to its perception of religion as a source of personal and societal development, the state curriculum has also provoked the Turkish Teachers’ Union in North Rhine-Westphalia, which sympathizes with Turkish state laicism and considers Islam incompatible with the progressive development of society. Unlike the churches and the Muslim organizations, the Turkish Teachers’ Union did not criticize the syllabus for violating state neutrality and secularizing Islam from above, but for being too metaphysical.65 More broadly in the German debate, the teaching program has been celebrated as progressive. The project reflects the rationale for state involvement in the field of Islamic religious education that emerged in the 1980s: that Islam in the shape of fixed traditions and reproduced practices and rituals transmitted by Quran schools and within families represented an inadequate orientation device in a modern, complex society. The required remedy is to intellectualize Islam and bring it closer to German social reality. The method employed by the North Rhine-Westphalian program to promote this transformation— the so-called didactics of correlation adopted from Christian pedagogy— implies reading and interpreting Islamic texts from the perspective of everyday life experiences and selected social topics. For Muslim children, who are claimed to live “between two worlds,” the method of correlating

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 95 tradition and experience, theory and practice, has been deemed of particular relevance. Moreover, it has been considered an efficient means of breaking up rigid and remote knowledge and replacing it with an internalized, intellectualized moral-ethical apparatus: “This way the traditions, the Quran and the Sunna, are turned into diverse and constantly reconsidered parts of moral and ethical thoughts and judgments. They will not be learned by heart but be internally effective.”66 The lessons address different themes, either a religious one (such as notions of God, the five pillars of Islam or religious feasts) or a social one (such as friends, family or drugs). For each theme a selection of suitable religious sources is suggested and possible life experiences that can be associated with it are proposed. As Christian values are considered more or less overlapping with public values, a chief aspiration in the program is to establish an interconnection between Islamic teachings and the prevailing norms of German society. Reflecting an organic perception of socialization, the curricula aim to reinforce the ties between the children and their religious and cultural “roots,” while at the same time offering ways of applying this cultural reservoir in a German setting. A link of familiarity and recognition is to be established between the old and the new, between the private and the public, the sphere of the family and the surrounding German society: a terminological and connotative bridge between the two worlds is required for a new “whole” to appear.67 The curricula attempt to reveal overlapping moralities within different areas of life, and in cases where such overlap is not given straightforwardly, there are attempts to establish one circuitously. In fields such as health, environmental issues, property and poverty, overlapping German and Muslim moralities are held to be easily identifiable. Gender relations, however, are seen as a difficult field where it is close to impossible to trace an overlapping morality between Islamic and German culture. Only one lesson, designed for tenth-graders, addresses the topic of gender equality explicitly. The method suggested in order to allow for new and flexible interpretations is to approach the Quran as a historical document. Polygamy, for instance, is to be interpreted in the context of the vast oversupply of women at the time of the revelation, due to frequent tribal wars. Rather than an expression of women’s inferiority, it can be seen as mere pragmatism, a form of preindustrial social security.68 In addition to themes of general interest to public religious education (also addressed in Christian instruction), a socially useful Islamic religious education should deal with the particular problems of minority–majority relations and the supposedly difficult living conditions of Muslim immigrants. Islam should offer adequate answers to a situation said to be characterized by fragility and tension, both within the family and in relation to majority society. In a lesson for fifth- and sixth-graders, contemporary migration is compared with the hijra (emigration): due to hostilities toward his teachings, Muhammad was forced to leave Mecca for Medina in 622, where he founded the first Muslim community. According to the lesson, the

96 Søvik moral to be drawn from this historical and religious example is that migration, although painful, can open up the possibility of finding a new home and making new friends.69 In another lesson, the starting point is the Muslim family in Germany. The family is depicted as vulnerable, displaced into unfamiliar surroundings and subject to difficult social and economic conditions. Strengthening the Muslim family is deemed of particular importance in order to preserve its socializing potential. Children should therefore become aware of their own contribution, and learn accordingly that a good Muslim always struggles for the well-being of the family. Pupils should learn to understand the family’s difficult circumstances, and help and respect other family members. They should be aware that their parents frequently face difficulties in German society, at work and in relation to public officials, and therefore need the help and understanding of their children.70 Heavily influenced by the German tradition of religious pedagogy, the North Rhine-Westphalian teaching program may be read as an effort to make Islam fit into the predefined space of publicly sanctioned religion. This did not involve historicizing it or limiting it to the strictly private realm. On the contrary, the ideal integration of Islam appears to be in the shape of a particular civic ethic that embraces liberal virtues while drawing on religion as a source of personal integrity and social responsibility. Approaching Islam from a quasi-confessional angle and seeking to fuse it with the norms and values of broader society, the program clearly aims to breed a new sense of wholeness and subjective identification, connecting the inner mental universe of the children with the larger society. Apparently the ultimate objective is to prepare Islam for a responsible and legitimate public role alongside the historical denominations: in other words, to acculturate Islam by bringing it out from the “uncontrollable backyards.” This philosophy matches the general philosophy of religion’s role and function in German society, which, in the words of the two German anthropologists, Werner Schiffauer and Sabine Mannitz, expresses the ideal of an organic moral community where the private interest may be introduced into the public, provided that the public interest is concurrently introduced into the private, so as to secure an integrated, balanced social whole.71 The ambition is not to nurture pluralism for the sake of pluralism, but to counteract the development of isolated communities ruled by norms that deviate from mainstream society. The program does not, therefore, embody a philosophy of multiculturalism. However, its outlook differs markedly from the French Republican discourse on integration and Islam. While cultural and religious difference are not cherished per se, they are not seen as subjected to rational choice. Emancipation the North Rhine-Westphalian way does not imply the ability to ignore one’s particularity when entering the public realm, but rather the ability to draw constructively on it within the framework of a shared liberal culture. The idea that the acculturation of Islam even requires that it goes public also differs essentially from the French Republican approach, which insists on a strict separation between public and private, confining

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 97 religious expressions to the latter. The French strategy facing veiled girls in public schools—that is, to expel them and let them complete their education by correspondence—thus expresses the very opposite of the rationale underlying the German obsession with “backyard Islam.” From a French Republican perspective, social peace rests on the privatization of Islam, not on the achievement of overlapping public and private values.

ISLAM AND CIVIC INTEGRATION IN FRANCE AND GERMANY There are many similarities in the French and German debates about Islam, as in the European debate more widely. Islam is regarded as a challenge to integration, and the idea of multiculturalism, which gained multiple adherents in the 1970s and 1980s, has lost its credibility. The emphasis is increasingly on a shared civic culture depicted as respect for liberal-democratic norms and values, and in the name of these liberal values there is a somewhat paradoxical attempt to control the expression of Islam. Political clashes over Islam have been particularly harsh in the field of public schooling, where the transmission of a public morality to future citizens takes place. Looking more closely at national debates about Islam, integration and schooling, there are, however, also striking differences. Secularism the German way does not mean the exclusion of religious expressions from the public domain, but rather that the neutral state treats secular and religious worldviews equally and secures a framework for religious life, as with confessional religious education in public schools. Secularism the French way implies that the state distances itself from all religion and sees its role as guarantor of a “neutral” secular public space. The neutrality of the school system is particularly accentuated. Faced with Islam, both these systems have been challenged. The meaning and range of neutrality in French public schools was questioned in the headscarf debates. A strict interpretation was finally laid down in the law of 2004: neutrality embraced not only teachers and curricula, but also the pupils. For the Republican school to remain a space shielded from communitarian influence and devoted to “universal” insights, all conspicuous religious signs were prohibited. In Germany, religion as such is not regarded as a potential menace to democracy, but rather as an asset in its service. Ideally religion functions as a device of ethical orientation and provides citizens with a sense of social responsibility. In the case of Islam, the dilemma is that an “undomesticated” religion is not trusted to fulfill this purpose. In principle, however, Islamic religious education is endorsed. It is esteemed both as a way to help minority children develop a healthy personality and as an instrument to foster a “modernized” German Islam. Terms such as assimilation and modernity are also interpreted somewhat differently in a French and German context. Generally the term assimilation is much less controversial in France than in Germany. In a French context

98 Søvik assimilation has positive connotations, involving the promise of emancipation from primordial communitarian ties and an opportunity to embrace “modernity.” The French nation is widely appraised as the incarnation of the Enlightenment values and the first “modern nation” to have emerged. Such a pride and confidence in its own “civilization” is unheard of in Germany, still struggling with its postwar identity.72 In a German context, assimilation and emancipation also appear more contradictory: losing one’s history and culture is seen as risking alienation, the very opposite of emancipation. Rather, the ideal appears to be bringing tradition and modernity together and drawing constructively on both. Moreover, in a German context the concept of “modernity” seems to have a double soundboard: both optimistic and uncertain. The liberal-democratic project of the postwar era implied a celebration of the modern and the civilized as opposed to the traditional and backward, not least visible in the debate on immigrants.73 As in France, integration appeared to be a process of “modernization.” Concurrently, religiosity is frequently configured as a cure for the “malfunctions of modernity”; a device for orientation in a society threatening to be cold and aloof. Distinguishing between a “French” and a “German” approach to Islam represents a simplification, as much as the distinction between two models of nationhood is a simplification. In fact, the debates about the headscarf and Islamic religious education both expose conflicting views within each country. In the German debate there are agents advocating the abolition of confessional religious education and favoring a French-type model of separation between state and church, seeing the difficulties of incorporating Islam as the very proof of the German model’s archaism. Similarly, in the French debate there are participants who argue along ethnocultural lines and who favor a model of integration and a concept of laïcité that is more open to religion and minority cultures. The prominent French sociologist of religions Jean-Paul Willaime is among those who have supported the idea of introducing education in religion in French schools, arguing that in pluralist democracies there is a need to explain the beliefs and practices of a proper religion to a diverse audience. Moreover, he argues, societies are more than “the aggregates of individuals; they have a symbolic consistency tied to their history and the traditions that have made them into what they are . . . To decontextualize the subject would be contrary to the goals of school education in its entirety. Its contextualization, on the other hand, strengthens its contribution to the development of citizenship.”74 These arguments are akin indeed to dominant rationales in the German pedagogy of religion and in the German debate on Islamic religious education. Nonetheless, the differing discourses on religion and citizenship have different impacts in the two countries, reflecting diverse political cultures, pedagogical traditions and church–state relations. The approaches to Islam and public schooling in both France and Germany remain controversial. Muslim organizations in Germany, increasingly headed by representatives of the second and third generation, have

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 99 developed educational concepts and curricula that are influenced by German pedagogical thinking, but without success. The involvement of German school officials and pedagogical scholars in developing teaching programs for Muslim children has been interpreted as paternalism, an attempt to domesticate Islam from above. To new generations of Muslims, raised and educated in Germany, this appears particularly provocative. If no solution is found for Islam, the legitimacy of the institution of confessional religious education is likely to vanish. For this reason the churches have supported Islamic religious education in public schools. On the other hand, critics have claimed that it is unfortunate in a pluralist society to separate children in different classes according to confession, rather than creating arenas for inter-religious dialogue.75 In France, actions against the headscarf have likewise provoked many young Muslims, who see in this a downgrading and discrimination of Islam. Depictions of the headscarf as an expression of oppression, incompatible with the Republican values of freedom and equality, have incited a counter-discourse that seeks to ascertain the compatibility between life as a pious Muslim and Republican values. Religious chastity is represented as a reaction to consumer society and its treatment of the female body as a commodity. The argument has also been used that in downplaying physical differences and sexual attraction, veiling makes possible intellectual encounters between men and women based on true equality. But, most important, wearing the headscarf is described as an act of free will.76 The ideas of an independent ethic and a model of integration that ignores groups have also been challenged on a more general philosophical level by academics. As expressed by the political philosopher Bertrand Guillarme, “the position which makes a principle out of ignoring the existence of groups can easily be transformed into an ideology of the general interest whose principal function is to hide the fact that the Republican state serves the interests of dominant groups.”77 It has also been claimed that the abstract discourse on a universalistic model of integration ignores social and economic realities in French suburbs. As put by Cécile Laborde, it is as if “this discourse emphasizing the importance of the abstract political bond were intended to compensate for the crumbling of the social bond.”78 NOTES 1. Albrecht Fuess, “Islamic Religious Education in Western Europe: Models of Integration and the German Approach,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs 27:2 (2007), 216. 2. Claus Hofhansel, “Accommodating Islam and the Utility of National Models: The German Case,” West European Politics 33:2 (2010), 191–207. 3. William Safran, “State, Nation, National Identity and Citizenship: France as a Test Case,” International Political Science Review 12 (1991), 219–38. 4. Dominique Schnapper, La France de l’intégration. Sociologie de la nation en 1990 (Paris: Gallimard, 1991), 41–42; Safran, “State, Nation, National Identity and Citizenship,” 221–27.

100 Søvik 5. Schnapper, La France de l’intégration, 62. 6. Maurice Barbier, La laïcité (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1995), 40. 7. Pierre Bréchon, “Institution de la laïcité et déchristianisation de la société française,” Cahiers d’Etudes sur la Méditerranée Orientale et le Monde TurcoIranien 19 (1995), 61–65; Jean Baubérot, “The Two Thresholds of Laïcisation,” in Secularism and Its Critics, ed. Rajeev Bhargava (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 109–12. The three departments Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle in eastern France are exempted from the laws separating state and church. Here religious education is a compulsory subject in public schools, with the right to opt out. See Bernard Kaempf, “France,” in Religious Education in Europe: A Collection of Basic Information about RE in European Countries, ed. Peter Schreiner (Münster: ICCS, 2000), 46–47. 8. Cécile Laborde, “Citizenship,” in The French Republic: History, Values, Debates, eds. Edward Berenson, Vincent Duclert and Christophe Prochasson (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011), 137. 9. Rogers Brubaker, Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992), 3. 10. Joan Wallach Scott, Politics of the Veil (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007), 99. 11. Jean-Paul Willaime, “Teaching Religious Issues in French Public Schools: From Abstentionist Laicalism to a Return of Religion to Public Education,” in Religion in Education: A Contribution to Dialogue or a Factor of Conflict in Transforming Societies of European Countries, ed. Wolfram Weisse (Hamburg: REDCO, 2006), 117–31. 12. Alain Finkielkraut, Tankens forræderi (Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 1994), 60–61; Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit, Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies (New York: Penguin, 2004), 36–38. 13. Schnapper, La France de l’intégration, 49; Finkielkraut, Tankens forræderi, 18–19. 14. Frederic Spotts, The Churches and Politics in Germany (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan, 1973), 194–95. 15. Paul Kirchhof, “Die Kirchen und Religionsgemeinschaften als Körperschaften des öffentlichen Rechts,“ in Handbuch des Staatskirchenrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, eds. Joseph Listl and Dietrich Pirson, vol. 1, 2nd ed. (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1994), 661–62. 16. Christoph Link, “Religionsunterricht,” in Handbuch des Staatskirchenrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, eds. Joseph Listl and Dietrich Pirson, vol. 2, 2nd ed. (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 1995), 500–501. 17. Stephen V. Monsma and J. Christopher Soper, The Challenge of Pluralism: Church and State in Five Democracies (Lanham, MD: Rowman &. Littlefield, 1997), 165–66. 18. See, for example, Wolfgang Huber, “Säkulariseriung, nicht Laizismus: Zum Verhältnis von Staat und Kirche in Deutschland,” in Eine Welt ohne Gott? Religion und Ethik in Staat, Schule und Gesellschaft, eds Brigitte Sauzay and Rudolf von Thadden (Göttingen: Wallstein, 1999), 35–42. 19. Kirchhof, “Die Kirchen und Religionsgemeinschaften,“ 667–69. 20. Jürgen Lott, Wie hast du’s mit der Religion? Das neue Schulfach “Lebensgestaltung–Ethik–Religionskunde” (LER) und die Werteerziehung in der Schule (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1998), 33. 21. Peter Schreiner, ed., Religious Education in Europe: A Collection of Basic Information about RE in European Countries (Münster: ICCS, 2000), 51–52; Link, “Religionsunterricht,” 474; and Lott, Wie hast du’s mit der Religion? 46–53.

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 101 22. Margrete Søvik, “The Social Benefit of Domesticated Religion: Islamic Instruction in German Public Schools, 1979–2001” (PhD thesis, University of Bergen, 2006), 42. 23. Janbernd Oebbecke, “Reichweite und Voraussetzungen der grundgesetzlichen Garantie des Religionsunterrichts,” Deutsches Verwaltungsblatt 111 (1996), 340. 24. Thomas A. Lotz, “‘Life-world’: A Philosophical Concept and Its Relevance for Religious Education,” in Towards Religious Competence: Diversity as a Challenge for Education in Europe, eds. Hans-Günter Heimbrock, Christoph Th. Scheilke and Peter Schreiner (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2001), 74–75. 25. Fritz Weidmann, “Religionsunterricht in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart,” in Didaktik des Religionsunterrichts, ed. Fritz Weidmann (Donauwörth: Auer, 1988: 5th edn.), 48–51; and Werner Haussmann, Dialog mit pädagogischen Konsequenzen? Perspektiven der Begegnung von Christentum und Islam für die schulische Arbeit (Hamburg: EB-Verlag Rissen, 1993), 226. 26. Søvik, “The Social Benefit of Domesticated Religion,” 212–15. 27. Ole Berg, “Opplysning og romantikk: Noen betraktninger om dannelsens utvikling og fremtidsutsikter,” in Dannelse: tenkning, modning, refleksjon, eds. Bernt Hagtvet and Gorana Ognjenovic (Oslo: Dreyer, 2011), 123–26. 28. Josef Hepp, “Begründung des Religionsunterrichts,” in Fritz Weidmann, ed., Didaktik des Religionsunterrichts (Donauwörth: Auer, 1988), 65. 29. Leslie J. Limage, “Education and Muslim Identity: The Case of France,” Comparative Education 36:1 (2000), 76. 30. Sabine Mannitz, “Regimes of Discipline and Civil Conduct in Berlin and Paris,” in Civil Enculturation: Nation-State, Schools and Ethnic Difference in Four European Countries, eds. Werner Schiffauer et al. (New York: Berghahn, 2004), 170. 31. Margrete Søvik, “Islam i fransk integrasjonsproblematikk: en analyse av den franske slørdebatten i 1989” (Hovedfags thesis, University of Bergen, 1998), 17. 32. Lionel Jospin in Le Nouvel Observateur, October 26, 1989, quoted in Søvik, “Islam i fransk integrasjonsproblematikk,” 20. 33. Jane Freedman, “Secularism as a Barrier to Integration? The French Dilemma,” International Migration 42:3 (2004), 11. 34. “Profs, ne capitulons pas!” in Le Nouvel Observateur, November 2, 1989. The letter was signed by Élisabeth Badinter, Régis Debray, Alain Finkielkraut, Élisabeth de Fontenay and Catherine Kintzler. 35. Søvik, “Islam i fransk integrasjonsproblematikk,” 22; Harry Judge, “The Muslim Headscarf and French Schools,” American Journal of Education, 111:1 (2004), 10. 36. Freedman, “Secularism as a Barrier to Integration?” 14–16. 37. Christian Joppke, “State Neutrality and Islamic Headscarf Laws in France and Germany,” Theory and Society 36 (2007), 324. 38. Søvik, “Islam i fransk integrasjonsproblematikk,” 41–44. 39. “Profs, ne capitulons pas!” in Le Nouvel Observateur, November 2, 1989. 40. Finkielkraut, La défaite de la pensée. 41. Finkielkraut, Tankens forræderi, 20. 42. Finkielkraut, Tankens forræderi, 64–71. Finkielkraut’s argument about the misunderstood solidarity has since become dominant in the European debate about Islam and integration also among scholars. One example is the two Danish scholars Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt. See Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt, “Kulturalismen: kulturen som politisk ideologi,” Samtiden 2 (2009).

102 Søvik 43. “Profs, ne capitulons pas!” in Le Nouvel Observateur, November 2, 1989. 44. Jean Daniel, in Le Nouvel Observateur, October 26–November 1, 1989, quoted in Søvik, “Islam i fransk integrasjonsproblematikk,” 109. 45. Joppke, “State Neutrality and Islamic Headscarf Laws in France and Germany,” 320. 46. Søvik, “Islam i fransk integrasjonsproblematikk,” 38. 47. Joppke, “State Neutrality and Islamic Headscarf Laws in France and Germany,” 318. 48. Joppke, “State Neutrality and Islamic Headscarf Laws in France and Germany,” 322–25. 49. “L’islam en Allemagne, plus toléré qu’intégré,” Le Monde, February 18, 1997. 50. Christian Grethlein, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht in Deutschland: aktuelle Fragen und Probleme,” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 108 (2011), 358. 51. Wolfgang Bock, “Verfassungsrechtliche Probleme der Einführung islamischen Religionsunterrichts,” Recht der Jugend und des Bildungswesens 49 (2001): 336; Stefan Muckel, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht und Islamkunde an öffentlichen Schulen in Deutschland,” Juristenzeitung, 56 (2001), 60. 52. Muckel, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht und Islamkunde,” 60–61; Christian Hillgruber, “Der deutsche Kulturstaat und der muslimische Kulturimport: die Antwort des Grundgesetzes auf eine religiöse Herausforderung,” Juristenzeitung 54 (1999), 752; Pieroth in Oebbecke (ed.) 2003: 117; Stefan Korioth,“Islamischer Religionsunterricht und Art. 7 III GG: zu den Voraussetzungen religiöser Vielfalt in der öffentlichen Pflichtschule,” Neue Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsrecht 16 (1997), 1044. 53. Muckel, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht und Islamkunde,” 60–61. 54. Korioth, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht und Art,“ 1046–48; Hans Markus Heimann, “Inhaltliche Grenzen islamischen Religionsunterrichts,” Neue Zeitschrift für Verwaltungsrecht 21 (2002), 935. 55. The state of Berlin is an exception. Here an organization named the Islamic Federation provides Islamic religious education in state schools. This has been possible due to an exceptional legal situation in Berlin: religion is no ordinary school subject but is provided on a voluntary basis. Berlin is exempted from article 7 in the Basic Law, according to which religion is an ordinary school subject because a different ruling was in place on January 1, 1949 (the so-called Bremer clause). Søvik, “The Social Benefit of Domesticated Religion,” 188. 56. Christian Grethlein, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht in Deutschland: Aktuelle Fragen und Probleme,” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 108 (2011), 358–59. 57. “Der deutsche Islamunterricht kommt zuerst nach NRW,” in Die Welt, February 22, 2011; “Auf dem Irrweg zum deutschen Staats-Islam,” Zeit Online, September 26, 2011. 58. Klaus Gebauer, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht—ein Beitrag zur Verständigung,” in Religiöse Unterweisung für Schülerinnen und Schüler islamischen Glaubens in den Schulen des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalens (1979–1995), ed. Landesinstitut für Schule und Weiterbildung (Bönen: Verlag für Schule und Weiterbildung, 1995), 49. 59. Hanns Thomä-Venske, Islam und Integration: zur Bedeutung des Islam im Prozess der Integration türkischer Arbeiterfamilien in die Gesellschaft der Bundesrepublik (Hamburg: Rissen, 1981), 131. 60. Sachiko Murata and William C. Chittick, The Vision of Islam (London: I.B. Tauris, 1996), 9.

Religion and Citizenship in France and Germany 103 61. Thomä-Venske, Islam und Integration, 131. See also Alfred Albrecht, “Religionspolitische Aufgaben angesichts der Präsenz des Islam in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, ” in Der Islam in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, eds. Heiner Marré and Johannes Stüting (Münster, 1986: Essener Gespräche zum Thema Staat und Kirche, 20), 93; Peter Heine, “Probleme türkische Kinder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Dargestellt an einem Beispiel aus dem religiösen Bereich,” RU: Zeitschrift für die Praxis des Religionsunterricht 11 (1981), 68–70; Wolfgang Ritsch, Die Rolle des Islams für die Koranschulerziehung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Cologne: Pahl-Rugenstein, 1987), 101–15; Werner Rügemer, “Die Koranschulen der CDU: zum politischen Hintergrund der türkischen Koranschulen in der Bundesrepublik,” Demokratische Erziehung 7 (1981), 262; Klaus Heimann, “Werden die Koranschulen überflüssig?” Betrifft: Erziehung 16 (1983), 9. 62. Dan-Paul Jozsa, “Islam and Education in Europe, with Special Reference to Austria, England, France, Germany and the Netherlands,” in Religion in Education: A Contribution to Dialogue or a Factor of Conflict in Transforming Societies of European Countries, ed. Wolfram Weisse (Hamburg: REDCO, 2006), 106–107; Michael Kiefer, “Islamkunde in Nordrhein-Westfalen und der Schulversuch Islamischer Religionsunterricht in Baden-Württemberg im Vergleich—Einblicke in die Rahmenbedingungen und in die Praxis der Unterrichtsmodelle,” in Islamunterricht, Islamischer Religionsunterricht, Islamkunde: viele Tite—ein Fach? eds. Irka-Christin Mohr and Michael Kiefer (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2009), 98–99. 63. Klaus Gebauer, “Religiöse Unterweisung für Schüler islamischen Glaubens in deutschen Schulen,” (lecture held in Ankara, April 1988), 20: quoted in Søvik, “The Social Benefit of Domesticated Religion,” 145. 64. Klaus Gebauer, “Religion als kreatives Potential,” Zeitschrift für Kulturaustausch 47 (1997), 120. 65. Søvik, “The Social Benefit of Domesticated Religion,” 145. 66. Klaus Gebauer, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht—ein Beitrag zur Verständigung,” in Religiöse Unterweisung für Schülerinnen und Schüler islamischen Glaubens in den Schulen des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalens (1979–1995), ed. Landesinstitut für Schule und Weiterbildung (Bönen: Verlag für Schule und Weiterbildung, 1995), 57. 67. Gebauer, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht,” 53. 68. Landesinstitut für Schule und Weiterbildung, ed., Religiöse Unterweisung für Schülerinnen und Schüler islamischen Glaubens: 24 Unterrichtseinheiten für die Jahrgangsstufen 7 bis 10 (Soest: Landesinstitut für Schule, 1996), 181. 69. Landesinstitut für Schule und Weiterbildung, ed., Religiöse Unterweisung für Schülerinnen und Schüler islamischen Glaubens: 12 Unterrichtseinheiten für die Klassen 5 und 6 (Soest: Landesinstitut für Schule, 1991), 118–28. 70. Landesinstitut für Schule und Weiterbildung, ed., Religiöse Unterweisung für Schüler islamischen Glaubens: 24 Unterrichtseinheiten für die Grundschule (Soest, Landesinstitut für Schule, 1986), 57–67. 71. Sabine Mannitz, “The Place of Religion in Four Civil Cultures,” in Civil Enculturation: Nation-State, Schools and Ethnic Difference in Four European Countries, eds. Werner Schiffauer et al. (New York: Berghahn, 2004), 95–98; Werner Schiffauer, Fremde in der Stadt: zehn Essays über Kultur und Differenz (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1997), 55–56. 72. This was evident in the debate on the so-called Leitkultur (leading culture) in 2000. Søvik, “The Social Benefit of Domesticated Religion,” 88–89. 73. Peter O’Brien, Beyond the Swastika (London: Routledge, 1996), 58–67. 74. Willaime, “Teaching Religious Issues in French Public Schools,” 126–27.

104 Søvik 75. See for example Grethlein, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht in Deutschland,” 375–76. 76. Søvik, “Islam i fransk integrasjonsproblematikk,” 114–27. 77. Quoted in Jeremy Jennings, “Universalism,” in The French Republic: History, Values, Debates, eds. Edward Berenson, Vincent Duclert and Christophe Prochasson (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2011), 151. 78. Laborde, “Citizenship,” 142.


Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship in Finnish Islamic Religious Education Building a Foundation for the Emergence of “Finnish Islam”? Inkeri Rissanen

The models adopted for the organization of religious education in modern societies can be seen as an important part of those societies’ multicultural politics. The aim of recognizing difference has become an agreed educational ideal in support of the development of multiculturalism in Western societies. However, according to Olivier Roy,1 Western multiculturalism tends to create cultures and ethnicity even as it aims to observe and recognize difference. At the same time, a reverse process is going on: the disappearance of cultural markers, leading to a deculturated, universalistic religiosity. Roy’s observations make an interesting starting point for the study of Islamic religious education for Muslim minorities in Western societies, and specifically for analysis of the implications of organizing such education. In Finland, pupils have a right to religious education in school according to their own religion, if a sufficient number of pupils in the same area belong to the same religious tradition. This means that Islamic religious education is organized in many public schools, though it should not be confessional in nature—for example, practicing religion in the classroom is prohibited. Thus a “semiprivate Islamic space”2 is being created in Finnish schools, in which religious socialization is paired with educational discourses drawn from liberaldemocratic values, and in which religious identities are negotiated alongside national identities. Finnish religious education, which endeavors to protect the authenticity of Islam while simultaneously socializing pupils as responsible Finnish citizens, can thus be seen as a space in which the emergence of “Finnish Islam” is being negotiated. Two seemingly contradictory trends are visible at work in Europe today. While on the one hand the deterritorialization of Islam can be seen to have fostered Islamic revivals and to have given rise to new forms of Islamic religiosity in the West, on the other hand European Muslims have been constructing their identities according to various differing patterns, so that there seems to be no such phenomenon as “Western Islam”—only Western Muslims. The passing of the social authority of religion, the deculturation of religion and the political pressure induced by stories published in the Western media have brought about a quest for Islamic authenticity and a felt

106 Rissanen need to objectify and purify Islam.3 Yet in parallel and concurrently with this endeavor to define universal Islam, researchers are talking about “the emergence of local Islams in Europe.” However, due to the ethnic and cultural diversity of migrant Muslims in Europe and the fact that subgroups tend to form their own associations, it has sometimes been difficult to enhance cooperation between the various Muslim organizations in Europe.4 Finnish Islamic religious education, which gathers Muslims from very different backgrounds together into one classroom to study the same curriculum as a mandatory school subject, is thus an interesting space in which to observe both these processes reflected: the creation of a local (Finnish) Islamic culture and community and the objectification and purification of universal Islam. Furthermore, in religiously diverse societies, religious education that combines religious and national discourses can constitute an important space for negotiating national identities. In order for multiculturalism to function, nationality has to be continuously redefined and its boundaries negotiated.5 Because Muslim culture is often considered an obstacle to integration, with Muslims becoming “the critical case of multiculturalism” in many liberal societies, Islamic religious education offers a particularly useful focus for examination of the practices of negotiating religious and national identities. Thus the focus of this chapter is on the negotiation of religious and national identities in Finnish Islamic religious education. The practices of Islamic religious education discussed reflect the results of a case-study examining Islamic religious education in Finnish comprehensive upper-secondary schools.6 The original focus was on the development of pupils’ religious identities and of their willingness to encounter difference in the classroom, as well as on the various ideological, pedagogical and interpersonal negotiations that are an essential feature of the teaching of Islamic religious education teachers. However, the themes of educating citizenship and building a ground for the emergence of “Finnish Islam” emerged strongly in the data, and these are themes that will be elaborated carefully in the chapter. The practices that build the foundation for the emergence of “Finnish Islam” through negotiating religious and national identities in Finnish Islamic religious education are grouped and elaborated in the chapter under four main categories: (1) teaching “general Islam,” (2) supporting pupils’ feelings of belonging both to a religious community and to Finnish society, (3) introducing the concept “Finnish Muslim” and teaching how to live as a Muslim in Finland and (4) balancing Islamic values and Finnish educational values. The methodological design of this study draws from educational ethnography, which pursues a deep understanding of the cultural phenomena at the school.7 Many of the guiding principles of the study link it to the tradition of critical ethnography,8 which attempts to speak on behalf of the subjects of the study, to pay attention to wider ideological processes affecting the micro social details observed and to recognize the critical ideas affecting the research process. The study was conducted inductively, with a

Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship 107 continuous interplay between the formulation of research questions, data collection (with unstructured methods) and qualitative content analysis. The data includes observations of three Islamic religious education courses in comprehensive secondary schools in the area of Helsinki, as well as semistructured interviews with the pupils (n = 16) and the teachers (n = 3). The criterion for selecting the cases was not their representativeness, but the opportunity to learn from them. All three teachers were experienced teachers as well as practicing Muslims and familiar both with Finnish educational values and with the diversity of Islamic tradition. Teacher 1 and Teacher 2 were males and immigrants; Teacher 3 was a native Finnish woman who had converted to Islam a long time ago. All were teaching during the same period in different schools and at different school levels in the metropolitan area of Helsinki, but as only one course per teacher was observed by the researcher, the data include observations in three different schools. Semi-structured interviews with the teachers were conducted after the observed courses, lasting from one to three hours. These dealt with three main themes: (1) thoughts on the Finnish organization model of religious education, (2) thoughts on the aims and significance of religious education and (3) experiences of teaching Islam in Finnish schools. The pupils participating in the observed courses were first- (n = 9) or second- (n = 6) generation immigrants from eight different countries, aged from 13 to 19. In interviews with the pupils, their thoughts and experiences on three main themes were discussed: (1) their own religion, (2) other religions and cultures and (3) Islamic religious education.

THE FINNISH CONTEXT The results of the study cannot be fully understood without reference to the particular Finnish context in which the study was conducted. In Finland, the Muslim population only began to grow in the late 1980s. Even though numbers of Muslims in Finland have increased rapidly since then, the Muslim population is still relatively small, at approximately 1 per cent of the total population.9 In the metropolitan area of Helsinki, where this study was conducted, the figure is somewhat higher. Finland has long been considered quite a homogeneous nation, with most of its population (nowadays roughly 80 per cent) belonging to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. When public awareness of the Islamic presence in Finland first began to grow in the 1990s, it was considered alien and threatening, and the general opinion concerning Muslims is still negative.10 Here as in most of Europe, Muslims in Finland can be considered a low-status group—the lowest paid, unemployed and unwanted.11 However, there are efforts to make the Finnish mainstream more sensitive to cultural and religious diversity.12 National educational policies reflect the ethos of Finnish multicultural policies, emphasizing the positive aspects of

108 Rissanen religious freedom and granting pupils the right to their own religious education if three pupils in the same area belong to the same religious tradition. Currently there exist 13 different curricula for religious education. However, the content and aims of religious education are not defined by the interests of the religious communities, and religious instruction is no longer defined as confessional in nature. The Finnish national core curricula for religious education stress both the acquisition of knowledge and pupils’ personal development. Though the focus is on the pupils’ own religious tradition, other religions are also covered. Although the Finnish organization model of religious education can be seen as fitting the needs of contemporary multicultural society, respecting pupils’ religious rights and aiming to develop the competencies needed in a multicultural context, the history of the model is much older. As early as 1923 the Freedom of Religion Act in Finland granted non-Lutheran pupils the right to be exempted from the confessional Lutheran teaching that was given in schools, and the teaching of other religions was mandated if there were at least 20 pupils belonging to a certain tradition. In practice, due to the low numbers of members of other religions at the time, the Orthodox religion was the chief non-Lutheran beneficiary. Teaching was confessional in nature, and the main aim was religious socialization. However, though the system of teaching pupils their own religion has remained in place, gradually the nature and aims of religious education have been changed, as responsibility for religious education has been transferred from the religious traditions themselves to society, and as Finland has become more culturally diverse.13 Even though the visible presence of Muslims in Finland is quite new, a small community of Turkish Tatars who emigrated from Russia has existed in Finland since the nineteenth century. Research is lacking on how the religious education of these Muslims was organized before the increase in the Finnish Muslim population in the 1990s, but the Tatar Muslims were mostly exempted from school religious education and given Islamic religious education in their religious community or they participated in confessional Lutheran teaching. In Helsinki, Islamic religious education taught by the imam of the Tatar community was begun in the mid-1980s for only a few Muslim pupils. During the following decades the situation changed rapidly, and nowadays there are over 30 teachers of Islamic religious education working in the metropolitan area of Helsinki, representing (as do their pupils) a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.14 The first curriculum for Islamic religious education was drafted in 1994. It was clearly confessional in nature, and stressed religious socialization (as did the curricula for other minority religions in Finland). However, the 2003 Freedom of Religion Act created pressure to change the curricula for religious education, and a new Overall Curriculum for Islamic Education was enacted in 2006. This declared that the goal of Islamic religious education

Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship 109 was the strengthening of pupils’ Islamic identity, rather than religious socialization. (By comparison, Lutheran education aims at familiarizing pupils with “religious culture.”) However, in line with the overall curriculum for religions, the new Overall Curriculum for Islamic Education states that the aim of Islamic religious education is general education on religions and culture.15 Pupils are to be aided in understanding the significance of Islam for themselves and for society as a whole. The aim of education in Islam is stated to be helping pupils to understand and to interact with those who think and behave differently. A peculiar feature of Islamic religious education in Finnish schools is that while it gathers Muslim pupils representing several different Islamic branches into the same classroom, due to practical limitations only one kind of Islamic religious education—“general Islam”— is offered, despite the plurality of the Muslim population.16 Furthermore, teaching Islam in Finnish schools has to combine education in religious values with the social aims of religious education, which derive from the ideals of liberal-democratic society. The challenges facing Islamic religious education are numerous: there is insufficient teaching material, teachers are obliged to circulate between numerous schools, classes are very heterogeneous and parents of Muslim pupils are sometimes very demanding.17 Furthermore, only a few teachers have formal qualifications for this challenging job. However, there are teachers who are very active in developing Islamic religious education as a school subject and in improving the position of its teachers. According to a qualitative interview study, teachers of Islamic religious education support the current way of organizing religious education according to the pupils’ own religion, which, according to them, best takes into account the interests both of minorities and of the majority, as well as facilitating the integration of Muslims into Finnish society.18 However, this kind of model mixes liberal and confessional modes of religious education and requires teachers to balance the self-understanding of religions with the social aims of education in a liberal-democratic context. Thus religious education becomes a meeting point for differing societal and religious viewpoints.

TEACHING “GENERAL ISLAM” All the teachers interviewed in this study considered it beneficial to have Muslim pupils from various different backgrounds participating in the same religious education process. They emphasized that they teach only what is common to all Muslims, apart from (in some cases) talking about differences between Shia and Sunni conventions. However, even though the teachers considered the construction of a common curriculum unproblematic, in the interviews with the pupils the pitfalls of this approach became evident. The pupils strongly expressed their frustration at being taught about the same

110 Rissanen things year after year: they longed for new teaching content. One 16-yearold girl, for example, stated: If everyone in the class knows basics about Islam and all these selfevident things, I think there’s no point starting from the beginning, like totally from basics. I mean we could already study religion more profoundly, like on a new level. I think in all courses I have participated in, we have started from basics. According to the teachers, the pupils’ levels of expertise regarding Islam varied greatly, while the pupils felt that lessons were always planned for those with the poorest knowledge. However, problems arising from the superficiality of the teaching content might also be caused by Islamic diversity in the classroom, as the teachers only wanted to teach subjects that were “common to all.” Pupils representing the Shia minority, however, had experienced some of the teaching as contradicting what they had learned at home, or said they would like to know more about the differences and the history of Islam, like this 16-year old girl: PUPIL:

They [the teachers of Islamic religious education] don’t mention the differences. RESEARCHER: Have you ever asked about them? PUPIL: Yes I have, but they don’t . . . They are like, this is common teaching . . . I mean of course they say there are differences, but they are like, they don’t teach those, this is like general Islam . . . You know, because according to Finnish law it shouldn’t be done, like bringing up the differences, so that there won’t be any trouble or something like that, I don’t know. Thus the teachers’ concentration on commonality dominated their approach to teaching. In classes in all three courses observed, occasionally the pupils asked questions about the differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims, but these questions were often ignored by the teachers or postponed for discussion in later courses. Furthermore, all three teachers refused to reveal their own position inside the Islamic tradition, even though this was of great interest to the pupils.19 When differences were discussed, the teachers carefully kept the discussions at a general level: the pupils were, for example, forbidden to mention any fellow Muslims by name. In the interviews the teachers mentioned conflicts between Shia and Sunni pupils that had probably made them cautious. They also referred to many kinds of difficulties at the beginning of their teaching careers, when Islamic religious education was new in Finnish schools: parents had been suspicious and pupils did not come to the lessons or did not want to sit next to one another. After extensive efforts to communicate with the parents and explain

Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship 111 the aims of teaching, the situation had eased significantly; the teachers were encouraged by this and believed that teaching “general Islam” benefits the peaceful coexistence of Finnish Muslims. One of the teachers emphasized how important it is that teachers of Islam be known and considered trustworthy across several Muslim communities. Generally, the teachers’ comments indicated their willingness to contribute to developing attitudes among the wider Finnish Muslim community, and especially to increasing feelings of togetherness. Communicating with parents, organizing parent meetings and cooperating with other Islamic religious education teachers were also seen as helpful in this regard. In general the teachers endeavored to teach pupils from different backgrounds without offending them or their parents: this could be seen in a very guarded manner of dealing with differences and an emphasis on commonalities. However, Islamic identities are diverse: Muslims share their faith, but have different cultural identities and backgrounds.20 In the case of this study the pupils’ identification with Islam varied—for some it seemed to be a natural part of their ethnic identities, for others it was a personal religious conviction. Furthermore, the pupils represented a variety of different cultural backgrounds and Islamic subgroups. The teachers in the study acknowledged this and referred to the challenges of peaceful coexistence between Muslims from different backgrounds in Finnish society. Sometimes, however, they seemed to think the best way to overcome these difficulties was to downplay the differences, endeavoring to teach an Islam purified of all cultural and human influences. By declaring some phenomena related to Islam “cultural” rather than “Islamic,” the teachers could emphasize the universal nature of Islam. Even though the teachers tried to support the pupils’ ethnic identities by letting them talk in class about the Islamic customs of their countries of origin, for example, this was only to a limited extent, and all that risked being in conflict with what was presented as “true Islam” was banned from discussion. One teacher consistently explained to his pupils the differences between “true Islam” and the cultural conventions of some Islamic countries by discussing the role of love in marriage. Teacher 1 explains that, according to Islam, love is essential when getting married: In many Islamic countries the bride, for example, has nothing to say on the matter and the families make an agreement with each other. But according to Quran, this is wrong. Sometimes someone offers camels and the father of a girl receives them and the girl’s opinion is not asked. This is not religion—this is culture. Sadly, many think that this is Islam, even though this is culture. In this way, the teachers served as agents of religious politics by promoting a common Islamic identity based on common faith and emphasizing that cultural identities were secondary. The teachers seemed to regard as self-evident that the core of the pupils’ identity should be based on common ground,

112 Rissanen represented to them as “true Islam.” In this sense, their teaching seemed to mirror global tendencies of the objectification and deculturation of Islam.21 Furthermore, their actions mirrored the way in which political groups sometimes act as if identities are stable and agreed, despite the actual diversity and fluidity of existing identities.22 However, the teachers’ concentration on commonality had to be carefully balanced by also taking the existing differences into account: though they seemed convinced of the justification of teaching general Islam, the teachers did not want to overrule parents or contradict teachings that the pupils had received at home. However, their idea of the togetherness of Finnish Muslims seemed to mean concentrating on commonality, and leaving cultural and other differences on one side.

SUPPORTING PUPILS’ FEELINGS OF BELONGING BOTH TO A RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY AND TO FINNISH SOCIETY Several methods for supporting the development of religious identities were observed in the Islamic religious education classes, including holding religious discussion and strengthening the pupils’ feelings of belonging and togetherness.23 For example, by using expressions such as “we as Muslims” or “we all believe” the teachers demonstrated that they regarded all the pupils as members of the same collective that they themselves represented, thus promoting cohesion in the heterogeneous class. Furthermore, when setting limits for being a Muslim and when defining “a good Muslim,” the teachers were very careful not to exclude any one of the pupils from the community of Muslims, and they strictly forbade the pupils to comment negatively on one another’s religious conventions, which were said to be personal matters or between oneself and God alone. The responsibility and autonomy of the individual was emphasized. One teacher in particular spent a lot of time explaining to the pupils that they should not judge each other lightly and that they should always critically analyze what was said to them: There are lots of different things inside Islam, you really should think carefully before saying, “you do wrong” to another person. Isn’t that right? We have discussed this; there are lots of things to consider. God has given us the ability to think and interpret. We really should use our brains: we all have an obligation to think by ourselves. Yet again, however, strengthening feelings of belonging to an Islamic community by forbidding pupil comments on one another’s differences sometimes had the effect of representing the differences as dangerous and something that should be avoided. In concentrating on the commonality of Muslims and helping pupils to identify with the Islamic community, the way in which the teachers ignored aspects of the pupils’ identities that related to their affiliations with particular Islamic subgroups and ethnic groups, or were

Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship 113 willing to discuss them only on a general level, underlined the private and sometimes even incendiary nature of these differences. Anyhow, in the interviews it became clear that the pupils regarded religious education gathering Muslim pupils from different schools into the same classroom as very important, something that helped them to be Muslims “also at school.” For some pupils, religious education classes were the only chance to be in the company of other Muslims during the school day, offering them temporary respite from their minority status. For some pupils who had no Muslim friends, Islamic religious education classes were the only place they could meet other Muslims of their age. In the interviews, these pupils talked about how Islamic religious education helps them to “remember their religion.” Thus Islamic religious education clearly helped the pupils to identify as Muslims in their everyday environment. Furthermore, besides strengthening the feelings of togetherness among Finnish Muslim pupils, Finnish Islamic religious education also seemed to contribute to the pupils’ feelings of belonging to Finnish society. The fact that society offers Islamic religious education guarantees the right for pupils to be proud of their religion. When asked about what it is like to be a Muslim in Finland, or at their school, some pupils mentioned the significance of religious education: “For sure, it is different from being a Muslim at home . . . But actually it is easy, because there are, for instance, lessons in Islam . . . So I think the situation has been made easier.” Older pupils in particular seemed to appreciate this right to their own religious education as a positive gesture by the Finnish state. The teachers regarded it as important that religious education helps pupils to develop their identities both as Muslims and as Finnish citizens, and they also talked about the complementary nature of these aims. Teacher 3 reflected this view of religious education in the following way: In comprehensive school, some pupils might be having a bit of a crisis; they kind of ponder whether I am somehow inferior to others. . . . Especially now when I’m talking about Islam, it is this situation in the world right now, which can be seen in the media and so on. . . . So I believe it feels good that nevertheless, despite what is seen in there, the pupils understand that if Islam really was that much hated, Finnish society could not offer Islamic religious education. According to Gabriel Moran, religious education should promote a perception of the nation-state as protector of religious freedoms and rights that does not block feelings of shared humanity. Maintaining a fruitful tension between nation-state and religion can be seen as one of the important roles of religious education: while the significance of the nation-state in safeguarding religious rights is presented, religion can also be used to examine the ideals of nationality critically.24 In some respects these ideals were met by the Islamic religious education observed. The teachers referred to Islamic

114 Rissanen religious education as a right granted by the Finnish state, while the pupils appreciated the right to their own religious education at school. Receiving support for the development of their religious identities at school actually seemed to strengthen the pupils’ trust toward and feelings of belonging to Finnish society. Furthermore, the teachers seemed to make an effort to broaden the traditional understanding of Finnishness—which relates to quite homogeneous culture drawing from a shared history dominated by Christian culture—by advancing an idea of nationality that is not dependent on religion. Such practice of negotiating national identity will be further considered in the next section.

INTRODUCING THE CONCEPT OF “FINNISH MUSLIM” AND TEACHING HOW TO LIVE AS A MUSLIM IN FINLAND Simply translating religious terms and concepts into Finnish in Islamic religious education, which often means that they are paralleled with Christian terms, makes it relevant to consider Islamic religious education lessons as a space for creating “Finnish Islam.” Islamic religious education lessons are required to be taught in Finnish, often the only common language between pupils and teacher, even though it may not be the native language of anyone present in the classroom. In the observed courses, only some of the pupils knew Arabic, and Arabic terms were explained to the other pupils in Finnish. However, because religious terms in Finnish often relate to Christianity, this resulted in paralleling Christian and Islamic concepts such as priest and imam. In the process of creating curricula for Islamic religious education in Finland, Lutheran education was the model, and the resultant curriculum for Islam sometimes closely resembles the Lutheran curriculum, in which Islamic equivalents have been sought for Christian Lutheran concepts.25 In the courses observed in this study the teachers seemed to be devoted to contributing to the emergence of Finnish Islam by introducing the concept “Finnish Muslim.” In the observed lessons, the pupils rarely referred to themselves as Finns and very strongly identified being Finn with being Christian. They used the concept “Finn” in opposition to the concept “Muslim.” Those teachers who were themselves immigrants sometimes used the category “Finns” in contrast with “Muslims,” but this seemed to happen by accident: at the same time they presented and quite strongly promoted the concept “Finnish Muslim,” as demonstrated by the following example from one lesson presented by Teacher 1: You are a Muslim, a Finnish Muslim. Somebody can be a Finnish Christian; somebody else can be a Finnish Buddhist. We accept that, we live here together . . . God has created all people. So if somebody thinks that a Muslim can’t live here or a Muslim thinks that a Christian shouldn’t live in his country that is wrong!

Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship 115 Another example can be found in the lesson of the other immigrant teacher, Teacher 2: “Us Finns . . . Yes, me too, I’m saying “us Finns” (laughs) . . .” In this way the teachers endeavored to make clear that national identities could and should be separated from religious and ethnic identities; however, referring to themselves as Finns did not always come about very naturally. Thus it seems that there were certain ambiguities in the discourse on nationality in the classroom. On the one hand, an “ethnic” concept of nationality, which is typical outside the West and lays emphasis on community of birth and native culture, was present among the pupils and was often also the teachers’ way of referring to “Finns” as others. On the other hand, the teachers seemed to fight against this conception by emphasizing a more “Western” idea of nation as a legal-political community with legal-political equality of its members. This was done, for example, by emphasizing the importance of loyalty to the Finnish nation as well as the equality of all citizens despite their religion. Furthermore, the teachers taught how to be a Muslim in Finland and, for example, practice one’s faith or relate to non-Muslims.26 Sometimes the advice given to the pupils on how to live as a Muslim in Finland was very practical. This is demonstrated in the following example, where use of the concepts “Finn” and “Christian” can also be observed. Teacher 1 tells the pupils how to celebrate Id in Finland and encourages greeting one’s neighbors as well: PUPIL:

Not the neighbors? Family and relatives of course but I guess not the neighbors here? TEACHER 1: Yes! This is important; I don’t mean only Muslim neighbors but also Finnish neighbors. According to Islam I have rights and duties toward them, and they have toward me, even though we have different religions. The teachers also prompted the pupils to represent Islam “in a correct way” and, for example, to separate “the official truth of Islam” from their own opinions if asked about the beliefs or practices of Islam. The teachers were quite uniform in their ideas concerning the “right” way of being a Finnish Muslim: they emphasized the virtue of tolerance—an open way of representing one’s own religion and dealing with others—as well as the necessity to respect Finnish laws. They seemed to endeavor to create a balance between proudly representing one’s own religion and adapting to Finnish culture and norms. This was done, for example, by repeatedly emphasizing the compatibility of Islamic conceptions of right and wrong with Finnish norms. Furthermore, all teachers explained to the pupils that some conventions in Islamic countries might not always be in accordance with “correct Islam,” and loyalty to Finnish society was emphasized by Teacher 3 as follows: When we Muslims live in Finland, it should be clear that we live according to the laws of this country. And there is no death sentence in Finnish

116 Rissanen law. [Teacher and the pupils then discuss the criminal law in Finland.] When we think about Islamic countries, the law is not always in accordance with Islam, death sentences are passed for much more trivial reasons than they should be according to hadiths. Thus pupils were taught that if they follow the right Islam, there should be no difficulties in being loyal to Finnish society: everything contradicting Finnish law was represented as cultural and dissociated from the realm of “true Islam.” In this way the primary importance of Finnish law was stated, and sometimes the impression was given that Finnish law might be even more Islamic in nature than practices in some Muslim countries. Emphasizing that Finnish and Islamic ways of life were compatible was in line with the teachers’ concentration on commonality but, again, how to deal with differences when they appeared was rarely taught. Such practices supporting the pupils’ identities as Finnish Muslims can be interpreted as ways of promoting the creation of a dual identity. In social– psychological terms, preference for a dual identity is considered a beneficial strategy for disadvantaged groups to improve their social status. Unlike the strategy of superordinate recategorization, in which different groups are induced to conceive of themselves as one inclusive group, dual identity leaves room for positive distinctiveness while still promoting the emergence of positive attitudes toward the out-group.27 In the case of this study, the pupils were supported in identifying themselves as Finns and at the same time encouraged to be proud of their Muslim identities: religious identity was separated from nationality. Nevertheless, this use of the concept Finnish Muslims seemed to be quite superficially internalized by the teachers themselves, who repeatedly referred to Finns as an out-group.

BALANCING ISLAMIC VALUES AND FINNISH EDUCATIONAL VALUES Even though teachers emphasized the compatibility of Islamic and Finnish norms and the unproblematic nature of identifying as a Finnish Muslim, in this study the need to balance Islamic values and Finnish educational values was observed. The teachers sought to balance these ideological frameworks on both practical and ideological levels. They acted as mediators in negotiations related to everyday practicalities in the school, defending the Muslim pupils’ right to live according to Islamic values and helping the other, nonMuslim, teachers to understand Islamic ideals and conventions. Teacher 3 explained how she often used the breaks between lessons as well as lunch hours for consulting other teachers, who often asked her to explain certain matters to Muslim pupils. The subjects for negotiation included clothing in physical education classes, food restrictions, proper behavior in school and participation in school assemblies with Christian elements. The teachers

Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship 117 wished to help both parties—Muslim families and the school staff—to understand each other. In this way, by promoting a discourse incorporating both Islamic and Finnish educational ideals and rights, the teachers contributed to making the school into a space in which Finnish Islam could be practiced and developed. The need to balance different ideological frameworks also arose in the context of values education. While on the one hand they emphasized the compatibility of Finnish and Islamic values, on the other hand the teachers had to negotiate between Finnish educational values deriving from modern and postmodern liberal discourses and more traditional Islamic values.28 This was the case when dealing with, for example, two central educational values, autonomy and tolerance. While autonomy is often understood in liberal religious education as the right to choose one’s own beliefs and to participate in the process of transforming religious traditions,29 Islamic religious education teachers promoted pupils’ autonomy as the right to make an informed choice whether or not to commit to Islamic tradition. Similarly, while tolerance in postmodern liberal discourses is based on relativistic premises,30 in Islamic religious education it was represented as an Islamic value based on the idea that there should be no coercion in religion. Thus the question was not about a clash of values, but about the necessity of being able to interpret common values in slightly varying ways. Furthermore, all the teachers emphasized very strongly that they were not teaching a specific interpretation of Islam; they seemed to take pains not to offend those who considered the idea of reforming or renewing Islam as impossible. However, the teachers felt that the ideal of the unchangeable nature of Islam did not mean the context should not be taken into account when teaching about the Islamic way of life. They considered it important that teachers of Islamic religious education should be willing to take the Finnish way of life into account and understand Finnish culture, including Finnish values. As noted by Teacher 2: Anybody who is ready to do this kind of work [to work as a teacher of Islamic religious education in Finnish schools], should go to . . . should first take . . . this kind of introductory course on the Finnish way of life and Finnish culture and so on. . . . If you want to stick to your own way of life and you come from elsewhere, I’m so sorry but the best way for you is to consider going back. Negotiating between different sets of values was also evident in the teachers’ grounding of their arguments concerning the justification and necessity of Islamic religious education in the Finnish discourse on rights, as exemplified by Teacher 1: My most important task is to give the pupil the knowledge he needs, knowledge about his own religion. . . . Because this is the right of the

118 Rissanen pupil, according to Finnish law, that he gets . . . he gets teaching about his own religion . . . Besides connecting the Islamic moral realm with these contemporary ethical discourses, this linkage mirrors the tendency by some European immigrant Muslims to use national and universal discourses on human rights to authenticate their identity.31 This strategy fulfills two aims—emphasizing the compatibility of Islamic and modern Western values and also safeguarding religious rights by grounding them in human rights—while it offers the additional advantage of both utilizing and resisting the discourses of host societies. Incorporating Western values of equality and multiculturalism and the distrust from liberals have resulted in increased Muslim assertiveness: the national values that Muslims are asked to accept in Europe can be seen as local versions of the ideology of liberal democracy, the justification of which is debated.32 The teachers in this study promoted the emergence of a sense of the compatibility of Islamic values with local discourses without showing any signs of resisting the Finnish discourse on values. However, the teachers’ avoidance of resistance to local discourses seemed to consist in emphasizing the similarity of values through acts of interpretation, whereby Finnish educational values were interpreted in an Islamic framework.

CONCLUSION If Islam is understood as a discursive tradition,33 it is interesting to observe the development of local discourses related to it. In this study, Islamic religious education in Finnish schools was observed to function as a space where Finnish Islam was being created and negotiated on a grassroots level. Even though the teachers of Islamic religious education observed in the study emphasized that they were not teaching a specific interpretation of Islam, they acknowledged the importance of context: being Muslim means different things in different contexts, and context should always be taken into account. Thus being a Muslim in Finland necessarily leads to certain identity negotiations through which ways in which to be a Muslim in Finland are currently evolving. National identities, too, can be understood as discursively produced and transformed as well as context dependent, and an important space for producing and disseminating these social identities is the school.34 The observations of this study showed how Islamic religious education functioned as a space for negotiating both national and religious identities. The processes of negotiating religious and national identities seemed to be intertwined, and together they contributed to the process of building a ground for the emergence of Finnish Islam. Certain features were characteristic of the Islamic discourse developing in Finnish Islamic religious education. One of the most prominent was the emphasis laid on commonality and similarity: differences between Muslims

Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship 119 were acknowledged, but pushed to the private realm. The teachers wanted to promote the development of cooperation between Finnish Muslims, but this method of interaction was based on a concentration on similarities and a careful effort not to offend anyone by adducing differences. Such interaction was represented as the ideal mode of behavior, while open discourse between Muslims of different backgrounds seemed to be avoided. However, the opposite strategy was adopted in the case of relating to the Finnish majority: pupils were encouraged to be proud of what made them different from the majority and advised to communicate with non-Muslims openly and were taught that religious differences did not prevent them from being Finns. Religiosity was thus differentiated from the concept “Finn.” Thus while the development of dual identity as Finnish Muslims was supported, when it came to pupils’ differing positions inside Islamic tradition, the teachers seemed to have absorbed the strategy of superordinate recategorization; that is, suppressing differences between Muslims of different backgrounds. The pupils were thus socialized to what was represented as “true Islam,” a set of common principles purged of cultural differences. What is problematic in this framework is that it might threaten the pupils’ need for distinctiveness and become difficult to sustain. Thus there is a risk that the category “Finnish Muslim” might be too inclusive for Muslim pupils representing different cultural backgrounds and Islamic subgroups, if their differences were ignored and their needs for distinctiveness not respected. In addition, downplaying the differences or dealing with them in a guarded manner might actually characterize them as dangerous and as something to be avoided. All in all, for multiculturalism to function, a balance needs to be found between encouraging minority difference and supporting the recognition of commonalities.35 Loyalty to Finnish society was also highlighted in the Islamic religious education observed. The fact that Islamic religious education is organized by the state indicates the state’s respect for religious identities, which creates a ground for Muslim pupils to identify as Finnish Muslims. The teachers’ emphasis on the importance of identifying as Finnish citizens, as well as their representation of Islam as purged of cultural influences, contributed to building a Finnish Islam in which immigrant Muslims’ cultural background was of secondary importance and loyalty to Islam was paired with loyalty to Finnish society. This seemed to lead to an emphasis on certain Islamic values: the importance of autonomy and tolerance was often mentioned, and these values were represented as central for both Islam and Finnish society. The ideal of good Muslim was paired with the ideal of good citizen: a good Muslim would respect Finnish laws. The compatibility of Finnish and Islamic values and norms was emphasized, although this seemed to require certain acts of interpretation, with Finnish educational values being interpreted in an Islamic framework. Altogether, this reflected what seemed to be a central feature in Islamic religious education: the negotiation between, on the one hand, proudly presenting one’s own religion and protecting its authenticity, and on

120 Rissanen the other hand, taking the Finnish context into account and adapting to Finnish culture. Finding a balance between these two aspects can be seen as the core of the process of building the ground for the emergence of Finnish Islam. The way in which Islamic religious education in Finland is organized necessarily seems to draw teachers into this kind of deeply ideological negotiation. The teachers’ presentation of Islam to their pupils seemed to be affected by several different ideological influences at the same time. On the one hand, their teaching of “general” and “true” Islam reflected processes of objectification and deculturation of Islam at work in the context of globalization; on the other hand, the teachers’ efforts to demonstrate the compatibility of Islam with Finnish norms and ideals seemed to be marked by liberal-reformist views of Islam. This was an interesting observation, because the endeavor to purify and define universal Islam is often, by contrast, associated with neo-fundamentalism, which is seen as an alternative to a liberal-reformist approach in accommodating Islam in a Western context.36 In general, organizing Islamic religious education for Muslim minorities in public schools in a Western context implies that Islamic discourse has to be made compatible with contemporary educational and national discourses—or the other way around. It seems that this is the task of Islamic religious education teachers, who are thus contributing to creating local Islamic discourses. In this study it was also observed that teachers of Islamic religious education were helping to foster mutual understanding and cooperation between Muslims from different backgrounds who had emigrated from different parts of the world, as well as between the Muslim minority and the local majority. In this way, representing as they do (in some respects) both Islam and the Finnish educational authorities, teachers of Islamic religious education are participating in local intrareligious as well as inter-religious negotiations. Thus it seems that on a grassroots level, Finnish Islamic religious education is contributing to the emergence of a Finnish Islam that is both compatible with and viable in a context of Finnish multiculturalism. NOTES 1. Olivier Roy, Holy Ignorance: When Religion and Culture Part Ways (London: Hurst, 2010), 72. 2. See introduction to this volume. 3. Olivier Roy, Globalised Islam: The Search for a New Ummah (London: Hurst, 2004), 21–29. 4. Tina Gudrun Jensen, “Context, Focus and New Perspectives in the Study of Muslim Religiosity,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 34 (2011), 1152–67; Frank J. Buijs and Jan Rath, “Muslims in Europe: the State of Research,” IMISCOE Working Paper, 2002, Research%20on%20Islam%20and%20Muslims.pdf. 5. Tariq Modood, “Multiculturalism and Integration: Struggling with Confusions” (Florence: European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, 2011), 3.

Negotiating Identity, Difference and Citizenship 121 6. Inkeri Rissanen, Negotiating Identity and Tradition in Single-faith Religious Education. A Case Study of Islamic Education in Finnish Schools (Münster: Waxmann, 2014). 7. See Tuula Gordon, Janet Holland and Elina Lahelma, “Ethnographic Research in Educational Settings,” in Handbook of Ethnography, eds. Paul Anthony Atkinson and Sara Delamont (London: Sage, 2007), 188–203. 8. See Douglas Foley and Angela Valenzuela, “Critical Ethnography: the Politics of Collaboration,” in The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, eds. Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2005), 217–34. 9. Tuomas Martikainen, “Finland,” in Yearbook of Muslims in Europe, ed. Jørgen S. Nielsen (Leiden: Brill, 2013), 238. 10. Tuula Sakaranaho, Religious Freedom, Multiculturalism, Islam: CrossReading Finland and Ireland (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 252–53. 11. See Tariq Modood, “Muslims and the Politics of Difference,” Political Quarterly 7:S1 (2003), 100–15. 12. Pasi Saukkonen and Miikka Pyykkönen, “Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity in Finland,” International Journal of Cultural Policy 14:1 (2008), 49–63. 13. Annukka Jamisto, “Pienryhmäuskontojen opetus Suomessa ennen ja nyt,” in Monikulttuurisuus ja uudistuva katsomusaineiden opetus, eds. Tuula Sakaranaho and Annukka Jamisto (Helsinki: University of Helsinki, 2007), 31–41; Arto Kallioniemi, “Uskonnonopetus ja uskontokasvatus historiallisyhteiskunnallisessa kontekstissa,” in Uskonnonopetus uudella vuosituhannella, eds. Arto Kallioniemi and Juha Luodeslampi (Helsinki: Kirjapaja Oy, 2005), 11–49. 14. Sakaranaho, Religious Freedom, 352, 374. 15. Sakaranaho, Religious Freedom, 358–60. 16. Finnish National Board of Education, Framework for Comprehensive Curriculum for Other Religions (Helsinki, 2006). 17. Sakaranaho, Religious Freedom, 373–82. 18. H. Lempinen, “‘Pitäis olla taikuri’: Islamin opettajien käsitykset islamin uskonnon opetuksesta peruskoulussa” (Master’s thesis, University of Helsinki, 2002), 106, 120. 19. See Inkeri Rissanen, “Developing the Students’ Willingness to Encounter Difference: Teachers’ Practices in Islamic Education,” in New Perspectives on Religious and Spiritual Education, eds. Theo van der Zee and Terence J. Lovat (Münster: Waxmann, 2012), 39–56. 20. Nezar Al Sayyad, “Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam: On the Discourses of Identity and Culture,” in Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam: Politics, Culture and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization, eds. Nezar Al Sayyad and Manuel Castells (Lanham: Lexington, 2002), 9–30. 21. See Roy, Globalised Islam. 22. Al Sayyad, “Muslim Europe or Euro-Islam.” 23. Inkeri Rissanen, “Developing Religious Identities of Muslim Students in the Classroom: a Case-Study from Finland,” British Journal of Religious Education (in press). 24. Gabriel Moran, “Religious Education and the Nation State,” in International Handbook of the Religious, Moral and Spiritual Dimensions in Education, eds. Marian De Souza et al. (Dordrecht: Springer, 2006), 41–50. 25. Sakaranaho, Religious Freedom, 368. 26. See Rissanen, “Developing the Students’ Willingness.” 27. John F. Dovidio, Samuel L. Gaertner and Tamar Saguy, “Commonality and the Complexity of ‘We’: Social Attitudes and Social Change,” Personality and Social Psychology Review 13:1 (2009), 3–20.

122 Rissanen 28. See Inkeri Rissanen, “Islamic Education in Finnish Schools: A Field of Negotiations,” Teaching and Teacher Education 28:5 (2012), 740–49. 29. See, for example, Willem L. Wardekker and Siebren Miedema, “Identity, Cultural Change and Religious Education,” British Journal of Religious Education 23:2 (2001), 76–87. 30. Andrew Wright, Religion, Education and Post-Modernity (London: Routledge, 2004). 31. Yasemin Nuhoglu Soysal, “Citizenship and Identity: Living in Diasporas in Post-War Europe?” Ethnic and Racial Studies 23:1 (2000), 1–15. 32. Modood, “Muslims and the Politics of Difference”; Christian Joppke, “Immigration and the Identity of Citizenship: The Paradox of Universalism,” Citizenship Studies 12:6 (2008), 533–46. 33. See introduction to this volume. 34. Rudolf De Cillia, Martin Reisigl and Ruth Wodak, “The Discursive Construction of National Identities,” Discourse & Society 10:2 (1999), 149–73. 35. Modood, “Multiculturalism and Integration.” 36. See, for example, Roy, Globalised Islam, 26.


Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-Making Conflicts over the Danish Folkeskole Lene Kühle

Denmark can hardly be called a multicultural society. Denmark in fact scores an amazingly low 0.0 on the multiculturalism scale developed by Banting and Kymlicka to compare the strength of the European states’ multicultural policies between 1980 and 2010.1 Yet religious diversity has traditionally been accommodated in Danish public primary/secondary schools, in Danish simply called the Folkeskole. When Muslim children and their parents, for various reasons, ask for special treatment in these schools, they may receive it, as may other minorities, such as Jewish children, members of the Seventhday Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses or children with handicaps or special needs. For several decades, Muslim requests for special treatment or for exemptions from school activities did not catch the eye of the Danish public. Since the 1990s, however, media coverage of the Folkeskole has increasingly focused on schools as arenas for controversy concerning Muslim pupils. This is due not only to increased numbers of pupils of Muslim background, but also to heightened public interest in Islam. Debates on Muslims in public schools are not unusual in a European context: in fact, struggles over the place of religion in school “have provided highly mediatized cases of continual tensions in the contemporary framing of secularity” in most European countries.2 Across Europe (unlike the United States) “accommodation of Islam and Muslims” is a core issue,3 and schools and education have a central role in this.4 Political and media debates are also important, if not crucial, if we seek to understand the lives of European Muslims. Political debates may once in a while lead to actual legislation—such as the ban on the headscarf (hijab) in schools in France and for judges and magistrates in Denmark—but, to date, very little legislation directly aimed at Muslims in Europe has been imposed. Yet major effects may develop from the discursive constructions implied by the debates. Legal interventions, when they do take place, are strong, so the important effects of the public debates may come from their influence on questions of identity—on Muslim habitus, or “Muslimness.” Media debates and political debates are not merely arenas where Muslims are discussed, but also arenas where Muslims may be given a chance to formulate their understanding of what it means to be a European Muslim.

124 Kühle This chapter will address the issue of mediatized, politicized controversies over Muslim pupils in the Danish Folkeskole. The focus will be on the construction of the presence of Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole as a “social problem” through media and political discourses. This kind of “subjective” social-problem theory is not concerned with whether the social problem in question really is a problem, or how in that case it could be solved. The focus is on the processes through which something is discursively constructed as a social problem.5 The chapter has two objectives. First, debate over and research on Muslim pupils in public schools across Europe has focused on the headscarf as worn by pupils and teachers and on the provision of religious education.6 Though these topics have figured in the Danish debate, the more dramatic debates have concerned a broader area of rights and exemptions, for instance the right to abstain from communal showering, accommodation of the Islamic festival calendar and fasting during the month of Ramadan.7 The kind and intensity of debates over Muslim pupils in public schools depends importantly on the particularities of the school system, and in order to appreciate the differences between European countries it is important to pose the question of what is regarded as controversial, and why. The fact that the topic of communal showering has become so important in Denmark is certainly related to the way in which in Scandinavia the naked body became symbolically connected to national identity.8 Muslim reluctance to participate in communal showers (along with other topics, such as school camps, fasting and avoidance of eating pork) has therefore proved to be a stronger vehicle for negotiating the position of Islam and Muslims in Danish society than the headscarf. Second, the debate on issues associated with the presence of Muslims in European countries has been central to recent debates on the cohesion and integration of European society, debates that immigrant and Muslim claimsmaking has sparked. In this chapter the public debate over Muslim pupils in the Danish Folkeskole will be used to put some flesh on the bones of scholarly discussions of multiculturalism. While claims made for cultural-group rights in Denmark are generally modest, Muslims come out as the most likely to make group demands.9 Some scholars tend to think that the overrepresentation of claims by Muslim stakeholders is caused by the insensitivities of liberal democracies to religion;10 others think the public character of Islam is responsible.11 The argument put forward in this chapter is that the answer may be found in the intersection of Islamic traditions, human rights arguments, political agendas and media logics. The analytical concept of claims-making will be used to analyze the debates. A claim is “a unit of strategic action in the public sphere that consists of the purposive and public articulation of demands, calls to action, proposals, criticisms, or physical attacks, which actually or potentially affects the interests or integrity of the claimants and/or other.”12 This approach identifies the claimant, the action, the addressee, the issue and the justification.

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 125 The material used is of two types. First are newspaper articles on Muslim children in the Folkeskole covering the period 1990 to 2010, obtained from the database Infomedia.13 As a first step, a general search was conducted of long articles14 in national Danish newspapers to get an overview of the development of the debate. This was followed by a broad search on what appeared to be the main concept keywords (for instance, “headscarf,” “shower,” “school”) so as to collect a small additional sample of shorter articles. Altogether, a sample of about 700 articles from national and local newspapers was selected for analysis. The second group of material was drawn from parliamentary debates on Muslim children in the Folkeskole, consisting of transcripts of discussions in parliament and written questions to the minister. There was no discussion on Muslim children in the Folkeskole until 1997. Material after this time was gathered through the website

MUSLIMS IN THE DANISH FOLKESKOLE Over the last 40 years, the Danish Folkeskole has become increasingly multiethnic and multifaith. In terms of religious background, the major minority group is Muslim, with the estimated number of Muslim pupils being about 40,000; that is, about 7 per cent of the total.15 In society at large the estimated number of Muslims is about 220,000, or 4 per cent of the population.16 But these are rough estimates, as religious adherence is not recorded by the Danish authorities. These estimates are built on statistics about national background (which, unlike religious adherence, is recorded for immigrants, including their children, or “descendants,” even if these become Danish citizens). Religion, ethnicity and national culture are intimately entwined in the Folkeskole. The establishment of a mass educational system is inseparable from nation-building processes, and the teaching of basic national culture has been a major goal for the publicly provided Danish school system. Though the Danish Folkeskole ceased being confessional many years ago, religion—Lutheran Protestantism—continues to play a role in the Folkeskole. The subject “Christianity Studies” (Kristendomskundskab) is taught through all grades, except in the year when pupils belonging to the Danish National Church may be confirmed. Christianity Studies may be described as a “compulsory non-confessional subject.”17 The main focus is on Christianity (in the Lutheran version prevailing in Denmark), but the subject does include some teaching on other religions. It is possible to opt out of Christianity Studies, although it is claimed to be non-confessional, though this is often discouraged by schools. There also exist local and informal relations between the Folkeskole and the Danish National Church, an established Lutheran church to which, as of January 2013, 79.1 per cent of the Danish population formally belong.18 The Church–School Cooperation (Kirke–skole

126 Kühle samarbejde), a diocese-based network-type movement, arranges church visits as well as visits of pastors to schools and makes educational material available to teachers. It is furthermore quite common in the Folkeskole to arrange end-of-semester assemblies that include Christmas celebrations in the local church. It is possible to opt out of the Folkeskole system. For historical reasons, Denmark has very tolerant legislation regarding “free schools,” private schools that still receive most of their funding from public sources. Danish Muslims have benefited from this system,19 which enabled the establishment of the first Islamic private school in 1979. Today there are 22 Islamic private schools. Whereas the existence of private, state-funded Muslim schools has been a controversial topic in the debate on Muslims and education in Denmark, it has, until recently, been largely overlooked that most Muslim children (about 80 per cent) in fact attend the Folkeskole (compared to 88 per cent of all children). These Muslim children are concentrated in the urban areas of Copenhagen, Odense and Aarhus, where some schools even have a majority of Muslim pupils. Three issues arise when discussing Muslim pupils in the Danish Folkeskole. First, the Folkeskole is in many ways a crucial institution for managing religious diversity. Religious diversity in schools has increased steadily over the past decades, and, due to the demography of the Muslim population in Denmark, schools are generally more religiously diverse than society at large. The presence of a substantial number of Muslim pupils dates back to 1978. According to a survey commissioned by the national newspaper Politiken in 2010, one-quarter of all schools had arrangements for preserving Muslim pupils’ modesty in relation to showering after physical education (PE) lessons (and/or swimming lessons), and one-third had made changes to the school holiday calendar.20 A much more comprehensive scholarly survey conducted in 2011 included several additional items. According to this study, 66 per cent of schools with Muslim pupils serve alternatives to pork, for instance, while 22 per cent have regulated Muslim absence from school for Muslim holidays.21 In schools with few Muslim pupils, Muslim practices often are not taken into account, but in schools with a substantial minority or even a majority with a Muslim family background, diet, fasting and Muslim religious holidays are generally accommodated.22 Second, the Danish educational sector does not officially recognize the presence of Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole. The school is normally characterized as secular, with particular focus on the pupil as an individual. The only identity category recognized by the schools is “bilingual,” a term denoting a pupil whose mother tongue is not Danish. As most Muslims are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants, while most immigrants and their descendants are Muslim, discussions of Muslim pupils tend to be framed using the term “bilingual.” Recent research shows that despite the schools’ efforts to keep away from religion, however, the identity “Muslim” plays an extremely important role in the social processes taking place in

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 127 23

the Folkeskole. The identity “Muslim” is activated and reconstructed in interactions both inside and outside the classroom. The identity “Muslim boy” in particular is created as a “resistance identity,” defined as being in opposition to everything the school stands for. Muslim boys are generally considered troublemakers, and thus often fulfill this expectation. It may be assumed that the perceived secularity of the Folkeskole, which coexists happily (if a little strangely) with the strong links to the Danish National Church noted above, makes talking about religion and school problematic, even if the position of religion and/or of Islam in social interactions between pupils as well as between pupils and teachers makes this almost unavoidable in some schools. Third, general Danish school policies prioritize the autonomy of individual schools.24 All publicly provided schools are regulated according to the School Law (Folkeskolelov), with the municipality responsible for regulating the schools within the provisions of the act. The concrete enactment of different municipality standards will be supervised by the local school board, set up at each school and include representatives of pupils and parents. This system additionally offers a high degree of freedom for individual teachers to use their own methods and teaching materials. It is therefore not surprising that school strategies on the provision of shower curtains and the accommodation of the Islamic holiday calendar often are not formalized and can vary substantially from school to school.25 According to a Danish Ministry of Education brochure produced in 2003, this diversity in fact stems from the ministry’s explicit preference against imposing solutions on individual schools. The brochure presents a range of examples from various schools, emphasizing that the individual school should find its own way around issues and doing no more than mildly reminding them that “a common set of core values and clear directions may profitably be discussed in the given municipality, so that the individual schools and teachers will not have to develop their own individual practices.”26

THE PUBLIC DEBATES Public debate on Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole takes place at the intersection between two distinct media discussions, on the Folkeskole and on Muslims. This intersection is the topic of immigration. Media debates have been identified as responsible for the reification of the concepts “immigrant” and “Muslim,” as also for the fact that it is common in the public debate to regard the term “Muslim” as synonymous with “immigrant.”27 As a majority of immigrants from non-Western backgrounds come from Muslim countries (and as Muslims are generally regarded as the problem group among immigrants), the connection is of course not entirely wrong, but the conflation of the two concepts can be regarded as part of a broader process in the Danish public arena, the ethnification of immigrants.

128 Kühle Islam and Muslims have been a major issue in the Danish media since the 1990s. One study has shown that coverage of Christianity and Islam increased by 600 to 700 per cent between 1985 and 2005.28 Debates on Islam and Muslims have become increasingly prominent in the Danish parliament.29 The volume of debate on Muslims and Islam—both in parliament and in the media—has far exceeded that in neighboring Sweden and Norway, and polarization, including many very negative representations of Islam, has been a feature of both media and parliamentary debates. The public debate on the Folkeskole in relation to immigration has been described as a “hegemony of monoculturalism.”30 An overview of the newspaper material collected for this study is shown in Figure 7.1. The material shows an increase between 1990 and 2001 in the percentage of newspaper articles on the presence of Muslims in Danish public schools. After a peak in 2001, debates remain on a high level until about 2007, where they return to the level as before 2001. However, it can be seen that the issue of Muslim pupils in the Danish Folkeskole receives coverage throughout the whole period of 1990–2012. In a study of political debates on immigration in the Dutch media and parliament over the period 1995–2005, Conny Roggeband and Rens Vliegenthart identified five major frames used within the political realm: the Multicultural frame, the Emancipation frame, the Restriction frame, the Victimization frame, and the Islam-as-Threat frame. The Multicultural frame regards diversity as an asset, and proposes policy interventions to produce equality when it is not there. The Emancipation frame regards migrant culture as backward, and in need of modernization. The Restriction frame regards immigrants as a burden, most particularly because immigrants are often economically dependent on the Danish state. The Victimization frame focuses on migrant women in particular, as they are regarded as the victims

100 90 80


70 60 50 40 30 20 10 19

9 19 0 9 19 1 92 19 9 19 3 9 19 4 95 19 9 19 6 9 19 7 9 19 8 9 20 9 0 20 0 0 20 1 02 20 0 20 3 0 20 4 0 20 5 0 20 6 0 20 7 0 20 8 0 20 9 1 20 0 1 20 1 12

0 Year

Figure 7.1

Percentage of newspaper articles with Folkeskole and Islam/Muslim.

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 129 of honor killings, domestic violence and genital mutilation. The Islam-asThreat frame considers “Islamization” to be threatening the values of modern democratic societies.31 These five frames are easily identifiable in the discussions on migrants in Denmark. The emphasis on the possible economic issues related to immigrants was dominant in the 1970s (and associated with the Restriction frame), though an emphasis on equal rights (which is associated with the Multicultural frame) was also present. In the 1980s a more cultural focus evolved, and new legislation on immigrants in 1997 symbolized a departure from ideals of equal rights.32 From the 1980s and 1990s a distinction between Muslim culture and Danish culture was increasingly noted, and considered a threat (ibid). In 2001, a liberal-conservative minority government was formed that was dependent on the support of the Danish People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti). This change of government is generally believed to have moved the political debates toward the Islam-as-Threat frame, while marginalizing the multiculturalism framework.33 The discussion on Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole material is embedded in these debates, but it also displays a logic of its own. The public debates may be divided into three periods: 1990–1997, 1997–2003 and 2003–2012.

1990–1997: THE HEADSCARF—AND A PICTURE OF A PIG During the period 1990–1997, the presence of Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole is a subject of newspaper debate, but not yet of debate in parliament. The main debate during this period concerns private “free” schools established by immigrant communities—sometimes, but not always, with an emphasis on Muslim identity. In the newspaper articles these are lumped together as Arab schools, ethnic schools, immigrant schools, Islamic schools, Muslim schools or even occasionally Quran schools. Intense media and parliamentary debate on these privately run but state-supported schools led to several administrative changes and the closure of two schools.34 A central issue in this early period of relative calm was the headscarf. This became an issue of debate in the Danish media in 1991, when a group of teachers at one school suggested a change in school regulations to ban wearing of the headscarf in school as a paradigm of the school’s role in modelling a democratic worldview for future citizens. According to the teachers, the headscarf was not an Islamic obligation, yet some of the girls were unhappy and were forced to wear it by their despotic fathers: “We want to help them as we help children with alcoholic fathers,” as one teacher put it.35 However, a representative from the Ministry of Education deemed a ban unlawful, and the discussion faded out. In 1997 the debate was reopened when two teachers, a married couple, at Dalum School in Odense refused to teach a group of girls in fourth grade (ten and eleven year olds) unless they removed their headscarves. The journalistic coverage of the case explains

130 Kühle that the teachers did not want the children in the classroom with headgear, whether headscarf or cap, while the father of three of the girls (an imam at a large mosque in Odense) explains that “It is part of our culture. The girls will continue to come to school with headscarves.” Some of the parents apparently sided with the teachers, but the head of the school as well as the teachers’ association found (according to the newspapers) that the position of the teachers was unacceptable.36 The head of the teachers’ association described the case as very unusual, and when both teachers were dismissed this was with the explicit consent of the association.37 The interpretation of the headscarf as analogous to a cap is challenged in a letter to the editor by the chairman of Ung-Sam, an association for ethnic-minority youth, who explains that “when young Muslim girls wish to wear the headscarf it is a question of manifesting an attachment to an ethnic group in society. The purpose is not to offend or challenge anyone . . . It is a question of personal freedom, tolerance and respect for the individual.”38 The letter prompted two replies, one of which argued that manifesting attachment to an ethnic group does not square with integration, and the other complaining that the letter had lumped all teachers together, something that the writer (himself a teacher) did not want. The discussion of the headscarf points to two interesting aspects. First, it does seem to set a standard for how the headscarf in schools is perceived in the Danish public debates. An article published a few years later commenting on a German ruling forbidding a teacher to wear the headscarf was headlined “Headscarves Are Tolerated in the Danish Folkeskole.”39 The notion of girls wearing the headscarf as victims in need of help remained (as shown, for instance, in a positive story about a “girls only” class allowing the girls to remove their headscarves),40 but the issue of schoolgirls wearing the headscarf never became securitized (i.e., calls for action by schools or politicians). Second, the headscarf issue is generally, but with a few exceptions, represented as a manifestation of “foreign” identity. There is awareness that the ethnic minorities discussed in relation to the headscarf are Muslim, but they are described as Arab, Somali, immigrant, foreign or ethnic. The main criticism of the headscarf is therefore that immigrants should follow the ways and customs of Danish society.41 In the mid-1990s, however, the media debate begins to change. A feature in 1996 interprets problems at a particular Copenhagen school, when children and parents ask for special treatment in relation to swimming, showering and participation in school camps, making reference to the Quran, as a “struggle.”42 In an interview article in the same year, a politician known to come from a Muslim background argues that many Muslim parents cannot resist the pressure of the school system, because they are afraid of being regarded as primitive. According to this politician, Muslims “don’t dare to say ‘We are Muslims. We wear the headscarf and our children may not participate in communal showers’ . . . The pressure from the Folkeskole is very strong.”43 The changes in the debate are evident in another 1996

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 131 article, which explains how a group of parents of ten children at a Copenhagen school moved their children to an Islamic private school because in the kitchen a picture of a pig (explaining the names of the different cuts of pork) was used for home economics. The parents had apparently showed up at school demanding that the picture be removed and that their children be allowed to shower individually after PE. The head of the municipality’s school committee explains that “we did not even want to discuss the demands. It is the schools who administer this. But the experience at the school was very unpleasant. The poor kids did not understand a thing. They are not the ones in the wrong. But they have become the victims of the inappropriate behavior of their parents.” Neither parents nor children are given a voice in the article, but we are told that the parents of two of the children later regretted their stance and apologized to the school. Their children were readmitted to the school after the parents had signed an agreement to accept the terms of the Folkeskole. The article ends by setting the conflict in the context of immigrant parents regarding the Folkeskole as a self-service buffet and attempting to distance themselves from the Danish school system. It is emphasized that the increasing pressure comes from a small group of parents, and that it is the children who are suffering from this “flawed” position.44

1997–2003: THE GREAT BATHING CONTROVERSY The story of the picture of the pig sets the scene for the second phase (and also the most intense) of public debates, from 1997 to 2003. Two important things happen in this period. First, the debate moves from being a media debate to being an increasingly important debate in parliament. Second, the issue of the presence of Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole and the potential problems associated with it take on a more fixed, almost standardized form. In the vocabulary of social-problem theory, the issue becomes constructed as a social problem. The case that leads to these two developments is the issue of Muslim pupils and same-sex communal showering after PE lessons (including swimming). The showering issue is one of a cluster of modesty-related issues, including appropriate dress for PE and concerns about mixed-sex sports, in both cases focusing particularly on swimming lessons.45 Though non-gender-segregated swimming and communal showering may be seen as different issues, they are inseparable in Danish public debates. This may be due to the fact that in Danish the same word (bade) can be used to mean shower or swim. The communal showering was a part of the story of the picture of the pig, and there had been other cases. In 1995, for instance, according to one newspaper article, five Palestinian fathers living in a provincial town demanded that their daughters be exempted from both PE and swimming lessons.46 The reasons given by the fathers applying for the exemption were that “apparently” they did not want the girls to see one another

132 Kühle naked, and that they wanted to avoid the risk of voyeurism. The newspaper report on the incident however is brief, and does not quote the fathers or mention their names. The very short article does not exhaust the subject, but states that a meeting will take place between the school board and the parents, and also that one attempt to solve the problem would be to put up shower curtains. By this time, controversies over shower curtains are already well established in schools. In a 1992 newspaper article, for instance, it is mentioned that a Copenhagen school has for several years been having “minor confrontations regarding swimming, showering and participation in school camps.”47 According to the article, this is often because pupils and parents claim that these are forbidden by the Quran.48 Similarly, an article from 1995 almost routinely states that a particular school, due to the presence of Muslim pupils, has been forced to adjust to somewhat “uptight and old-fashioned norms” originating in “the Muslim religion.”49 Up to about 1997, the articles on conflicts over communal showering are short, and rarely include details of the arguments on both sides. Any stakeholders are interviewed are often local politicians or head teachers, while teachers, parents and children are rarely given a voice. The case of Amin Khan, a ten-year-old boy expelled from Frederikssund private school in 1997, changes this, however. The story does not strictly concern the Folkeskole, but I have included it here because the fact that the school in question was a private school seems not to matter much. The media debate on communal showering at this stage (and the debates that followed) shows that similar conflicts are taking place in the Folkeskole. Amin Khan was expelled from school because he refused to participate in communal showering before swimming lessons. The other parents suggested that Amin could arrive ten minutes early and shower ahead of the other children (though this would reduce their time for swimming), but the head teacher rejected that idea on the grounds that “Amin’s request has nothing to do with the Quran. It is because he is shy. That is why I do not want to give him special treatment.”50 Amin’s father disagreed and said, “it is not up to the headmaster to define our religion. The Quran forbids us to participate in naked communal showering because it is a violation of dignity.”51 The case was taken up by the Documentation and Advice Center on Racial Discrimination (DRC), which found that “this is clearly a case of discrimination. We have done everything to settle amicably, but the school has been unyielding and apparently wants to draw a line in the sand. The only option was to report it to the police,” as the DRC lawyer puts it. The chairman of the Board for Ethnic Equality discusses the issue with the Ministry of Education, urging it to consider their guidelines for schools. Save for an offshoot of the (in many ways marginal) Ahmadiyya Movement, which files a complaint to the minister of education, no Muslim organization is involved. The conflict ends with the Khan family withdrawing their son and his older brother from the Frederikssund private school and putting them in the Folkeskole, where Amin is allowed to arrive ten minutes before the

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 133 other pupils. Interestingly, the Khan family had lived in Denmark since 1970 and their three older children, who attended the same private school as the younger child, had been allowed to shower privately. Though the immediate cause of the conflict was a tightening of the swimming facilities’ regulations, the effective cause was the rejection of Amin’s request for special treatment. The head teacher legitimized his position by reference to the rights of the other pupils: “If I did not hold on to this, I would be discriminating against the other pupils just because of this one boy.”52 The case of Amin’s refusal to participate in communal showering is the first example of a large-scale public controversy involving Muslim pupils in Danish schools. It did include Muslim claims-making, primarily by individuals. As a conflict it illustrates the change from a nonpluralistic situation (Amin, as a foreigner, applies for special treatment that his brothers had received) to one that, after the controversy hits the media, is framed in terms of universal human rights and anti-discrimination rhetoric. This changes the optic of the discussion from Amin’s particular problem to the school’s duty to accommodate Muslim needs versus its agenda of treating pupils equally and not discriminating. In this new light, Amin’s claim for special treatment becomes suspect and, according to the head teacher, may even infringe upon other pupils’ rights. The case of Amin brings the presence of Muslims in the Danish school system into parliamentary debates. This is of course a little paradoxical, as the school in question was a private school. But when the leader of the Danish People’s Party, Pia Kjærsgaard, in April 1997 poses a question in parliament to the minister of education concerning whether “foreigners living in Denmark are allowed to demand that norms and rules that follow Danish cultural heritage and school tradition are changed,” she directly imports this confrontation into the Folkeskole context. She gives the intense media debate over “a ten-year-old Muslim pupil who doesn’t want to participate in communal showering with the Christian children at his school”53 as the background to her question. The minister of education answers the question with reference to the free right of private schools to decide who to admit. The question, however, declares an interest in the presence of Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole and places a special emphasis on how schools deal with this. A good example of this is a question posted later in 1997 by a member of the Progress Party as to why a textbook for the Folkeskole has been published on the subject of Muslims in Denmark: “The next thing is probably that pupils must learn what it is like to be a Japanese, an Indian or a Brazilian in Denmark.”54 So even if the incident happened at a private school and even if the chairman of the Danish association of head teachers emphasizes that the incident could not have happened at a Folkeskole—“We try to respect our children,” he stated, “and this is an area where we have to be considerate when more religious world views are represented in the school”55—only two years later a similar case erupts in Esbjerg, a medium-sized city on Denmark’s far west coast. In January 1999, the father of a second grade (eight and nine year

134 Kühle olds) Muslim girl asks the headmaster at Bakke School to provide separate showering facilities for his daughter for religious and cultural reasons. The headmaster advises the family to find a different school because he will not exempt the girl on these grounds, and the decision is endorsed by Esbjerg municipality. The supervisory committee in the county of Ribe, however, thinks otherwise and appeals to the Ministry of the Interior. This results in the ministry’s support for the girl’s exemption from communal showering and condemnation of the head teacher and Esbjerg municipality for violating the School Law by denying the girl the opportunity to be part of a class. The media discover that the issue is well known at other schools, where solutions have been found. The head of a school in Aarhus thus argues that: At Bakke School in Esbjerg they have 36 per cent bilingual pupils. That is why municipality and management feel they cannot continue to make separate arrangements. But at Tovshøj School in Aarhus, we consider it the task of the Folkeskole to do so when our pupils include bilingual children. We have known all along that the road followed in Esbjerg is not the right one. You cannot dismiss pupils like that.56 The issue then exploded in 2003 into what one newspaper called “the great bathing controversy.”57 What caused the controversy was the decision by Abildgård School, Odense, to introduce gender segregation in swimming classes. This decision is interpreted by some commentators as a “preliminary defeat for Danish norms and traditions.”58 The controversy is important because, for the first time, it prompts reactions from influential Muslim organizations: one of the major mosque associations, Islamic Faith Community (Islamisk Trossamfund), publishes general guidance on communal showering and swimming on its website. The controversy also leads the media to connect the showering issue with the wider issue of practical problems associated with the presence of Muslim pupils in schools59—an issue that is again related to the wider issue of Muslims in Denmark. The media attention leads to the establishment of a working group under the Ministry of Education, which prepares a guide for handling the religious or cultural norms of ethnic minorities. The guide gives advice (but no regulations) on how to accommodate Muslim pupils in the fields of home economics, religious education, PE and showering, sex education, school camps and religious holidays.60 The great bathing controversy completes the process of constructing Muslim pupils in Danish schools as a “social problem”—that is, a political problem on which action needs to be taken. The successful construction of the social problem is, however, followed by an immediate attempt by the minister of education to depoliticize the issue. During the debates in 2003–2004, Minister of Education Bertel Haarder states in parliament what he has already said on several previous occasions in the media: that he is not minister for shower curtains, headscarves or pork-liver paté (leverpostej).61 Decisions are to be taken by the individual schools, not by the minister.

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 135 2004–2012: CONSIDERATION AND ISLAMIZATION While debates on Muslim children in the Folkeskole are heated both in parliament and in the media in the period 1997–2004, the frequency and intensity of the newspaper debates decreases somewhat after 2004, while the debates in parliament become more concentrated and more focused. Another noticeable change is that the concept of Islamization moves to the foreground. The concept of Islamization has been part of the debate since the beginning of the period investigated. As used in the public debates (in contrast to the academic usage), Islamization is a part of a larger narrative: Eurabia, an apocalyptic narrative describing the potential Islamic takeover of Europe as a result of immigration, high rates of fertility and pressure on public institutions to adapt to Islamic practices.62 In 1990, when this narrative appeared in a letter to the editor under the headline ”The Folkeskole Islamizes,”63 both the concept and the claimed reality it pointed to were regarded with mockery. The author of the piece, Ib Hofmeister, was associated with the Danish Association (Den Danske Forening), a rather marginal radical anti-immigration association,64 and the position represented in the letter also appeared rather marginal at the time. In another letter to the editor in the same newspaper, the idea of the threat of Islamization is ridiculed by referring to the fact that Hofmeister had apparently contacted the prime minister to ask him how he would prevent an Islamization of the Folkeskole, but never received an answer: “There must be some limit to the silliness of questions posed.”65 When key members of the Danish Association joined the Danish People’s Party in the mid-1990s, however,66 they brought the concept of Islamization with them. In a parliamentary debate in 1999 initiated by the Danish People’s Party on the increasing Islamization of Danish society, members of the Danish People’s Party point to the Folkeskole as one arena for the Islamization of Denmark, arguing that precautions must be taken in schools to strengthen the teaching of Christianity and to avoid special treatment for Islam in terms of shower curtains in schools, as well as halal meat in daycare centers and headscarves in the labor market. The question of the Islamization of the Folkeskole remains a topic of ridicule for some. One Social Democratic party member comments ironically in the debate on the “very, very big and crucial question of how to shower in Danish schools,”67 while another member declares himself almost speechless because Islamization is “a picture created of something which does not exist.”68 Whether thanks to the change of government in 2001 or the continuing debates on Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole, the tone of the debate changes when in May 2005 a media story about an imam who had been employed at a school in Aarhus prompts a parliamentary debate. Asked by Danish People’s Party Søren Krarup about the risk of an “Islamization of the Folkeskole,” Minister of Education Bertel Haarder replies: I will not minimize the problem raised by Mr. Søren Krarup. Recently a report, hitherto secret, was published about the Islamization of certain

136 Kühle French schools. The description given was shocking, to put it mildly. We are lucky that something similar is not the case in Denmark, at least in most schools. But in the ghettoes, in certain ghetto schools, French conditions may evolve and that we must be immensely vigilant about. So far I’m in complete agreement with the questioner.69 The debate leads to a number of questions in parliament: on whether schools have been formally asked by municipalities to change traditions,70 whether information material for sex education has been adjusted in accordance with Muslim needs71 and whether the School Law can be changed so as to emphasize parents’ responsibility for feeding their own children.72 The Danish People’s Party also presents a proposal for a bill calling on “immigrants” not to wear the headscarf in school.73 A 2007 media debate further broadens the discussion. At Nørremark School in Vejle, Jutland, the Christmas celebration had since 1976 included a visit to the local church. Participation had been voluntary, and pupils who for whatever reason did not wish to participate had been able to stay at school under the supervision of a teacher and make Christmas doughnuts (æbleskiver) for everyone to eat after church. In 2007 this “traditional form of accommodation” was changed and participation in the church service became obligatory. Hakim, a twelve-year-old Muslim boy, protests publicly. Assisted by his father, a local politician, he represents pupils—Muslim and non-Muslim—who do not wish to participate in obligatory church services. When a newspaper asks the twelve-yearold Hakim why he objects to participating in the service, he replies “It feels odd to sit in a church and listen to the Christmas gospel being a Muslim. I respect the church, but I will not pray and sing carols.”74 His father adds “The school does not respect freedom of religion in Denmark when they force children to go to church and sing Christian songs.”75 For Hakim and his father, the identity “Muslim” and the action “attending church for Christmas” are “religious” and the conflict is framed in terms of freedom of religion—that is, in terms of constitutional principles and human rights. The head teacher, on the other hand, tries to avoid the issue of religion: “I respect freedom of religion highly,” he says, “but we have a duty to teach our children about Danish traditions and culture and in this case it is a Christmas tradition. We do not evangelize. No one is forced to pray or to say that Jesus is the son of God.”76 It is interesting that his tools for solving the controversy are ad hoc and practical: “If someone has a problem with carols or the Lord’s Prayer, they can do as I do. I am an atheist and do not participate in the praying.” He further adds that some of the Muslim pupils conduct a small ritual before entering the church in order to avoid being influenced by it.77 The head teacher insists that the celebration is a Christmas tradition, and that because the school is obliged by law to teach Danish culture, the end-ofsemester event in the church is legitimate. He does realize that some elements may be problematic, but finds that there are pragmatic ad hoc solutions

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 137 available. But his solution is unconvincing, according to most of the letters to the editor which follow the controversy. As one critical letter argues, “no one, not Christian, Jew or Muslim, should be forced to do anything which violates their belief.”78 Compared to the debates on communal showering, the media coverage presents the boy’s perspective in a positive light because the plea was for exemption from religion rather than exemption because of religion. The controversy led to the abolition of the Christmas service for all at Nørremark School, and thus illustrates that new ways of handling religious diversity may limit the visibility in school of the Christian majority religion. A 2009 bill provides the clearest articulation of what, for the Danish People’s Party, constitutes the problem: namely that “it is shocking and incomprehensible that the Ministry of Education and a number of municipalities are calling on schools to take special needs into consideration. In this way the needs of Muslims must be taken into consideration in a number of subjects, and in school life in general, according to the homepage of the Ministry of Education.”79 The aim of the bill was to ensure political control over the accommodation of Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole by banning any religious or cultural special treatment in the Folkeskole. For special consideration, according to the Danish People’s Party, read multiculturalism. The problem for the party is that “multiculturalism does not work. It leads directly to a vile society, dividing people into right and wrong, permissible and forbidden, halal and haram.”80 The other parties in parliament engage in the discussion even if they do not accept the Danish People’s Party’s claim that they should control what the schools do. “It is funny how even a hopeless bill may lead to an interesting debate,” as one politician puts it.81 The interesting discussion concerns integration and Danish identity. It is really “far out,” as one politician puts it, to claim that it “promotes integration to shower communally or to claim that this is a specific Danish value. It is some kind of German nudist culture from the 1920s which gained a footing due to budgets . . .”82 A large debate on multiculturalism in 2011–2012, again initiated by the Danish People’s Party, does not change much, but seems to cement an agreement among all parties except for the Danish People’s Party that shower curtains, headscarves and liver paté (or Ramadan and halal meat) are not things that politicians should regulate.

THE CORE OF THE PROBLEM: MULTICULTURALISM? With immigration, religious diversity in the Folkeskole has increased. In the intense parliamentary and media debates, Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole have become constructed as a social problem—a condensed package of headscarves and paté and shower curtains—that the majority of parliamentarians do not consider it their problem to unwrap. The debates point to three things. First, the many debates on Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole crystallize through the years as first and foremost

138 Kühle a debate about multiculturalism. Denmark is often described as a country that has never officially embraced multiculturalism,83 yet “closet, streetlevel diversity practices”84 are also part of the picture in Denmark. The way in which many public schools in Denmark accommodate the diverse pupil population in different ways is an example of this. In the debates, the problems and the seemingly multicultural strategies of some schools toward their Muslim pupils are gradually exposed to Danish politicians and to the general public. The disjuncture between the two levels of debates reflects that there is a difference between discourse and policy85 and that institutions follow their own logic.86 With this in mind, as well as the fact that Danish schools are local in the sense that they are run by the municipality rather than by the central state, it may come as no surprise that the rhetoric in parliament and the practices in local schools are not congruent. It is perhaps more surprising that only the Danish People’s Party regards this dissonance as a problem. In this respect the situation resembles that in Austria, where a relatively tolerant model in relation to the headscarf coexists with “reframing strategies of right-wing parties in the context of an ethno-cultural citizen regime.”87 Suggestions from the Danish People’s Party for bringing the practices of the Folkeskole under more direct political influence were strongly rejected by all other parties in parliament. This does not, however, mean that the debates on Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole have had no effect. As shown in Roggeband and Vliegenthart’s work, it is clear that the media and the political realm represent very different areas, each following logics of their own. Yet they are also strongly connected, to the extent that parliamentary discussions often take their point of departure in a media story.88 The media stories tend to take their point of departure in what is presented as a “Muslim claim.” The question is, however, whether there exists “a self-evident set of ‘needs’ and ‘claims’ made by ‘Muslims,’”89 or whether the mobilization of Muslims around certain “Muslim claims” is better regarded as developing during the discussions. A second dimension is therefore how the media and political debates have themselves formed Muslim claims-making. The Danish Folkeskole has a long history of dealing with religious minorities. Requests from individuals in minority groups (Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists) were often accommodated, if possible. Those requests would not constitute claims in the definition used here, because they tended not to be public and were believed to concern only the individual making the request. Special treatment was a privilege, as well as a concession. Freedoms and rights were given on the basis that the request was “nonpolitical” and that the privilege was not to be extended to other groups in society: rather than a universal right, this was a particular privilege for an individual or an insignificant group. This was the world that Muslim families entered when Muslim pupils started entering the Danish school system in the late 1970s. Schools would probably accommodate special requests, but if for some reason the school was unwilling the family could either find another school (public or private)

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 139 or submit to the rules. But two things changed the situation. First, the Muslim pupil population increased at some schools, putting pressure on the old system of individual accommodation based on individual requests. Second, Islam and Muslims increasingly became a topic of public interest. When teachers, parents and head teachers approached the media, the chances that the media would pick up on it increased. Through the media discussions, the substance somehow changed. Amin and his family were not campaigning for all schools to buy shower curtains: they just wanted Amin to be able to shower in private. But because Amin’s family was asked to justify their request and did so with reference to the Quran, and because human rights agencies picked up on the controversies, the question was no longer whether Amin could shower ten minutes before his classmates, but how Danish society should react to Muslim claims-making. The individual request for special treatment becomes a Muslim claim for accommodations. The media expects Muslim organizations to engage in the debate. Only a few do so. When they do, however, they are likely to be presented as making universal Muslim claims, when they are not. In an interview, Imam Fatih Alev, for instance, says nothing more than that he does not think it will be a big expense for schools to buy shower curtains or install shower cabins, but the headline is that “Muslims demand special consideration in schools.”90 The fact that the claims are produced in the course of the debates does not mean that the claims have nothing to do with Islam, as Christian Joppke seems to think in suggesting that “Islam is the globally available idiom to express other-caused disadvantage.”91 But it is only when Islamic Faith Community enters the debate in 2003 that a general Danish Muslim policy of Muslim modesty in relation to showering and swimming is produced in the form of a post on the group’s website.92 This statement shows that negotiations about the correct Islamic approach to the specific Danish situation of showering and swimming have been taking place in parts of the Danish Muslim milieu. The interpretation is based on classic conceptions of the need to cover awra (the private parts) prescribed by the sharia93 and/or as a part of the conduct of haya (modesty and decency).94 The involvement of a more formal Islamic authority in the debate does not however prevent commentators with Muslim backgrounds from stating their opinions. According to one politician of Muslim background: “This is not primarily about religion. It is about differences in traditions and cultures.”95 According to another, an integration consultant, the shower debate is “a practical issue with a touch of a cultural and religious determination,” and he wonders why it makes politicians talk nonsense.96 This is all to suggest that the media debates not only open up, but also provide an arena where “Muslim” claims, demands and interests can be presented and constructed in the “laborious and daily work of reconstructing viable strategies of survival in settings characterized by tensions between different cultures or traditions, and even more between the state’s monitoring and educating function and the partial autonomy of socio-religious actors.”97

140 Kühle It is interesting that the debate on what is Islamic and what is not also includes non-Muslims. In a 1991 discussion on headscarves in schools, one teacher suggests that headscarves have nothing to do with Islam. “We have looked into it. It is not mentioned in the Quran,” he is quoted as saying.98 There are therefore interesting feedback processes between schools, public debates and Muslims. Schools do what they have “always” done, accommodating the diverse needs of the individual child as far as possible without jeopardizing the general functioning of the school. This may be regarded as an indicator of multiculturalism, even if the motives for the accommodations are concern for the needs of the individual child rather than an explicit diversity policy. When Muslim pupils in public schools are discussed in newspapers and in parliament, the perspective of the individual pupil at a particular school is eroded. The media coverage of the issue of Muslims and the Folkeskole represents the pattern of accommodation as (in the words of a left-wing intellectual newspaper) an expression of how “the Folkeskole must tackle the clash between Danish and Muslim values,”99 or represents the school as an “area where Islam is a problem.”100 According to a 2011 survey of head teachers, very few of them see it like that.101 Discussions with people working in the school system suggest that the fact that there is only one publicly available frame of interpretation for accommodation of the needs of Muslim-background pupils—Islamization—means that while the presence of Muslim pupils in the Danish Folkeskole is an important issue for public discussion, many teachers, head teachers and civil servants may be reluctant to discuss the issue all the same, for fear of how their worries and solutions will be portrayed in the press and how politicians may react to them. This may account for the decrease in media debates on Muslim pupils in the Folkeskole. Meanwhile, the presence and accommodation of small children with a Muslim background in preschool centers became a hot topic in 2013. Schools often become arenas of conflict. This is no surprise, as schools are institutions central to the fundamental structure of societies, socializing new generations. As the presence of Muslims in Denmark became an increasingly contested issue after the late 1980s, with polarized and polarizing debates developing on integration between assimilation and multiculturalism, the public debates on Muslims in schools became intense. Danish debates on Muslims and integration became more overt, and Danish decision-makers have been very reluctant to embark on new practices for managing increasing religious diversity (as evidenced by, for instance, the multiculturalism index). Still, it has been argued that it is reasonable to regard Denmark as “representative of comparable processes in other small and medium-size nation-states.”102 The debates have focused on an alleged threat—the “Islamization of the Folkeskole.” A core element in the narrative of Islamization is constant appeals by Muslims for “special consideration” that are seen as threatening the identity and coherence of the school as a Danish school. The phrase

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 141 “special consideration” has slightly negative connotations in Danish, and there has in fact been discussion of whether provisions for Muslim pupils should just be termed “consideration,” with this word’s connotations of reasonable accommodation. Through the public debates, requests for specific, contextual consideration of personal needs has been transformed into universalist claims that come to fit the story of an Islamization of the Danish school. Peter Skaarup of the Danish People’s Party is clear-sighted when he finds that the essence of the debate is caught in headlines like “MultiDenmark” and “Denmark will never be the same again.”103 How will Denmark, along with its European neighbors, deal with ethnic and religious diversity? In Denmark the majority of politicians are unwilling, and perhaps unable, to answer this question. They are leaving it to be worked out by local practitioners. As one newspaper headline put it succinctly: “Schools must find the Philosopher’s Stone by themselves.”104 NOTES 1. Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka, “Is There Really a Retreat From Multiculturalism Policies? New Evidence from the Multiculturalism Policy Index,” Comparative European Politics 11:5 (2013), 577–98. 2. Armando Salvatore, “Making Public Space: Opportunities and Limits of Collective Action among Muslims in Europe,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 30:5 (2004), 135. 3. Tariq Modood, “Introduction: Odd Ways of Being Secular,” Social Research 76:4 (2009), 1169–72. 4. Joel Fetzer and J. Christopher Soper, Muslims and the State in Britain, France and Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). 5. Titus Hjelm, “Religion and Social Problems: Three Perspectives,” in Religion and Social Problems, ed. Titus Hjelm (New York: Routledge, 2010). 6. See, for instance, Marcel Maussen, The Governance of Islam in Western Europe: A State of the Art Report, Working Paper No. 16 (Rotterdam: IMISCOE Working Paper, 2006); Luce Pépin, Teaching about Religions in European School Systems: Policy Issues and Trends (NEF Initiative on Religion and Democracy in Europe, 2009). 7. See, for instance, Jonas Otterbeck, Islam, muslimer och den svenska skolan, (Studentlitteratur, 2000), and Johannes Reich, “Switzerland: Freedom of Creed and Conscience, Immigration, and Public Schools in the Postsecular State: Compulsory Coeducational Swimming Instruction Revisited,” ICON 784 (2009), 754–67. 8. Jonas Frykman, “Becoming the Perfect Swede: Modernity, Body Politics, and National Processes in Twentieth Century Sweden,” Ethnos 58:3–4 (1993), 259–74. 9. Paul Statham et al., “Resilient or Adaptable Islam? Multiculturalism, Religion and Migrants’ Claims-Making for Group Demands in Britain, the Netherlands and France,” Ethnicities 5:4 (2005), 427–59. 10. Tariq Modood, “Muslims and the Politics of Difference,” Political Quarterly 74:s1 (2003), 100–15. 11. Statham et al., “Resilient or Adaptable Islam?” 12. Ruud Koopmans and Paul Statham, “Challenging the Liberal Nation-State? Postnationalism, Multiculturalism and the Collective Claims Making of

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13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

35. 36.

Migrants and Ethnic Minorities in Britain and Germany,” American Journal of Sociology 105:3 (1999), 658. Most nationwide newspapers are covered throughout the whole period, but Information only from 1997, Jyllands-Posten only from 1996, and Kristeligt Dagblad from 2001. Search on (*skole* or folkeskole*) (islam* muslim*). Mark Sedgwick, Pupils of Muslim Cultural Origin in Danish Schools, unpublished research note (Aarhus University, 2009). Brian Jacobsen, “Denmark,” in Yearbook of Muslims in Europe, vol. 1, eds. Jørgen S. Nielsen et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 98. Pépin, Teaching about Religion, 20. Statistics Denmark, “Statistical Yearbook 2013,” accessed September 8, 2013, Jørgen S. Nielsen, Muslims in Western Europe (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004). “Folkeskolen tager religiøse hensyn,” Politiken, February 15, 2010. Sidsel Vive Jensen, “It Has Nothing to Do with Religion: Governance of Muslim Practices in Danish Public Schools” (PhD thesis, Aarhus University, 2013), 85. Jensen, “It Has Nothing to Do with Religion,” 150. Laura Gilliam, De umulige børn og det ordentlige menneske: identitet, ballade og muslimske fællesskaber blandt etniske minoritetsbørn i en dansk folkeskole (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2009). Ari Antikainen, “In Search of the Nordic Model in Education,” Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 50:3 (2006), 229–43. Jensen, “It Has Nothing to Do with Religion,” 72. Danish Ministry of Education, Inspiration til bedre integration i folkeskolen (Copenhagen: Ministry of Education, 2003), 8. Mustafa Hussain, “Islam, Media and Minorities in Denmark,” Current Sociology 48:4 (2000), 95–116. Mattias Pape Rosenfeldt, “Hvor meget religion er der i det offentlige rum?” Religion 24:1 (2007), 22–33. Brian Jakobsen, Religion som fremmedhed i dansk politik: en sammenligning af italesættelser af jøder i Rigsdagstidende 1903–1945 og muslimer i Folketingstidende 1967–2005 (Copenhagen: Institut for Tværkulturelle og Regionale Studier, 2008); Henrik Reintoft Christensen, “Religion and Authority in the Public Sphere” (PhD thesis, Aarhus University, 2011). Christian Horst and Thomas Gitz Johansen, “Education of Ethnic Minority Children in Denmark: Monocultural Hegemony and Counter Positions,” Intercultural Education 21:2 (2010), 137–51. Conny Roggeband and Rens Vliegenthart, “Divergent Framing: The Public Debate on Migration in the Dutch Parliament and Media, 1995–2004,” West European Politics 30:3 (2007), 530. Jakobsen, Religion som fremmedhed, 272. Ulf Hedetoft, “Denmark versus Multiculturalism,” in the Multiculturalism Backlash: European Discourses, Policies and Practices, eds. Steven Vertovic and Susanne Westendorf (London: Routledge, 2010). Tore Vincent Olsen and Sofie Marie Ahlgren, “(In)tolerance and Accommodation of Difference in Danish Public and Private Schools,” ACCEPT PLURALISM Working Paper 9 (Florence European University Institute 2011), 25. Arne Notkin, “Tørklæde forbudt,” Weekendavisen, March 1, 1991. Catrine Kyster, “En strid om tørklæder,” Jyllands-Posten, October 28, 1997.

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 143 37. Elisabeth Lundby, “To skolelærer afskediget i tørklæde-sag,” Berlingske Tidende, June 4, 1998. 38. I. K. Dhillon, “Det handler om personlig frihed,” Ekstra Bladet, November 2, 1997. 39. Murad Ahmed, “Danmark: tørklæder accepteres i den danske folkeskole,” Jyllands-Posten, June 28, 2001; Orla Borg, “Religion: dom mod muslimsk tørklæde,” Jyllands-Posten, July 6, 2002. 40. Erik Thomle, “Pigeklasse: tørklædepigernes chance for frit valg,” JyllandsPosten, 13 May, 2001. 41. Tage Lauenborg, “Skik følge eller land fly,” Jyllands-Posten, November 22, 1997. 42. Ole Hasselbalch, “10 år efter,” Weekendavisen, January 12, 1996. 43. Annelise Bistrup, “Muslimen der gik til de kristelige,” Berlingske Tidende, February 4, 1996. 44. Erik Bjørn Møller, “Flere muslimer sender børnene i privatskoler,” Berlingske Tidende, October 12, 1996. 45. See, for instance, Reich, “Switzerland: Freedom of Creed and Conscience.” 46. “Fædre kræver døtre fri for idræt,” BT, March 17, 1995. 47. “Lærernødråb: vi magter ikke indvandrerne,” Ekstrabladet, February 29, 1992. 48. “Rød leder-Bryd den onde cirkel,” Ekstra Bladet, February 29, 1992. 49. Johs. Morre Pedersen, “Gjellerupskolen,” Politiken, January 12, 1995. 50. Morten Langager and Torben Brenner, “Skole anmeldes for racisme,” Jyllands-Posten, April 2, 1997. 51. Langager and Brenner, “Skole anmeldes for racisme.” 52. Langager and Brenner, “Skole anmeldes for racisme.” 53. Pia Kjærsgaard, S1871, Folketingstidende 1996/97: 5984. 54. Jan Køpke Christensen, S3146, Folketingstidende 1996/97: 8722. 55. Morten Langager and Torben Brenner, “Bortvisning efter reglerne,” JyllandsPosten, April 3, 1997. 56. Anne-Marie Dohm, “Muslimske traditioner imødekommes i Århus,” JyllandsPosten, May 13, 1999. 57. The Danish word bade in the expression “den store badefejde” may refer to swimming, bathing and also showering. 58. “Den fejlslagne integration,” Kristeligt Dagblad, June 18, 2003. 59. The left-wing newspaper Information and the Christian newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad (August 9, 2003; August 11, 2003; August 12, 2003; August 13, 2003) carry a series on how the Folkeskole relates to religious holidays, showering, food, prayer rooms and religious education. The state-financed TV channel DR1 has a survey of school practices, and the tabloid newspaper BT does a general issue of “places where Islam poses a problem” (BT, 11 June 2003). The media attention continues with an opinion poll regarding how schools should handle the situations and a large number of letters to the editors, opinion pieces and articles on the issue. 60. Danish Ministry of Education, Inspiration til bedre integration i folkeskolen (Copenhagen: Ministry of Education, 2003). 61. Bertel Haarder, Oral reply to US131, May 11, 2004; Parliamentary debates on B201, May 28, 2004. 62. Mark Sedgwick, “Something Varied in the State of Denmark: Neo-Nationalism, Anti-Islamic Activism and Street-Level Thuggery,” Politics, Religion & Ideology 14:2 (2013), 208–33. 63. Ib Hofmeister, “Folkeskolen islamiseres,” Berlingske Tidende, March 8, 1990. 64. Sedgwick, “Something Varied.”

144 Kühle 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92.

93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99.

Poul Bruun, “Indvandrerbørn,” Berlingske Tidende, April 5, 1990. Sedgwick, “Something Varied.” Søren Hansen, Parliamentary Debates on F13, January 13, 2000. Ebbe Kalnæs, Parliamentary Debates on F13, January 13, 2000. Parliamentary Debates on US35 & US36, May 3, 2005. S437, November 10, 2006. S3995, April 23, 2007. S22, October 12, 2007. Parliamentary Debates on B112, May 20, 2008. Rikke Struck Westerø, “Skoleleder: alle elever skal i kirke—også muslimerne,” Jyllands-Posten, December 13, 2007. Westerø, “Skoleleder.” Rikke Struck Westersø, “Jeg har respekt for kirken, men jeg vil ikke bede og synge salmer,” Jyllands-Posten, December 13, 2007. Morten Mikkelsen, “Muslim vil fritages for julestemnng i kirke,” Kristeligt Dagblad, December 14, 2007. Karsten B. Vester, “Vejle: god jul, Mourad Dalibey,” Vejle Amts Folkeblad, December 10, 2007. Martin Henriksen, Parliamentary Debates on B112, May 20, 2008. Martin Henriksen, Parliamentary Debates on B112, May 20, 2008. Willum Christensen, Parliamentary Debates on B112, May 20, 2008. Simon Emil Ammitzbøll, Parliamentary Debates on B112, May 20, 2008. Hedetoft, “Denmark Versus Multiculturalism,” 111. Hedetoft, “Denmark Versus Multiculturalism,” 111. Banting and Kymlicka, “Retreat From Multiculturalism Policies,” 579. Gary Freeman, “Conceptual and Methodological Developments in the Study of International Migration,” International Migration Review 38:3 (2004), 945–69. Nora Gresch et al., “Tu Felix Austria? The Headscarf and the Politics of ‘nonIssue,’” Social Politics 15:4 (2008), 427. Roggendband et al., “Divergent Framing.” Maussen, Governance of Islam, 36. Mikael Børsting,”Muslimer kræver særregler i skoler,” BT, August 12, 2001. Christian Joppke, “Limits of Integration Policy: Britain and Her Muslims,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35:3 (2009): 453–72. The statement, which is no longer available on the website, suggests that a postpubertal Muslim boy should wear below-knee trousers and should be allowed to shower privately, or, if that is not possible, should take private swimming lessons outside school. Girls should wear a long, not tight-fitting tunic, trousers and a headscarf if swimming in public, and similarly should be allowed to shower in private. Quoted from Information, June 16, 2003. See David Machacek and Melissa Wilcox, Sexuality and the World’s Religions (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003), 276. “Towards Greater Understanding: Meeting the Needs of Muslim Pupils in State Schools” (London: Muslim Council of Britain, 2007), accessed September 8, 2013, Per Mikael Jespersen, “Respektér dog vores blufærdighed,” Politiken, June 14, 2003. Charlotte Aagaard, “Skolerne må selv finde de vises sten,” Information, June 16, 2003. Salvatore, “Making Public Space,” 1023. Later in the article it becomes clear that it is a Turkish teacher at the school who has provided that interpretation. Aagaard, “Skolerne må selv finde de vises sten.”

Religious Diversity and Muslim Claims-making 145 100. 101. 102. 103. 104.

“Her giver islam problemer,” BT, June 11, 2003. Jensen, “It Has Nothing to Do with Religion.” Hedetoft, Denmark Versus Multiculturalism, 124. Peter Skaarup, Parliamentary Debates on F13, January 13, 2000. Aagaard, “Skolerne må selv finde de vises sten.”


Islam in Christianity Religious Education in the Danish Folkeskole Mark Sedgwick

There are, broadly speaking, four possible models of religious education in schools. One model, found for example in Finland and Germany, is fully confessional: religious education follows the doctrines or “confession” of a particular religious denomination and may thus be termed religious instruction or (following John Hull) “learning religion.”1 Confessional religious education is by definition denominational: children take whichever religious education classes correspond to their own denomination, or that of their families. Another model, found in France, is purely secular: there are no classes about religion in schools, though questions relating to religion do of course arise in other contexts, such as history classes. A third model, found rarely in schools but often in universities, is the objective study of religion, with the teachings and practices of various religions approached in ways that deliberately ignore truth claims and associated issues. This is what John Hull calls “learning about religion.”2 Although found in some high schools as well as universities, it is not often found in primary schools, if only because of the levels of intellectual sophistication that it requires, as this chapter will show. The fourth model, found in countries such as Denmark, is a hybrid: while not being fully confessional in the German sense, it is not fully objective along the model of the university study of religion.3 With this model, children belonging to the majority denomination receive religious education appropriate for that denomination, and children belonging to other denominations, including Muslim children, receive religious education that may not be appropriate for their denomination. In fact, it may border upon proselytizing. It is unclear what impact religious education in schools actually has on religious socialization. Much research tends to show that other factors, notably the family, matter more as determinants of adult religiosity, but this research does not cover situations where there are major differences between family approaches to religion and school approaches to religion. In the absence of the necessary research it seems fair to assume that, at a minimum, religious education in schools is important as a source for a child’s idea of what religiosity is socially acceptable in the wider society. This is one likely role it plays in the religious socialization of European Muslims. Religious

Islam in Christianity 147 socialization in the family and in Islamic private and semi-private space are probably more important as influences on actual religiosity, but not as influences on conceptions of socially acceptable religiosity. This chapter will examine the Danish case, looking not at the reception of religious education but at its production, at the levels of government regulations and of school textbooks, inspired in part by a similar study by Mette Buchardt.4 Neither regulations nor textbooks on their own determine what actually happens in a classroom, as many other factors intervene, and in Denmark there are no real enforcement mechanisms to ensure that regulations are followed. Schools and individual teachers have wide discretion as to what they actually do in classes, and also as to what textbooks they use, if any. Both regulations and textbooks do have some impact on Danish classes, however, and therefore on the religious socialization of individual young Muslims in Denmark. Regulations are an aspect of teacher training, and schools cannot ignore them. More attention is likely to be paid to them in future, as an enforcement mechanism in the form of national exams is being implemented. Teachers may be free not to use any textbook, but in practice textbooks do make teaching easier, and textbooks will normally be selected from those that are easily available. Regulations and textbooks, then, do indicate some ways in which school may impact the religious socialization of young Muslims across Denmark. This chapter deals first with regulations, and then with textbooks. It will be seen that the regulations are surprisingly Lutheran for what is often assumed to be a very secular country. It will also be seen that textbooks vary widely. Of those currently in use in the Danish Folkeskole (the primary and secondary public school), the oldest series considered follows the Lutheran approach specified in the regulations, and another series is accidentally ethnocentric. The most recent series considered, however, are pluralistic and objective despite the regulations, probably because that is what today’s classrooms, with their varied pupil population, need. It will be argued that the surprisingly Lutheran approach specified in the regulations reflects in part neo-nationalism and in part older factors that have nothing to do with Islam, and that the differing approaches of different textbooks reflect differing perspectives within Danish society. It will also be argued that, for younger age groups, a confessional approach is hard to avoid.

REGULATIONS Religious education in Denmark is governed by a National Curriculum (Fælles Mål), by the School Law (Folkeskolelov) and ultimately by the constitution (Grundlov), article 4 of which specifies that “The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the Danish National Church and is supported as such by the state.”5 Denmark has an “established” church, generally referred to as the National Church, or Folkekirke.6 Citizens are however entitled to

148 Sedgwick “worship God in a manner that accords with their beliefs,” and may not be deprived of their civil or political rights on grounds of religion, although the monarch must belong to the National Church.7 At its origin in 1814, the Danish school system was fully confessional, administered by the National Church on behalf of the state. The primary objective of education was defined as being to produce “good and righteous persons in accordance with the teachings of the Protestant Christian religion.”8 Links between school and church were gradually reduced, however, and in 1916 church affairs and education—which had previously been administered together by the Ministry of Worship (Kultusministeriet)—were split into separate ministries.9 The Danish state’s constitutional duty to support the National Church still meant that fully confessional Lutheran religious instruction was provided in schools,10 however, under the supervision of the National Church. In 1933 this supervision was ended11 and replaced by a legal requirement that religious instruction should be in accordance with the doctrines of the National Church.12 A National Curriculum issued in 1960 thus specified the use of Luther’s Small Catechism (1529) in all schools.13 In 1975, however, the requirement for religious instruction to be in accordance with the doctrines of the National Church was removed, and replaced with a requirement that “the Lutheran Christianity of the National Church” should be the “central area of knowledge” (kundskabsområde) taught.14 Since 1975, Danish religious education has thus been officially known as “Christianity Studies” (Kristendomskundskab, literally “knowledge of Christianity”), but is still often referred to simply as “Christianity” (hence the title of this chapter). “Non-Christian religions” are to be studied, but not until the ninth grade (US tenth grade, UK year eleven, age 15–16), starting one year before.15 Since 1975, then, Danish religious education has been denominational in the sense that it is required to focus on the Lutheran denomination, but not confessional in the sense that it is not required to be in accordance with the doctrines of that denomination. Christianity Studies is generally understood in Denmark to be “ikke forkyndende,” a phrase that is often translated as “non-confessional” but literally means “non-preaching” or “non-propagating.” In fact, the phrase “non-propagating” is contained in no law or regulation other than one minor regulation referred to below, and the general impression in Denmark that the 1975 School Law made Christianity Studies “non-propagating” seems to come from discussions and debates preceding the passing of that law in which the phrase was much used,16 as well as from a 1971 commission report that argued strongly that teachers should not seek to influence children in the direction of their own ideological or religious convictions,17 an argument then directed more against the possible propagation of Marxism than of Christianity. Despite this, there is actually no legal requirement for religious education to be non-propagating. Earlier regulations stated that religious education should be propagating, in the sense of being in accordance

Islam in Christianity 149 with the doctrines of the National Church, and in 1975 that requirement was removed. It was not, however, replaced with any prohibition. That the phrase “non-propagating” is contained in no significant law or regulation means that the precise meaning of the phrase has never had to be established and that there has been no possibility of legally challenging activities that might be considered to constitute propagating. In contrast, the “separation” clause in the US constitution has been invoked so often that its interpretation has become a specialization in its own right. That Christianity Studies in the Danish Folkeskole might be propagating is tacitly admitted, in that there is still a provision for parents to withdraw their children from these classes, although this is in practice discouraged. (Ironically, the one mention of the phrase “non-propagating” in a regulation is in the regulation that requires head teachers to tell any parent seeking to withdraw their children that classes are non-propagating.18) Were Danish religious education truly confessional on the German model, there would be no more question of sending Muslim children to these classes than of sending them to the confirmation classes organized by the National Church for Lutheran children. Were Danish religious education truly objective, there would be no need to provide for parents to withdraw their children. It is also interesting to note that the National Curriculum does not say that Christianity Studies is nonpropagating, but merely that “with the School Law of 1975 the school was no longer to conduct baptismal training [dåbsoplæringen] on behalf of the church, and since then the school has made a distinction between teaching and propagating.”19 Making a distinction between two things is not the same as not doing one of them. This wording may be chance, or may indicate that the ministry itself is well aware that there is no actual prohibition on propagation. In fact, two requirements of the National Curriculum could be understood as involving the propagation of Lutheran Christianity. One is the requirement that the basis of teaching in Christianity Studies in earlier grades should be Bible stories, and that these should be studied so as “to develop a basis for personal and responsible positions and actions.”20 It might be argued that to teach pupils to base their positions and actions—in effect, morality—on a particular canon of scripture is in effect to teach them to follow the religion whose scriptures are being used. The other requirement is that pupils learn to sing hymns, for which purpose the National Curriculum provides an http link to the online hymnbook published by the Church Ministry that runs the National Church.21 The National Curriculum states elsewhere that “training in religious practice is not part of the school’s work,”22 so by implication the singing of hymns from the National Church hymnbook is not a religious practice. However, it might alternatively be argued that teaching pupils to sing hymns does actually constitute the propagation of Lutheran Christianity, which was in fact the intention when Danish pupils were first required to learn to sing hymns at school, in 1814, and that teaching children morality through Bible stories also constitutes the propagation of Christianity.23

150 Sedgwick These regulations are surprisingly Lutheran for what is often thought of as a secular country. They date from 2009, and are in fact more Lutheran and less pluralistic than those they replaced, which had been introduced in 1994. Between 1994 and 2009, then, a period during which the religious composition of Danish classrooms grew more diverse, Danish religious education as specified by government regulations became less diverse. This is explained in part by neo-nationalism.24 The more pluralistic 1994 regulations were introduced by an education minister serving in a center-left coalition, Ole Vig Jensen of the leftist Social-Liberal Party (Radikale Venstre). Jensen changed the prime objective of Christianity Studies from the study of Christianity to the study of “the religious dimension,” relegating Christianity to being a “point of departure” for this. He introduced the term “nonChristian religions” to replace what had previously been called “foreign religions.”25 He also moved hymns out of musical education into Christianity Studies, where they were to be considered a “form of expression,”26 leaving musical education to focus on “a broad repertoire of Danish and foreign songs”27 rather than just on Danish songs and hymns.28 The current 2009 regulations that replaced these more pluralistic regulations were introduced by an education minister serving in a center-right coalition that depended on the electoral support of the neo-nationalist Danish People’s Party, Bertel Haarder of the center-right Liberal Party (Venstre). Haarder restored Christianity as “the central area of knowledge” and Bible stories as the point of departure of Christianity Studies, returned hymns to musical education (restricting “foreign” songs to Scandinavian and English ones), and stressed that the point of hymns in Christianity Studies was not to consider them as forms of expression but rather to learn to sing them.29 The 2009 Danish regulations on Christianity Studies, then, can be understood as an expression of neo-nationalism. They were also, however, an expression of other factors. In fact, 2009 was not the first occasion on which Haarder had introduced new regulations on religious education: he had done this once before, in 1988, during an earlier period as minister of education. The regulations Haarder inherited in 1988 had treated Christianity as a phenomenon to be investigated, specifying that pupils should acquire knowledge of “Christianity and its background,” as well as “proficiency in understanding biblical texts and in evaluating statements based on them.”30 Haarder’s 1988 regulations removed the study of the background to Christianity and specified that: “The starting point is Bible stories. The aim is that students become familiar with basic values in Danish culture.” After 1988, the objective of Christianity Studies was not to evaluate statements based on Bible stories, but “to develop a basis for personal and responsible positions and actions.”31 These changes had nothing to do with Islam: according to Haarder’s biography, it was not until 1989 that he began to focus on issues raised by immigration.32 The changes resulted from Haarder’s view that social and educational changes since 1968 had tended toward the production of “cultureless barbarism.”33 One of his priorities as minister of

Islam in Christianity 151 education from 1982 to 1993 was to redress the balance, to free “culturebearing” subjects from the leftist political demand for “social relevance,” and to restore the idea that some texts might actually be worth more than others.34 Although his priorities were Danish and history,35 Christianity Studies was also “culture-bearing.” Islam and neo-nationalism, then, are not the only factors determining policies capable of impacting Muslims. Almost precisely the same emphases resulted from a desire to redress the aftermath of 1968 in 1988 as resulted from neo-nationalism in 2009.

TEXTBOOKS Denmark has no system for approving textbooks for use in public schools. Schools and teachers may choose whatever material they like, and there is much variety in textbooks for Christianity Studies.36 Many teachers, however, do use one of three main series designed for Christianity Studies, all of which provide textbooks, teacher guides and workbooks for all grades from first to ninth, and two of which also have websites. There are also two popular stand-alone websites.37 Since all the textbook series in current use were written before the 2009 regulations discussed above, none of them reflects those regulations. Publishers and schools do not immediately replace existing textbooks when regulations change. One older textbook series, however, does match Haarder’s 1988 regulations. This, Us and Christianity (Os og kristendom) has been published since the 1980s by Alinea, with most volumes now in their third edition. It focuses on Lutheran Christianity, introducing Islam from a Lutheran perspective, as will be seen below. A later edition adds some neo-nationalist perspectives. A more recent series published by Alinea’s competitor Gyldendal since 2000, Life and Religion (Liv og religion), which may well be the single most widely used textbook series, attempts to avoid the Lutheran perspective of Us and Christianity. It emphasizes Lutheran Christianity, but introduces Islam in the first grade, as discussed below. A similar approach is taken by one of the two most popular stand-alone websites,, an open-access website for all school subjects operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. In 2010 and 2011, two of the seven suggested lesson plans on that dealt with Islam were aimed at grades below those at which the School Law stated that non-Christian religions should be studied.38 Life and Religion, however, though avoiding the overtly Lutheran perspectives of Us and Christianity, accidentally presents Islam from an ethnocentric perspective that constructs it as a lesser, foreign religion, just as the Lutheran perspective did. Illustrating a third possibility, the newest textbook series of all, Under the Same Heaven (Under samme himmel), published by Alinea since 2008, has Christianity and Other Religions as its subtitle for all grades. It treats all religions approximately equally. The first-grade volume opens with photographs symbolizing four religions: Buddhism, Islam, Rabbinic Judaism, and

152 Sedgwick Roman Catholicism.39 That the Catholic Church, rather than the Lutheran National Church, represents Christianity is as much a departure from the approach of earlier series as is including contemporary Rabbinic Judaism, which other series ignore in favor of the Temple Judaism (515 BC to 70 AD) referred to in the Christian gospels. Although almost half of the first-grade volume in the Under the Same Heaven series retells Old Testament Bible stories,40 the rest deals with particular issues (such as holy texts and birth) in ways that do not privilege Christianity. In the section headed “name-giving” (rather than “baptism”), the name Muhammad thus occupies a prominent place.41 The equally recent (2008) subscription-only kristendomskundskab. dk website, run by an online educational publishing company, is the most inclusive of all, treating all the main religions equally at all grades under the same headings.42 The website generally follows the university model of objective pluralism, unsurprisingly since most texts are written by scholars from the University of Copenhagen. It and Under the Same Heaven successfully avoid Lutheran, ethnocentric and neo-nationalist perspectives. Even, however, cannot entirely solve the problem with propagation, as we will see.

The Lutheran Perspective The treatment of Islam in Us and Christianity differs between different editions, and does so in ways that parallel changes in general Danish discourse on the topics discussed. The original 1993 edition of the sixth-grade volume introduced Islam under the title “The meeting between Christianity and Islam,” starting with a discussion of “Fear of the unknown.” This edition told the story of two children who were afraid of a strange-looking man who later turned out to be the King of the Beggars. It moved on to observe that in recent years people who look different had come to Denmark, just as Danes once emigrated to other countries (some 1.5 million Americans have a Danish origin). It noted that many people were worried about this, and that people were afraid of immigrants just as the children feared the King of the Beggars.43 After some more discussion of immigration and an estimate of the number of Muslims in Denmark as 60,000, the book returned to the question of why people are afraid of Muslims, suggesting “Holy War” as an answer. Holy War was illustrated by the expansion of the Ottoman Empire between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries and by the Arab–Israeli wars in modern times. 44 The second part of the 1993 chapter is a systematic discussion of differences and similarities between Christianity and Islam, starting with holy texts, holidays and purity, then moving on through the “five pillars” of Islam to family life, food and views on salvation. The chapter ends with a short discussion of whether or not Christians and Muslims believe in the same God, referring to the conclusion of one Danish bishop that they do.45

Islam in Christianity 153 In 1993, then, Islam was treated fairly enough, if from a clearly Lutheran perspective, though the causes of the Ottoman expansion and the Arab– Israeli conflict were somewhat oversimplified. The textbook implicitly took the Lutheran side with regard to the differences to which it drew attention, for example asserting that “all our sources” showed that Jesus was crucified, whatever the Quran may say.46 The Lutheran view that it is inner purity, not ritual purity, that matters preceded the explanation of Islamic rules and practice in that connection, and Luther’s doctrine of salvation by faith alone preceded the summary of Islamic doctrine on this point.47 These Lutheran perspectives corresponded both with the National Curriculum in force at the time and, one assumes, with the perspectives of the book’s authors, a teacher and her husband, a parish priest in Aalborg, the major population center most remote from Copenhagen.

Neo-Nationalist and Ill-Informed Perspectives Over the next thirteen years, the views of the two authors on immigration and Islam clearly changed, as did those of many other Danes. When the Us and Christianity series was revised for a new edition in 2006, the treatment of Islam was modified. Instead of 60,000 Muslims in Denmark, there were up to 300,000.48 The King of the Beggars vanished, as did the reference to Danes who once emigrated to other countries. People were no longer afraid of the unknown: they were worried about whether Denmark might “become a completely different country to live in.”49 People were not afraid of Muslims because of Holy War in the fourteenth century and in Palestine, but because of terrorism, and because of the “drastic” growth in the number of Muslims in the world.50 Islam was once again presented in terms of differences between Islam and Christianity, but the tone was sharper, with Islam’s denial of the divinity of Christ appearing for the first time and receiving some emphasis.51 The conclusion that Muslims worship the same God as Christians vanished.52 The construction of Islam in terms of the “clash of civilizations” was also introduced in the Us and Christianity’s new volume for the fifth grade (US sixth grade, UK year seven, age eleven and twelve). Earlier editions of this volume had not mentioned Islam at all, but the new edition included a chapter on terrorism, focusing on Islam. This chapter opened by engaging pupils’ attention with a heartbreaking account of the Beslan school siege and massacre of 2004, the perpetrators of which were identified primarily as a “Muslim terror group.” The chapter then moved through a general discussion of terrorism and of Osama bin Laden that included the assertion that “Even if not all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists are Muslim”53 to a more general discussion of Islam. It suggested that many Muslims in the West think that “women should not wear veils and go about like wandering black desert tents,” but that other Muslims think that women who do not wear

154 Sedgwick veils will go to hell and have only themselves to blame if they are raped.54 Returning to its main topic, the chapter stressed that it is important that all countries of the world work together against radical Muslims who think that the surest way to get to Heaven is to take part in armed struggle against all the enemies of Allah.55 This construction of Islam in terms of the clash of civilizations reflected one section of the Danish discourse of the time, but not the general discourse. It attracted highly critical attention from Politiken, Denmark’s leading liberal daily newspaper,56 with the result that the publishers withdrew both fifth- and sixth-grade volumes in the Us and Christianity series, offering free replacements to all schools that had bought them.57 Islam and terrorism were removed entirely from the replacement fifth-grade volume, and almost all discussion of immigration and the clash of civilizations was removed from the replacement sixth-grade volume. The replacement volume emphasized the importance of “mutual respect” between Jews, Christians and Muslims, and instead of framing Islam within a comparison with Christianity headed “differences and similarities,” suggested a classroom assignment in which pupils should find “similarities and differences” between all three major monotheistic religions.58 The earlier edition was defended by the education spokesperson for the neo-nationalist Danish People’s Party,59 but not otherwise. It allows us to see the evolution of views on Islam within some sections of the Danish population, from an initial cautious welcome, through concern, to neo-nationalist horror. It tells us something of the constructions of Islam that young Muslims in Denmark may encounter as such conceptions of Islam can enter the classroom, though no longer in textbooks—so long as all Danish schools remembered to take advantage of the publisher’s replacement offer. Neo-nationalism is often ill-informed, as the withdrawn fifth-grade volume in the Us and Christianity series illustrates,60 but it need not always be so. Similarly, those who are ill-informed need not always be neo-nationalists. A perspective that was more ill-informed than neo-nationalist is illustrated by a suggested lesson plan for Islam found on the website This, as has been noted, is run under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, but suggested lesson plans are contributed by teachers, not the ministry. One lesson plan (present in 2011) recommended, after one or two introductory weeks, listening on the Internet to recordings of the excellent series of 25 half-hour broadcasts on “The many faces of Islam”62 made in late 2006 in the aftermath of the “cartoon crisis” by P1, Denmark’s quality news and cultural radio station. The lesson plan suggested that listening to these broadcasts should be followed by one or two classes on the forbidding of images (i.e., on the cartoon crisis) and then a test.63 This test revealed an approach that differed significantly from the 25 broadcasts to which it to some extent referred. While the broadcasts started with the Islamic understanding of God and of human religious history before the revelation of Islam, the test started with the “veil” (headscarf), and then moved on through images (“May a

Islam in Christianity 155 Muslim draw Muhammad? Yes/No. Why/Why not?”) and purity and impurity to “The perfumed garden,” the title of the P1 broadcast on sex in Islam.64 The P1 broadcast, which followed a broadcast on marriage and the family, was an excellent treatment of the topic, featuring among other sources a long interview with a female Muslim sexologist, speaking excellent if slightly accented Danish and quoting from the Quran in good Arabic, followed by another interview with a Danish novelist who had lived in and written about Damascus, which she spoke about with sympathy and insight. The test question, in contrast, was: “In Denmark, women show their best side when they go out in makeup and high heels. Where do Muslim women show themselves at their best? What reasons underlie the Muslim women’s behavior?”65 The P1 broadcast does not suggest an obvious answer to these questions. The broadcast had also been careful to avoid the dichotomy between Denmark and Islam that is inherent in the test question. This lesson plan, then, shows how a subtle and well-informed approach to Islam as found in the original P1 broadcast can be reconstructed into something quite different, and how ill-informed misunderstandings of Islam can be imported, recycled and taught to pupils.

The Ethnocentric Perspective While Us and Christianity took a clearly Lutheran perspective in earlier editions and a neo-nationalist perspective in a later one, the more recent and now more widely used Life and Religion takes a more pluralistic approach. Even so, it ends up with an ethnocentric perspective that, in privileging Lutheranism, constructs Islam as a lesser and foreign religion. The content of Life and Religion is pluralistic, as shown by Figure 8.1 (based on an analysis of self-test questions from the companion website to the series). Only 43 per cent of the questions over all grades address topics that are clearly Christian, although some questions on historical topics (13 per cent of the total) also relate to the history of the National Church, if not exactly to Christianity. Purely Christian content is concentrated in questions for the first three grades, after which it constitutes only about one-third of the topics tested. The focus on Christianity is highest in the third grade (which covers the basic Christian story most fully), and declines thereafter. Islam features in all grades and is well covered in relation to other non-Christian religions, as are Indian religions. Islam is covered at greater length than the pre-Christian Nordic religions, which play a definite role in the Danish self-perception (though the Vikings of course also receive plenty of attention in history classes), and it is definitely covered better than Rabbinic Judaism, which is almost completely ignored, despite the long presence of Jews in Denmark. While coverage of Islam is good in relation to other non-Christian religions, it is still relatively minor in relation to such topics as history and

156 Sedgwick Figure 8.1

Subject coverage of questions in Life and Religion (by grade level) Questions by Grade Level and Subject (%) 1st

2nd 3rd



6th 7th/8th 9th

Christianity 58 56 78 43 32 34 Islam 10 4 3 7 10 6 Indian religions 3 15 10 14 6 6 New religious movements 3 3 3 12 Pre-Christian Nordic 6 11 3 3 religion Judaism 3 3 6 Classical Greek and 3 3 Roman religion Other religions and general 10 12 Total religious questions 77 86 97 73 64 82 Historical 20 13 9 23 7 3 7 16 9 Terminology Secular philosophies 7 7 Total non-religious 23 14 3 27 36 18 questions Total questions 100 100 100 100 100 100

27 4 5 10 2

31 11 4

43 7 7 4 3


2 1

4 51 25 13 11 49

3 70 14 11 5 30


50 26 12 12 50 100


100 100

terminology, and definitely minor in relation to Christianity, even though Christianity itself is present in fewer than half the topics tested. A qualitative analysis reveals a somewhat different picture. Given that little space in Life and Religion is devoted to Islam in absolute terms, the topics covered are inevitably basic and their treatment superficial. Focusing almost exclusively on myth and, especially, ritual66 (though there are exceptions),67 the coverage of Islam is sometimes not entirely accurate.68 The general pattern is that major topics are dealt with first from an apparently neutral perspective, then from a Christian perspective and finally from the perspective of one or more other religions, usually Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism. The opening “neutral” perspective is, however, often ethnocentric and, by virtue of being Danish, rather Lutheran. The chapter on death in the second-grade volume thus explains in its “neutral” section that the dead are placed in coffins and buried in the earth, an explanation accompanied by an illustration of a burial conducted by a priest wearing the vestments of the National Church, before moving on to the overtly Christian perspective with a discussion of what happens in Danish churches. The chapter then closes with a page on Hindu funerals and a page on Muslim funerals.69 Here and elsewhere, the Danish Christian is implicitly the norm, while Islam, like Hinduism, is ritual. Islam is thus in effect constructed as a religion of ritual rather than a religion of meaning. Islam is also constructed

Islam in Christianity 157 as foreign, while Christianity is Danish. Illustrations of the universal and the Christian are generally situated in Denmark, while illustrations relating to other religions are placed outside Denmark. The text on Hindu funeral rituals is thus accompanied by a photograph of the Ganges, and the text on Muslim funeral rituals in accompanied by a photograph of a mosque that appears to be in Iraq. Similarly, the photograph accompanying the page on the Muslim duty to care for the world is accompanied by a photograph of an elderly female beggar in what appears to be Morocco. This is a presentation that was carefully avoided by the more recent series Under the Same Heaven, which illustrates Islam with scenes from Denmark: the mosque shown, for example, is a Danish mosque.70 Life and Religion, in contrast, exhibits an ethnocentric perspective that many young Muslims in Denmark may be expected to encounter.

The Problem of Propagation Life and Religion also illustrates the problem inherent in attempting to avoid propagation in the lower school grades, where the understanding and reading abilities of pupils are still developing. Each page of the first-grade volume in the Life and Religion series consists of one large picture (or sometimes several smaller pictures) and one or two very simple sentences. One page on Islam in Life and Religion for the first grade comes in a section entitled “Stories about angels,” with the introductory text “There are many stories about angels. Angels often have something to say.” The first story is that “Mary met an angel,” and the second story is that “Muhammad met an angel too.” This is accompanied by an illustration of Muhammad meeting the angel, who appears to be giving him a red sweatshirt bearing the word “Allah” in Arabic script.71 Assuming the authors were aware of the fact that Sunni Muslims do not consider it acceptable to portray the Prophet, this illustration suggests a focus on a Christian audience to the exclusion of the domestic Muslim audience. These texts illustrate the basic problem with the question of whether or not religious education for younger pupils can be “non-propagating.” The 2009 National Curriculum discusses the fundamental role of the historicalcritical method in Christianity Studies classes. It stresses that biblical texts are to be understood not as repositories of fact but as “expressions of humanity’s interpretation of particular events and experiences.”72 This may be good theory, and even perhaps good theology, but it is hard to apply in the first grade. Few pupils in that age group can be expected to distinguish the ways in which the statements “There are many stories about angels,” “Angels often have something to say” and “Mary met an angel” are, or are not, true. Even the otherwise exemplary website cannot escape this problem. The statement that “All Muslims are very fond of [the Prophet] and try to be like him”73 conveys the importance of the Sunna (the example of the Prophet) in the construction of Islamic normativity in comprehensible terms,

158 Sedgwick but the statement is also normative rather than descriptive, and might even be considered propagating, given that one of the favorite points in Islamic sermons is the need to try to be like the Prophet. It is easier to apply standard academic methods in volumes for higher school grades, as it becomes increasingly possible to handle issues more subtly. The final, ninth-grade volume in the Life and Religion series thus contains no statements that raise significant problems. It contains six main sections, one of which is devoted to “The meeting of cultures” (kulturmøde) and includes a discussion of the cartoon crisis and of questions related to immigration and integration, as well as a discussion of “war in the name of religion.”74 These topics are handled responsibly, presenting facts carefully and in general indicating various possible perspectives. The wars in the name of religion are presented as precisely that, not as religious wars; they include the Kashmiri and Northern Ireland conflicts, as well as Osama bin Laden.75 The ninth-grade volume follows the objective and pluralistic approach characteristic of the study of religions, then, while the first-grade volume comes close to propagating religious myth, though in the case given above it seems closer to propagating Islamic myth to Christians than Christian myth to Muslims, since Muslims accept that an angel spoke to Mary, while Christians do not normally accept that an angel spoke to Muhammad.

CONCLUSION Denmark, then, has regulations covering religious education that require an emphasis on the National Church and on Lutheran Christianity. The regulations describe a course of study that is generally thought in Denmark to be “non-propagating” but sometimes comes close to the propagation of Lutheran Christianity and thus to proselytizing to Muslim pupils. Danish Folkeskole textbooks also include one major series that follows an earlier version of these regulations, presenting Islam in the context of problems associated with immigration and the clash of civilizations, and additionally in the context of an explicit comparison with Christianity that is to Christianity’s advantage. That series developed a portrayal of Islam that was so ill-informed, and so neo-nationalist, that it had to be withdrawn. Denmark also has another major series and major website that, ignoring the regulations altogether, follow a pluralistic and objective approach. In between these extremes, there are a major textbook series and major website that emphasize Lutheran Christianity but attempt a pluralistic treatment of Islam, although these tend to construct Islam as principally concerned with ritual and as being foreign to Denmark, rather than as being a national religion of meaning, which is how Lutheran Christianity is portrayed. There is, then, considerable variation in Danish textbook treatments of Islam, with a tendency for the more recent treatments to be better than the earlier ones. All series, however, suffer from the problem that the

Islam in Christianity 159 as-yet-limited capacity for understanding and reading of pupils in lower grades makes a subtle treatment hard. At the level of “Mary met an angel” it is not possible to apply the historical–critical method, nor is it really possible to distinguish between propagating and non-propagating teaching. As well as coming close to propagating Lutheranism, then, the Danish system also occasionally comes close to propagating Islam. As the composition of a country’s population changes, two responses are possible: to broaden the preexisting conception of the national culture so as to accommodate the new, or to strengthen that preexisting conception against the challenge of the new. In countries that have historically been religiously fairly uniform, and where the national religion is therefore related to national culture, both approaches have corollaries when it comes to religious education. Broadening the preexisting conception of the national culture implies moving from an exclusive focus on the national religion to a wider focus. This was the approach taken in Denmark, a country which historically has been religiously uniform, and where religion was therefore connected to historical conceptions of national culture by Ole Vig Jensen in 1994. Strengthening the preexisting conception of the national culture logically implies keeping a more or less exclusive focus on the national religion, and this was the approach taken in Denmark by Bertel Haarder in 2009. It seems likely, however, that in the long run the approach of Jensen will win.

NOTES 1. John Hull, “The Contribution of Religious Education to Religious Freedom: A Global Perspective,” in Religious Education in Schools: School Education in Relation with Freedom of Religion and Belief, Tolerance and Non-Discrimination (London: International Association for Religious Freedom, 2002), 5–6. Available 2. Hull, “Contribution of Religious Education to Religious Freedom,” 6–7. Hull has a third category, “learning from religion,” that is implemented in some schools, but not widely enough to be considered a major model for the purposes of this chapter. 3. Tim Jensen makes a three-part division, placing Denmark in the third category of “non-confessional religious education,” along with the UK, Sweden and Norway, but then distinguishing between Denmark and, for example, England. “European and Danish Religious Education: Human Rights, the Secular State, and Rethinking Religious Education and Plurality,” Religion & Education, 32:1 (2005), 63–66. Jensen is thus in effect also putting Denmark in a fourth category, and in his article explores lines of argument with which this chapter does not fundamentally disagree. It should be noted that the Danish high school (gymnasium), not considered in this chapter, in principle follows the objective and pluralistic model, though questions may still be raised as to how objective this really is. 4. Mette Buchardt, “Kristendoms status i kristendomskundskab: Norm eller indholdsområde?” in Religionsdidaktik, ed. Mette Buchardt (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2006), 216–27.

160 Sedgwick 5. Danmarks Riges Grundlov (1953), article 4. 6. The Danish prefix folke- literally means “people’s,” but in actual usage is closer to the English “national.” 7. Grundlov, articles 67, 70 and 6. 8. Anordning for Almue-Skolevæsenet i Kiøbstæderne i Danmark, 1814, article 29. 9. “Kultusministeriet, 1848–1916,” in Undervisningsministeriets historie, http:// Accessed April 3, 2011. 10. More precisely, in what are now called folkeskoler, or national schools, attendance at which is the norm. There are also some friskoler (free schools), partly financed by the state, which are subject to somewhat different regulations, some of which are attended primarily by Muslim pupils. Fewer than 10 per cent of Muslim children attend free schools. This chapter deals with the Folkeskole. 11. Niels Reeh, “Debatten om afviklingen af det gejstlige tilsyn i folkeskolen uden for København fra 1901 til 1949: en skitse,” in Religion, skole og kulturel integration i Danmark og Sverige, eds. Peter B. Andersen et al. (Copenhagen: Museum Tuscalanums Forlag, 2006), 165. 12. Folkeskolelov 1937, section 1. 13. Undervisningsministeriet, Undervisningsvejledning for folkeskolen, Betænkning nr. 253 (Copenhagen: Undervisningsministeriet, 1960), 114. 14. Folkeskolelov 1975, section 5. 15. Undervisningsministeriet, Fælles Mål 2009. Kristendomskundskab (Copenhagen: Undervisningsministeriet, 2009), 12. 16. Kristendomsundervisningskommission, Betænkning vedrørende undervisningen i Kristendomskundskab/religion i folkeskolen, Betænkning nr. 617 (Copenhagen: Undervisningsministeriet, 1971), 14. 17. Kristendomsundervisningskommission, Betænkning nr. 617, 14. 18. “Bekendtgørelse om procedureregler ved en elevs fritagelse for kristendomskundskab i folkeskolen,” nr. 809 of 07/07/2004. 19. Fælles Mål 2009, 19. 20. Bekendtgørelse nr 748 of 13/07/2009, section 3. Bekendtgørelse nr. 796 af 15/12/1988 om ændring af bekendtgørelse om formålet med undervisningen i folkeskolens fag, section 5. 21. Fælles Mål 2009, 28. 22. Fælles Mål 2009, 19. 23. Anordning for Almue-Skolevæsenet i Kiøbstæderne i Danmark (1814), article 30. 24. Andre Gingrich and Marcus Banks, Neo-nationalism in Europe and Beyond: Perspectives from Social Anthropology (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2006). 25. Bekendtgørelse nr. 482 af 06/06/1994 om formålet med undervisningen i folkeskolens fag og obligatoriske emner med angivelse af centrale kundskabs- og færdighedsområdernr, section 3. 26. Bekendtgørelse nr. 482, section 3. 27. Bekendtgørelse nr. 482, section 7. 28. Bekendtgørelse nr. 415 of 1989 om formålet med undervisningen i folkeskolens fag, section 7.2. 29. Bekendtgørelse nr. 748 af 13/07/2009. 30. Bekendtgørelse nr. 24 af 19/01/1987 om formålet med undervisningen i folkeskolens fag, article 4. 31. Bekendtgørelse nr. 796 af 15/12/1988, article 5. 32. Mikael Børsting and Andreas Karker, Haarder: en biografi (Copenhagen: Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2004), 136.

Islam in Christianity 161 33. Bertel Haarder, Danskerne år 2002: en begrundet vision (Copenhagen: Stig Vendelkær, 1977), 63. 34. Børsting and Karker, Haarder, 103, 114. 35. Børsting and Karker, Haarder, 103. 36. An earlier investigation of the presentation of Islam in Danish school texts was Tim Jensen, ed., Islam i skolen: En undersøgelse af fremstillingen af islam i bestemmelser og lærebøger beregnet for folkeskolen, gymnasieskolen og HF (Copenhagen: Danmarks Lærehøjskole, 1994). This study had a very wide scope, and in relation to the Folkeskole examined books dealing specifically with Islam, but it did not look at the presentation of Islam in generally used series such as those considered in this paper. 37. These conclusions are based on investigations carried out in the Aarhus region in 2010 by student teachers at VIA University College, Aarhus. My thanks to Jesper Garsdal for his assistance in this respect. 38., accessed March 17, 2011. 39. Anne Rosenskjold Nordvig et al., Under samme himmel: Kristendom og andre religioner (Copenhagen: Alinea, 2008), vol. 1, 4–5. 40. Nordvig et al., Under samme himmel, vol. 1, 14–39. 41. Nordvig et al., Under samme himmel, vol. 1, 53. 42., accessed October 7, 2011. 43. Henny Nørgaard and Christian Meidahl, Os og Kristendom (Copenhagen: Malling Beck, 1993), vol. 6, 5–6. 44. Nørgaard and Meidahl, Os og kristendom (1993), vol. 6, 8, 14–15. 45. Nørgaard and Meidahl, Os og kristendom (1993), vol. 6, 16–24. 46. Nørgaard and Meidahl, Os og kristendom (1993), vol. 6, 19. 47. Nørgaard and Meidahl, Os og kristendom (1993), vol. 6, 20, 24. 48. Henny Nørgaard and Christian Meidahl, Os og kristendom (Copenhagen: Malling Beck, 2006), vol. 6, 5–6. 49. Nørgaard and Meidahl, Os og kristendom (2006), vol. 6, 5. 50. Nørgaard and Meidahl, Os og kristendom (2006), vol. 6, 7, 12–13. 51. Nørgaard and Meidahl, Os og kristendom (2006), vol. 6, 16–17. 52. Nørgaard and Meidahl, Os og kristendom (2006), vol. 6, 23. 53. The assertion was made in a quotation rather than by the author directly, but even so seems presented approvingly. 54. Henny Nørgaard and Christian Meidahl, Os og kristendom (Albertslund: Malling Beck, 2005), vol. 5, 3rd ed., 12–17. 55. Nørgaard and Meidahl, Os og kristendom, vol. 5, 3rd ed., 18–19. 56. Anne M. Sørensen, “Kristendomsundervisning: Hvorfor er der Terror i Verden?” Politiken, November 20, 2006, 5. 57. Anne M. Sørensen, “Forlag trækker kristendomsbøger tilbage,” Politiken, November 21, 2006, 1. 58. Henny Nørgaard and Christian Meidahl, Os og kristendom (Albertslund: Malling Beck, 2007), vol. 6, 3rd ed., 11, 23. 59. Martin Henriksen, “‘Os og kristendom’ er en udmærket bog,”, December 2, 2006. Debat-Os-og-kristendom-er-en-udmaerket-bog. 60. The perpetrators of the Beslan school siege were Ingush and Chechen nationalists first, and Muslims second or third. The vast majority of terrorists have not been Muslim. Whether or not women in veils look like wandering tents is a matter of opinion, but few if any Muslims think that that unveiled women go to hell or can expect to be raped. Although the expectation of heavenly reward plays a part in motivating many suicide bombers, it is far from being the main

162 Sedgwick

61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66.

67. 68.

69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

cause of armed struggle, which is carried out against the perceived enemies of the Muslims, not of Allah. All information in the following section is taken from plans linked at www. on March 17, 2011., accessed April 1, 2011. Reference to the early fifteenth-century Al-rawd al-’atir fi nuzhat al-khatir (The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight) of Muhammad al-Nafzawi, available in Danish translation. “I Danmark viser kvinder sig frem fra deres allerbedste side, når de går i byen med makeup op høje hæle. Hvor viser de muslimske kvinder sig frem?” The self-test questions on Islam in volumes 1 to 7/8 deal with mosques and prayer, Ramadan, the origins of the Quran, the five pillars and Mecca. There is also a question relating to the Muslim belief that one will meet God after death. One exception is in the ten-page chapter “Should we help?” in the fifth-grade book, where one page deals with a Muslim’s duty to care for the world. Mortenson, Rydahl and Tunebjerg, Liv og religion (2005), vol. 5, 50. The second-grade book, for example, has a story about the Prophet dreaming that he would go to Mecca and there receive an important key (Carsten Bo Mortenson, John Rydahl and Mette Tunebjerg, Liv og Religion, Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2001, vol 2, 27). At the very least, it is little known, since I have been unable to find any version of it in Islamic sources or to identify its origin; it may even be based upon a misunderstanding. In the fifth-grade book, it is stated in a section on symbols that the Muslims adopted the crescent from the flag of Constantinople in 1453 after a dream in which Sultan Osman saw the crescent covering the earth (Carsten Bo Mortenson, John Rydahl and Mette Tunebjerg, Liv og Religion, Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2005, vol 5, 20). While this story exists, it is again not well known and is in fact without basis: the crescent was used occasionally by Muslims from 695 onwards, but did not become a standard symbol until the nineteenth century. Joseph Schacht and R. Ettinghausen, “Hilal,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed., eds. Bearman et al. (Leiden: Brill, 2011). Mortenson, Rydahl and Tunebjerg, Liv og religion (2001), vol. 2, 39–43. The mosque in Hvidovre, Copenhagen. This is in fact an Ahmadi mosque, but is Denmark’s most photogenic. Nordvig et al., Under same himmel, vol. 1, 46. Mortenson, Rydahl and Tunebjerg, Liv og religion, vol. 1, 42–43. As this was first published in 2001, the decision to include an illustration of the Prophet was made before the 2005–2006 cartoon crisis. Fælles Mål 2009, 20. Susanne Ellemose Oddershede, “Koranen og Profeten,” kristendomskundskab. dk, June 15 2010, og_profeten, accessed April 1, 2011. Carsten Bo Mortenson, John Rydahl and Mette Tunebjerg, Liv og Religion (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2007), vol. 9, 38–71. Mortenson, Rydahl and Tunebjerg, Liv og religion, vol. 9, 66–71.

Part 3

Public Schools

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Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim Religiosity and Masculinity in the Social Worlds of Danish Schools Laura Gilliam

Within the last 15 years, a range of studies of children and young people with a Muslim background in Europe and North America have discussed these young people’s experiences of being Muslim in non-Muslim societies. These include studies by Tehmina Basit, Jasmin Zine, Sissel Østberg, Marcia Hermansen, Michael Merry, Tricia Keaton, Garbi Schmidt, Selcuk Sirin and Michelle Fine and many more.1 Pieced together, these studies show that young people identifying as Muslims face conflicting demands and expectations about adjusting to the cultural norms of majority society, conforming to the straight path of Islam and adopting the essentialized and stigmatized category of the Muslim. As many of the studies demonstrate, handling these various demands and expectations makes the Muslim identity a matter of conflict for many children and young people. The Muslim identity is nevertheless generally found to be a central component of these young people’s identity, yet it is understood, enacted and combined with other identities in different ways according to the context. Paraphrasing Aziz Al-Azmeh, there are thus “as many Muslim identities as situations that sustain them”2 and, one could add, “as individuals who perceive them.” What appears crucial to the specific shaping of identities is the national and local context of immigrants’ lives: their experiences with the majority society and their background in terms of ethnicity, religiosity and migration history. Most of these studies were conducted within the empirical context of schools, high schools or universities, or with children and young people whose primary interaction with “society” outside the family took place within an educational institution. This reflects the fact that school is a context of great importance to young people’s construction of Muslim identities in non-Muslim societies. Many studies acknowledge this and discuss how schools influence the way young people handle being Muslim, but for the most part the school contexts are treated as “microcosms of society” or as institutions “mirroring the wider society.”3 Hence the school context is generally considered a majority domain where the Muslim children encounter majority norms, along with teachers and peers of majority background, and where being Muslim is minoritized. This is usually contrasted with the “Muslim,” and “minority” spheres of home and other everyday contexts outside school.

166 Gilliam In this chapter, I will discuss how the school context influences the way in which being Muslim is constructed and enacted among young people of Muslim background in the Danish school institution. However, the school contexts I will discuss are two schools in which Muslim children are in the majority, either in their class or in the school as a whole, and thus they cannot be described as pure majority domains. The material is interesting for three reasons. First, it can be argued that being a “minority in the majority” in a majority school is a widespread and regular constellation in many European schools, as in most European countries immigrants tend to be housed or settle in the same areas. As I will argue, this constellation has an impact on the way in which being Muslim matters and is construed by the children in school. Thus, second, the material shows us that when studying minority children in majority schools we cannot perceive school merely as a majority domain that reflects national educational policies and cultural ideals. Rather, this approach needs supplementing with a study of school as what Willard Waller called “a social world” of its own.4 Besides being a state institution, school is also a social context of teachers, classmates, teaching activities and social positioning within peer groups that identify with different ways of doing gender, class, ethnicity and religion, as well as webs of meaning, norms, categories and scripts for action, all of which influence children’s identity constructions.5 This analytical approach entails that the way in which Muslim youngsters construct their Muslim identities in school is closely connected, first, to social norms relevant in their school life; second, to negotiations of status between Muslim peers, between them and peers of majority background and between pupils and teachers; and, third, to the school’s institutional practices, pedagogical projects and specific way of monitoring religion. The third reason why this material is telling is that the Muslim children in the two classes of my fieldwork had substantially different approaches to the Muslim identity in school. In one class, being Muslim was a central, explicit symbol of a common identity and community; among the Muslim children in the other class, being Muslim was regarded as “unimportant,” an identity better kept out of school. Though the first class was a fourth grade (age 10–11) and the other an eighth grade (age 14–15), and though the two sets of fieldwork were conducted several years apart (in 2002–2003 and 2011, respectively), the children’s ages and the date of fieldwork cannot suffice to explain the differences, as children in another—senior—school class in the 2011 fieldwork school expressed the same keen emphasis on being Muslim as the fourth-grade children eight years earlier. In both sets of fieldwork, the children came from the same range of ethnic groups, the amount of ethnic minority pupils in the classes studied was similar (60 versus 70 per cent), and both schools were situated in lower-class areas renowned as tough neighborhoods. Yet the ethnic composition of the schools as a whole differed (40 versus 70 per cent), and so did the length of time for which the school had had a larger group of ethnic-minority children (10 years versus 30 years). I will discuss the importance of these differences below.

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 167 In what follows, I will look at these two groups of young people with Muslim background in two Danish schools, and discuss how the Danish school—understood as this “social world of school”—influences their understanding of their Muslim identity, or what Iram Khawaja terms their experience of “Muslimness.”6 As I hope to show, taking a closer look at why being Muslim acquires or loses relevance and primacy for these children in their everyday school life can tell us about the context-dependence of children’s religious identities, and how and why different ways of being a proper Muslim are constructed between peers and teachers in these two schools. Indirectly, this can tell us about the space available for religion and for Islam in Danish schools.

METHODS The chapter is based on ethnographic material, including observations and 60 interviews, from two periods of fieldwork on the everyday school life of Muslim children, including their interactions with peers and teachers, in two Danish public schools. The first fieldwork was conducted in Sønderskolen,7 which at the time had 40 per cent ethnic-minority pupils and was situated in an inner-city area of Copenhagen characterized by a mix of underprivileged neighborhoods of social-housing estates and fancier neighborhoods inhabited by students and young families of ethnic-Danish background. In this school I did seven months of participant observation, comprising five months in a fourth grade in the first half-year of 2002, followed by two months in the second half-year of 2003, when the class had reached sixth grade. As my material is from both fourth and sixth grade, I call the class “4A/6A.” The other fieldwork took place in 2011, in Yderbyskolen, which had approximately 70 per cent ethnic-minority pupils and was situated in a poor and relatively isolated area on the outskirts of Copenhagen. This area was characterized by low-rise housing estates with small apartments, inhabited by economically deprived ethnic-minority families and ethnic-Danish families. The class of my fieldwork was an eighth-grade class, which I call “8K.”

THE DANISH SCHOOL Sønderskolen and Yderbyskolen are both Folkeskoler—that is, comprehensive schools funded and regulated by the Danish state. While these public schools have always been socially (and thus, one could argue, culturally) diverse, the immigration of “guest workers” and refugees to Denmark since the 1970s has resulted in a more visibly culturally and religiously diverse pupil population in many schools. These ethnic-minority pupils are generally seen as a challenge to the normal way of doing things in school, a challenge that is typically handled by making minor adaptations where this is seen as

168 Gilliam necessary and legitimate. Apart from these adaptations—typically focused on language-training and on exempting the Muslim children from participating in school activities that go against their faith—most schools have continued their regular teaching practices.8 Paradoxically, a central reason for this approach can be found in the strong ideal of equality in the Danish school. The Danish school is seen as a strong integrative force in Danish society, as it prides itself on being an institution where children of different backgrounds meet and make friends and where they are treated by teachers, irrespective of their background, as “individuals” and “children.” Many teachers stressed to me that this focus on “individual children” is well suited to pupils of cultural and religious minority backgrounds, as it lets them keep an eye on the personal needs of the children, yet helps them avoid the risk of discrimination on ethnic or religious grounds.9 It could also be argued that it impedes cultural essentialism and the “ethnification” of children, a pitfall of schools trying to be more multicultural.10 Yet the teachers’ way of dealing with cultural and religious differences hints at a paradox between the way equality is thought of and practiced in Danish schools. As an ideal, striving for equality in school means that differences should be respected, not least because it is perceived as good for children to get to know and accept different ways of life. Meanwhile, in practice, teachers tend to tone down differences that can divide or polarize children, as these can hinder the very same equality and social coherence of the group, as well as personal friendships. The consequence is a lack of both space and ways to deal with distinctively different values or ways of acting and thinking in school. The only differences that can be embraced by the principle of inclusion are those that can be treated as a thin layer of culture, easily pushed to one side so as to allow the universal human underneath to surface.11 This approach fosters a focus upon similarities between children, as well as what appears almost to be a taboo against mentioning more fundamental differences. In regard to religion, Danish school is often described as secular, and many teachers regard themselves as non-believers. Yet the school calendar is shaped by the Christian holidays and these holidays are celebrated in schools, if primarily with secularized, child-centered activities. The curriculum includes a weekly lesson in Christianity Studies (Kristendomskundskab), the purpose of which is to provide pupils with knowledge of the Christian faith and, according to the text of the official curriculum: “the biblical narratives and their significance for the foundation of values in our cultural group.”12 In addition to this, the subject includes teaching of “non-Christian religions and creeds.”13 Even though many schools include the teaching of non-Christian religions from an earlier stage, this is not required before the seventh grade. Children of other faiths—mainly Islam—are allowed exemption from Christianity Studies, but (as was the case in both schools of my fieldwork) teachers often try to convince parents to let their children attend Christianity Studies by arguing its non-proselytizing character. The teaching of Christianity Studies often involves cooperation with local churches,

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 169 which invite classes for visits and activities. In the seventh- or eighth-grade year, the weekly lesson in Christianity Studies is replaced by lessons at a local church preparing for confirmation. These are attended only by children who are intending to be confirmed. The influence of Christianity on the school is also apparent in the many teaching materials from subjects such as history and Danish that either explicitly formulate or suggest a connection between Christianity and Danish society and culture. Finally, many teachers also consider themselves to be “cultural Christians” in that, while they are not believers, they present their values as based on the Christian faith. Sønderskolen and Yderbyskolen did not differ from this general characteristic of Danish schools. At the time of the fieldwork, Sønderskolen, which had formerly been known as a “white school,”14 had within the previous ten years become a school with a larger group of ethnic-minority pupils (40 per cent). Although the head teacher was nervous that the school would lose even more ethnic-Danish pupils as a consequence, he stressed that he regarded “different cultures as an asset” and wanted “the bilingual children” and their parents to feel welcome and be treated as all other parents and pupils. A few years before my fieldwork, the school had opened a language center and hired a few teachers with ethnic-minority background. But apart from these initiatives, it was primarily the ideal of equality and inclusion, and the taboo on fundamental differences, that influenced the school’s approach to the ethnic-minority pupils. Yet religion, which in practice meant Islam, was to some degree exempted from this attempt to be blind to differences, as it was treated as somehow more important than “mere cultural” practices. The teachers, including the head teacher, reasoned that the school should make “manageable considerations” in relation to Muslim children and parents, implying that Islamic practices and rules were to be respected as far as practically possible so long as they did not interfere with the “Danishness” of the school. The Muslim children were for instance allowed to abstain from showering after physical education, the home economics teachers used only halal meat and no pork and many teachers avoided celebrations that included food during Ramadan. It was generally asserted that, once these potential barriers for participation were dealt with, religion was not an issue in school, or at least only an issue for discussion when it became relevant in a subject or was mentioned in class as a brief acknowledgment of children’s backgrounds. At the time of the fieldwork, Yderbyskolen had had a large group of ethnic-minority pupils for a much longer period (approximately 30 years), and during the previous decade it had become a school with a majority of Muslim children (about 70 per cent). Here, too, the head teacher stressed an ad hoc, eclectic exempt-and-adapt approach to handling religious difference and advocated focusing on children as individuals, stating: “Children come with different preconditions. Some are religious . . . We never think of children in groups.” He also stressed that his school was still a “Danish school” and used Christianity Studies to exemplify this: “We are not

170 Gilliam preaching [Christianity], but even so, the majority of children have Christianity Studies. We are a Danish school in that we hold Christmas morning assembly, but the message is more ‘Love thy neighbor.’ We have a Christmas tree. We run it the way a normal Danish school does it.” In this school, there was more discussion of religion in the lessons, yet the weight was also put on finding common ground between Islam and Christianity. Religious differences between Islam and Christianity were acknowledged in the teaching of Christianity Studies, but were always accompanied by remarks about acceptance of diversity. What was dwelt upon instead was the resemblances between the religions—the shared ideals and prophets and the Old Testament. When I asked the head teacher for an example of when religious differences were handled in a good way, he told me about an altarpiece that ethnic-Danish and ethnic-minority children had made together in the local church on which they had drawn stories shared by both religions, all stemming from the Old Testament. What can be seen in this is a kind of “schooling” in inter-religious relations, teaching children about the similarity between core values of Islam and Christianity, but perhaps also about the harmony found in similarity and the taboo on differences, as well as the view that religious differences are potentially conflictual and only acceptable if treated as a superficial layer or a private matter. In this regard, the two schools managed to solve the paradox of including the Muslim children and yet maintaining the schools’ Danish identity and cultural reproduction in similar ways. However, whereas in Sønderskolen this was a matter of constant negotiation and anxiety about confrontation between differing groups of parents, teachers and pupils, in Yderbyskolen it had another character. It seemed that after 30 years of practice—many teachers told me it had not always been like this—the management of interreligious relations had acquired an institutional form (and one could hypothesize that those parents and teachers who had not agreed with this form had left the school over the years). Regardless of the cause, the above-mentioned “considerations” were treated as non-problematic, routinized practice. Maybe Yderbyskolen’s head teacher pointed to the central difference between the schools when he said that “these are our children.” While Danish school discourse typically problematize ethnic-minority pupils and describe them as lowering a school’s academic level and reputation, Yderbyskolen seemed to have come to terms with having a majority of ethnic-minority children, whereas Sønderskolen still struggled not to cross the informal 50 per cent threshold and thus become an “immigrant” or “black school.”15 That Yderbyskolen had accepted being an “immigrant school” was recognizable in the routinized, inclusive practices described above, as well as in the teachers’ communication with and about their pupils. In both schools, most teachers saw ethnic-minority children as deprived, but in Sønderskolen there was much more negative talk about them in the staffroom, while the teachers in Yderbyskolen generally had a more positive relationship with both boys and girls. While this difference is difficult to pin down in objective terms, it

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 171 seemed that the school had developed not only what could be viewed as a more “harmonious atmosphere,” but also, as I will argue below, a form of mutual cooperation with the ethnic-minority children. I will now turn to the two classes to describe and analyze the different ways in which the Muslim children and young people engaged with Islam and the Muslim identity, and how these were related to the differing methods of schooling religion, yet brokered by social relations and hierarchies between children in the classes.

THE FOCUS ON THE MUSLIM IDENTITY IN 4A/6A The class of 4A/6A in Sønderskolen (the school with 40 per cent ethnicminority pupils) consisted of 21 children aged ten through twelve, a majority of whom had a Muslim background (eight were ethnic-Danish children and thirteen ethnic-minority children, eleven of whom had a Muslim background). During lessons there was not much talk about the children’s ethnicity or religion. The curriculum did not include learning about Islam or non-European countries and was, during my seven months in the class, mostly centered on issues related to Danish society. On several occasions I heard the teachers argue for a tolerant view of other religions and other people’s ways to practice Islam, but also for a relaxed attitude to religious practice. The ideal communicated was to keep religion out of school and out of relationships with other children. In line with this, the class teacher scolded some of the Muslim boys for acting like “religious police” in relation to their classmates, and declared: “It does not make you a good person to abstain from eating pork, or to pray 25 times a day,” when she heard that one of the Muslim boys, Kamal, had teased another Muslim boy, Üzlan, because he had been seen buying ham with his mother in a local food store. During my fieldwork I heard teachers mention Islamic practices only a few times in class. Nor did the children, for their part, mention the subject of religion in the presence of teachers. This did not mean, however, that Islam was not important in other parts of their lives. Most of the Muslim children told me about religious practices at home, and two of the seven boys went to Quran school. Two of the girls, Fatima and Sadaf, also described how they preferred their “own clothes, that Muslims wear”—traditional Moroccan and Pakistani clothes, respectively—to the tighter-fitting blouses and trousers that they called “Danish clothes” and wore in school. Sadaf told me that she changed into her “own clothes” when she got home. The ethnic-minority children were also keenly aware of being different from the other children in school. Though the vast majority of them were born in Denmark, they all emphasized that they were not Danish, but Turkish, Pakistani, Palestinian, Moroccan, Albanian, Peruvian or Roma. Eleven of the 13 children also described themselves as “Muslim,” and many of the children in the class told me in the interviews that the school and the class consisted of two groups, “the Danes and the

172 Gilliam Muslims”—or what they also called “the foreigners” or “the immigrants.” The children were well aware that teachers disliked the use of religious or ethnic naming and kept this use of religious categories out of their earshot. Yet they called themselves and others “Muslims” in class, just as they often discussed Islam, religious practices and being Muslim during lessons and break time. One example was when a group of four Muslim girls and two ethnic-Danish girls discussed why Muslims cannot eat pork. Another day Yosef joined Nada, Fatima and Sadaf at their table: Yosef says to Fatima: “You have to pull the scarf up over your mouth.” Fatima laughs, but Nada says: “No, she doesn’t have to. I’ve read in the Quran that you can decide yourself whether you want to wear it and how much you have to cover.” Yosef says with a slight mischievous tone: “No, you have to cover yourselves up completely,” and then asks Sadaf: “Aren’t you Muslim?” Sadaf responds indignantly: “What do you think?” Yosef: “If you’re Muslim, then you wear a headscarf. “ Sadaf: “No, I can decide that for myself!” Yosef: “Then you’re not Muslim.” Sadaf: “Yes I am—you haven’t been to my house.” Nada defends Sadaf: “You can decide for yourself whether you want to wear a headscarf, but you have to say your prayers to be a real Muslim. The Friday prayer is the most important one. You don’t need to pray every day, and stuff, but you shouldn’t pray one day and then not pray the next day. I pray at home with my mother!” They all start talking, interrupting each other: “I pray too!” “I get up at six every morning to pray!” Yosef says, “I go to the mosque!” (Break time, sixth grade.) A group of boys—Kamal, Hamid and Yosef—often bragged about how many times a day they prayed and how often they read the Quran, just as they indignantly told the others who they had seen eating during Ramadan or heard saying offensive things about Muslims. A frequent aspect of these talks was thus the marking of others as “less” or “worse” Muslims. The girls also took part in this, and often scolded the boys for making trouble and thus not being “proper Muslims.” The boys for their part criticized the three Muslim girls who did not wear hijab, and denounced Milena, who often wore shorts and T-shirts with spaghetti straps, for not covering her body properly. These three boys likewise often engaged in disparaging two of the other Muslim boys—Enrico and Üzlan, of Palestinian and Kurdish background, respectively—who they criticized for not fasting, not praying and not knowing the religious rules, and thus for not practicing Islam properly. The following was directed at Üzlan: Kamal to Hamid: “Üzlan only fasted [during the previous Ramadan] when we were watching, he ate the whole weekend, he eats all the time, he is an eater!” Kamal turns to Yosef, who has an Arabic background: “Üzlan said ‘Fucking Arab’!” Yosef says in a low voice: “Oh, he has to

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 173 die, I’ll kill him!” At this point they yell at Üzlan: “You fancy Milena!” Üzlan denies this. “Hey Üzlan, you kissed Kira, that time in second grade!” Üzlan denies it again. Hamid: “You’re lying, say Quran, you did it” and continues in a very serious tone: “If you lie, you have to expiate for two, three days!” Kamal adds: “You will be punished on the Last Day of the world.” Üzlan laughs a little uncertainly and leaves the classroom. Kamal whispers to Hamid: “When I die, I will speak Arabic all the time.” (Lesson, 4th grade) Turning to 8K in Yderbyskolen, we see a rather different scenario in terms of which performances of Muslimness were acceptable in school.

THE IRRELEVANCE OF RELIGION IN 8K The 8K class in Yderbyskolen (the school with 70 per cent ethnic minority pupils) consisted of only fifteen pupils of age fourteen to fifteen years: four ethnic-Danish pupils and eleven ethnic-minority pupils, all of whom identified themselves as “Muslims” and whose parents had migrated to Denmark from Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Morocco and Ghana. In this class there was more talk of religion and Islam in the lessons than in 4A/6A in Sønderskolen. This seemed related to the fact that Islam was included in the eighth grade’s curriculum for Christianity Studies, and that there were two teachers with Muslim background on the staff who occasionally took up discussions of religion and Islam. Yet while the Muslim pupils described the school as a “Muslim school,” because “almost everybody is Muslims here,” unlike in 4A/6A they very rarely talked about Islam outside lessons. On the contrary, they all stressed that religion was irrelevant in school. “It just doesn’t cross your mind,” Sana, a girl with Iranian background told me, adding: “There are lots of other things, religion is like—you don’t think about it.” Nabih, son of Ghanaian parents, put it this way: “Here at school, it’s a lot like you exclude religion.” When I asked him to elaborate, he said that people “are into all other sorts of things. We rarely talk about it. Perhaps only during religion lessons . . . It’s just not interesting to talk about.” In line with this, I seldom heard the pupils discussing religion or calling each other “Muslims” as they did in 4A/6A. An exception was a few conversations about fasting during Ramadan, but I did not hear anybody talk about Eid al-Fitr, even though most of the class was absent for two days during the celebrations. While this lack of interest in religion can be seen as reflecting young people’s absorption in a world of teenage interests, Nabih’s phrase, “You exclude religion,” shows us that he felt that a part of his life was pushed aside in the school context. In accordance with this, eight out of the eleven Muslim pupils said that they perceived themselves as committed to Islam. Khalid, for example, attended Quran school four days a week and had taken several tests there, with top results. He told me that he, Ahmad and Naeem,

174 Gilliam who all had a Pakistani background, shared this involvement in the mosque but did not talk about religion in school. Ahmad described it this way: “Me and Khalid, we both know that we are Muslims. We must do this and we shouldn’t do that, but we don’t talk about it. We know it inside our head.” When I asked Ahmad why religion was not so important in school, he said: “I can’t explain it. Religion doesn’t matter—well yes it does matter, but not, like, when you’re in school. You don’t think about how you have to do that, and that.” What Ahmad hinted at here seems to be an almost unconscious change of framework from home to school. It implies a simultaneous change of what Samuli Schielke terms “moral registers,”16 and thus an inactivation of the rules of conduct guiding the young people’s life at home and in the mosque. Sana referred to the same change when she said: “I don’t think so much about it [religion]. It is only when I’m at home, then I, like, come to think of it.” To many of the young people, this alternation between frameworks had the effect that their religiosity and Muslimness changed across the social realms of their everyday life and thus during the same day. Like many others, Ahmad stressed that he was “more religious at home” and “less religious in school.” When I asked Karim where he was most religious, he demonstrated what seemed to be a central reason for the young people’s avoidance of the issue of religion in school: KARIM: LAURA: KARIM:


At home. At home. Okay. What happens to you then, when you enter school? There I have to fit in. Without being the exaggerated Muslim (den overdrevne muslim). I can [be the “exaggerated Muslim”] at home, to suck up to Mum or something. Not suck up to, but . . . No, but like adjust to her? Make Mum happy. And over here [at school] would it not be well regarded if you were as religious as you are at home? Here it’s not so good. People don’t like that. Who doesn’t like it? Everybody. Then you’re like: “Argh, he is like an exaggerated Muslim.” You know: “Calm down!”

Other pupils referred to this general dislike of an “exaggerated Muslim” in school, and a similar experience that their religiosity depended on who they were with. This made them feel less religious in school. Being “less religious” implied not only not abiding by the rules of Islam, but also behaving badly. Ahmad explained that in the mosque, he knew that “You must not swear. You must not hit. You must listen to what the imam says and things like that.” He stated that he did not swear at home either, but in school and with his friends: “I don’t abide by ‘You shall not swear,’ I don’t live up to that. ‘You have to pray five times,’ I don’t do that either, because I pray three or two times. ‘[Not to] hit’—I don’t abide by that either.” His friend Khalid

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 175 put it this way: “In school I’m not a proper Muslim. In the mosque and at home I am a proper Muslim.” How do we explain these differences between the two classes, and the focus on being a good Muslim in one class and on not being an exaggerated Muslim in the other? It is important to stress that judging from my interviews with the pupils, this difference between the classes did not reflect the religiosity of the children’s families. In both classes, the families ranged from the very dedicated to some that did not fast during Ramadan and only occasionally prayed. To understand the differences, we have to look at how the Muslim identity gains different meanings in the specific peer group and in the specific social world of the two schools.

THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN 4A/6A As indicated above, to understand the preoccupation with Islam among the Muslim children of 4A/6A in Sønderskolen (the 40 per cent school), rather than looking to the religiosity of their parents, we must look at their experience of religion in school. During my time in the class it became apparent to me that the children’s discussions about Islam, the naming of self and others as “Muslims” and the marking of their common Muslimness flourished whenever the connection between the school, Danishness and Christianity was marked, or whenever the children felt marginalized in the community of the school. During a visit to a Christian church, Milena, Fatima and Sadaf, apparently out of the blue, started slapping at each other lightly and complained jokingly to me: “She is a Muslim, and she hits her Muslim friend!” Likewise the Christmas month prompted a lot of talk about Islam and the children’s common Muslim identity. When the class teacher arranged a school trip to a local church for the class to hear Christian hymns, Kamal made a point of refusing to enter the church. His teacher tried to drag him in, and when Kamal held on to the doorframe of the entrance door, she argued in an angry voice that they were “not going to a church service, but only to hear some hymns.” For some days after the visit, the boys’ talk about Islam flourished again. In all these instances, activities in school contributed to the actualization of Islam and religious identities. This shows us how the priority given Christianity in Danish schools, though considered an unimportant relic by many Danish teachers, highlights religious differences and identities for many Muslim children and highlights their shared Otherness and marginality in school as well as their sharing of Islam. In this way the school, for all its efforts to make religion irrelevant in school, contributed to the emphasizing of religion and to the children’s use of Islam to position themselves and align others.17 I will thus argue that the children’s preoccupation with Islam was not a sign of strong religiosity, but more a preoccupation with a shared identity and category that these children of various ethnic backgrounds turned toward in

176 Gilliam the face of experiencing Otherness in school. In ways that resembled other children’s—almost religious—celebrations of a secret society or club of their own making, the children thus seemed engaged in a celebration of their common Muslimness. With Emile Durkheim’s old dictum that “society is God,” it can be argued that what was worshipped was thus not so much Allah or symbols of Islam, but symbols of the children’s community.18 It was this same worship of the group, its euphoriant effect and the intense patrolling of the community’s boundaries with “the other” that I witnessed—especially in the boys’ identification with the Muslim identity. Adding to this, defining themselves as “Muslims” seemed to lift these first- and second-generation immigrant children out of their minority position in school and society and into a position of—temporary—majority and moral superiority in class. While their ethnic identities are often stigmatized, the religious membership of the “world power” Islam is a more prestigious emblem.19 Hence by identifying explicitly as “Muslims,” the children replaced their stigmatized category—“immigrants”—with one of moral rectitude, thus challenging the moral superiority often implicitly ascribed to “Danes” in the media and in the school teaching. Judging by what was said in the discussions, this pan-ethnic Muslim identity also created a bond of fictive kinship between them and a larger umma. Yet stressing their common Muslim identity meant that the children downplayed the many ethnic and individual differences between them.

ACTIVATING ISLAM The preoccupation with religion in 4A/6A shows us that these Muslim pupils experienced school—whether in flashes, for periods or more routinely— within a religious framework that redefined the social world of school as a context of Islamic figures, norms and scripts for action. When this framework was activated in school, different ideals, rules and categories governed social relations than those set by the school, and it was according to norms and scripts for action within this framework that people were evaluated.20 By activating Islam, the children could thus act upon their social world and gain temporary dominance over a social space in which they were otherwise consigned to inferiority due to language difficulties, cultural differences and stigmatization. Yet it seems that the Muslim children only managed to make this religious framework durable in school because of their majority status in class. As many children have described to me, being in a majority in a children’s group means that you can determine “what counts” (hvad det gælder om) and “what’s cool.” The ethnic-Danish children acknowledged this context-dependent dominance, and told me it was considered “cooler to be Muslim than Danish.” As Mette put it, “the Danes have to keep quiet” and “stick to those who call themselves the popular and cool ones, cause we are not exactly a majority.” When I asked Casper what was smartest in

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 177 class, he also pointed to the majority of Muslims, saying: “Yosef says that it is smarter to be a Muslim, because there are more of them.” The interest in activating a religious framework in school will probably vary among Muslim children, as many will adapt to the Danish school institution’s schooling of religion and thus avoid the issue of religious matters or differences in school, as this suits them well and will accord with what they are taught at home. However, to many children of 4A/6A, and especially one group of boys, invoking the religious framework of Islam in school and activating various narratives of “good” and “bad Muslims” seemed to afford them a much-needed source of strength and moral recovery.

OPPOSITIONAL IDENTITIES: COUNTERCULTURAL FORMS The class of 4A/6A was renowned as the “worst class” in the school. However, even though the whole class identified with this reputation, it was seven ethnic-minority boys who were seen as the cause of the trouble. While the whole group of ethnic-minority boys had become tied up in it, it was Kamal, Yosef, Merdzan and Hamid who were consistently in confrontation with the teachers. The teachers, on the one hand, found the four boys especially (and other ethnic-minority boys in the class and the school generally) “obstructive” and “socially incompetent,” while the boys, on the other hand, said the teachers did not like them because they were “immigrants.” However, the boys also described themselves as “troublemakers,” explaining that “immigrants” and “Muslims” were more aggressive and troublesome than “the Danes,” who they described as “calm and quiet” or even “little angels.”21 Rather than explaining the boys’ behavior by social deprivation and deficient upbringing of boys in immigrant and Muslim families, as the teachers did, this behavior can be seen as a way in which they navigated their marginal position in school and society by taking up what Paul Willis called a “counterculture.”22 As I have described elsewhere, it seems that these countercultural forms had developed through their own and previous boys’ negative experiences in Danish school and society and now reproduced themselves in a vicious circle between the boys’ conduct and their teachers’ negative attitudes toward them.23 Many of the boys felt they were “stupid” and incompetent in most subjects, that the teachers disliked them, and that they, along with their friends and families, were looked down upon as “immigrants.” Like many other marginalized boys before them, they had inverted their stigma into status, and found strength in the fear they evoked in acting in accordance with the tough masculinity it involved.24 Over a couple of decades, this oppositional form for ethnic-minority boys seems to have developed into a dominant cultural form among “immigrant boys” in Denmark, implying that irrespective of their own experiences of marginalization, to be accepted into the group, individual ethnic-minority boys in Sønderskolen and other Danish schools

178 Gilliam had to exhibit characteristics and behavioral forms that the school dislikes in pupils—such as aggressiveness, rough language, explicit misogyny and anti-school attitudes.25 As a consequence, in 4A/6A and other classes in Sønderskolen, the existence of this oppositional norm among the boys had enrolled more boys into the anti-school group than those who actually felt themselves incompetent and disliked by teachers. Meanwhile, participating in these oppositional practices contributed to the boys’ need for alternative status, as their avoidance of participation in school and confrontations with teachers meant that they ended up being disliked by teachers and lacking academic competences. This oppositional form, which has become the behavioral norm in many groups of ethnic-minority boys, has consequences for all boys of ethnicminority background. For boys of Muslim background, it means that they have to handle and negotiate how this dominant form of masculinity corresponds with the norms of being a good Muslim. In 4A/6A the boys’ response seemed to be to integrate religion into their oppositional form and thus to draw on the Muslim identity and the religious framework of Islam in their search for alternative sources of status and community. As I have described above, it was three of the four boys mentioned—Kamal, Yosef and Hamid— who invested most time and energy in issues to do with Islam. These boys’ religious commitment seemed to be enhanced partly by the sense of community they drew from it and partly by their opposition to teachers and to the school, which they often saw as a confrontation between “Muslims” and (Christian) “Danes.” From their references to the concurrent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was evident that their understanding of this drew upon larger narratives about Muslims and Arabs as besieged groups.26 They talked about “keeping together,” “protecting each other” and “avenging insults” they heard about Muslims. If some of the teachers or other children in the school criticized or even merely implied a negative understanding of Islam or of Muslims, they jumped up and told the others with raised voices. They told me with pride how they prayed together on the school campus and supported each other in fasting during Ramadan and in avoiding pork when attending birthday parties of ethnic-Danish children. The Muslim identity thus had another meaning for them than it had for their Muslim classmates, who were affected, but not directly involved, in the boys’ confrontation with the teachers. Yet the meaning these boys ascribed to it, and the way they contrasted it with the Danish identity, had consequences for how proper Muslimness was understood in class. The Muslim children in 4A/6A did not all have the same strong interest in the Muslim identity; neither did they all have the same understanding of what being a “good Muslim” entailed. As we have seen, this was debated, and religious rules were negotiated intensely within the children’s group. Having a vested interest in Islam, Kamal, Hamid and Yosef were most eager to invoke the religious framework of Islam in school. But they also seemed to have the upper hand in the negotiation of legitimate and illegitimate

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 179 Muslimness. This seemed partly to stem from their dominant position in the boys’ group, derived from their ability to perform tough masculinity and the opposition which the confrontation had created between being Danish and being Muslim. One effect of this opposition was that children enacting more “moderate” Muslimness became delegitimized as “more Danish,” while higher status was ascribed to the most pious Islamic practice. By activating the framework of Islam and drawing on discourses of piety which all the Muslim children acknowledged as legitimate, the boys could thus draw legitimacy for their own religious positions. It is important to stress that this dominance of the religious norm was temporary, context-dependent and, as we have seen, challenged by other children. Yet it entailed that those children who enacted Muslimness in other ways, or did not oppose being Muslim and being Danish, or did not practice Islam zealously, had to hide these behaviors in class or else struggle to legitimize themselves.

AVOIDING BEING AN “EXAGGERATED MUSLIM” IN 8K While the oppositional form was also evident in 8K in Yderbyskolen (the 70 per cent school), it had a different character than in 4A/6A. In 8K, five of the six ethnic-minority boys enacted the same tough masculine form as that seen in 4A/6A, yet this was most influential in the context of a large friendship group (including twelve ethnic-minority boys from both eighthgrade classes) who were described as “high in status” because they acted “cool,” wore “the right clothes,” and were loud, outgoing and popular with the girls. Meanwhile, the oppositional form among these boys did not have the same intensity as in 4A/6A, and although the pupils had a difficult relationship with some of their teachers, it was not directed toward the teachers or the school in general. It became apparent to me over the course of the fieldwork that the oppositional behavior displayed in this class was more of a compulsory and desirable performance style within the dominant boys’ group. While the boys’ need to find status in this style was probably still closely linked to their marginal position in Danish society, for most of the boys it was not motivated by personal failure in school. It seemed more a way to walk, talk, wear your hood and act unimpressed, indolent and potentially aggressive than a reaction to a personal or collective confrontation with the school authorities. In this way it resembled Deborah Youdell’s description of the subcultural identities of African– Caribbean boys in English secondary schools, which were pursued by the boys first and foremost because of the high status this style was ascribed.27 In line with this, for 8K the oppositional acts were generally kept outside school, where the boys said they hung out on the streets, committed petty crimes and had minor clashes with other groups of boys. Though this was difficult to assess, it seemed that the ethnic-minority children’s majority

180 Gilliam status in school, their teachers’ generally positive attitudes toward them and the fact that a good handful of the ethnic-minority pupils were among the “good pupils” in the two classes seemed to contribute to this moderate version of the countercultural form. The class did not have the academic divide between “Danes” and “immigrants” seen in 4A/6A, and several of the ethnic-minority boys, including Karim and Nabih in 8K, were seen as “intelligent” and “competent” by the teachers. All in all, it generally seemed easier for the boys to access what Youdell terms “positive oriented learner identities,”28 and many of the popular ethnic-minority boys across both eighth-grade classes contributed to the lessons, did their homework and had good relationships with many of their teachers, who found them “charming.” An apparent result of this moderate oppositional form was that the popular boys were not in confrontation with their teachers, but rather seemed to cooperate with them by balancing their tough style with compliance in class. As these boys had a great influence on the other pupils, I will argue that what D’Amato terms their “group consensus” about cooperating influenced the whole class, and also extended to the way they enacted their Muslimness and religiosity in lessons. 29 In interviews, several of these youngsters expressed their knowledge of their teachers’ views on religion in school and their preference for a specific stance toward religions and a certain way to discuss them. Ahmad explained it this way: “You mustn’t fight with each other. You shouldn’t care about the fact that we have one faith and they have another. You should treat them the same way you treat friends of your own faith.” Murat described the way pupils ought to discuss religion as: “[You shouldn’t] degrade others’ religion . . . but only say: I think it is good that you do such and such and such.” In the following extract, Karim shows how he adapted to this in class: KARIM:

I would not like to . . . advertise for it [Islam], [saying] “But it’s good to be Muslim. It’s like this and this. It makes more sense than Christianity.” I wouldn’t do that, but I would say that in the Quran it is written that Muslims should do this. I would just say that to compare for example, or something like that . . . compare it to Christianity. LAURA: And your teacher would like that? KARIM: Yes, she would like that. While Ahmad, Murat and Karim all stated that they shared these norms of cross-religious contact, they also showed that they regarded this way of presenting and discussing Islam as an act of pretense on their part, as they actually thought Islam was a better religion. Yet they knew the norms, and in the numerous Christianity Studies classes I observed, they and the other young people of the class compared and discussed religions expressing this neutrality and tolerance.

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 181 BALANCING TOUGHNESS AND RELIGIOSITY Whereas in 4A/6A the marginalization of ethnic-minority children— reinforced by their minority status in school and the confrontation between the boys and the teachers—made the children turn toward their Muslim identity to find strength, majority status and community, in 8K the situation was very different. Here expressions of religion were adapted to the norms of school, but they were also adapted to the oppositional forms of the dominant boys, which in this class were interpreted as being incompatible with “exaggerated” Muslimness. In this class it was not being Muslim, but being immigrant that afforded you status, or as Nabih put it: “If you are not immigrant, you are nothing.” As expressed by several boys, immigrants were considered more “cool” and “tougher than Danes,” and the only ethnic Danes who had “high status” were the ones described as “plastic immigrants” (plastik perkere)—that is, ethnic-Danish boys who befriended ethnic-minority boys and were acting loud and tough.30 To be accepted into the high-status group it was important to be considered a “good Muslim,” and as Karim put it: “Those who are not good will act as if they are good Muslims to fit in.” Yet this only required abiding by a minimum of practices and following the route which Karim described as “in between.” What was required was thus not to stay on “the straight path,” but on a just-as-narrow path of “relaxed” religiosity that entailed being a “good Muslim” but not an “exaggerated Muslim.” This norm of being “in between” proved to be tightly related to the norm of tough masculinity: LAURA:

Would you say that there is more status in being very religious and doing everything the correct way? Or does it give you more status to do as little as possible? Or is there more status in something in between? KARIM: In between. There’s like a divide . . . if you’re too much of this (he mimics a voice of an imagined person): “No, I won’t do it, because my faith prohibits me,” and it’s such a small thing [that you say no to]—there are such small things that Islam forbids—you could be denounced for that. [Others would think] it’s just like, it’s probably just like an excuse, because you don’t dare to do it [i.e., something forbidden]. For example, it’s not considered something big to steal from a kiosk or something. It’s just chewing gum. But according to religion it is everything. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small thing, or whether it is a bank. Karim continued to explain that stealing chewing gum shows that “You are not a kind of imam who is really into it [Islam],” and concluded that you have to be “relaxed, but at the same time show it [your Muslimness].” The other Muslim boys displayed their awareness of the performative dimension of their religiosity in ways similar to Karim, as well as a fine-tuned sense of

182 Gilliam which acts could and could not be performed in order to stay on the path of acceptable religiosity and tough masculinity in school. To balance this, the boys abided by some religious rules and bent or rejected others depending on whether these matched or were incompatible with the norms of tough masculinity. It was thus seen as more important to fast than to pray, as fasting (as Karim explained) proved your toughness: “You can starve. To pray takes two minutes, then it is done.” However, other Islamic rules of behavior conflicted with the boys’ quest to “be cool” and to “have style.” As we have seen, the boys could not refrain from stealing on religious grounds; in order to “be cool” and “get status” they had to wear a specific outfit of expensive street wear and to “swear” and “hit”; that is, do things they would not do in the mosque, as Ahmad described above. Here Khalid explained what it takes to be “cool:” “It is mostly the clothes, and then you should dare to do almost anything. Answer back, if anyone swears at you. And hit back, if anyone says: ‘Ew, he’s swearing at you, man, you didn’t even dare swear back at him.’” Khalid was very aware that this did not fit with being a good Muslim: To be a good Muslim, you shall think of others, help others, not steal, you shouldn’t listen to music, you shall ignore others [if they say something bad to you], you shouldn’t buy too many expensive clothes, you shouldn’t have so much style. And then give the money to poor people. Khalid added: “And if you wear a hijab, you shouldn’t wear tight pants, like Soumaya.” As this illustrates, some of the Muslim girls were also seen as breaking the religious rules. While the boys seemed most affected by the discrepancy between the norms of masculinity and the norm of piety, two of the four Muslim girls—Amira and Maryam—were considered “less religious” because they wore tight clothes, dated boys and acted loud in school (shouting, screaming, arguing and swearing in school). These girls were friends with a large group of ethnic-minority girls of mixed religions from the other eighth-grade class who hung out with the group of popular boys. The three Muslim girls in the two classes who were not involved in this group kept a low profile in school, abstaining from breaking rules, but also from being explicitly religious. As one of the “loud Muslim girls,” Amira stated she had given up on being “very religious,” as well as being “a quiet type,” to “gain status.” According to her, “A lot of people struggle to get higher status,” and some of the things you had to do be a good Muslim would lower your status. This might help to explain why the Muslim pupils in this class, unlike those in 4A/6A in Sønderskolen, accepted the school’s framing as a non-religious place. One could argue that the division of their life into distinctively different social realms, and the framing of school as a place where “you just don’t think about religion,” helped these pupils handle the incompatibility of norms between the contexts of home, mosque and school.

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 183 CONCLUSION I hope to have shown that being “Muslim” in these Danish schools cannot merely be understood as a matter of residing in a minoritized category within a majority institution, as the Muslim pupils’ majority status in many classes or schools—and thus their experience of being a “minority in majority”—challenges the generality of this minoritization and makes the outcome a much more complicated matter. The Danish school institution seems to exclude expressions of more fundamental religious differences than a thin layer of superficial differences that can be pushed aside to reveal the common humanity and the universal child underneath. This is done with the best intentions—to achieve inclusion, to bridge differences and to create friendships—and it suits many Muslim children and young people as it fits well with their way of being religious and, as we see in 8K, permits their enactment of alternative identities. Yet it might teach children that religious differences are potentially conflictual and that “exaggerated” Muslimness— that is, being very pious, or emphasizing religious differences between Christians and Muslims—is disliked in school. The differences between the two classes show us different outcomes of the schooling of religion in relation to how proper Muslimness is construed. They also display that these outcomes depend on dynamics within the peer group, on relationships with teachers and on which individual pupils dominate the social norms in class—especially the gender norms and the norms of legitimate interaction with teachers. What both classes demonstrate is that the oppositional norm of tough masculinity that has developed in reaction to the marginalization of ethnic minorities in Danish schools and society has a significant effect on how the Muslim identity is understood, performed and drawn upon in school. In one class—4A/6A in Sønderskolen, which had 40 per cent ethnic-minority children—the Muslim identity had become a source of strength and community in the face of the Muslim children’s minority status in the school and the opposition between the Muslim boys and their teachers. As this confrontation widened to become an opposition to Danes in general, the consequence was that the Muslimness with the highest status in class was that one most distinct from the values and practices that the children attributed to the Danish identity, and thus, following an oppositional logic, the strictest and most pious practice of Islam. In the other class—8K in Yderbyskolen, which had 70 per cent ethnic-minority children—being “Muslim” was also a necessary marker of group membership, but beyond this was an irrelevant and downplayed identity in school, as it was less contested—being the identity of the majority in school—and in several ways incompatible with the norms of tough behavior among the dominant group in class. Here, the proper way to perform Muslimness was to enact a “relaxed” religiosity. These very different outcomes demonstrate the role played by, and the space available for, religion and Islam in the Danish school institution. One could argue that Islam is primarily made relevant and activated in school

184 Gilliam when it is invoked in defiance of the school, and when the experience of marginalization coincides with Muslim pupils being in the majority in specific groups. In other situations, as in the case of 8K, Muslim pupils adapt to the schooling of religion and thus exclude most expressions of religiosity from school. The fact that in both schools teachers only experienced religion as an issue among children in situations of confrontation supports this. Thus when asked about religion in school, many teachers in Yderbyskolen pointed to a former ninth grade in the school, which resembled 4A/6A in Sønderskolen in having a comparable confrontation between the Muslim boys and teachers where the Muslim pupils apparently also displayed strong dedication to Islam and to the Muslim identity. The class of 8K probably had no fewer Muslim pupils devoted to Islam at home than this ninth-grade class, or 4A/6A, yet here the good relations between teachers and the popular pupils (which often define acceptable relations with teachers) seemed to contribute to the young people’s acceptance of the school’s framing of the context as non-religious. Meanwhile, what we witnessed in both classes was that the multitude of different ways of being Muslim within a group of children from different ethnic groups and family backgrounds became restricted by the norms of acceptable Muslimness in school, which did or did not resemble how particular children engaged in Islam at home. Thus one should expect that, for many children, the proper way of being Muslim will differ between home and school. Yet this does not imply that home will always be the place where the most pious behavior is required. In 4A/6A, the integration of religious themes into the boys’ opposition to the school and the perceived opposition between being Muslim and being Danish resulted in a marginalization of the moderately religious pupils. By contrast, in 8K the norm of relaxed religiosity suited some pupils, such as Amira, well. As she argued: “It does not make sense that just because I am a Muslim I have to be really religious, when I am not at all.” Yet as we have seen with other Muslim pupils in 8K, the exclusion of religion and Islamic norms from the school context made them tone down their religiousness, and this made many of them feel inadequately Muslim. What the analysis of these two classes has shown us is that this performance of relaxed religiosity cannot be seen merely as a result of being a subdued religious minority in a majority school. Rather, this is one of differing outcomes of dynamics within the social world of school, where groups of young Muslims, experiencing being a stigmatized minority in majority, juggle with the difficult task of matching up the norms of oppositional behavior this experience has created, the school norms of relaxed religiousness and the Islamic norms of piety and good behavior. NOTES 1. Tehmina N. Basit, “ ‘I Want More Freedom, but Not Too Much’: British Muslim Girls and the Dynamism of Family Values,” Gender and Education 9:4 (1997), 425–39; Sissel Østberg, “Islamic Nurture and Identity Management:

Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim 185

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

11. 12.

The Lifeworld of Pakistani Children in Norway,” British Journal of Religious Education 22:2 (2000), 91–103; Sissel Østberg, “Norwegian–Pakistani Adolescents: Negotiating Religion, Gender, Ethnicity and Social Boundaries,” Young 11 (2003), 161–81; Jasmin Zine, “Muslim Youth in Canadian Schools: Education and the Politics of Religious Identity,” Anthropology & Education Quarterly 32:4 (2001), 399–423; Vered Kahani-Hopkins and Nick Hopkins, “Representing British Muslims: The Strategic Dimension to Identity Construction,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 25:2 (2002), 288–309; Marcia Hermansen, “How to Put the Genie Back in the Bottle? ‘Identity’ Islam and Muslim Youth Cultures in America,” in Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender and Pluralism, ed. Omid Safi (Oxford: Oneworld, 2003), 303–19; Oliver Roy, Den Globaliserede Islam (Copenhagen: Vandkunsten, 2004); Tricia Keaton, “Arrogant Assimilationism: National Identity Politics and African-Origin Muslims in the Other France,” Anthropology and Education Quarterly 36:4 (2005), 405–23; Michael S. Merry, “Social Exclusion of Muslim Youth in Flemishand French-Speaking Belgian Schools,” Comparative Education Review 49:1 (2005), 1–22; Selcuk Sirin and Michelle Fine, ”Hyphenated Selves: Muslim American Youth Negotiating Identities on the Fault Lines of Global Conflict,” Applied Development Science 11:3 (2007), 151–63; Jonas Otterbeck, Samtidsislam: unge muslimer i Malmö och Köpenhamn (Stockholm: Carlsson, 2007); Garbi Schmidt, “Den religiøse cirkelslutning,” Ungdomsforskning 1 & 2 (2008), 19–23; Shabana Mir, “Not Too ‘College-Like,’ Not Too Normal: American Muslim Undergraduate Women’s Gendered Discourses,” Anthropology & Education Quarterly 40:3 (2009), 237–56; Laura Gilliam, De umulige børn og det ordentlige menneske: identitet, ballade og muslimske fællesskaber blandt etniske minoritetsbørn (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2009); Iram Khawaja, “To Belong Everywhere and Nowhere: fortællinger om muslimskhed, fællesgørelse og belonging” (PhD diss., Roskilde University, 2010); Cynthia W. Tindongan, “Negotiating Muslim Youth Identity in a Post 9/11 World,” High School Journal 95:1 (2011), 72–87. Aziz Al-Azmeh, Islams and Modernities (London: Verso, 1993), 1. Tindongan, “Negotiating Muslim,” 73, 79. Willard Waller, The Sociology of Teaching (New York: Russell & Russell, 1932/1961). Dorothy Holland et al., Identity and Agency in Cultural Worlds (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998). Khawaja, “To Belong Everywhere and Nowhere.” The names of the schools, school classes and informants are all pseudonyms. Bolette Moldenhawer, “Minoritetskulturer og deres Gennemslagskraft i den Danske Folkeskole,” in Pædagogik: en grundbog, ed. Jens Bjerg (Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag, 1998), 358–83; Gilliam, De umulige børn. Gilliam, De umulige børn. Ali Rattansi, “Changing the Subject? Racism, Culture and Education,” in Race, Culture and Difference, eds. James Donald and Ali Rattansi (London: Sage, 1992), 11–48; Sabine Mannitz and Werner Schiffauer, “Taxonomies of Difference: Constructions of Otherness,” in Civil Enculturation: NationState, School and Ethnic Difference in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany and France, eds. Werner Schiffauer et al. (Oxford: Berghahn, 2004), 60–87. Gilliam, De umulige børn. The Danish wording is “Eleverne skal opnå kundskaber om de bibelske fortællinger og deres betydning for værdigrundlaget i vores kulturkreds.” The word kulturkreds (“cultural group”) normally refers to an understanding that Denmark shares a culture based on Christian values with other Nordic and North European countries.

186 Gilliam 13. Undervisningsministeriet, Fælles mål 2009: Kristendomskundskab. 14. “White schools” and “black schools” are terms often used with scorn in acknowledgment of their political incorrectness, and imply schools with a majority of ethnic-Danish pupils and ethnic-minority pupils, respectively. 15. See note 14. 16. Samuli Schielke, “Being Good in Ramadan: Ambivalence, Fragmentation and the Moral Self in the Lives of Young Egyptians,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15 (2009), 24–40. 17. Laura Gilliam, “Den utilsigtede integration: skolens bidrag til etniske minoritetsbørns muslimske identitet og fællesskab,” in Kulturel diversitet, eds. Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen and Nils Holtug (Odense: Syddansk Universitetsforlag, 2010), 123–41. 18. Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (Oxford: University Press, 1912/2001). 19. Michael S. Merry, “Social Exclusion of Muslim Youth in Flemish- and FrenchSpeaking Belgian Schools,” Comparative Education Review 49:1 (2005), 8. 20. Gilliam, De umulige børn. 21. Gilliam, De umulige børn. 22. Paul Willis, Learning to Labour: How Working Class Kids Get Working Class Jobs (Aldershot: Gower, 1977). 23. Gilliam, De umulige børn. 24. Willis, Learning to Labour; Mairtin Mac an Ghaill, Young, Gifted and Black: The Schooling of Black Youth (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1992); Ann Arnett Ferguson, Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2004); Dorthe Staunæs, Køn, etnicitet og skoleliv (Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur, 2004). 25. Gilliam, De umulige børn; John Ogbu, “Variability in Minority School Performance: A Problem in Search of an Explanation,” Anthropology & Education Quarterly 18 (1987), 312–34. 26. Gilliam, De umulige børn. 27. Deborah Youdell, “Identity Traps or How Black Students Fail: The Interactions Between Biographical, Sub-Cultural and Learner Identities,” British Journal of Sociology of Education 24:1 (2003), 84–102. 28. Youdell, “Identity Traps,” 17. 29. John D’Amato, “Resistance and Compliance in Minority Classrooms,” in Minority Education: Anthropological Perspectives, eds. Evelyn Jacob and Cathie Jordan (Norwood: Ablex, 1996), 181–207. 30. Perker is supposedly an amalgamation of tyrker (Turk) and pakistaner (Pakistani) or perser (Persian), and is a term used derogatorily by ethnic Danes to refer to immigrants. It is also used by ethnic minorities themselves, often to refer to ethnic-minority boys who dress in hip-hop clothes and act cool and aggressive.

10 Muslimness and Prayer The Performance of Religiosity in Everyday Life in and outside School in Denmark Iram Khawaja This chapter presents an analysis of schoolchildren’s practice of “Muslimness” in and outside a Danish public school. Based on qualitative interviews with Muslim schoolchildren about their everyday life and the practice of religiosity, it is shown how Muslimness plays into subjectivity and processes of becoming. The act of prayer (salat) is used as a point of departure in understanding how one may position oneself as a Muslim in regard to secular and religious discourses present in school and society. The analysis shows how religiosity is intrinsically linked to subjectivity, and specifically points toward how the individual child with a Muslim background has to decode existing ways of becoming a proper pupil, a proper Muslim and ultimately a proper subject in the various contexts he or she traverses in everyday life. Recent studies have shown that children and young people in Europe with an ethnic-minority background are increasingly defining themselves as Muslims, thereby making Islam a central marker of their identity.1 This tendency can be seen as a reflection of the heightened focus on Islam and Muslims after 9/11 in the US, and in Europe following the Islamic veil controversy in France, the cartoon crisis in Denmark and the general increase in right-wing political discourse in many European countries.2 The increased focus on Islam both by these children and by society at large calls for a more thorough study of what Muslimness is and of its role in the everyday life of subjects who define themselves as Muslims. Such hot topics of debate as the headscarf, children’s right to be exempted from classes on Christianity, and the role of Islam in processes of radicalization are often formed in and around the context of the school—a context in which Islam and the “Muslim child” are often dealt with as an obscure, abstract category defined predominantly by being in contrast to the majority national discourse of the public school. The aim of this chapter and the study on which it is based is to analyze and make visible how Muslimness is negotiated and performed in and around a Danish public school by the schoolchildren. The aim is thereby not only to make the children’s voices audible, but to nuance our understanding of the importance of religiosity in Muslim children’s everyday lives. The guiding questions for the chapter

188 Khawaja are two: How does the Muslim child position himself as an appropriate subject in the Danish public school? And, more generally, how can the individual position himself or herself, to a greater or lesser extent, as a religious being? The practice of prayer is taken as the point of departure in the investigation of Muslimness and the construction of the proper kind of subjecthood in the Danish public school context. The chapter examines religiosity and schools from a social-psychological point of view, with religiosity seen as intrinsically linked both to subjectivity and to the micro-social negotiations of secular, pedagogical and religious discourses in school and society at large.

THE STUDY The study on which this chapter is based was designed to capture movements in and across the various different contexts in which the Muslim schoolchild participates. Religiosity is explored as part of the everyday life and practice of the subject,3 and the methods used were designed to capture the everyday routines and actions of the children, as well as their narratives about them. The study used qualitative methods of observation and interviewing, comprising semi-structured narrative interviews with children aged 10–16 defining themselves as Muslims in three Danish public schools, as well as interviews with many of the parents of the children. Two of the three schools are located in two different urban areas of Copenhagen, while the third is located outside of Copenhagen in a suburb that can be characterized as having a majority population of people with ethnic-minority backgrounds. The children were of many different ages and ethnicities, in order to ensure a variety of different ways of being. I also conducted participant observations of various gatherings of pupils and parents in and around the schools. The interviews with the children were designed to elicit the children’s detailed accounts of their everyday lives.4 Accordingly they were asked when they wake up, what they do after they wake up, go to school, etc., until they go to sleep, but with specific reference to the day before. The material I draw on in this chapter is based on interviews with children from one of the study’s two schools in the Copenhagen urban area. This school has around 800 pupils, of whom 60 per cent have an ethnicminority background. The school is demographically placed in a workingclass/middle-class area. A large area of middle-class residential blocks is located just next to the school, and many of the children interviewed lived in this neighborhood. The interviews included here were all conducted in the child’s school, in an empty classroom. Before I go into an analysis of the narratives of the children’s everyday life, I want to clarify what I mean by the concept of Muslimness, and what prayer in Islam is.

Muslimness and Prayer 189 WHAT IS MUSLIMNESS? BECOMING A MUSLIM I use the concept of Muslimness to capture the fact that the practice of Islam is fluid, and that it is connected to many different ways of positioning and understanding oneself as a Muslim. Rather than a static statement, to be a Muslim is a constantly negotiated practice. Muslimness is something one does: it is lived, practiced and constructed. The concept of Muslimness highlights that the question of interest in this study is not how to be a good Muslim or a particular kind of Muslim, but rather how particular practices and positionings are connected to complex constructions of religiosity and identity. It is possible to become a Muslim by positioning oneself through the category of religiosity, but it is important to have in mind that the category of Muslimness or religiosity never stands alone. It intersects with other identity-forming categories such as gender, age and ethnicity, and it is always defined within and encompassed by the particular contexts the subject participates in. This way of using and understanding the concept of Muslimness stems from my theoretical interest in processes of becoming—that is, from a theoretical focus on how one may become the subject one understands oneself to be, in regard to the existing discursive possibilities of positioning oneself as an acknowledged and recognizable subject.5 This interest in becoming, and in how subjectivity is formed, stems from a post-structurally informed focus on understanding the emotional and embodied aspects of the processes of subjectification.6 Subjectification as a discursive process of becoming is a concept formulated by Michel Foucault and seen in his work on how subjects become who they think they are through power-relational and historical processes that enable or disable particular ways of being. To become a subject is a matter of coming into existence through the discourses that make certain versions, actions and embodiments of subjecthood possible. In order to position oneself as a recognizable and accepted subject in a context, one has to read, decode and thus subjectify oneself to the discursive logic prevalent in this context. In this way one comes into being through a process of becoming somebody whom someone else can categorize, position and interact with. An important point here is that the subject is not formed in a void. The processes of formation have to be seen as embodied, contextual and historical. That is why it is especially relevant to look into how the school context facilitates certain ways of becoming a “normal” (to a greater or lesser extent), an accepted or an “othered” Muslim child. The school, here specifically the Danish public school, can be conceptualized as a site for the construction of the proper citizen, with discourses on appropriate behavior, national identity and citizenship shaping the content and format of both school and pupil.7 Much has been written about school discourses of discipline and normalization and about how these determine the ways in which one can become the “good” pupil and position oneself as

190 Khawaja a proper subject.8 I will apply the focus of these studies to the issue of how the Muslim child can negotiate the visibility and performance of Muslimness in the school context and thereby come into being as an accepted and proper subject. As is evident, my focus on becoming is based on an approach that destabilizes the subject as a unitary and homogenous being, in an attempt to conceptualize and explore the conditions for the construction of subjectivity.9 This decentralized concept of subjectivity is applied to an understanding of Muslimness that is seen as a discursive, embodied practice and performance of the “correct” way of positioning oneself as a Muslim. The main point here in using the concept of Muslimness is to highlight how subjectivity and religiosity are intrinsically related to the subject’s ways of coming into being and performing oneself as a proper subject in the school context. Positioning oneself as a Muslim cannot simply be seen solely as an expression of how one cognitively understands oneself. It has to be seen in its practice and actual performance. One way in which this aspect of embodiment can be captured is through prayer—which is why I will now turn my gaze toward the act of the Islamic prayer, the salat. I will use prayer as a point of departure for the question of how Muslimness is performed and made part of the Muslim schoolchild’s everyday life. In following the act of prayer, I will also be including the narratives of the Muslim subjects I interviewed.

SALAT: THE PERFORMANCE OF MUSLIMNESS In most of the interviews, both parents and children mentioned the act of prayer as an important aspect of what it means to be a Muslim. The question of what it means to be a Muslim was most often answered with reference to the five pillars of Islam, in which prayer/salat is one among the five.10 There seems to be a discursive consensus on the understanding that the right kind of Muslim is a person who prays,11 but what does it mean to pray when one is a Muslim? Most people will associate prayer in Islam with the image of a person kneeling and bowing their head to the ground, which denotes its very performative nature, but one has to keep in mind that prayer can be many things for Muslims. It can, for example, be remembrance of the 99 names of God, verbally sending blessings to the Prophet Muhammad, or it can be the silent prayer (du‘a) in the form of a conversation with God.12 When the children I interviewed talked about prayer, they were usually referring to the salat. Salat is the Arabic term for the most visible, formalized and best-established act of Islamic prayer, in which bowing and kneeling of the body is seen. Salat comprises a sequence of ritualized and formalized bodily movements that are performed with the recital of specific verses from the Quran. Salat is described as a religious duty for all adult Muslims, and is to be performed five times a day according to the position of the sun (in the Sunni Muslim tradition). Heiko Henkel has said of the salat that it is “a break between the flow of everyday life,”13 and, following his focus on

Muslimness and Prayer 191 everyday life, I will look into how prayer, like other religiously defined acts, forms an integrated part of the everyday life of Muslim children. For many of the children interviewed, salat was an incorporated part of their lives, as normal as brushing their teeth and eating. Most often this habituality is seen in families where the parents actively pray and where salat forms part of the daily activities of the family. Most children chose in their narratives of their daily routines not to mention that they prayed. This was most prevalent among the older children from seventh grade (age 13–14) to ninth grade (age 15–16). I cannot be sure whether they actually performed the salat. Their telling me that they did might be an expression of it being the right thing to do and the right thing to say, reproducing a standard definition and discourse of what it means to be a “good Muslim.” Nevertheless it is interesting, as it highlights the discourses prevalent in regard to the question of how one can become a proper Muslim in and outside school. This is evident in the following example from my interview with Mustafa.

MUSTAFA AND THE PRIVACY OF SALAT Mustafa is 13 years old and in seventh grade. He did not always attend this school. He started in fifth grade, and before that he went to an Arabic private school, or “free school.” He lives in the nearby neighborhood with his father (who came to Denmark from Palestine in the 1970s) and mother (who is a native Dane who converted to Islam many years back). Mustafa recounts his everyday routine: Yesterday I got up quarter to seven, had breakfast, sat a bit with the parents, got dressed and then I left. Then I took the bus to school. Then I just came here, had normal classes, played football in the breaks and then yesterday I went to the dentist, but otherwise it is just school, break, football and then in the breaks it is football with friends and hang out with friends. There is no doubt that football is an important part of Mustafa’s narrative of his everyday life, as it is mentioned several times. Further on in the interview I ask more specifically about Islam and religiosity by touching on the subject of going to the mosque. I: M:

I: M:

Do you go to the mosque? I don’t get time for it every day, so I go to the Friday prayer every Friday. There I go to the mosque and pray, and then I pray the other four at home. Okay, and do you pray every Friday or do you also pray the other days? No, it is every day that I pray all five, but then on Fridays I go to the Friday prayer just after school. Then I go from school to Friday prayer.

192 Khawaja I: M: I: M: I: M: I: M: I: M: I: M:


M: I: M:

I: M: I: M:

Okay, so you actually pray every day? Yes. Do you then pray in the mornings when you get up, or . . . ? Yes [nods]. And what about the prayer time in the middle of the day, when you are in school, what do you do then? I just go home, and then I pray the one that is at that time and repeat it [the one he missed], because I did not make it. Yes, okay . . . Hmmm, is it not possible to pray here at school? [Is quiet for a while] I could. Is it something you have tried? No. No, okay, why not? I don’t know—there isn’t—I can’t find room or a place to do it. There is noise almost everywhere. I want to pray in peace, where there is silence and things like that. Okay, yes I understand that. But there are some people who are able to just pray in the street or something like that, but you don’t feel like doing that? No. Why is that so? I don’t want to show myself like that in public in front of others, because then it is like, showing off, “I am praying, come and look at me.” I don’t like that. I just want to pray for my own sake. Yes, okay. I do it for my own sake. Yes, okay. Why do you pray? Have you always prayed? I was taught how to pray when I was young—when I was very young. My father prays, and then I began to read the Quran and things like that, and then he showed me how to pray, and since then I have been able to do it, and I have prayed.

Mustafa’s interview highlights the interesting question of when the salat is mentioned. It is not mentioned in his description of his daily life routine, where he focuses on what happens in school. (This could also be a consequence of the setting of the interview, which takes place in the school.) Prayer comes up when I ask what happens after school. Various different localities are connected to various different possibilities of performing oneself as a Muslim. If the interview had taken place in the mosque or at his home, Mustafa’s narrative might have been told differently. Nevertheless, it is relevant to note that prayer in school is mentioned as something one can do, technically, but not something practiced by Mustafa or by any of the other children I interviewed. The act of salat is very much grounded in Mustafa’s home life, and linked to his father, who taught him to pray and whom he has seen praying since he

Muslimness and Prayer 193 was a little boy. Prayer, for him, belongs to the private sphere of life. Mustafa explains his reluctance to perform the salat in school or any other public space by it being a private matter. The act of prayer is here bound to a certain morality in which prayer is performed for the individual as an expression of his or her relationship with God, rather than to show off to other people. This could be interpreted as an expression of societal discourses of secularism in which religion is separated from the public space,14 but it could also be seen as an expression of Islamic tradition on the right way of practicing Islam, as many traditions (hadiths and passages in the Quran) highlight that prayer should not be done for anybody other than the individual. God does not need anyone to pray for him.15 It is thus interesting to note how secular discourses on school and other public institutions here intersect with religious discourses on what is proper behavior and the proper expression of subjectivity and Muslimness. I will come back to this point later in the chapter, as this intersection of discourses is also evident in other narratives. The “properness” of Muslimness—that is, the identification of the correct way and place to make oneself visible as a Muslim, with the question of where to perform the salat being linked to a basic sense of morality—denotes how salat can be conceptualized as a self-formative and performative act. The act of salat can be seen, as in Saba Mahmood’s work,16 as an embodied technology of discipline and subjectification through unified and shared ways of performing prayer in Islam. Discipline is here used in its Foucauldian sense—as a power-relational subjectification of the body through certain technologies such as internal monitoring, the confessional and tests.17 The discursive understanding of what it means to be a proper Muslim can, for example, be disciplined through the proper performance of how, where and when to enact the salat. The salat can itself be seen as a technology of discipline. In doing the salat or even talking about it, the children are investing in a shared discursive construction of the proper embodiment and practice of Muslimness, based on the construction of oneself as a proper, moral being with the right kind of relation to God. The anthropologist Gregory Simon, who did fieldwork among a Muslim community in Indonesia, had the same observations on how salat is connected to the formation and understanding of how to be the right kind of subject. When my conversations with people turned to matters of religion, or even to the idea of being a good person, prayer usually found its way to the center of the discussion. This was often the case whether or not the person in question prayed regularly. It is through the performance of shalat that the capacities of a moral self are said to be realized. Some people claimed to me that in the absence of shalat such realization was impossible, an idea that no one discussed in connection with any other Islamic practice.18 In regard to how salat is connected to positioning oneself as a moral being, it could be said that the use of prayer, and the mention of oneself and one’s

194 Khawaja everyday life in relation to the salat, as in Mustafa’s interview, is a way of authenticating oneself as a proper Muslim and thus a proper self. The proper bodily movements and recitation of the correct Quranic verses are part of performing oneself as the right kind of Muslim—an embodiment of appropriate Muslimness. What is evident in the children’s narratives is that this form of embodiment cannot be performed at all places at all times. Its “properness” and visibility have to be negotiated and carefully performed according to the specific context in which one finds oneself.

PRAYER AS PART OF “MY EVERYDAY LIFE:” THE SCHOOL AS A CONTEXT FOR MUSLIMNESS In Mustafa’s narrative, the visible performance of Muslimness in the form of salat is presented as an integral part of the life that he leads before and after school. He prays before and after he goes to school, and goes to the Friday prayer after school. Salat is actively separated from school life. This pattern can also be seen in the interview with Nabil, who is 16. His parents are from Somalia and he is in the ninth grade. He came to Denmark when he was a child, and went back to Somalia with his family for some years before starting at the school in the fifth grade. Unlike Mustafa, Nabil mentions the salat as one of the first things he does in his description of his everyday routine. N:

I: N: I: N: I: N: I: N: I: N: I: N:

It is a bit complicated. But I get up around, you know, six o’clock for, you know, it’s a bit different, to pray, you know, the one in the morning, right. And then I go to school around quarter to eight, and then after school I go home and then sometimes I hang out with some friends and stuff like that, you know. Okay, yes, but then you get up according to when the prayer time starts? Is that how it is? Yes, and if it is four o’clock as it is sometimes, then I just go back to sleep again. Okay, yes, then you just go back to sleep again, but at the moment it is around seven, or how is it nowadays? At the moment it is six. Yes, okay, and what do you do afterwards? You don’t go to bed? No, I have breakfast. If I don’t have any homework I watch TV, or something like that, or play on my computer. Okay, so you also have that time in the morning to do your homework? Yes, I do. Do you go to bed early then? Yes, I do. I go to bed at ten. Do you also pray before you go to bed? Yes, I do. I pray all five times.

Muslimness and Prayer 195 I:

N: I: N: I: N: I: N: I: N: I: N:

Okay, you pray all five times, mashallah. What do you do then, when you are in school and you have to pray? Some of the prayer times are when you are in school, right? Yes they are, but you know, you can’t really do anything there, so I wait till I am home. Okay, so you wait till you are home. So you’ve never thought of just telling the teacher, “Oh, I have to go out and pray?” No, you know, then I’d disturb the class. Yes, okay, so you would not want that? No. Why do you pray five times a day? It is something I do because, you know, because my whole family is quite religious. So it is something I am used to doing every day. Is it important for you or the family? No, it is important for me, too. To have a religion and stuff like that. How is it important? If you don’t pray one day or miss a prayer time? What does it mean to you? It doesn’t really matter much to miss one day, or one of the five prayers. It doesn’t really mean much to me, but you know, I pray, it is part of my everyday life.

Salat is presented as something Nabil is “used to” doing. Nabil’s narrative follows some constant elements that structure his everyday life, salat being one of them, as it determines the time he wakes up in the morning, for example. The act of salat is not performed by him alone: in the interview with Nabil’s father, it becomes clear that it is a practice formed by and through a family tradition of waking up at dawn to perform the morning prayer. This is relevant as it expresses how religiosity and the practice of Muslimness are very much bound to the practice of family and home life. Many of the children and their parents mentioned salat as something “we” do, the “we” denoting both the family and the broader Muslim community. In this way the salat is not just an act for oneself, to be performed for oneself alone, as we saw in the interview with Mustafa: it also refers to a shared framework of understanding oneself as participating in a larger community of people who pray in the shared understanding that prayer is important in becoming a Muslim. This sense of “we” is also expressed later in the interview with Nabil, when he talks about going to the mosque for the Friday prayer. Like Mustafa, Nabil makes it a priority to attend the Friday prayer, which he goes to just after school with some of his friends. The practice of going to and performing the Friday prayer is done with other Muslims, denoting how collectivity and subjectivity in the form of the practice of Muslimness are intersecting here. As in the interviews with Nabil and Mustafa, salat is generally mentioned in regard to other contexts than the school: school is not presented as a context where it is possible to do the salat. It is not a startling revelation that

196 Khawaja religiosity and prayer are being positioned outside of the context of the Danish public school. The structure of the classroom and the discursive educational context of the Danish public school—where religion is something that one is taught about rather than something to practice or preach—set boundaries on what can be said and done. There is a clear demarcation between pedagogical learning about religion and the preaching of religion.19 With the children positioned as students of religion rather than believers, the practice of religiosity is not something that is a main focus in school. It should also be borne in mind that salat is not merely a spoken prayer, but is performed with the proper actions and in a proper state of bodily purification. It is a way of performing the body and becoming a body that will seem strange and unknown for many in the context of the school. It would be recognized as odd and out of place in regard to the ways of being that are admissible and “normal” in the school, where other discourses of learning, education and training prevail. Thus doing salat in school apparently becomes something unthinkable: salat takes place in other spheres of the children’s everyday lives, most notably at home and in the mosque. Accordingly, one can say that certain places are to a greater or lesser extent “tinted” by Muslimness, as the researcher Mette Buchardt notes in her study of the teaching of religion in the Danish public school. The school is tinted by other discourses and virtues that define what is seen as proper, right and normal behavior.20 Sally Anderson makes an interesting point about the relation between school and society when she shows that the school is conceptualized as a liminal “as if” space, where the pupils have to be modelled as good and proper citizens.21 In regard to this point, the salat cannot be said to represent what it means to be a good citizen or a “good pupil” in a Danish societal context where particular virtues such as freedom, responsibility for one’s actions, willingness to work together, etc., are prioritized.22 Salat represents a virtuous religious deed defined by other discourses in other spaces.

“THE GOOD MUSLIM”/“THE GOOD PUPIL” The school is presented as a no-prayer zone by the Muslim children, but this does not mean that it should be perceived as a zone free from the practice of Muslimness. The act of not praying in school is also an expression of how to practice the proper kind of Muslimness in school. It is a central point in Buckhardt’s research that being a Muslim is something that is learned in school just as it is in other contexts like the home.23 The school should not therefore be seen simply as a compartment of non-Muslim practice. Though the discursive premises differ in each context, the child learns how to make himself or herself more (or less) visible as a Muslim in the appropriate manner in the various locations and contexts he or she traverses during the day. The school and the various contexts of learning and play offer their own discursive logic and practice on how to become a legitimate Muslim (or, more

Muslimness and Prayer 197 generally, a legitimate subject). Being a “good pupil” is as much in play here as being a “good Muslim,” and the children have to negotiate which subject position to foreground at which point in their daily life trajectories. Nabil and Mustafa perform their religiosity in the form of prayer before and after school but not in school, although prayer is only one aspect of what it means to practice Islam and to position oneself as a Muslim. They are reading and decoding the permissible and acceptable ways of performing Muslimness in the school, and they express them to me when they state that they would not be happy to do the salat at school. Nabil clearly states that it would disturb the class. The salat would be seen as a disruptive form of action, something that would place him in the position of being troublesome, someone who does not know the rules of the game at school. Such an act would be seen as contrary to being a “good pupil.” Making one’s religiosity and the active practice of prayer non-visible in the school is thus in itself a way of positioning oneself in the proper way as a Muslim pupil. If we look further into the question of secular and religious discourses, positioning oneself as the right kind of subject and the right kind of Muslim are linked to broader negotiations of the discursive boundaries between the secular and the religious—of the private and the public. It is clearly possible to draw lines back to Talal Asad’s work here.24 Though the Muslim pupils can be seen positioning themselves in their narratives in regard to the clear divisions between the public and the private, this positioning is not bound solely to a discourse of secularism and a pedagogical discourse of how to be the right kind of pupil: it is as much connected to religious discourses of how to be the right kind of Muslim. This can thus be seen as an example of how the seemingly religious and the secular intersect25 and create new subjectivities and possibilities for the negotiation of Muslimness. As Charles Hirschkind explores in his article, “Is There a Secular Body?” the demarcations between what is secular and what is religious are continuously negotiated in regard to: a distinct mode of power, one that mobilizes the productive tension between religious and secular to generate new practices through a process of internal self-differentiation. The boundaries of our categories religious and secular do not preexist this process but are continuously determined and reciprocally redefined within it.26 The school can be seen as a secular and public sphere where these boundaries are tested, upheld and in some cases challenged, as is also evident in the following example from the interview with eleven-year-old Yusuf, in fifth grade.

THE EXCEPTION: PERFORMING SALAT IN SCHOOL It seems that the school is constructed as not the place for the visible and performative act of Muslimness in the form of salat, but there are always

198 Khawaja exceptions, as when Yusuf was asked to demonstrate how to do the salat in front of the class in a project week at school. Yusuf’s parents are from Iraq. He was born and raised in a rural town in Jutland, far from Copenhagen. The family came to Copenhagen some years back, and Yusuf started in the school in fourth grade, which he described as a major change for him. He lives in the school neighborhood and feels he has adjusted well and is an integrated part of the class and school now. In this part of the interview I conducted with him and his classmate Mohammad, he talks about his experience of having to perform the salat in class. YUSUF:

For example, me and Mohammad—we were on a project together where we had to do a presentation on Eid27 and the five pillars and so on, about Islam. A girl called Kate asked the teacher if I could do the prayer, and then I discussed it with my teacher in my language [the teacher, like Yusuf, was from Iraq]. And then I had to pray, and if I hadn’t prayed then I probably wouldn’t have gotten a good mark [the projects and the pupils were ranked “good,” “medium,” etc.]. MOHAMMAD: And then he did it and everybody was laughing at him. Yusuf tells how he had to take off his shoes and show the movements of the salat, and how he discussed with his teacher how he didn’t want to do it, but he had to give in. As he performs the salat in front of the class, everybody laughs at him. What is this laughter an expression of? Is the salat in the context of the classroom too odd in regard to the secular discourse prevalent in the school? Does it seem funny to the other pupils? Is it an expression of their reaction to Yusuf’s unwillingness and feeling uncomfortable? There could be many explanations, but Yusuf remembers this incident as an embarrassing situation where he was placed in a position in which he could be ridiculed or laughed at. In line with Foucault’s work, one can say that it is often in the exceptions that we find the strongest evidence of how things “should” be, and hence become aware of the normalizing discourses and their disciplining power. It is when we are startled, or something seems out of place, that we are able to think about the discursive normalities we are subjected to. In Yusuf’s case it becomes evident how the boundaries between the spheres of public and private/religious and secular were crossed, leaving him in a situation of self-display where, from being a personal matter of faith, his Muslimness becomes the basis for his evaluation as a proper pupil performing correctly in the educational context of a school project. His performance of the prayer is made a part of the presentation of the project on Islam, and thus a part of how the project is to be marked. Having to perform and actively demonstrate his Muslimness is very uncomfortable for him. The incident is based on Yusuf’s positioning as an expert on Islam because he has a Muslim background, a tendency seen in many schools and classes where there are Muslim children.28 Yusuf is positioned to show or tell about

Muslimness and Prayer 199 the “real,” “true” meaning of Islam and Islamic practice in a confessional manner that reveals how the personal and the private are being conflated with the public and educational setting of the classroom and, more specifically, how prayer is being used as a means of discipline in regard to how to perform as a proper Muslim and a proper pupil. The classroom, which normally excludes the visible performance of Muslimness, is suddenly opened up as a space for the act of salat, but this creates an uncomfortable position for Yusuf, who has to struggle to negotiate between positioning himself as a “good pupil” and as a “good Muslim.” Yusuf’s own understanding of how to practice Islam and position himself as a Muslim is not to be too vocal or explicit about his beliefs. His way of positioning himself as a Muslim subject clashes with this public display of religiosity. Yusuf narrates his practice of the prayer in the following passage, which describes how he positions himself as a Muslim in the school and more generally: I pray three times a day, in the morning and then later. Sometimes I forget to pray the second one. Well, now I’m 15 years old I have to do all three of them, but sometimes I forget the second one, because that’s at the time when I’m at the club [the club he attends after school]. Then I do the prayer when I come home. And then I do it just before I go to bed . . . One can say there are two different Islams, and we are Shia. My mom says I shouldn’t mention this because it creates trouble and the difference is not so big. I don’t bother about there being a difference, and if somebody asks me if I am a Shia Muslim then I, I say—that I don’t really want to talk about it. I just say then that I am a Muslim. Generally, Yusuf keeps his religiosity to himself and believes that it is personal. In this extract it becomes clear that this positioning is also related to the fact that he belongs to a minority Shia Islamic community within the majority group of Sunni Muslims in the class and in the school. Yusuf does not want to talk about the differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims (one of which is the number of times the salat is performed during the day). For him, the most important thing is to be a Muslim. The category of Muslimness is foregrounded and used as a unifying category of commonality in relation to the other Muslim pupils in his class and the school in general. The concept of the umma is worth mentioning here, as relevant to how the sense of collectivity and subjectivity are formed around and through discourses of religious unity. The umma figures as a strong discourse of a universal Muslim community that transcends ethnic, national and geographical borders. The main point is to position oneself as a Muslim, rather than to focus on what kind of Muslim one is. The discourse of the umma as a universal brotherhood and sisterhood of Islam is found both in the traditions of Islam and in studies of what it means to be a Muslim today,29 and Yusuf can be said to be expressing this collective Muslim “we,” which ensures that he is not positioned as a double-minority subject through his ethnicity and his

200 Khawaja religiosity. The umma concept is also a way of ensuring that he does not get into trouble with the other pupils of Sunni Muslim background. Conscious of his Shia Muslim background and reluctant to be too open about it, it is even more understandable why Yusuf is so concerned about being put in the spotlight and having to represent what salat is and how it is performed, as there are differences in the ways salat is performed by Shia and Sunni Muslims— differences in the position of the hands and in the words used, such as when and if “Ameen” is said. The other children in the class laughing at him might also be an expression of these differences. It might thus be especially distressing for Yusuf to be selected as the one pupil in class whose Muslimness is made to represent what is Islamic prayer. Yusuf and Mohammad’s school has, as mentioned, a ratio of 60 per cent pupils with a Muslim background, and their class reflects this. Yusuf is thus not only put on the spot in relation to the non-Muslim pupils—one of whom actually asks specifically about the salat—but also viewed and judged by other Muslim pupils in regard to whether he is doing the salat in the proper way. As the practice of salat is used as a way to position and embody oneself as a proper moral subject, this is a sensitive situation. The proper embodiment and performance of the salat are at stake. “Subjecthood/and studenthood comes with costs,” as Deborah Youdell notes in her study of processes of subjectification in education. She describes schools as contexts that are “suffused with exclusions, with what the student-subject cannot be.”30 Here Yusuf’s subjecthood and studenthood are conflated with his Muslimness in a situation where he risks being labeled as not the right kind of Muslim by the other pupils of Muslim background, and as too odd—as an “other”—by the Danish pupils. It should also be noted that positioning oneself and embodying that position as Muslim is not only a matter of having another religion. Sometimes it is even more about having another culture, so that positioning oneself or being positioned as Muslim acquires additional dimensions over and above religiosity. Cultural or ethnic “otherness” are often conflated with religious/Muslim “otherness,”31 which can be seen as part of a broader tendency to perceive the group of ethnic or culturally minoritized subjects as Muslims.32 Much is then at stake for Yusuf in this situation, as he has to negotiate and position himself in relation to several different conflicting, conflating and more (or less) visible and accepted categories such as Muslimness, pupilness, ethnicity, “otherness,” etc.—a negotiation that is uncomfortable for him, and that is deliberately avoided by Nabil and Mustafa in their avoidance of performing salat in the context of the school.

CONCLUSION What can be said about the practice of Muslimness in the daily lives of Muslim children in and outside a Danish public school? We saw in Mustafa’s, Nabil’s and Yusuf’s narratives of their practice of everyday life and Islam

Muslimness and Prayer 201 that the performance of Muslimness, though varied and multiform, still follows certain common threads such as the practice of salat. Salat was used in the chapter as a point of departure for understanding how Muslimness is constructed and made possible in various everyday-life contexts. Following the practice of salat revealed that Muslimness as an active and embodied marker of subjectivity is intrinsically woven into the material of the children’s everyday life—weaving itself in and out of the school, the home, and other settings such as the mosque. Certain settings are more (or less) open to the visibility and performance of Muslimness. The fact that all of the Muslim children I interviewed chose not to pray in the school context can be seen as an expression of how they negotiate intersecting discourses regulating the right kind of performance of pupilness and Muslimness—and perhaps also the right (or rather the acceptable) kind of “otherness.” Here account should be taken of the fact that Nabil, Mustafa and Yusuf are male and that this, too, affects the way they form and perform their Muslimness. The girls I interviewed had to deal with additional issues as well, such as whether to wear the headscarf in school—which points to there being more indicators of Muslimness than salat at play in the school context. Further research has yet to focus on how these other gendered indicators intersect with Muslimness. Salat is submission and the promise of realizing a proper moral self, but as we have seen it is also a performative act carried out in relation to others in the family and the neighborhood, and more broadly in relation to the Muslim umma. This is clear in the cases of Nabil and Mustafa. In their narratives it becomes evident that the practice of salat is performed in different settings according to the context. Interestingly, the discursive divides between public/private and secular/religious intersect and overlap, with the result that in practice these divisions are not always upheld. The children make use of them as they negotiate their Muslimness in various contexts, and this may be what it takes to become an accepted subject in the school, in the home and the other contexts. Active negotiation is required of the boundaries of what is religious/secular, what is private/public and what is right/wrong/normal, along with the correct reading of each situation so as to position oneself as not only the right kind of Muslim, but the right kind of son/daughter, the right kind of “other,” and the right kind of pupil. Being a Muslim is thus something that one learns to be in school, just as it is learned and practiced in other contexts like in the home and the mosque. Sometimes being a “good pupil” collides with, or is supported by, the position of being a “good Muslim.” Muslimness as a concept is thus shown to be very useful, not only in grasping the negotiation of different discourses of religiosity and secularity, but also in gauging the level of subjectification and in casting light on how one may become a proper subject by performing prayer not only in the right place, but also in the right manner. Muslimness as a concept can thus be used as a tool to unlock processes of becoming and to highlight how religiosity and subjecthood are intrinsically related. The question remains whether a deeper understanding of the construction

202 Khawaja and negotiation of Muslimness can enlighten the discourses on Islam and Muslims, and open new avenues of talking about and conceptualizing what it means to be a Muslim today.

NOTES 1. Iram Khawaja and Line Lerche Mørck, “Researcher Positioning: Muslim ‘Otherness’ and Beyond,” Qualitative Research in Psychology 4:1–2 (2009), 28; Christopher Allen, Islamophobia (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 7; Jonas Otterbeck, “Ritualization among Young Adult Muslims in Malmö and Copenhagen,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 34:7 (2011), 1170. 2. Peter Hervik, “The Predictable Responses to the Danish Cartoons,” Global Media and Communication 2 (2006), 225; Tariq Modood et al., Multiculturalism, Muslims and Citizenship: A European Approach (London: Routledge, 2006), 1–4. 3. Meredith McGuire, “Embodied Practices: Negotiation and Resistance,” in Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives, ed. Nancy Ammerman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 187–201; Meredith McGuire, Lived Religion: Faith and Practice in Everyday Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 12. 4. Agnes Andenæs, “Fra undersøkelsesobjekt til medforsker? Livsformsintervju med 4–5-åringer,” Nordisk Psykologi 43:4 (1999), 20–31. 5. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1999), xiv–xv; Bronwyn Davies, (In)scribing Body/Landscape Relations (Walnut Creek: Alta Mira Press, 2000), 37. Also see Dorte Marie Søndergaard, “Academic Desire Trajectories: Retooling the Concepts of Subject, Desire and Biography,” European Journal of Women’s Studies 12:3 (2005), 297–313. 6. Subjectification (sometimes also called subjectivation or subjection) denotes how the subject comes into existence in a double relation to the existing discourses in a society. Discourse denotes particular ways of understanding and speaking of a subject or a phenomenon. Discourses are power-relational and dynamic and always affect how it is possible to see, think or act, as described in Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (London: Penguin, 1977), 26–28, and Michel Foucault, “The Subject of Power,” in Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, eds. Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rabinow (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1982), 206–26. 7. Deborah Youdell, “Subjectivation and Performative Politics—Butler Thinking Althusser and Foucault: Intelligibility, Agency and the Raced–Nationed– Religioned Subjects of Education,” British Journal of Sociology of Education 27:4 (2006), 513–30; Sally Anderson, “Going Through the Motions of Ritual: Exploring the ‘As If’ Quality of Religious Sociality in Faith-Based Schools,” in The Study of Children in Religions: A Methods Handbook, ed. Susan B. Ridgely (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 139–56. 8. Lynn Fendler, “Educating Flexible Souls: The Construction of Subjectivity Through Developmentality and Interaction,” in Governing the Child in the New Millennium, eds. Kenneth Hultqvist and Gunilla Dahlberg (New York: Routledge & Falmer, 2001), 119–42. 9. Also see Suad Joseph, “Thinking Intentionality: Arab Women’s Subjectivity and its Discontents,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 8:2 (2012), 9–10.

Muslimness and Prayer 203 10. The other four are the shahada (stating your belief in the one God and his Messenger), charitable giving, fasting during the month of Ramadan and the hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca once in your lifetime). 11. Also see Heiko Henkel, “Between Belief and Unbelief Lies the Performance of Salat: Meaning and Efficacy of a Muslim Ritual,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11:3 (2005), 488–90; Gregory Simon, “The Soul Freed of Cares? Islamic Prayer, Subjectivity and the Contradictions of Moral Selfhood in Minangkabau, Indonesia,” American Ethnologist 36:2 (2009), 259–60. 12. See, for example, Anne-Marie Schimmel, “Some Aspects of Mystical Prayer in Islam,” Die Welt des Islams NS 2:2 (1952), 118–20. 13. Henkel, “Between Belief and Unbelief,” 497–98. 14. Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (London: John Hopkins University Press, 1993); Jocelyne Cesari, When Islam and Democracy Meet: Muslims in Europe and in the United States (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Christopher Brittain, “The ‘Secular’ as a Tragic Category: On Talal Asad, Religion and Representation,” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 17 (2005), 149–65; Ovamir Anjum, “Islam as a Discursive Tradition: Talal Asad and His Interlocutors,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27:3 (2007), 1–8. 15. This understanding of God as all-sufficient and free of all wants is expressed in the Quran; e.g. “To Allah belong all things in heaven and earth: verily Allah is He [that is] free of all wants, worthy of all praise” (31:26) and “O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise” (35:10). This understanding can be seen as a common discourse among the Muslim umma, expressed widely. See, for example, and 16. Saba Mahmood, “Rehearsed Spontaneity and the Conventionality of Ritual: Disciplines of salat,” American Ethnologist 28:4 (2001), 827–53; Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005). 17. Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 170–94; Nikolas Rose, Inventing Ourselves: Psychology, Power and Personhood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 150–68. 18. Simon, “The Soul Freed of Cares?” 259; see also Maria Louw, “Being Muslim the Ironic Way: Secularism, Religion and Irony in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan,” in Varieties of Secularism in Asia: Anthropological Explorations of Religion, Politics and the Spiritual, eds. Nils Ole Bubandt and Martijn van Been (London: Taylor & Francis, 2010), 143–62. 19. Anderson, “Going Through the Motions of Ritual.” 20. Mette Buchardt, “When ‘Muslim-ness’ is Pedagogised: ‘Religion’ and ‘Culture’ as Knowledge and Social Classification in the Classroom,” British Journal of Religious Education 32:3 (2010), 268–69. 21. Anderson, “Going through the Motions of Ritual,” 12: also see Deborah Youdell, “Diversity, Inequality, and a Post-Structural Politics for Education,” Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 27:1 (2006), 36–38. 22. Jette Kofoed, “Elevpli: inklusion- og eksklusionsprocesser blandt børn i skolen” (PhD diss., Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitet, 2004). 23. Buchardt, “When ‘Muslim-ness’ is Pedagogised,” 7. 24. Asad, Genealogies of Religion.

204 Khawaja 25. Also see Nancy Ammerman, “Studying Everyday Religion: Challenges for the Future,” in Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives, ed. Nancy Ammerman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 219–38. 26. Charles Hirschkind, “Is There a Secular Body?” Cultural Anthropology 26:4 (2011), 642. 27 Eid is an Islamic holiday celebrated twice a year, first to mark the end of the month of fasting, Ramadan, and also to mark the yearly hajj (Muslim pilgrimage) and the Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice. 28. Buchardt, “When ‘Muslim-ness’ is Pedagogised,” 266–67. 29. Olivier Roy, Globalised Islam: The Search for a New Ummah (London: Hurst, 2004); Cesari, When Islam and Democracy Meet; Khawaja, “To Belong Everywhere and Nowhere.” 30. Youdell, “Diversity, Inequality, and a Post-Structural Politics for Education,” 38. 31. Tekla Canger, “Mellem minoritet og majoritet—et ikke-sted: minoriserede unges biografiske fortællinger om uddannelse, normalitet og andethed” (PhD diss., Roskilde University, 2008); Khawaja, “To Belong Everywhere and Nowhere.” 32. Rashmi Singla et al., “South Asian Diasporic Youth in Denmark: Socioeconomic Strategies,” Finnish Journal of Ethnicity and Migration 4:1 (2009), 16–27.

11 Likable Children, Uneasy Children Growing Up Muslim in Small-Town Danish Schools Sally Anderson

We are . . . not stable or set pieces, with established and immutable essences, destinies, or identities; we are constantly changing, formed and reformed, in the course of our relationships with others and our struggle for whatever helps us sustain and find fulfillment in life —Michael Jackson, Lifeworlds1

Caught up as one sometimes becomes in heated debates about immigration, integration and relations between distinct groups of migrants and majority populations, it is easy to overlook the stories and everyday experiences of individual migrants.2 Anne Sigfrid Grønseth urges both politicians and scholars to be aware of this omission, and to pay more attention to migrants not as distinct social categories or groups, but as fellow human beings. It is important that we recognize that migrant engagement in “practices, meanings and values related to their pasts” does not preclude creating and becoming “involved in new cultural, social and climatic contexts”3— not least because any engagement with one’s past, present and future is inevitably based in inter-subjectivity.4 Yet migration—whether voluntary or forced—compels humans to remake themselves in relation to new lifeworlds in which many facets and subtleties both of earlier lives and of senses of self elsewhere are no longer meaningful, supported or recognized. This chapter draws on my work with children of Muslim background whose families came to Denmark as United Nations “quota” refugees. Although most had formerly lived in large cities in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, they were resettled in small towns in the Danish countryside in accordance with Danish integration policy.5 Several of the children were born in Denmark, others came as toddlers, while yet others arrived in middle childhood after spending their early years in very different kin-based, demographic, cultural and physical environments. Several came unaccompanied. Most saw their future as being in Denmark even as they maintained a sense of connection to lives, families and places elsewhere, although such connections and places impinged differently on their understandings of their present life. These children did not immediately identify themselves as “Muslims” or “refugees.” Rather, they spoke of countries of origin, of school life in Basra,

206 Anderson of grandparents and family homes in Baghdad or Kabul, of having lived in refugee camps and of life in Denmark. As a member of an interdisciplinary team studying Muslim children and families in relation to Danish schools, my task was to explore the experiences of Muslim children attending schools in small provincial towns. The chapter draws on fieldwork carried out over six months in two schools situated in towns of approximately 6,000–7,000 inhabitants. Located along a rail-line established in the mid 1800s, such “railroad towns” (stationsbyer) are superimposed on a feudal patchwork of small fields, hamlets and medieval churches that dot the surrounding hillsides. The towns built extra schools in the 1970s to accommodate a growing population as families moved into town off local farms and out of nearby cities. Over the last two decades these schools have accommodated the children of incoming refugees and immigrants. While earlier arrivals—Somalis and Kurds—comprised larger groups with a similar language and culture, the approximately 2 per cent foreign-born children presently attending local Folkeskoler (public primary/secondary schools) are a much more diverse mix of Lithuanian, Thai, American, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Philippine, Iraqi, Afghani, Iranian, Kurdish, Australian and other nationalities. Those claiming Muslim background comprise less than 1 per cent of a student body of 500–700 pupils in each school. In one sense, this study makes as little sense as studying Arabs in Greenland or Jews in Alabama. Why go to an atypical location to study a category of people rarely found in this location? Most researchers sensibly locate their studies in prototypical urban schools with much higher percentages of pupils of Muslim background. One might also ask why go to secularized public schools to study issues of religion and religiosity when the teaching of religion in this domain is explicitly non-confessional, and when earnest expressions of personal religiosity are commonly erased by social convention and self-censorship. In another sense, however, there is much to be gained from the seemingly futile exercise of studying Muslims in small-town Denmark. First, because studies of minority school experiences are predominantly carried out in urban schools with high densities of ethnic minorities, the study provides a productive counterpoint, one that allows the “alternative scripts in the margins of the dominant texts” to come to the fore.6 Second, small-town schools provide a normative perspective on how religion, including Islam, is taught and expressed in mainstream school settings. Finally, because “Muslim children” do not show up in numbers large enough to presuppose ready-made categories or groups, it is impossible to conflate the individual pupil’s experience with group experience or to claim any category-based experience for all.7 Low numbers force us to consider the children one by one, as the individuals they are, with different families, different forms and degrees of family religiosity, different personalities, longings and aspirations, different ages and different sets of classmates with whom they are expected to work and socialize.

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 207 Although school is becoming a universal institution of childhood, there are no universal schools. Different educational systems, school buildings, pedagogical ideals, economic capacities and demographics offer quite different social and moral sites of childhood relationality and sociality. Therefore it is important to understand a school’s social landscape: that moral field of relations and sociality into which refugee children are expected to fit in (passe ind).

THE FOLKESKOLE: THE DANISH PUBLIC SCHOOL A central tenet of Danish educational policy is not “No child left behind,” but rather “No child left alone.” All children in Denmark should all experience themselves as part of “a community of others” (fællesskab) as early on in their lives as possible.8 Danish schools live up to policy by organizing children in class groups that ideally remain together from grade one through nine.9 Permanent classes are rooted in the pedagogical idea that children learn most effectively when socially comfortable (trygge). The assumption is that children are comfortable when with classmates in whose familiar company they are not afraid to speak up or make mistakes.10 Endorsing permanent classes as “good for children,” the School Law (Folkeskolelov) requires school authorities to strive to keep classes intact for the full nine years and stipulates that lessons be held primarily in permanent classes.11 Thus children in Denmark grow up together in class groups. Class teachers are responsible for their individual emotional and scholastic needs and for the social functioning of the class as a whole.12 Maxims such as “There has to be room for everybody” encourage children to develop other-regarding virtues: to focus on each other’s well-being, to find ways of getting on together and to feel mutually responsible for harmonious working relationships and the amiability of the group as a whole.13 Some educators view permanent classes as “playpens of democracy,” crucial sites for training coming generations in social competencies essential for active citizenship.14 Class-circumscribed peer sociability and the social functioning of a class as a whole are core educational values. These are mirrored in lessons, which are conducted sociably, with much talking, discussing and group work. Groups of three to four children often move to tables in the hall or library where they fuse schoolwork with chatting, Facebook or online games, a strategy that may result in their meeting again in someone’s home after school to finish their work or reporting back to the teacher that they need more time. Teachers responsible for class functioning strive to “shake a class together” (ryste klassen sammen) through social events. These may be three-day school camps where classmates eat, bathe, sleep, play, work and sing together, or class parties and picnics to which parents and siblings are invited. To ensure no child is left out, parents are strongly encouraged

208 Anderson to hold collective birthday parties for the entire class at school or arrange parties at home to which, ideally and depending on their child’s gender, all of the boys or all of the girls must be invited. In the early grades, parents are also asked to host playgroups organized by the class teacher, such that all children feel included in private playdates. At parent–teacher meetings, class teachers facilitate collective decision making on pocket money for class excursions or guidelines for class parties held in private homes. Parent participation in class functions is highly valued, and morally sanctioned when not forthcoming. All parents are expected to bring and share food and drink, to get to know each other and to enjoy each other’s company and the company of each other’s children, in short to take part in a class sociability that is thought to lay the ground for their children’s nine years together in school as a socially harmonious, and well-functioning learning group. I have dwelt on school-class organization, sociality and morality, because permanent classes require social participation, preferably “on an equal footing,” which often translates into dictates and desires for conformity, for doing “like everyone else” in the class so as not to “stick out.”15 In Denmark, children of Muslim background encounter a particular inclusive school-class sociality that is rooted in a pedagogy of social closure and familiar sociability and infused with a compelling ethos of mutuality, reciprocity and participation that extends beyond school into private homes. All children (and their parents) must assume their daily place among classmates (and their parents) and find ways of navigating a class-based sociality that is the primary locus of legitimate school-based learning, belonging and friendship. This social landscape is also the primary locus for expressing views about religion, as well as displaying or concealing one’s personal religious stance.

BUT THERE ARE JUST SO FEW . . . School administrators consistently classify children of foreign parentage as bilinguals,16 recording in school statistics only their names, nationalities, mother tongues and years of schooling in Denmark. As one administrator explains: “We don’t ask any of our pupils, Danes or bilinguals, about their religion because it has no influence on anything else.” The main concern for educators is not a bilingual child’s religious affiliation or observance, but rather the child’s educational progress, social integration and successful results in the school leaving exam. Head teachers17 emphasize the challenge of bringing bilinguals up to par with native children. With so few immigrants and refugees, the county has no receiving class for bilinguals under the age of 13, and thus young children with little previous knowledge of Danish start in normal classes. When children “not budgeted for” just “show up”

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 209 in school, head teachers must finesse the limited resources allotted by the county for bilinguals. Yet despite minor tensions, head teachers agree that bilinguals do not pose a problem. Spread over nine grades, the small numbers of Muslim pupils in these schools rarely comprise distinct groups, nor are they explicitly singled out as Muslims. Classified as bilinguals alongside all children of foreign parentage, they are treated as pupils in need of extra help to bring their language, social networks, school work and leaving exams up to par. To give newly arrived bilinguals time to “catch up” with native-born counterparts, schools place them a grade or two below their age level, making them the eldest in the class. Schools also monitor refugee children as potentially traumatized, either due to their own experiences or to living with parents suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Head teachers are well informed of the work being done with and for bilingual children in their schools. As one reminded me, “It’s a manageable number to keep an eye on, we have so very few.”

IT’S REALLY NOT ABOUT RELIGION . . . Refugee children attending small-town schools are often “the only Muslims” in classes otherwise comprising “altogether ordinary” (helt almindelig) Danes, whose families for the most part are prosaic, middle-class Lutherans: the kind who baptize their children, attend church regularly on Christmas Eve and otherwise only for life-cycle rituals among kindred. Despite notoriously low church attendance, Richard Jenkins contends that maintaining “a formal relationship with the Church, for christenings, confirmations, weddings and funerals” is both widely and deeply valued.18 With compulsory Christianity Studies classes in school and family and peer expectations of confirmation in the church (the Folkekirke), Protestantism is part of the local and national background against which most young Danes live their lives.19 Many newcomers to Denmark however experience confusion as to the place of religion in Danish family life, in public schools and society at large. Despite a deep-seated political and cultural orientation toward Lutheran Protestantism, an orientation that allots school time for Old Testament Bible stories and seasonal Christian celebrations, many Danes insist that public schools are secular, and that school-based hymn-singing, Christmas church services and the teaching of Christianity Studies as an exam subject are not really about religion. As we have seen, Danish schools do not “work with” religious categories. They do not record children’s religious affiliation, because, as one head teacher asserts, they are of no account in school. The school’s focus on the potential emotional, social or educational problems of a bilingual child mirrors its pedagogical emphasis on peer sociability and participation in social

210 Anderson qua educational activities within and beyond school. Both schools in my study regularly hold information meetings to inform “bilingual parents” of the school’s value set and educational aims. Here head teachers urge parents to enroll their children in school-based after-school clubs,20 stressing that afterschool play with the other children strengthens bilingual children’s social networks and improves their Danish language skills. They stress after-school clubs, because they intuit that bilingual parents may not perceive the importance of play. They are also aware that refugees living on modest government stipends might not see the merit in paying for children to play with classmates when they can play at home, or perhaps even make themselves useful. When approached by Muslim parents requesting special treatment for their children, the school works with the parents to find pragmatic solutions that do not go against school policies, which stress that all participate on an equal footing (de skal være med). Most requests are of a practical nature, concerning food, clothing and time off for Islamic holidays. The head teachers I spoke with have never received requests for prayer time in school. Despite the small numbers involved, schools make accommodations. School cafeterias and homemaking classes provide halal food; Muslim girls are allowed to wear long T-shirts for swimming class and, if they wish, shower in the teachers’ private shower after gym class rather than in the common shower facilities that afford little privacy. Although schools emphasize participation—that Muslim children eat, learn, swim, exercise and play sports with their classmates— they also make exceptions. Teachers arrange alternative activities for a child whose parents do not allow her to take part in a school exchange program in Germany. Schools also provide alternative lessons for children who do not follow classmates “to priest”21 for confirmation classes during school hours. One such lesson might however be a non-confessional confirmation class to inform all pupils what “going to priest” is about. Although the law guarantees exemption from Christianity Studies, head teachers receive very few requests for this. Some Muslim children do, however, choose not to participate in church services at Christmas, and most stay home on Islamic holidays even though these are not official school holidays. Head teachers wryly acknowledge that requiring Muslim children to come to school during Islamic festivities would be a losing battle. Nevertheless, head teachers do not find Muslim parents dogmatic; rather, they have more “trouble” with Jehovah’s Witnesses, who may show up with long lists of things their children must not do in school. Of course there are issues. As one head teacher notes, just as everywhere else, there are degrees of religiosity and there are some “good” and some “bad” families. One school has dealt with petty crime, aggressive behavior, and hard language among bilinguals. In sorting these issues, head teachers emphasize standing firm on school policy while listening to and working with families in mutual consideration and respect. Overall, they do not experience much conflict, as most Muslim children are “quite well integrated and accepted by others.” Perhaps so much so that when a Muslim

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 211 girl recently chose to wear the headscarf, her classmates refused to accept her choice as a display of “free will.” The issue was apparently resolved after the head teacher “went down to speak with the class.” There are also less easily settled problems of verbal abuse, mostly boys uttering slurs like “Fuck off home, perker”22 (Skrid hjem, din perker) in passing. One head teacher sees this as racial rather than religious prejudice, based on a racism shaped by parents and the Danish media. Head teachers are aware that gender and age play a role, both with regard to special treatment requested by Muslim parents and also in the school lives of the children. Parental concerns to do with clothing, bodies and travel most often relate to girls. School concerns to do with physical aggression and verbal abuse relate to boys, whereas problems with intrigue and jealousy relate to girls. Chance clusters of refugee children of the same age and gender may intensify internal rivalries and increase social isolation, particularly in the older grades, and particularly if pupils gather in visible groups (trække sammen som gruppe) rather than “mixing” with classmates. Although teachers realize that religion may take up more space in children’s self-understandings than in their own, they argue that such endosociality is as much driven by “similar appearance”—by comparable foreign phenotypes—as by any deep religious affinity, not least because the pupils implicated have very different personal and family approaches to Islam and Islamic observance. While some pupils settle into Islamic practice and identity as they pass puberty, others struggle to find the cracks in religion-based moralities, hoping to slip through, at least in moments, to a lifestyle more in line with their Danish classmates. Noting a tendency among refugee families to close in on themselves (lukke omkring sig selv) and a tendency among older Muslim pupils to feel more socially isolated than in the younger grades, both schools have worked hard in the early years to build contact between incoming refugee families and local families by way of the children. Through chauffeuring, home invitations, birthday parties, food swapping and general neighborliness, class parents and teachers have worked to encourage refugees to participate in the cross-generational sociability of a Danish school class. Educators, however, hedge at correlating the need for social sponsorship with Islam as such. According to them, problems with Muslim refugee participation in school-class–based sociability are linked less to religion than to multiple senses of difference based on foreign phenotypes, tight budgets, language problems, emotional vulnerability from war and exile, family isolation and so on. Where then, one might ask, is religion in all of this?

RELIGION IN SCHOOL Given the nominal secularity of Danish schools, it is perhaps not surprising that religious affiliation does not receive explicit attention. In these smalltown schools, I did not encounter much echo of the “crash and clatter” of

212 Anderson religion and identity politics resounding elsewhere in Danish society and schools.23 Although class teachers usually know which children are of Muslim background and which are affiliated with “Bible-true” Christian groups, neither “Muslim” nor “Christian” cut much of a school figure. Nor is religious belief a common topic of conversation. A sixth-grade class helping me devise questions on religion that would speak to young people24 explicitly advised against “the belief question.” They recommended instead asking if anyone in the family goes to church, a question that could indicate belief without making a child feel awkward talking about any personal belief. Notwithstanding category-downplaying and a soft-pedal approach to personal religiosity, Christianity has been taught in Danish schools for over 280 years, though in a non-confessional version since 1975. Reeh argues that policies regulating the teaching of religion in school are closely tied to inter-state relations, to contested interpretations of the vital interests of the Danish state vis-à-vis internal and external threats.25 Hence we might view the School Law of 2006 that upgraded Christianity Studies to an exam subject26 as a political response to a sense of threat to Denmark’s vital interests, both an external threat from the processes of globalization and an internal threat of societal fragmentation with the growth in Denmark of other religions, not least Islam, over the last five decades. We might, however, also view current political support for the teaching of Christianity Studies in school as a technique of deflection, a reassuring move that glosses over and draws attention away from the extent of social change actually taking place.27 Despite—or perhaps because of—this erasure of personal religiosity, it is easy to find references to religion openly displayed on school walls and homepages. In the corridor across from the art room hung 20 stylized “shepherds,” barefoot with beard, halo, staff and robe, across which the word God figured 14 times. Children had colored these, some conservatively, others wildly in pink and green or with tiger stripes, afro hair and eye makeup. In the senior section hung a set of posters, one depicting a storybook Danish village, the other a colorful overview of Earth’s geological evolution. Stylized God figures and Danish landscapes with hills, lake, local fauna, whitewashed church and a dog in a boat the shape of a wooden shoe hint at an ironic dissociation from serious religious expression.28 They also indicate how schools evoke tandem cosmologies through the juxtaposition of scientific and storybook landscapes. As required by law, both schools teach Christianity Studies as a compulsory subject, from which pupils may be exempted under certain conditions.29 In addition, schools follow the Christian holiday calendar, with days off for Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide, Ascension Day, and Great Prayer Day.30 Pupils in lower grades participate in December Saint Lucia pageants31 and attend pre-Christmas children’s services in local village churches. One school holds morning assemblies (morgensang), where children and teachers sing traditional songs, seasonal songs and hymns. According to the

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 213 head teacher, it is important the children know (kender) hymns because, like other songs, they are a part of Danish cultural heritage; they represent the Christian value-set on which the Danish Folkeskole was built. Hymnsinging in school, he asserts, is not missionizing (missionerende): Head teacher: We don’t pray the Lord’s Prayer at morgensang; that belongs in the family. We don’t missionize or agitate; it’s about education. Children should be aware of their tradition and values. But of course free choice is important. Anderson: Do you think children connect hymn-singing at morning assembly with religion? Head teacher: Well, we sometimes sing about God, but what we do is say: “Good morning” and we have a tradition that there should be quiet, and the children should come in and go out in an orderly fashion—which is about discipline, but also about showing consideration for each other. Then we sing the song of the week, which could for example be: “Hold high all things that God has done.”32 But I don’t missionize or interpret the text. They can talk about content in their classes, if they want. We read the verses and sing, and I can’t see any harm in this even if one has another religion. And perhaps this is why there are no protests. I think parents think it’s okay. They are very welcome to stay and join us if they like, so they can see for themselves that it’s nothing dangerous. Claims that singing hymns at morgensang, teaching about Christianity and taking children to Christmas church services are “not about religion” appear to rest on a specific, and commonly expressed, understanding of the legitimate educational and national cultural framing of such actions and events in school settings. Directly invoking God through prayer would be “too much”; prayer and other ritual action directly referring to an animate God must be bracketed out to maintain the school frame of cultural heritage. Muting explicit interpretation of the content of a hymn praising God’s creation—thistles, birds, seas, flowers, stars, angels, wisdom, goodness and riches—is apparently enough to keep any missionizing connected with real religion at bay. Such situational framing is reminiscent of Gregory Bateson’s theory of social play,33 in which playful nips denote bites but do not denote what would be denoted by real bites (e.g., an intention to harm). In this light, singing hymns at morgensang denotes hymn-singing, yet does not denote what real hymn-singing would denote, namely an intention to praise God.34 As the head teacher is aware, getting the right balance is important; singing hymns during morgensang must come across neither as devoid of all cultural meaning nor as religious missionizing. Similarly, expressions of religion in schools—whether hymn-singing, Saint Lucia pageants, Christmas services or Bible stories—involve collective acts of playing to form, without

214 Anderson explicitly vesting this form with the religious meaning with which it is otherwise imbued in other settings. This can apparently be done with songs of praise for God’s creation, but not with prayers directed toward an animate, listening and responding God. I cannot dwell on the question of why conceptual frames of “not really religion” seem so easy to achieve in schools abounding in Bible stories, God figures, hymn-singing and religious holidays. A tentative conclusion is that public school settings, conceived of as framing a particular civil or secular way of acting and relating, automatically invalidate, reduce, peripheralize and make awkward any real religious expression, in that religion in its real form belongs to the domains of the family and of worship. Although any conceptual framing arrived at is premised on the simultaneity of what particular actions should and should not denote,35 there is an apparent consensus that expressions of religion in school do not really denote religiosity, and therefore are not “really about religion.” Such situational framing is always ambiguous, and potentially labile. The indeterminacy and slippage between play form (not really for real) and real form leave room for individual sensemaking and playful license, as well as a certain sense that what must not come to the fore could inadvertently appear.36 Any successful relegation of religion in Danish schools to “cultural heritage” hinges on concerted action (among self-subtracted individuals37) that works to maintain a particular interpretation of what is really going on.38

MUSLIM CHILDREN As noted, both school pedagogy and children’s school lives revolve around peer sociability. The next section focuses on the school lives of young children of Muslim background, often the only foreigners in the class. Before moving on, however, I want to briefly reflect on category usage. There is a tendency to imagine “Muslims” as “integrated cultural communities” and “Muslim children” as genealogical givens. Imagining the world thus posits particular “categorical identities as ontologically prior to others,” and any social identity as a matter of “collective, categorical absolutes.”39 Writing “Muslim” rather than “of foreign parentage,” “of Middle Eastern and Central Asian background” or some other descriptive device, privileges a religious category, which then, perhaps not surprisingly, comes to encompass all the “troubles” associated with migration: language, employment, household economy, social network, family obligations and implicit codes of local civil culture.40 Once people have been designated “Muslims,” we find that “Muslims” indeed have problems. Yet, important as it is to avoid a priori categorization, it is equally important to acknowledge any religious or cultural orientations toward which a child may feel affiliation and commitment. As theologians and anthropologists argue, children have a right to religion and to “their own” culture.41

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 215 The dilemma lies in the ipso facto attribution of particular “religions” and “cultures” to children solely on the basis of parental observances and affiliations. Just as children of New Age parents are not ipso facto “New Agers,” children of Muslim parents are not ipso facto Muslim, and certainly not all in the same way. As countless concrete practices of religious ascription and incorporation attest, it takes work to “kin” children into family groups and to align them with particular cultural and religious categories.42 We must not—as conceptual shorthand or through literary convenience—treat children too readily as “Muslim” (or “Sikh” or “New Age”) because positing such a priori identities and affiliations is analytically specious. As with adults, it is crucial to investigate the fill and place of “religion” or of “being this or that” in children’s responses to actions and events, as well as research questions.

LIKABLE CHILDREN, SPONSORED CHILDREN My fieldwork began in a third-grade class of 24 children, two of whom were refugees from Afghanistan and Iran. Identifying as Shia and Sunni, respectively, both belonged to ethnic and religious minorities in their countries of origin, and both had lost a parent. The following draws on my observations of lessons, classwork, interviews with teachers and a short interview with the eldest girl. Having arrived almost a year before Najela (age ten), Rana (age eleven) took the younger girl in tow. Their native languages, though not the same, were mutually intelligible. As Rana put it: “We sit together . . . Her Danish is not very good. She’s always asking me: ‘What are they saying now?’” Both girls had open faces, pretty smiles and wore “regular” clothes purchased at H&M. Although they were a year or two older than their classmates due to the school’s bilingual policy, their teacher portrayed them as popular with both boys and girls in their class. I met Rana and Najela for the first time during “Church Week,” a week of church visits hosted by the parish priests. The girls sat together on the bus, joined classmates in lighting candles in church, setting flowers in the pew vases, kneeling at the altar rail and being late for the bus because they were playing with the parish kittens. In the course of Church Week they painted icons, explored gravestones, climbed up into belfries and down into crypts and helped carry an empty casket out of the church to the undertaker’s car. Najela participated all week, whereas Rana took Thursday and Friday off. The daily bus trips made her quite car-sick, and she wanted to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr with family and family friends. In the interview, Rana said she had enjoyed visiting churches and learning more about “what Christians do.” She thought the churches were quite nice, although lacking the colorful mosaics of the mosque she knew. Both she and Najela found some things strange, for example the idea of drinking wine in church (“we would never do that”) and the informality of pastors

216 Anderson who wore jeans rather than official robes. Rana was uncomfortable when a pastor encouraged her to rip bits of text, and even whole pages, out of discarded hymnals and paste them on the plywood they were painting to make “icons.” “We don’t do things like that,” she said. “It’s not so good to rip up books like that.” Yet despite several reservations about “what Christians do,” Rana and Najela participated with interest and curiosity and had fun with the others. My observations confirmed the teacher’s assessments that the girls were both comfortable with and well-liked by their classmates. At the start of a special lesson, called Bible Adventure,43 classmates jostled each other to sit next to Rana and Najela, who, in turn, enjoyed the attention. Through an entertaining mix of magic, role-play, rap, props and gestures, the teacher from the church–school service44 took them through the books of the Old Testament, promising that when he finished they would be able to recite the story in just two minutes. Rana, Najela and their classmates followed the lesson in high spirits. Rana mimed Eve’s fateful bite of the apple, volunteered to open the oversize Bible and waved insistently in the hope of landing the role of Jericho’s Joshua. Instead she and several others were chosen to be the “tumbling wall,” a role they played with great fervor. Both girls appeared engaged in the lesson, smiling and blinking at the mention of the Quran during the story of Ishmael and discussing the story of Babel intensely with classmates. During a mapping of Biblical lands, Najela’s group ended up “sitting in Iran.” “That’s where I’m from!” she beamed. “Perfect!” In the view of the teachers, Rana and Najela were success stories; they were ambitious and clearly “going places.” In interviews, teachers praised the girls’ positive attitudes, language skills, scholastic progress and unfailing willingness to participate. Although gaining parental permission to participate in class overnight sleepovers is a potential problem for many Muslim girls, both had participated in a recent class trip to a seaside cottage rented by class parents. As one teacher noted: They’re not constrained by Islam, or for that matter, by Christianity. There are never any problems regarding their participation. We treat them just like all the others and expect the same things from them. Teachers found the level of participation and social integration achieved by these girls extremely satisfying, even aesthetically pleasing, as exemplified by a teacher who held out her iPhone to show me a picture of Najela lighting a candle in church: “See! A perfect picture of integration!” In a study of refugees living in small Danish villages, Birgitte Larsen notes that small numbers can lead to refugee children becoming “projects” for the school, the class, teachers, parents and even local handball coaches and doctors whose children are in the same class.45 Listening to the teachers’ stories, it became clear that including and helping Rana and Najela, perhaps particularly Rana, whose father was no longer alive, had

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 217 become a collective project. One teacher invited Rana to the baptism of her child, and a classmate, a good friend, invited her for Christmas Eve—so she could experience how Danes celebrate with roast duck, rice pudding, singing and dancing around a tree lit with real candles, and also the grand present exchange. A classmate’s father came to the rescue when Rana’s family lost their electricity, and another classmate’s family took Rana and her brothers in when their mother was suddenly hospitalized. Teachers and parents chauffeured the girls to and from school events and class parties, and the class teacher slipped them pocket money for school overnights or after-school club outings so they could participate on an equal footing with the others. During our interview, Rana mentioned that she had attended “asylum school” for two years, but that “real” Danish school was much more fun. When I asked what was more fun, she interestingly replied: “The parents.” According to Rana and Najela’s class teacher, such willingness to enlighten, incorporate and help is not just a matter of numbers: It’s not so much because there are so few of them. I think it’s more because they’re so easy to like; they walk right into people’s hearts, and when children do that, it’s easier to want to help them. It’s a lucky thing they’re so likable, so easy to be fond of. Once they’ve been to a home, parents are won over by their smiles, dispositions and polite manners. It is easy to want to help them. When asked what role, if any, religion played in all this, the teacher answered: Very, very little. Of course Najela reminds me now and then that they’re not Christian. And I tell her that of course I know that, but then a lot of the others kids aren’t Christian either. And then we talk about how Christianity in Denmark is just as much culture as it is religion. He was sure that if asked to portray Rana and Najela, classmates would not immediately identify them as Muslims. Rather they would mention that they come from other countries, speak a foreign language and look slightly different. Religion would be “way down—number 1,000—on the list.” What strikes me as important in this school setting is the principle that religion, in the form of any explicit identification, affiliation or observance, should not be allowed get in the way of acting “just like any other ordinary child” and “participating on an equal footing.” Teachers seem pleased, relieved, even proud that both Rana and Najela, despite their “difference,” achieve what appears to be “an equal footing.” On the basis of their behavior in school, some teachers assume that the girls and their families are “probably not very religious.” Yet, speaking to Rana, it is clear that she identifies as Muslim, that she sees herself as belonging to the “we” who wouldn’t dream of drinking alcohol in church, burying people in boxes

218 Anderson (without washing them first), pouring water on babies’ heads or ripping pages out of sacred books. The Eid is special for Rana, with lots of good food, especially her mother’s bolani,46 and all sweet cakes and candy, and sometimes even money. In her “church week” workbook, Rana drew a picture of a Danish church flying a flag inscribed with the word Allah. Hovering in a corner of the picture was a crescent and star. She also drew a picture of Communion wine and wafers and then crossed the whole thing out, writing “Yuck, yuck, yuck.” She told of how her mother wanted her to learn to pray and was trying to teach her, but the Arabic words were strange and difficult. She spoke of colorful mosaics in the mosque she had known, and wouldn’t it be fine if this town had a masjid—but then it didn’t, did it. I did not receive permission to interview Najela, but was given a set of essays written in class on the topic “The Religious Person.” Children had to choose a person they felt was religious and tell why. Choices ranged from Queen Margarethe II of Denmark and the Prophet Muhammad to President Obama and Osama bin Laden and to grandparents, friends, and oneself. Najela and Sara, writing together, chose to portray Najela as a religious person. Their essay was entitled “Najela Is Religious:” Najela is religious because when she lived in Iran she went to the mosque. She must not pray when she’s in the bathroom. Najela prays before she goes to bed. Najela must not eat pork. When she went to school in Iran, she mustn’t show her body. Perhaps that’s why she had a kind of dress on and a sort of scarf. She mustn’t swim with boys either. She mustn’t have nail polish on in school in Iran either. Boys and girls don’t go to school together either in Iran. If someone didn’t have money in Iran, Najela helped them. She believes in Allah and Muhammad. [My translation.] This material indicates that both Rana and Najela have a religious identity and a working knowledge of what a practical, moral observance for children might entail. None of this information about the girls’ religious sensibilities and identifications was hidden. Rana was very forthcoming about her religion when asked, and Najela spoke openly about her religiosity, which as written here appears more conspicuously observed in the Iranian setting. Non-knowledge, or the non-remarking, of the extent of the girls’ Muslim affiliation and its veritable disappearance in the Danish school context is linked to the lack of any problems of relationality and participation in lessons and class sociability arising from their religious identities and observances. The above ethnographic snapshots reveal little about any past and future. It is impossible to predict how Rana and Najela, as they grow older, will choose to inflect and deploy any religious identity and affiliation. What we do know is that they experience themselves as Muslims, with particular practices and transcendent references, and that in “Danish school” they

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 219 experience being liked, praised, accepted, supported and helped by classmates, teachers and class parents.

AMBIVALENT CHILDREN, UNEASY CHILDREN This was not the lot of all children of Muslim background. In the second school, I met two young boys, Afghani refugees, who were just as goodlooking as Rana and Najela, just as well behaved, just as clever and normatively dressed, yet not as comfortable with themselves or with their classmates. Their teachers worked to help them, but with more exasperation and well-intended admonition about what “they must learn.” What teachers wanted them to learn was to find their place among their classmates, participate on an equal footing in daily peer sociability and pick up on how to do togetherness (fællesskab). Roughly put, teachers hoped they would stop being different, singular, ambivalent and vulnerable. Writing of the interplay between being part of and being apart from the world, Jackson posits that neither complete detachment nor complete engagement is a real ontological possibility.47 Human existence is both profoundly social (comprising relationships with others) and singular (a relationship with oneself).48 Yet people experience and make sense of detachment and engagement in different ways. One young refugee expressed her sense of singularity as follows: I don’t think there’s a single bilingual at this school—or perhaps at any school—who hasn’t experienced sitting and just staring out the window, feeling lost, and if somebody comes over and asks: “What are you thinking?” you just say “Nothing,” because they would never ever be able to understand what I’m thinking about. They are not inside me. Her teacher concurred that “these children” have little expectation of being understood, of finding resonance between their own thoughts and feelings and the thoughts and feelings of others. Such hyper-singularity, the teacher argues, too often leads to ambivalence, and labile engagement: They are drawn to their classmates, yet are put off by certain aspects of their behavior. They can be very angry about not being fully included in the class, in group work, in games, and at the same time ambivalent about participating in full, as if getting too close to classmates is somehow dangerous. The teacher concludes that children of Muslim background “must learn” to accept that they are not “like everyone else,” and find a way of coming to terms with this life condition. Yet if, as Jackson posits, both singularity and engagement are the universal condition of being human, and thus no

220 Anderson one is like anybody else, what does “being like” or “not being like” other children entail? In Danish schools, with their emphasis on peer sociability and togetherness, “being like” entails “doing like” everyone else, and particularly being together with everyone else and fitting oneself in. As we have seen, this fitting in seems to come quite easily to pupils like Rana and Najela. Yet not all pupils experience such a smooth interface. To illustrate, I briefly introduce Farhad (age seven) and his brother Farsheed (age eight), two personable, dark-haired boys with dimply smiles born in Denmark to Afghani refugees. They, too, “got along well in school,” yet I felt a constant edge, a sense of guardedness in their interaction with others. In many ways, they were just as “easy to like,” but they were also easy to tease, to ignore and treat as peripheral. Farhad’s peripherality was revealed in his being placed at a “girls’ table.” Whereas all other boys sat at all-boys tables, or evenly mixed tables, Farhad sat next to a troubled girl at an all-girls table up at the front of the class, a clear sign of low social prestige. Yet he was not isolated. Classmates asked to borrow his erasers,49 he brought things from home to show classmates and he had friends who enjoyed his company. He listened quietly with the others when the teacher read a popular story about a “tough” boy who calls his neighbor a “Hottentot” from a “weird country” where people wear “weird pajamas.”50 Farhad had an older brother who kept tabs on him, who would check to see if he had picked up his free lunch, and when he often did not, made him eat during recess when he would rather be driving moon-carts with his friends. Farhad’s position is ambiguous, not totally isolated, but peripheral. He is the only “Muslim” and “refugee” in the class and the only boy seated at an all-girls table. He is the one whose father might actually come from a place where they wear “weird pajamas,” the one who doesn’t eat lunch at lunchtime and who cries when others take his moon-cart while he eats during recess. Finally, he is the one who has to go home after school, when friends rush out for an afternoon of play in the after-school club. The older brother, Farsheed, is an extremely knowledgeable boy, the kind who can converse about Obama’s problems with the economic crisis, about Gaddafi’s plight, the problem in Syria and the recent tsunami. He admits knowing such things because the news comes right before the 7 pm Friday night Disney show. He plays football at a local club, but cannot join classmates for after-school games because he has to go home. During recess, I note that he is a somewhat peripheral player, the kind who does get the ball, but not that often, and when he does, passes it quickly on to one of the popular boys. Farsheed speaks up in class, but his earnest shows of knowledgeability beyond his years reveal that he has not yet mastered the boyish art of cheeky, good-humored resistance that teachers expect and prefer. What caught my attention was the awkwardness of the boys’ participation, their uncertainty and guardedness, and my own unease on their behalf. It was as if they were constantly weighing the air, feeling their way along,

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 221 not quite at ease. When speaking of them and children like them, teachers often vented a frustration. “These children” are overly sensitive, too much on their guard and way too ready to blame other children. As such, they needed to learn. As one teacher notes: It’s no use being so sensitive. The other day, while helping him with his math, I teasingly called him a “dork” when he made a silly mistake. They have to learn that’s how kids talk to each other in that grade. You can’t get hung up on every word. Of course, not all “overly sensitive” children are refugees of Muslim background. Yet teachers find that bilinguals, including Muslim children, often display this behavior. The school’s bilingual mentor describes the eldest brother as a boy who sees himself as a victim; the others are always after him, always saying things and teasing him. It’s the kind of thing that pops up when they feel left out [udenfor] and “not a part of it.” I tell him, “you’re not a victim, you’re Farsheed. It’s okay to talk back to them, to defend yourself.” Children like Farsheed and his brother have to learn to let the others know that what they are doing is not okay, to say something back, to tell the others off [sige fra] or get help from an adult. When I spoke to him the other day, I said— “Try to find someone to play with; can’t you play with him, or with those other ones at noon recess?” And then he says: “When it’s a short day like today, we’re off at 11:30 and all the others go to the after-school club and I just go home.” So I ask him if he has to go home, and he answers in a small voice, “Yes, and today I have to go home alone.” So the terms of his life are that he actually is, in many ways, left out. It’s not easy being him. And it is a shame, it is hard, it is not fair. As several teachers point out, it did not help that “bilingual” parents kept their children out of the peer sociability and togetherness of after-school clubs, where children cement friendships and forge togetherness through common experiences and informal play. Those two boys aren’t allowed to go to after-school club. And they don’t bring friends home, like the others do. And they don’t go over to any of the other kids’ houses. It’s no big surprise, then, that you’re not like everyone else. Our job as teachers is first and foremost about social integration. We have to tell parents that their children must be allowed to go to after-school club right from the start, while they’re still small. Teachers repeatedly suggest that the problem of feeling left out lies in not being allowed to do what the other children do. Participating on an equal footing in peer sociability, such that one feels, and is accepted as, part of the

222 Anderson school group requires a certain measure of participating in the same venues and activities as one’s classmates. And although in my observations of Farhad’s and Farsheed’s classes, as well as in my talks with teachers, I rarely, if ever, heard anyone explicitly mention Muslims, Islam or religion, not being allowed to participate in the sociability of after-school and out-of-school activities was implicitly, if not explicitly, associated with religious families, particularly Muslim families. We might then conclude that for many children, a core experience of being a “Danish Muslim” or “European Muslim” is not being allowed (or always wanting) to “do what the other children do.”

CONCLUSION According to the head teachers, a child’s religious affiliation does not matter in school. A child’s spiritual life is a matter for the home. This returns us to the question of what, if anything, in a school can be said to be really about religion. As we have seen, hymn-singing can be interpreted as not really about religion, whereas not attending after-school clubs, or inviting other children home, along with feelings of singularity and peripherality, can be interpreted as very much about religion. Such interpretations play on conventional ideas about the proper interplay and interface of private and public domains, not on any absolute measure of what religion is or is not. I began by arguing that different kinds of school and school organization pose different relational problems for children, teachers and parents. Danish schools, organized around the endosociality of permanent classes and emphasizing mutual participation and social continuity, tie all learning and schooling to particular forms and qualities of class-based sociability, both within and beyond the school setting. My attempt here to understand how religion plays into this school world of arranged sociability among “just ordinary children” suggests that the more a child participates, as in the case of Rana and Najela, the more the question of religiosity recedes from sight. By contrast, the more a family restricts a child’s participation, as in the case of Farhad and Farsheed, the more the question of religiosity comes to the fore. What this is about, I am not sure. It could be about a number of things.

NOTES 1. Michael Jackson, Lifeworlds. Essays in Existential Anthropology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 5. 2. See, for comparison, Marianne Holm Pedersen and Mikkel Rytter, Den stille integration: Nye fortællinger om at høre til i Danmark (Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel, 2006). 3. Anne Sigfrid Grønseth, “Introduction: Being Migrant, Being Human,” in Being Human, Being Migrant: Sense of Self and Well-Being, ed. Grønseth (Oxford: Berghahn, 2013), 1.

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 223 4. Michael Jackson, Lifeworlds: Essays in Existential Anthropology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), 8–9. 5. Danish integration policy requires refugees to consent to integration contracts that oblige them to live three years in a rural town or village of the government’s choice. This policy of geographical spreading is a political effort to preempt the risk of social and economic marginalization in larger urban centers: Birgitte Romme Larsen, “Ind i Danmark: skabelse af sted og tilhørsforhold blandt nyankomne flygtningefamilier bosat i mindre Danske lokalsamfund” (PhD diss., Copenhagen University, 2011), 13; Birgitte Romme Larsen “Mötet med lokalsamhället,” in Barndom & Migration, eds. Maren Bak and Kerstin von Brömssen (Umeå: Borea, 2013), 221. 6. Joao de Pina-Cabral and Francis Pine, “On the Margins: An Introduction,” in On the Margins of Religion, eds. Pina-Cabral and Pine (Oxford: Berghahn, 2008), 7. 7. Vered Amit, “Anthropology and Community: Some Opening Notes,” in The Trouble with Community: Anthropological Reflections on Movement, Identity and Collectivity, eds. Vered Amit and Nigel Rapport (London: Pluto Press, 2002), 13–25. See also: Roger Keesing, Cultural Anthropology: A Contemporary Perspective, 2nd ed. (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981). 8. Sally Anderson, Civil Sociality: Children, Sport and Cultural Policy in Denmark (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press, 2008). 9. Danish public comprehensive schools include kindergarten class (age 6), grades 1–9 (age 7–15), and an optional tenth grade (age 16). 10. Sally Anderson, I en klasse for sig (Copenhagen: Gyldendal, 2000). For an English summary, see Sally Anderson, “Chronic Proximity: A ‘Natural’ School Practice,” Nord Nytt 78 (August 2000), 43–61. 11. §25, stk 2, 6. Folkeskoleloven 2010, my translation, accessed March 18, 2014, 12. Konstancje Ford and Sally Anderson, “Klassens væsen,” in Klasseledelse: magtkampe i praksis, pædagogik og politik, eds. John B. Krejsler and Leif Moos (Frederikshavn: Dafolo, 2011), 41–60. 13. Sally Anderson, “Bodying Forth a Room for Everybody: Inclusive Recreational Badminton in Copenhagen,” in Sport, Dance and Embodied Identities, eds. Noel Dyck and Eduardo Archetti (Oxford: Berg, 2003), 25. 14. Ove Korsgaard, “Skolen som demokratiets kravlegård,” Sprog & Integration 2 (2008), 4–7. 15. Anderson, I en klasse for sig. 16. Although most Danish pupils are bilingual in the sense that they learn English at a very young age, schools reserve the category bilingual (tosprogede) for pupils with foreign home languages, and thus with potential challenges with regard to learning Danish. 17. Heads of school, not to be confused with class teachers. 18. Richard Jenkins, Being Danish: Paradoxes of Identity in Everyday Life (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2011), 248. 19. Jenkins, Being Danish, 243. 20. Such clubs, or “school leisure-time arrangements” (SFO), for which parents pay a subsidized fee, are staffed with pedagogues trained to work with children and young people. Due to the high percentage of parents working outside the home, most Danish children attend clubs located on school grounds until fourth grade, and thereafter neighborhood clubs. 21. In the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church, pastors are called priests. “Going to priest” (at gå til præst) is a Danish expression for attending confirmation classes at the local Folkekirke, usually once a week for two hours, to prepare for one’s confirmation in the spring of seventh or eighth grade.

224 Anderson 22. Perker, coined from pakistaner (Pakistani) and tyrker (Turk), is used as a pejorative term to label ethnic minorities of Muslim background and low social standing or as a self-ascribed term connoting ethnic toughness. 23. Clifford Geertz, “Shifting Aims, Moving Targets: On the Anthropology of Religion,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (NS) 11 (2005), 1–15. See also Laura Gilliam, “Being a Good, Relaxed or Exaggerated Muslim: Religiosity and Masculinity in the Social Worlds of Danish Schools,” in this volume. 24. I am grateful to the class and teacher for their time and effort in helping with the project. 25. Niels Reeh, “Religion and the State of Denmark: State Religious Politics in the Elementary School System from 1721 to 1975: An Alternative Approach to Secularization” (PhD diss., University of Copenhagen, August 2006). 26. Not all subjects taught in Danish schools are included in the ninth-grade leaving exam. 27. Vered Amit, “Disjuncture as ‘Good to Think With,’” in Community, Cosmopolitanism and the Problem of Commonality, eds. Vered Amit and Nigel Rapport (London: Pluto Press, 2012), 38. 28. See, for comparison, Maria Louw, “Being Muslim the Ironic Way: Secularism, Religion and Irony in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan,” in Varieties of Secularism in Asia: Anthropological Explorations of Religion, Politics and the Spiritual, eds. Nils Bubandt and Martijn van Beek (London: Routledge, 2012). 29. Mark Sedgwick, “Islam in Christianity: Religious Education in the Danish Folkeskole,” in this volume. 30. A rational consolidation of many smaller “prayer days,” Great Prayer Day is celebrated on the fourth Friday after Easter. Confirmations often take place on this day. 31. Many Scandinavian schools celebrate a winter light festival on Saint Lucia, December 13, which in an earlier calendar was the year’s shortest day. Children wearing white robes and carrying candles, the leader wearing a wreath of candles, walk through the halls of the school singing Danish lyrics to “Santa Lucia,” a traditional Neapolitan song. 32. “Op, al den ting, som Gud har gjort,” lyrics by H. A. Brorson (1734), Bohemian melody from c. 1550. 33. Bateson’s theory draws on observations: “I saw two young monkeys playing, i.e., engaged in an interactive sequence of which the unit actions or signals were similar to but not the same as those of combat. It was evident, even to the human observer, that the sequence as a whole was not combat, and evident to the human observer that to the participant monkeys this was ‘not combat.’” Gregory Bateson, “Theory of Play and Fantasy,” in Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology, ed. Bateson (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), 179. 34. Bateson, “Theory of Play and Fantasy,” 180. 35. Bateson, “Theory of Play and Fantasy”; see also Georg Simmel, “Sociability,” in The Sociology of Georg Simmel, trans. and ed. Kurt H. Wolff (New York: Free Press, 1950), 40–57. 36. Sally Anderson, “Sociability: The Art of Form,” in Concepts of Sociality: An Anthropological Interrogation, ed. Vered Amit (Oxford: Berghahn Books, forthcoming 2015). 37. Bersani sees this self-subtracted being in which we are not quite ourselves as a form of self-disciplining or ascetic conduct: Leo Bersani, Is the Rectum a Grave? And Other Essays (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2009), 48, 60. 38. Simmel, “Sociability,” 40–57.

Likable Children, Uneasy Children 225 39. Nigel Rapport, “Nigel Rapport Responds to Vered Amit,” in The Trouble with Community: Anthropological Reflections on Movement, Identity and Collectivity, eds. Vered Amit and Nigel Rapport (London: Pluto Press, 2002), 168. 40. I have firsthand knowledge of the difficulties of migration, including raising children in a foreign country. My own difficulties were, however, never “acquired” by a religious category relevant to me. They were “explained” instead through the category “American” and the sentiments and prejudices this category afforded. 41. Freiderich Schweitzer, Barnets ret til religion (Frederiksberg: Aros, 2006); Sharon Stevens, Children and the Politics of Culture (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995). 42. Signe Howell, “Kinning: the Creation of Life Trajectories in Transnational Adoptive Families,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 9:3 (2003), 465–84. 43. Perhaps unintended, the title of this lesson, “Bibel eventyr,” lends itself to two meanings—Bible adventures and Bible fairy tales. 44. Religion teachers (religionspædagoger) working for the district Church–School Service, subsidized by local parishes, develop a variety of teaching packages— lessons on religious topics and issues—that schools can book free of charge. 45. Larsen, “Mötet med local samhället,” 228. 46. An unleavened flatbread, stuffed with vegetables and fried. 47. Michael Jackson, Between One and One Another (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2012), 2–3. 48. Jackson, Between One and One Another, 3. 49. Lending and borrowing pens, pencils, erasers and other school necessities are a common feature of classroom sociality and exchange, often signaling who is friends with whom, or who is trying to become friends with whom. 50. This boy acts tough because he feels badly. Children are supposed to empathize with his problems, even as they condemn his actions, but many are rather fascinated with his bold, “ugly language” (grimt sprog). According to Jønsson, the author had to substitute another word for “Hottentot” before selling the book to Sweden, because here “the word Hottentot would be directly offensive and not just comical as in Denmark” [my italics]: Pia Jønsson, “Alvorlige billedbøger med varme og sødme sælger i udlandet,” in Børnebilledbogen— indblik & udsyn, eds. Kirsten Bystrup et al. (Copenhagen: Forening for Boghaandværk, 2010), 115–18].

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Part 4

Alternative Spaces

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12 Islamic Private Schooling in Austria A Case-Study of Muslim Parents’ Expectations Elif Medeni and Barbara Breen-Wenninger During the last two decades, Islamic private schools1 have been established in Austria in order to provide an Islamic education and in some cases Arabic teaching for Muslim children. According to Driessen and Merry, Islamic schools can be seen as a possible integration motor in helping Muslim pupils to identify themselves with their religion and in simultaneously improving pupils’ achievements and enabling them to take their place in the wider society.2 Notwithstanding controversial discussions over the quality and aims of Islamic schools, these schools have an important potential to promote an Islamic as well as a European identity by helping Muslim pupils to take part in and contribute to a wider social life and context. In schools such as these, young Muslims could gain the potential to create a future Austrian Islam that did not function as an opposition to the transmitted identity of their parents. This chapter focuses on a case-study of Islamic private schools, and specifically on Muslim parents’ expectations of how denominational aspects would be present in their children’s education. To gain insights into Muslim parents’ views and motivations, and to find out why they chose Islamic private schools, quantitative and qualitative research methods including questionnaires and open-ended interviews were employed. The results of these are reported in the second part of this chapter. The chapter begins with an overview of Islam’s unique status in Austria compared to other European countries. The second section discusses the status of Islam in public schools and in Islamic private schools. The third section introduces the case-study of the Al-Azhar International Schools. The methodological framework of the research is outlined, and the empirical findings to the research questions are described.3 The chapter concludes by discussing the results of the research in the context of the theoretical background on Islamic private education in Austria and by raising questions for possible further research. The results of the research so far indicate that in opting to send their children to an Islamic private school, parents are seeking sound Islamic instruction for their children, a safe environment, mutual trust and the accommodation of individual needs, as well as the feeling of being assimilated into the Islamic community.

230 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger As there is no previously existing research on Islamic schooling in the Austrian context, this chapter is a pioneer study. It may serve as a basis for further research on Islamic schooling in the Austrian context, and on Muslim habitus and identity in general.

ISLAM IN AUSTRIA: A UNIQUE STATUS IN EUROPE In order to understand the status of and developments in Islamic schooling and Islamic religious education in Austria, one must look at the history of Muslims in Austria, as well as the legal status of Islam in this country. The presence of Muslims in Austria is closely related to the presence of the Islamic population of the Balkans. In 1878, the former Ottoman provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina were occupied by the Austrian army. Later, in 1908, these provinces were annexed, which gave the Habsburgs authority over a large Muslim population for the first time.4 With the Act of Recognition of the Adherents of Islam according to the Hanafite Rite (Anerkennung der Anhänger des Islam nach hanefitischem Ritus als Religionsgesellschaft) in 1912, Muslims were acknowledged as a religious community, and thus raised to the legal position of the other recognized churches and religious communities. This enabled Muslims to manifest their religion in public space, to administer their religious affairs independently and to establish foundations and institutions for religious, educational and charitable purposes.5 Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, were lost to Austria following defeat during the First World War. Then, in a second and later stage after the 1960s, labor migration waves led to mass Muslim immigration from Turkey and Yugoslavia, as well as from Arab countries such as Egypt. As a result of these immigration waves, a heterogeneous Muslim community was formed. This heterogeneity increased further with waves of immigration from the Balkans and refugees seeking asylum in the late 1990s. According to the 2001 census, 339,000 Muslims (4.3 per cent of the total population) live in Austria.6 The biggest ethnic group is Turks (123,000), followed by Bosnians (64,628) and others (i.e., people from other parts of former Yugoslavia, Iranians, Syrians and Egyptians, as well as Pakistanis, Indonesians and people from the African subcontinent). After a long legal procedure, the Islamic Religious Community in Austria (Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich), or IGGiÖ, was constituted in 1979. The IGGiÖ is based on the Act of Recognition of the Adherents of Islam of 1912 and is the official representative of Muslims in Austria.7 Additionally, the Austrian state consults the IGGiÖ as a contact partner for representing and negotiating over the interests of Muslims. Various institutions of the IGGiÖ are responsible for training Muslim teachers,8 for offering further training courses,9 for developing the curriculum and textbooks for Islamic religious education10 and for evaluating the quality of Islamic religious education and Islamic schooling. Furthermore, the IGGiÖ

Islamic Private Schooling in Austria 231 is expected to approve Islamic schools and their denominational profiles before these schools can apply for state recognition and state funding.

Islamic Religious Education in Public Schools Denominational Islamic religious education was first introduced into Austrian public schools as a school subject in the school year 1982–1983, while the first Islamic private school was established nearly 20 years later. In comparison with other European countries, little research has been conducted on Islamic religious education in public schools, with no research so far undertaken on Islamic private schools.11 The first quantitative research study of Islamic religious education focused on Muslim teachers’ attitudes and approaches toward Islamic religious education.12 A controversial outcome of this study was the claim that 21.9 per cent of Muslim teachers had an anti-democratic attitude and held the opinion that Islam and democracy were not compatible.13 Although the methodological design of the study was criticized by scholars and educationalists for not having appropriate items to measure democratic attitudes,14 the findings led to controversy in the media and resulted in partly anti-Islamic campaigns that questioned the loyalty of Muslims in Austria in general.15 The first research study on explicitly Islamic schooling in Austria is currently being undertaken by one of the two authors of this chapter. In her case-study on Islamic schooling, Medeni focuses on Islamic educational concepts and theories, as well as on how these theories and concepts are put into practice. The Religious Education Act (Religionsunterrichtsgesetz) regulates the provision of Islamic religious education in Austrian public schools. Those churches and religious communities that are legally recognized are given the exclusive right to provide religious education in public schools. Religious education is organized in primary, secondary and private schools. For children belonging to a legally recognized church or community, it is obligatory to attend these classes. However, parents of pupils under 14 and pupils over 14 have the right to withdraw from religious education at the beginning of each academic year. The Islamic Schools Office (Islamisches Schulamt), an institution of the IGGiÖ, is required to supervise both Islamic religious education and Islamic schools. According to the Islamic Schools Office, more than 430 Muslim teachers are currently teaching Islamic religious education at more than 2,000 schools in Austria.16 In the school year 2010–2011, approximately 57,000 Muslim pupils attended these classes. Muslim teachers of Islamic religious education at public schools are trained at the Muslim Teacher Training College (Privater Studiengang für das Lehramt für Islamische Religion an Pflichtschulen, also known as IRPA) by taking part in the BEd program, while high-school teachers are trained at the University of Vienna through the MA program in Islamic Religious Pedagogy. In 2013, a new BA program opened its doors at the University of Innsbruck.17

232 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger In consultation with the Islamic Schools Office, the IGGiÖ defines and explains ten objectives for Islamic religious education on its website. The ten objectives are:18 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Consistent and secure [Islamic] content An emphasis on Islam as the middle path The promotion of [children’s] own identity [as Muslims] Raising awareness of the compatibility of an Islamic way of life with the feeling of belonging to Austria and Europe Dealing with diversity The promotion of a constructive inter-Muslim dialog Advocacy of equal status for men and women Gaining competence in dealing with diversity in one’s own group as a key to the general affirmation of diversity Knowledge as a premise for dialog Integration through participation19

These objectives for Islamic religious education include important keywords of the contemporary European discourse on Muslims such as “dialog,” “integration,” “identity,” “diversity” and “gender equality.” These objectives seem to have a lot to do with contemporary Austrian liberalism, but not necessarily with Islam and its educational philosophy or theological premises. One might rather have expected to find objectives more specifically touching upon Islamic ways of teaching knowledge, such as encouraging religiosity, instilling spirituality and training skills and competencies. The objectives cited above could therefore potentially lead to highly diverse expectations and demands on Islamic religious education.20 On the one hand, these and other expectations and demands could create confusion among stakeholders and teachers, and on the other, parents could be misled about the objectives and aims of Islamic religious education, resulting in very substantial differences between them in their expectations of it. As Heine et al. assert, Islamic religious education in the form of two lessons per week cannot replace a broad integration discourse on a political level, and religious socialization of children and adolescents takes place not only in school, but also within the family, peer-groups and the Islamic community.21 Notwithstanding the limitation to two lessons per week, Islamic religious education in public schools should ideally replace the classical mosque education on the one hand, but on the other, it should also improve the integration of Muslim immigrants.22 Moreover, Muslim parents expect their children to gain sufficient knowledge, practical skills (e.g., reciting the Quran, doing prayers) and religious competence with the two classes of Islamic religious education. These heterogeneous expectations for Islamic religious education are clearly beyond the scope and possibilities of religious education in public schools. However, whether it was the parents’ diverse

Islamic Private Schooling in Austria 233 expectations or their overall dissatisfaction that led to the establishment of Islamic private schools in Austria has not yet been investigated. The answer to the question of what Islamic religious education can really offer is not only important for the intra-Islamic discourse on didactic and methodical as well as curricular issues, but also highly relevant to the wider society. According to Aslan, Islamic religious education should ideally become a place of selfpositioning and identity-building: an inner homeland for Muslim pupils in Austria.23 As a result, there are various challenges facing Islamic religious education in Austria.24

ISLAMIC PRIVATE SCHOOLS Numbers of Islamic schools differ significantly between European countries. According to one comparative analysis of European countries with large Muslim communities, relatively few Islamic schools are recognized or supported by the state.25 In addition, as Wan Daud states, “while there has been admirable commitment and enthusiasm among Muslims both in Muslim countries and in the West to establish Islamic schools and colleges, these are often not based on a strong theoretical foundation.”26 Although there have been Islamic private schools in Austria for almost 15 years, no empirical research has yet focused on them. There is no quantitative or qualitative data available concerning the theoretical foundations of the schools, the backgrounds of pupils, parents or teachers or any other characteristics of Islamic schools. An evaluation of the academic success of Islamic private schools, for instance, would be important in assessing whether these schools have achieved an average level of performance comparable to other private and public schools.27 According to the Islamic Schools Office, there are currently seven Islamic private schools in Austria, all located in Vienna.28 Only a few of these are permanently acknowledged by the Austrian Board of Education and thus state funded.29 According to the school statistics of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture for 2006, private schools make up 14.6 per cent of all schools in Austria. Of the private schools, 35 per cent are denominational schools and 2.4 per cent are Islamic schools.30 Islamic schools are therefore statistically not significant. However, Islamic schools are still of paramount importance for a number of Muslim parents. Moreover, the controversial debates over Islamic schools in the Austrian media underline the educational and societal significance of these schools. In Austria, the establishment and operation of private schools are regulated by the Private School Act (Privatschulgesetz). All private schools that fulfill the conditions laid down by the Private School Act are granted public recognition (Öffentlichkeitsrecht), a status that gives them equal status with public schools. Moreover, private schools run by acknowledged religious communities are basically entitled to full governmental

234 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger funding, a similar legal standing to that of the public schools. To gain recognition, the Islamic schools have first to be acknowledged by the IGGiÖ as genuine Islamic schools. They can then apply for public recognition from the Board of Education. After being awarded this status, they are subsidized by the government. Conversely, they can be disqualified if requirements are not met. As has been said, the Islamic Schools Office is required to supervise both Islamic religious education and the Islamic schools.31 A conversation with the inspector responsible for Islamic private schools suggests that the compartmentalization of Islamic schools is the consequence of a lack of cooperation and collaboration among Islamic private schools. The fact that there is no platform such as a Muslim Schools Association where questions may be raised, interests debated and best practice exchanged supports this view. Concomitantly, the profiles and identities of Islamic schools vary according to the national and cultural as well as Islamic backgrounds of the schools’ founders, and also according to the dynamics of the heterogeneous Muslim groups within a particular school, which makes comparisons among Islamic schools even more difficult. Unlike in other European countries, such as the United Kingdom, there is no single-sex Islamic schooling in Austria.32 There is less demand for Islamic schools, with or without governmental affiliation, in Austria than in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, something that may itself be a consequence of the large-scale Islamic religious education that has been in place since 1982. It may be assumed that in recent decades Muslim communities and parents have felt that their religious needs were sufficiently met through Islamic religious education in public schools. Another factor could be the widespread and well-established mosque education available after school or at weekends. Parents often delegate the religious socialization of their children to such supplementary and privately organized Islamic religious education institutions as these, where the education normally mirrors the national identity and traditional customs of the parents’ origins. An additional factor may be parents’ fears that their children could be stigmatized in parts of the wider society, or be labeled as less educated and skilled or even as extremists or Islamists, after graduating from Islamic private schools. This could reduce their chances of establishing themselves in the labor market and complicate their participation in the wider society. Furthermore, pupils attending non-accredited Islamic schools in Austria have to take part in special exams (Externistenprüfung) at the end of each academic year in order to receive equivalent reports and certificates.33 Thus, neither parents nor educators might see the necessity of establishing new Islamic schools. Moreover, both the foundation and the maintenance of Islamic schools are affected by such considerations as qualified staff, sufficient funding and fluctuations in pupil numbers, which might make the foundation of new Islamic schools challenging or unattractive.

Islamic Private Schooling in Austria 235 CASE-STUDY: THE AL-AZHAR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS The Al-Azhar International Schools34 in Vienna were founded in 2002 after Muslim parents involved with the Association for Austrian Islamic Education and Culture (Verein Österreichische Islamische Bildung und Kultur) had voiced their desire for an institution in which their children would have the opportunity to attend classes in Islamic religious education and in Arabic in order to be able to read and recite the Quran.35 The chairman of the association, an Egyptian lawyer, initiated the establishment of both primary and secondary schools. Originally, the teachers were native Arabic speakers and were hired from abroad, which soon resulted in challenges produced by their lack of German-language skills, as well as a differing cultural understanding of schooling in general and the concept of education in particular. As the schoolchildren were mostly of Arab descent, the aim of parents and teachers was that they should fulfill both the Austrian curriculum (as is compulsory) and the Egyptian curriculum (which was important to the Arab parents). As these parents initially planned to return to their home countries, they wanted their children to acquire educational qualifications from both countries. Being educated in line with the requirements of the Egyptian curriculum, the pupils would be able to acquire a highereducation entrance qualification that would be sufficient to allow them to study at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Moreover, pupils were expected to have proficiency in Arabic, both in order to be able to read the Quran and so as to speak their native language. During the following years, the number of non-Arab pupils increased with the new waves of immigration from the Balkans and with refugees seeking asylum in Austria. This led the schools to redefine their orientation and approach. One way for the schools to align with the new requirements was to teach the pupils in their native language (e.g., in Turkish or Chechen). Non-Muslim Austrian teachers were hired to fill the vacant positions of specialist subject teachers, as it was difficult to find Muslim teachers with adequate education and training. Thus, until 2011, all teaching staff in these schools except for religious education were Austrian non-Muslims. More recently, due to the numbers of young Muslims graduating from educational institutions and teacher-training colleges, the teaching staff of the secondary school of the Al-Azhar International Schools changed to consist of Muslim teachers only. In July 2012, the name of the schools was officially changed to Austrian International Schools, again using an English rather than a German title. This could be perceived as a sign of openness and redefinition, but could also be interpreted as a loss of tradition and identity. “Al-Azhar”—the name initially chosen for the schools, which created a chain of associations with the historically and theologically important Al-Azhar University in Cairo— disappeared from the new name. However, the name is still mentioned on the front page of the schools’ website, where—surprisingly—neither the word “Islam” nor the word “Muslim” are to be found.

236 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger The Al-Azhar International Schools, as they were at the time of the study, define themselves as “a project for the multicultural education of children from all backgrounds, nationalities and religions.”36 By including all religions and nationalities, the schools lay an emphasis on heterogeneity. The same emphasis is also expressed by the use of the word “international” in both old and new names of the schools. The schools define the five main areas of language, religion, social learning, intercultural and inter-religious projects as their main pedagogical working areas. Apart from this, the AlAzhar International Schools resemble other Austrian Islamic private schools that do not display any concrete link to Islamic educational theories or concepts on their school websites.37 However, although the new name, Austrian International Schools, suggests a close link with local Austrian society, such that one would expect the schools to be a part of the wider Austrian school landscape, there are currently no native Austrian or non-Muslim pupils enrolled in any of the schools. Hence it could be argued that the schools are unable to fulfill their obligations in terms of the pedagogical focus described on their website. Despite their broad profile, they fail to indicate their specific confessional ethos, their purpose or their codes of practice. Regardless of these factors, the Al-Azhar International Schools continue to attract Muslim families. In the course of this research project, the question of parents’ expectations of Islamic private schools in general and their rationale in choosing a particular school for their children became significant. As described above, in the last decade the Al-Azhar International Schools have been faced with increasing numbers of pupils from various ethnic backgrounds. In the same period, public interest has grown and controversial discussions on this subject have taken place in the Austrian media. The schools have been challenged and have faced assumptions regarding their direction in society. One concern has been that the high percentage of Muslim pupils could lead to social isolation rather than promoting social cohesion. Additionally, as in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, Islamic private schools in Austria have been accused of fostering parallel societies38 and of training Islamists.39 Additionally, allegations of poor conditions and quality failures have been made against certain Islamic private schools. Since neither qualitative nor quantitative research has been carried out on Islamic education in Austria, determining the benefits and drawbacks of the educational and social contribution of Islamic schools to the wider Austrian context is a challenge. In the Dutch context, Driessen and Valkenberg argue based on empirical findings that “Islamic schools in the Netherlands hardly differ in many respects from schools with a comparable socio-ethnic population.”40 Nevertheless, critics still have reservations about Islamic schools that separate themselves from mainstream Dutch schooling. They postulate that these schools could lead to isolation and segregation and that they are ideologically and politically, rather than educationally, motivated.41 Another objection raised is that the profiles and aims of Islamic schools cannot be reconciled with a liberal education and Western democracy. Driessen

Islamic Private Schooling in Austria 237 and Merry conclude, however, in their analysis of several studies of Islamic schools in the Netherlands that attending Islamic schools does not hinder the integration of Muslim pupils into the wider Dutch context.42 Additionally, Rizvi discusses further arguments by both critics and proponents of Islamic schools, emphasizing that the perceptions and perspectives of the children themselves are mostly ignored in these debates.43 In this regard, two aspects are repeatedly mentioned in the public discussion: first, that private schools in Austria and other European countries have in general been suspected of separating their pupils from society, and second, that this applies especially to Islamic private schools, which, unlike Christian or Jewish schools, have been confronted with particular fears from parts of society. Such fears and prejudices become evident in certain situations, for instance when Islamic institutions such as mosques or schools are to be established.44 In reaction to these ongoing public discussions in Austria, and as a consequence of being repeatedly addressed with these topics, the headmistress of both the primary school and secondary school of the Al-Azhar International Schools decided to start a process of school evaluation and quality control.45 Her intention was to clarify not only the denominational profile of the primary and secondary school, but also their standing among other Austrian schools.

The Al-Azhar Schools Development Project In 2011, educational researchers were therefore invited to guide and support the process of developing the schools in organizational, personnel and educational matters. With all the people concerned brought together, including the founder of the schools, the headmistress of the primary and secondary school, the teachers, the parents’ representatives and the administrative and maintenance staff, common goals were discussed and a school development project was initiated.46 Simultaneously, a research project was conducted, involving teacher students at the University of Vienna who were attending a course on Practice Research.47 Based on the overall topic “Muslim parents’ expectations of Islamic private schools,” a qualitative and quantitative research design was developed and applied. In order to capture the “big picture” of Muslim parents and their rationale for choosing an Islamic private school, it was necessary to gather many parents’ opinions, which a questionnaire made possible. To gain further insight into motivation and views, interviews were conducted at both the primary and secondary school and their results combined with the findings of the quantitative research. Thus mixing methods allowed the evaluation of a more precise picture. Limited understanding of German was taken into account when phrasing questions in the questionnaire and the interview guide for the parents at the Al-Azhar International Schools, as many of them were first-generation immigrants or refugees48 with little knowledge of the local language.

238 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger The questionnaire and interviews were based on the principal research question, “What expectations do Muslim children’s parents have of an Islamic private school, and what were the crucial drivers for choosing that particular school for their children?” Additionally, four main subtopics were identified as requiring exploration and elaboration in order to answer the research question: (1) the influence of religion, (2) the influence of culture, (3) the expectations of society and (4) expectations of school performance and service. These subtopics formed the structure of both the questionnaire and the interview guidelines. The subtopic “influence of religion” comprised questions regarding religious practices and rituals specific to the school concerned that might have influenced the parents’ decision to choose that particular school for their children. “Culture,” in contrast to “religion,” was understood as the collectivity of mental, intellectual and spiritual values, in combination with prevailing and standardized ways of interpretation. In other words, culture was defined as a complex whole, as a people’s complete way of life. Culture encompasses beliefs, laws, language and morality; it is inherited, or it may be acquired in the course of a person’s life. With the subtopic “the influence of culture,” the researchers were thus aiming to determine the role played by cultural aspects in the parents’ decision making and their expectations of the school, taking into account that the pupils had in common that they were Muslims, but did not necessarily share the same cultural background. The third subtopic, “expectations of society,” comprised the demands exerted on adolescents by society on both public and private levels. Such demands or expectations might include tolerance, social involvement, motivation, discipline, equality and justice. This subtopic also included language skills and, in association with that, social integration. Finally, the last subtopic, “expectations of school performance and service,” comprised the parents’ expectations of the educational system, the specific school and the schools’ founder regarding the quality of teaching, the pupils’ education and their acquisition of competence and skills. This subtopic also included the provision of special services such as halal food, commonly not provided at non-Islamic schools, or a certain range of subjects, such as Quran recitation. The questionnaire contained 13 closed-ended and 1 open-ended question, covering all four subtopics described above and also covering demographic aspects such as educational attainment or professional activity. Twelve of the closed-ended questions required single-code answers, while one allowed for a multi-code answer. For the guided interviews, open-ended questions were developed for each subtopic, aiming for in-depth exploration of the topics. Six parents, recruited by the headmistress, volunteered as interviewees. Although the circle of potential candidates was limited by the German-language skills required, the interviewees represented the multicultural and multinational group of pupils attending the Al-Azhar International Schools at that time. Four fathers and two mothers of six different

Islamic Private Schooling in Austria 239 national descents—Bosnian, Chechen, Egyptian, Macedonian, Pakistani and Tunisian—were invited to participate in interviews. The interviews lasted between 45 and 70 minutes and were audiorecorded, transcribed and finally analyzed and interpreted applying the method of qualitative content analysis.49 This involved creating content categories according to the subtopics mentioned above. The interviewees’ answers were then structured and allocated to the corresponding category. Concerning the quantitative research, 51 out of 150 questionnaires were returned, representing a response rate of 34 per cent. Statistical evaluation was used to analyze the quantitative data.

Empirical Findings and Discussion In this section selected questions from the survey focusing on the central question of the chapter are presented and described in detail. The results of the quantitative research are then supported by findings from the qualitative research and discussed in a theoretical context. Around two-thirds (65 per cent) of the 51 parents who participated in the quantitative survey were fathers, while about one-third (31 per cent) were mothers and 4 per cent were persons with parental responsibility. A quarter (25 per cent) of them stated that they had completed post-secondary education, 24 per cent reported a general qualification for university entrance as their highest educational attainment, 27 per cent had gone as far as junior high school level, and only 10 per cent claimed to have no school-leaving qualification. Regarding current professional activity, almost half (49 per cent) of the parents surveyed said they were not employed at all, 10 per cent worked up to 10 hours per week, and 14 per cent between 20 and 30 hours; 27 per cent claimed to be working more than 30 hours per week.

Drivers for Choosing an Islamic Private School The parents were asked to give information about the role played by certain aspects as drivers in their choice of the Al-Azhar International Schools for their children. The four-point answer scale for this question ranged from “Plays a major role,” to “Plays a medium role,” to “Plays a minor role” to “Plays no role.” The results showed that Islam-related aspects—such as offering a specific range of subjects or Muslim teachers—were clearly the main drivers in the choice of the school over a public school, and obviously played a much higher role than, for example, proximity of the school to home. The fact that the school chosen by the parents was an Islamic school played a “major role” for 76 per cent and a “medium role” for 16 per cent. The “range of subjects offered by the school” (such as Quran recitation or Arabic) was indicated by 71 per cent of the parents as playing a “major role” and by 16 per cent a “medium role” in choosing the school for their children. For 45 per cent of the parents the fact that most teachers are Muslim

240 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger played a “major role,” while for 25 per cent this aspect was indicated as playing a “medium role.” Of the parents surveyed 35 per cent mentioned that the school’s location nearby played a “major role,” while for 31 per cent it played a “medium role,” for 4 per cent a “minor role” and for 16 per cent “no role” with regard to the decision that their children would attend the Al-Azhar International Schools. This finding was supported by information about the pupils’ home addresses showing that some pupils live in districts on the other side of the city, which means that they are accepting long journeys to school on a daily basis. However, the main factor influencing parental choice was clearly the one mentioned initially, as supported by another question about how important it was for the parents that their children attend an Islamic school. This resulted in 63 per cent stating that it was “very important” and 31 per cent indicating that it was “important.” Interestingly, two questions were skipped by 29 per cent of the parents surveyed. One was about school fees, a subject that is known to have been controversial because of a lack of transparency and because of presumed individual arrangements made between parents and the schools’ founder. Nonetheless, this aspect was raised in the interview by one father as a driver for choosing the school. The other unanswered question concerned “Trouble at former school,” a question that remained unanswered by the same percentage of parents, but was raised by several interviewees during the interviews. The aim of this part of the research was to validate the information from the quantitative study on the one hand, and to get further information on topics not covered by the questionnaires on the other. By means of the interviews it was possible to gain deeper insights into the parents’ reasoning behind their choice of the Al-Azhar International Schools. Therefore, it is not surprising that the interviewees showed responses similar to those given in the questionnaires. Although the answers given by the interviewees concerning the reasons for school choice were similar, the parents’ attempts to define and explain those drivers differed in some cases, as shown below. In at least four of the six interviews, the interviewees mentioned the “Islamic atmosphere” as an important driver for choosing an Islamic school. However, the definition of the “Islamic atmosphere” differed in the interviews. One father described the “Islamic atmosphere” as a “protective function,” pointing to his own experiences as a pupil at an Islamic school in Egypt. As a teacher himself, he often referred to his own biographical experiences and his own roots in a classical Islamic schooling institution, which seemed to be an important motive for choosing this particular school. Furthermore, as an Egyptian, he identified himself with the name of the schools and explicitly with the name Al-Azhar, which symbolizes a particular religious and cultural tradition of schooling. The “protective function” was also mentioned by a second father, who emphasized this function of Islamic

Islamic Private Schooling in Austria 241 schools by stating that he might send his son to a public school, but not his daughter. According to this father, his girls were likely to be confronted with problems and discriminatory experiences in public school because of wearing the headscarf and sticking to Islamic dress codes. Thus, he argued that the public schools would force assimilation, rather than nurturing faith or promoting religious values. In contrast, Islamic schools would enable pupils to adhere to Islamic rules and to act on fundamental religious values. Moreover, mixed-sex physical education and swimming classes in the public schools were seen as a challenge and a problem by this father, who emphasized that these were not compatible with Islamic principles. Both fathers said they would be more likely to send their sons than their daughters to a public school. These statements correspond with the high percentage of girls at the Al-Azhar International Schools. Additionally, the second father explained the importance of the “Islamic atmosphere” by accentuating the “collective ‘we’ thinking,” which is a reference to the ecumenical umma understanding. However, all the interviewees except for one mother tended to use the collective “we” when they addressed issues concerning Islam, the school or their opinions referring to an Islamic worldview that is obviously taken for granted. The use of a collective “we” indicates a probable identification with the school to some extent, and this was explicitly stated by the second father. Even though he criticized the school’s educational performance and achievement by mentioning the lack of discipline and trained teachers, he still supported the schools. Regardless of any shortcomings, he would prefer an Islamic private school to a public school. He also touched upon the keywords “integration” and “segregation,” and maintained that Islamic schools enable and facilitate Muslim integration into the mainstream and wider society. However, he highlighted that Islamic schools needed to work on their public relations. One mother underlined joint prayers and the weekly two classes of Islamic religious education as desirable, but clearly stated that the nearby location of the school was her main driver for choosing the Al-Azhar International Schools for her daughter in the first grade. Additionally, she explained that her daughter had already attended the nursery school of the Al-Azhar International Schools. By contrast, a second mother explained her lack of knowledge about Islam and her lack of ability in reading the Quran as her motivation for sending her children to the Al-Azhar International Schools. She placed great hopes in the pedagogical and religious concepts of these schools, expecting her children to be able to read and understand the Quran. Finally, this mother referred to Islamic traditions and customs at Islamic schools, which she called al-urf (custom). According to her, these traditions and customs were desirable and were one of her drivers for choosing a confessional Islamic school. Three interviewees mentioned fear of discrimination against Muslim children in the public schools as an important driver for sending their children to an Islamic private school. While one father was afraid of discrimination

242 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger against his daughters as explained above, one mother mentioned religious affiliation as a particular factor for discrimination against Muslims. Another father said that there was not only a tendency for discrimination against Muslim children in the public schools in principle, but also a lack of understanding of Islam or of the cultures of Muslim children. He expressed the view that Islamic schools enable Muslim children to develop self-confidence and trust without fear of restrictions and without having to witness discriminatory incidents and confrontations. Another driver for choosing an Islamic school was expressed by this father as being “among brothers and sisters” (simultaneously a reference to the collective “we” thinking). According to him, Islamic schools enable Muslim children to experience belonging to a broader Islamic community, the umma, on a micro level. He also underlined the chance of intercultural learning at Islamic schools because of the pupils have heterogeneous backgrounds. In addition, he remarked that intercultural competencies were important nowadays.

Parents’ Expectations of Islamic Schools The central part of the survey examined the parents’ expectations of Islamic schools in general. In the questionnaire the parents were asked to indicate whether certain aspects of the schools related to the four subtopics were “very important,” “important,” “of little importance” or “not important” to them, considering what they expected from an Islamic school. The results showed—as expected—that it was the schools’ Islam-related aspects that were indicated as being most important. These included offering a special range of subjects, such as Quran recitation or Arabic; providing halal food; fostering joint prayers and celebrating Muslim holidays. Living in a German-speaking environment, the parents surveyed considered learning German, along with protection from discrimination, as important factors for an Islamic school. In the following, the most significant answers are described in detail. Regarding the subtopic “expectations of school performance and services,” two aspects were considered “very important” to more than 70 per cent of the parents: Quran recitation (76 per cent) and the provision of halal food (73 per cent). The importance of these two aspects was emphasized throughout the interviews. Generally, halal food is not provided in the public schools, whereas Islamic private schools mostly either provide a halal lunch or communicate the importance of halal food to the parents and additionally discuss the topic within the classes.50 “School atmosphere” was considered “very important” by 61 per cent. “Learning Arabic” was considered “very important” by 57 per cent, “important” by 18 per cent, “of little importance” for 12 per cent and “not important” for 10 per cent. The question about learning Arabic was one of three to which 22 per cent of the answers indicated little or no importance. It may be assumed that one reason for this is the multinational group of pupils attending the Al-Azhar

Islamic Private Schooling in Austria 243 International Schools at the time; depending on the families’ descent, another native language may be considered more vital than Arabic. Under the subtopic “expectations of society,” three aspects were investigated. First, learning German was considered very important by 71 per cent. Second, a moral–ethical education was considered very important by 65 per cent. Third, “protection from discrimination” was stated to be “very important” by 60 per cent and “important” by 30 per cent. The subtopic “influence of religion” was represented by four items. “Teaching religious values” was “very important” to 67 per cent and “important” to 20 per cent of the parents. “Joint prayers” and “joint religious celebrations” were “very important” or “important,” respectively, to 59 per cent compared to 33 per cent, and to 53 per cent compared to 24 per cent. To 37 per cent of the parents it was “very important” that the teachers of Islamic schools are Muslim; 35 per cent considered this “important,” 10 per cent considered it “of little importance” and 8 per cent considered it “not important.” This result corresponded with the findings regarding the drivers for choosing that particular school, as described above. Under the subtopic “influence of culture,” three questions were embedded in the questionnaire. “Single-sex physical education”51 was indicated as being “very important” by 51 per cent and “important” by 27 per cent. “Education in cultural rituals and customs” was indicated as being “very important” by 22 per cent, “important” by 41 per cent, “of little importance” by 16 per cent and “not important” by 6 per cent. The item “compliance with dress code” was stated to be “of little importance” to 12 per cent and “not important” to 10 per cent; 33 per cent of the parents surveyed stated that this was “very important,” and 27 per cent indicated that it was “important.” The interviews showed that parents have diverse expectations of Islamic schools. While the Islamic spirit and atmosphere (including religious rituals and celebrations) were underlined by all interviewees, other expectations, such as the importance of discipline, order and respect, were raised by four out of six parents. These findings correlate with previous research on Islamic schooling.52 Overall, all parents complained that the public schools would not teach Islamic content sufficiently. Thus, the parents interviewed were seeking genuine Islamic knowledge, as well as religious competencies such as reading the Quran, doing the prayers or using the Islamic greeting. Three out of six interviewees mentioned social competencies as desirable, and remarked that Muslim children must achieve at least the same level as other children in public schools. One mother raised her concerns about Islamic schools in general, since she assumed that children who had attended Islamic school would be stigmatized in Austrian institutions. Thus she was thinking of choosing a different school for her daughter in first grade. Another concern for this mother was the low educational performance of the primary school. She based her argument on her conversations with other mothers whose children were attending public schools.

244 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger One father suggested that more effort needed to be put into public relations in order to place Islamic schools on an equal footing alongside other confessional and public schools. Increased public awareness and knowledge of Islamic schools might hinder accusations of segregation and extremism. Therefore, Islamic schools should function as “integration motors,” enabling Muslim children to participate in the wider Austrian society. This father expected the Al-Azhar International Schools to be a role model and pioneer for other Islamic schools. Another father emphasized the importance of Muslim teachers. He asserted that the teaching staff should be not merely Muslims, but practicing Muslims, as they are role models for the children. Concomitantly, he felt that the teaching staff should be well trained and provided with the necessary skills to educate and guide young Muslim pupils.

CONCLUSION Bearing in mind the different ways of being Muslim, there are a number of factors that coalesce to inform the broad interest in Muslim schooling. Even though Islamic religious education is provided in public schools in Austria, the demand for Islamic private schools is increasing. When deciding on their children’s school, Muslim parents seem to differentiate clearly between a certain amount of weekly teaching in Islamic religious education and a more holistic approach to Islamic schooling and education. Despite their diverse national backgrounds, it can be assumed that Muslim parents emphasize a commonality of religion and share a certain Islamic habitus based on rituals and customs. Moreover, Muslim parents seem to trust that children who have had unhappy experiences in public school can resort to Islamic private schools as an alternative. Overall, the responses of the parents at Al-Azhar International Schools correspond with the researchers’ initial expectations. Although the parents’ expectations of Islamic schools are diverse, they seem reasonable. Parents within one school tended to differ markedly in viewpoints and expectations, which is probably due to their diverse national and religious backgrounds. What is clear, though, is that the majority of parents sending their children to Islamic private schools are convinced that public schools cannot provide for their needs. Fears of discrimination against their children and concern about the pressure to assimilate seem to be significant drivers for parents deciding in favor of Islamic private schools. A minority of parents, by contrast, send their children to Islamic schools for pragmatic reasons, such as the short distance from home or the provision of halal food or childcare during the afternoon. However, it is surprising that Muslim parents send their children to Islamic schools while simultaneously raising critiques about their shortcomings. Possible factors behind this attitude might include: overall satisfaction with the educational outcomes provided by the Islamic schools;

Islamic Private Schooling in Austria 245 a priori solidarity with Islamic institutions regardless of their shortcomings; individually tailored financial arrangements, which in the case of the AlAzhar schools seem to be a clear advantage; and the perception that Islamic schooling is more appropriate for Muslim girls. However, there is a lack of clarity here concerning the profiles and concepts of Islamic schools. Thus the critique of individually tailored arrangements between parents and schools’ founder indicates a lack of transparency and uniformity in school management. For that reason, Islamic schools should clarify their denominational and educational orientation as well as their societal and political agenda, both to parents and to the wider society. This is necessary in order to build up trust, promote social cohesion and contribute to good community relations. Transparency about what is going on in the Islamic private schools and their ethos as well as their self-image needs to be communicated by way of their homepages to the wider Austrian society, as well as to professionals such as important educational institutions. Overall, Islamic private schooling in Austria is in its early stages. With the help of new research, it can achieve dynamic development and improvement. NOTES 1. The focus of this chapter is full-time Islamic schools, entitled “islamische Privatschulen” in German, which will be translated and used as “Islamic private schools” throughout the paper. These schools are defined as private and denominational schools. Their education is based on the Austrian national curriculum, and further teaching may be provided in Islamic subjects. Moreover, these private Islamic schools offer religious, cultural and often language instruction. Several Islamic traditions, such as celebrations of Ramadan or the birth of the Prophet, are addressed. The school founders are usually Muslim individuals or associations who are not necessarily educationalists. 2. Geert Driessen and Michael S. Merry, “Islamic Schools in the Netherlands: Expansion or Marginalization?” Interchange 37:3 (2006), 201–23. 3. We wish to thank Mrs. Friedl-Neubauer, the headmistress of the primary and secondary school of the Al-Azhar International Schools, for her cooperation and support during the research. 4. Halid Akpinar and Elif Medeni, “Ein Blick nach Österreich: Die Geschichte des islamischen Religionsunterrichts in unserem Nachbarland,” Grundschule— Konzepte und Materialien für eine gute Schule 44:11 (2012), 19. 5. Elif Medeni, “Neuere Entwicklungen um den islamischen Religionsunterricht und die LehrerInnenausbildung in Österreich,” in Neuere Entwicklungen im Religionsrecht europäischer Staaten, eds. Wilhelm Rees et al. (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2013), 373–86. 6. See, accessed March 3, 2013. 7. For further information on state religion affairs in Austria see Juan Ferreiro, Islam and State in EU: Church–State Relationships, Reality of Islam, Imams Training Centres (Frankfurt am Main/Wien: Peter Lang, 2011), 23–36. 8. For further information, see, accessed May 1, 2013. 9. For further information, see, accessed May 1, 2013.

246 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger 10. For further information on curriculum and textbook development, see Medeni, “Neuere Entwicklungen.” 11. Various reasons might explain the research desideratum on Islamic religious education and Islamic schooling in Austria. One reason might be the lack of Islamic and/or educational institutions that investigate the quality and nature of Islamic religious education in all its facets. Another reason seems to be the fact that the first teacher-training college was established without a scientific and academic board and orientation. Moreover, the state gave the responsibility of quality control and development into the hands of the IGGiÖ. However, this body seems to have little interest in evaluation, quality development and academic research. 12. See Mouhanad Khorchide, Der islamische Religionsunterricht zwischen Integration und Parallelgesellschaft: Eine empirische Studie zu Einstellungen der islamischen ReligionslehrerInnen an öffentlichen Schulen (Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2009). 13. For a critical discussion of Khorchide’s research, see Susanne Heine, Rüdiger Lohlker and Richard Potz, Muslime in Österreich: Geschichte–Lebenswelt– Religion, Grundlagen für den Dialog (Innsbruck: Tyrolia, 2012), 107–109. 14. “Wirbel um Studie über muslimische Religionslehrer,” Der Standart, January 27, 2009, accessed April 12, 2013, Antidemokratische-Haltung-als-Problem-Wirbel-um-Studie-uebermuslimische-Religionslehrer. 15. For the reception in the media, see zwischen-integration-und-parallelgesellschaft, accessed April 15, 2013. 16. “Schulamt/Rel.Unterricht,” IGGIÖ website, accessed April 15, 2013, www. 904&par=40. 17. For further information on recent developments concerning Muslim teacher training in Austria, see Elif Medeni, “Neuere Entwicklungen,” 373–86. 18. Translated by the authors. 19. IGGIÖ website, accessed April 19, 2013, 20. Mouhanad Khorchide, “Der islamische Religionsunterricht in Österreich,” Österreichischer Integrationsfonds, ÖIF-Dossier 5 (2009), accessed April 20, 2013, in_oesterreich/#c5502. 21. Heine, Lohlker and Potz, Muslime in Österreich, 109. 22. Khorchide, Der islamische Religionsunterricht zwischen Integration und Parallelgesellschaft, 16–21. 23. Ednan Aslan, “Islamunterricht und Europa,” in Islam in Europa, eds. Ruth Heidrich-Blaha, Michael Ley and Rüdiger Lohlker (Vienna: Diplomatische Akademie Wien, 2007), 81. 24. For a detailed discussion of the challenges facing Islamic education in the Austrian context, see Mounhanad Khorchide, “Der islamische Religionsunterricht in Österreich.” 25. Gracienne Lauwers, “Comparative Analysis,” in Islam (Instruction) in StateFunded Schools, eds. Gracienne Lauwers, Jan De Groof and Paul De Hert, 5–8, accessed July 15, 2013, 26. Wan Mohammad Nor Wan Daud, The Educational Philosophy and Practice of Syed Muhammad Naquib Al-Attas (Kuala Lumpur: ISTAC, 1998), 26. 27. For example, the success and achievements of Islamic schools in the Netherlands are discussed and analyzed by Geert Driessen and Pim Valkenberg, “Islamic Schools in the Netherlands: Compromising between Identity and Quality?” British Journal of Religious Education 23:1 (2006), 15–26.

Islamic Private Schooling in Austria 247 28. “Islamische Privatschulen,” Schulamt-Islam (IGGiÖ), accessed April 12, 2013, id=51&Itemid=57 (). 29. Schools without permanent accreditation must apply annually at the Board of Education for accreditation in order to obtain the status of “Öffentlichkeitsrecht” and be qualified for state funding. 30. Martin Jäggle et al., Religiöse Bildung an Schulen in Europa: Teil 1: Mitteleuropa (Göttingen: V&R unipress, 2013). 31. Schulamt-Islam, IGGiÖ, accessed April 1, 2013, 32. In some schools physical education and sex education are taught in “singlesex” classes. 33. For additional information on the “Externistenprüfung,” see amtshelfer/kultur/stadtschulrat/ausbildung/externistenpruefung-nachtraegli cher-positiver-abschluss.html, accessed September 4, 2013. 34. The Al-Azhar International Schools consist of a nursery school, a primary school, a secondary school and a grammar school, therefore the plural is used in the school’s name. All school types are located in the same building. This term will be used to name the school, as it was the wording in use at the time when the empirical research was conducted. 35. For further information on the Al-Azhar International Schools, see the homepage, accessed August 7, 2013, 36. Al-Azhar International Schools, accessed August 7, 2013, 37. For an analysis of Islamic school homepages see Elif Medeni, “Islamic Schooling in Austria: A Contribution to Muslim Integration or Tool for Segregation?” (forthcoming). 38. See Joseph Kleinrath, “Keine islamische Schule,” NÖN, September 26, 2011, accessed September 26, 2013, wiener-neustadt/aktuell/Keine-nbsp-islamische-nbsp-Schule;art2575,348571. 39. See FPÖ Wien FP-Gudenus, “Rotes Wien in Geiselhaft der Islamisten,” OTS, September 26, 2011, accessed May 10, 2013, OTS_20110926_OTS0119/fp-gudenus-rotes-wien-in-geiselhaft-der-islamisten. 40. Driessen and Valkenberg, “Islamic Schools in the Netherlands,” 24. 41. Driessen and Merry, “Islamic Schools in the Netherlands,” 223. 42. Driessen and Merry, “Islamic Schools in the Netherlands,” 228–29. 43. Sadaf Rizvi, “Telling the Whole Story: An Anthropological Conversation on Conflicting Discourses of Integration, Identity and Socialization,” in Making Sense of the Global: Anthropological Perspectives on Interconnections and Processes, eds. Raúl Acosta, Sadaf Rizvi and Ana Santos (Newcastle-uponTyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), 129–45. 44. CRR–Christlicher Rat für das Gespräch mit den Religionen, “Moscheebau: Eine ökumenische Orientierungshilfe in OÖ,” 2010, accessed May 10, 2013, www. tierungshilfe_Moscheebau.pdf. 45. The Al-Azhar schools had already taken part in a school evaluation project (WWSE: Perception and Value-based School Development) in 2010–2011. Unfortunately, the aims of this project could not be put into praxis. 46. See Dietmar Osinger, “Schulentwicklung braucht Beratung: Neue Anforderungen brauchen neue Wege,” Schulheft 127 (2007), 103–19. 47. Practice Research is an approach in teacher education and training involving teacher students in research processes at schools in order to allow for a unique and distant view on their future field of work and thus support analytical and reflective thinking. See Barbara Wenninger, “Practice Research for Teacher Students in a Professional Community,” in M3: Interdisciplinary Aspects on

248 Medeni and Breen-Wenninger


49. 50. 51. 52.

Digital Media & Education, eds. Margit Pohl et al. (Vienna: books@ocg, 2006), 175–88, at 176. Barbara Breen-Wenninger, Siegrid Friedl-Neubauer and Elif Medeni, “Schulentwicklung an einer islamischen Schule im Spannungsfeld von Kooperation und Reflexion, Theorie und Praxis,” in Kultur der Anerkennung: Würde– Gerechtigkeit–Partizipation für Schulkultur, Schulentwicklung und Religion, eds. Martin Jäggle et al. (Hohengehren: Verlag Schneider, 2013), 265–76. Philipp Mayring, Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken, 8th ed. (Weinheim: Beltz, 2003). The religious education teacher complained that even some Muslim pupils whose parents were identified as Salafis did not eat the provided halal food, arguing that the Muslim catering service was not trustworthy in terms of halal. “Single-sex physical education” and “compliance with dress code” are aspects that may be allocated to both categories, influence of culture as well as influence of religion. See, for example, Elaine McCreery, Liz Jones and Rachel Holmes, “Why Do Muslim Parents Want Muslim Schools?” Early Years 27:3 (2007), 203–19; Michael S. Merry, “Advocacy and Involvement: The Role of Parents in Western Islamic Schools,” Religious Education 100:4 (2005), 374–85; Gert Driessen and Michael S. Merry, “Islamic Schools in the Netherlands;” Interchange 37:3 (2006), 201–23; Geert Driessen and Pim Valkenberg, “Islamic Schools in the Netherlands?” British Journal of Religious Education 23:1 (2006), 15–26; Meer Nasar, “Muslim Schools in Britain: Challenging Mobilization or Logical Developments?” Asia–Pacific Journal of Education 27:1 (2007), 55–71; Claire Tinker, “Rights, Social Cohesion and Identity: Arguments for and against State-Funded Muslim Schools in Britain,” Race, Ethnicity and Education 12:4 (2009), 539–53.

13 Brainwashed at School? Deprogramming the Secular among Young Neo-Orthodox Muslims in Denmark Christian Suhr

Today, unfortunately, we see many Muslims, who when it concerns their education, work or even entertainment wish to acquire a lot of knowledge in these areas, but when it comes to religion, Islam, then they only have very little knowledge. —Statement of the Muslim Youth Center, Aarhus, Denmark, 2013 The Danish education system, the government and a great part of the population—what they want is to assimilate us, make us an integrated part of society. What it means is that I need to have the same values as they have, do the same things as they do, have the same way of thinking as they have. As a Muslim I have nothing against working and being an active part of society, but it cannot go against my values, it cannot be at the expense of what I believe in. The Danish population has its values and religious persuasion, its ways of understanding what life is about and how a government, an educational system, and other institutions should be run. As a Muslim I have other ideas about these things, but it appears that there is no respect for this. —Founding member of the Muslim Youth Center

Is the political and ideological foundation of Europe incompatible with a Muslim way of life?1 The claim has been made repeatedly by a range of contemporary European politicians and scholars. In Denmark, right-wing politicians such as Mogens Camre and Marie Krarup have emphasized how Muslims and the “war with the Islamic civilization” constitute the greatest threat to Danish society.2 Former member of parliament Louise Frevert (Danish People’s Party) explicitly compared Danish Muslims to the cells of a malignant tumor: cells that need to be contained if they are not to spread into secular society.3 In scholarly debates, the argument sometimes goes that since Islam as a world religion—unlike Christianity—has not yet gone through the process of reformation, it remains caught within a mode of religious reasoning appropriate to the Middle Ages, a mode of thinking based on authoritarian myth, absolutist faith and blind commitment to strictly literal interpretations of archaic holy scriptures. In Islam, the “sign” (so to speak) has yet to be detached from the “signified,” so that critical secular

250 Suhr thinking and healthy rational skepticism may take its place and lead Muslim believers through the process toward enlightenment.4 In his seminal genealogy of the formation of contemporary conceptions of the secular, Talal Asad posits how the very idea of Europe was fashioned historically through the exclusion of the Islamic “other.”5 As Asad states, “Europe (and the nation-states of which it is constituted) is ideologically constructed in such a way that Muslim immigrants cannot be satisfactorily represented in it . . . they are included within and excluded from Europe at one and the same time.”6 Asad concedes that there are vast differences between the hostility toward Islam of the European national right and the advocacy by European liberals and leftists of tolerance and of the possibility of coexistence of cultures and religions within the boundaries of Europe. Yet Asad points out that even such liberal or leftist imaginaries of Europe are dependent upon the notion that “Muslims may be in Europe but are not of it—and it is precisely for this reason that they should be accorded toleration . . . It is precisely because Muslims are external to the essence of Europe that ‘coexistence’ can be envisaged between ‘us’ and ‘them.’”7 Children of Muslim origin experience a number of very particular problems when growing up between the religious and cultural norms of their families and the secular norms of the European school systems. In many ways, their problems stem from the dual or multiple complicities in which they are urged to engage as they are asked to divide their loyalty between their families, God (as understood in Islam) and secular European nationstates. Since both the secular nation-state and Islam are often portrayed (and in fact often appear to operate) as mutually exclusive domains of authority, dividing one’s loyalty between them is not an easy thing to do. Yet we might still object to Asad’s assertion that, despite these problems, large numbers of Muslims do apparently consider themselves European and continue to live in Europe, and that some even express joy in and affection for their life in Europe. Quite a few Muslims are, indeed, ethnically and genetically thoroughbred European. In this chapter I will be discussing the views and practices of a small group of young neo-orthodox8 Muslim men in their late teens and early twenties based around the Muslim Youth Center in western Aarhus, Jutland. Most of these young men are the children of refugees or immigrants who moved to Denmark from Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Somalia and Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of them hold Danish citizenship and were either born or have lived most of their lives in Denmark. Yet they have critical views of their coming of age in the Danish welfare state and, especially, the Danish school system. The problem, as they perceive it, is not primarily attempts by the state to exclude them as Muslims from the wider Danish society and from the national imagination of a homogeneous Danish identity.9 On the contrary, the problem is primarily the attempt by the Danish school system to absorb, assimilate and transform them, through so-called “integration” programs, into becoming moderate, modern, secularized and culturally Danish Muslims—that is, Muslims who have subjected the supreme authority of

Brainwashed at School? 251 divine jurisdiction (sharia) to the lesser authority of the nation-state, and have in so doing made a fetish of an earthly creation, i.e. made the state into a false God (shirk). I will not attempt to assess the validity of what these young men say of their encounters with the Danish school system. What is important in the context of this chapter is simply how they perceive and how they reacted to school. Listening to the retrospective self-analysis provided by these young Danish Muslims may help us reconsider both the effects of secularism in the Danish welfare state and the capacity of this political system for accommodating religious and cultural difference. The Muslims that I worked with are by no means representative of all young Muslims in Denmark. But since it is precisely Muslims such as these who are often publicly condemned as Islamic extremists and targeted by various anti-radicalization programs, their own ways of understanding how they reacted to their upbringing in the Danish school call for serious attention. In this chapter I shall describe these young people’s efforts to counteract their upbringing in, and the teachings of, the Danish school as efforts akin to the voluntary deprogramming or de-cultification carried out by anti-cult deprogrammers or “exit counselors” when treating victims of “brainwashing” in the modern West.10 A number of scholars have argued that brainwashing and deprogramming can have only dubious explanatory power as a theoretical framework for understanding religious and ideological conversion. Brainwashing theories, for example, rely on taken-for-granted assumptions about the possibility of truly autonomous individual decision making. Religious deprogramming methods have also been criticized for applying precisely the same coercive and potentially traumatizing mind-control techniques as those used by religious cults. It is beyond the scope of this chapter to validate or discard brainwashing as a theory of religious conversion. However, despite scholarly criticisms, brainwashing remains a powerful trope in both public and some academic discussions. My aim here is to explore how the concepts of brainwashing and deprogramming may be re-employed, and how their meanings may shift, when young Muslims in Denmark start to use them to make sense of their own socio-political situation. In so doing I also address the recent debate in which a number of scholars have sought to theorize Islamic practices of worship within the idiom of ethical self-cultivation.11 Drawing on Michel Foucault’s analysis of ethical formation, Saba Mahmood has shown how pious Muslims’ self-cultivation is dependent not on their ability to enforce their will against the “oppressive” norms of their society, but on their success in fashioning and cultivating themselves, by actively embodying the virtues of the Prophet Muhammad.12 Scholars such as Amira Mittermaier13 and Samuli Schielke14 have criticized the so-called paradigm of self-cultivation on the grounds that there is too much pious intentional cultivation of Islam in the current ethnographic research on Islam. According to Schielke: There is a certain tendency to project Islam as a perfectionist ethical project of self-discipline, at the cost of the majority of Muslims who—like

252 Suhr most of humankind—are sometimes but not always pious and who follow various moral aims and at times immoral ones. The ideals and aspirations people express and the everyday lives they live are characterized by complexity, ambiguity, reflectivity, openness, frustration and tragedy. They argue for discipline at times and for freedom at others, but often live lives that lack both. If we want to account for the significance of Islam in people’s lives, we have to account for it in this wider context.15 To the young neo-orthodox Muslims I worked with, these questions look somewhat different. For them, the problem is certainly not that there is too much Islam in their lives, but rather that there is too little of it. They would fully agree with Schielke that their lives are characterized by a dangerous degree of ambiguity and frustration. It is precisely for this reason—in order to fully embrace the divine doctrines—that they put their emphasis on weeding out, deprogramming and detaching themselves from the doctrines and habits of thought that they have inevitably absorbed as a result of coming of age within the regime of secularism. If we stick to the agricultural vocabulary that has grown popular in scholarly debates about Islam, then the emphasis of the self-cultivation techniques used by these young neo-orthodox Muslims is on removing the weeds and preparing the soil for the rain to come and bring life to the seed. Referring to an often-cited passage in the Quran (39: 21), one young man argued that they had to live their lives as farmers: “You can’t just wait for God to do everything for you. You need to take away the weeds, so that the crops can grow when God sends the rain.” For them, it is because of the chaotic, ambiguous and difficult character of their lives that such a purification of the self is needed.16 In describing the efforts of these young Muslim men as weeding, purification and deprogramming, my wish is also to draw attention to the ways in which they understand their practices as regressive—practices that go against the impulse to change and the desire for novelty, and instead turn backward in time toward the recovery of the original state of fitra (often translated as the innate certainty in God), backward toward the pure and unspoiled practices of the Prophet Muhammad and the first Muslims (alsalaf). This is an all-encompassing deprogramming that occurs at psychological, social and bodily levels. As a member of the Muslim Youth Center in Aarhus West once stated: “In school we are taught to like zina [adultery] and khamr [alcohol], and we are taught that democracy is the finest form of government. We need to purify [rense] ourselves of these ideas.”

PIOUS BROTHERS CLEANING UP AFTER HELL’S ANGELS, AARHUS WEST 2010 I first met this group of young Muslims when they started cleaning up the garden, the party room and the “torture chamber” of a former Hell’s Angels fortress on the outskirts of Aarhus in August 2010. The current owner, a

Brainwashed at School? 253 former leader of the so-called immigrant “gang” Black Cobra, had offered the place to the group of pious youngsters as a way to expiate for his previous sins, which had included large-scale drug dealing, gambling and other illegal activities. The young men wanted to build a small mosque as a refuge from both the demands of their parents and the corrupting influences of Danish society. Most of them had experienced a hard time growing up in the Danish school system, and many had also experienced the hardships of growing up with traumatized parents in the officially designated “ghettoes”17 of Gellerup, Toveshøj and Bispehaven, social housing areas in the western part of the city of Aarhus characterized by high unemployment and gangrelated crime.”18 Several participants in the project had previously been engaged in crime or in hash or alcohol abuse. Many saw themselves as “reverts,” having lived their childhood and parts of their youth outside or at the very outer rims of Islam. For them, strict adherence to orthodox Sunni Islam offered a way to escape the attractions of their immediate environments, to purify their souls and to get their lives back on track. As a form of purification and protection from the contaminating influence of the Danish school system and their social backgrounds, they submitted themselves to a scheme of intense religious self-cultivation that included not only obligatory faith work (such as prayer and fasting), but also specific dress codes, growing of beards, avoidance or removal of harmful music or imagery and strict manners of social conduct as exemplified by the Prophet Muhammad. While cleaning up after the Hell’s Angels bikers, talk often turned to various problems and experiences with the teachers and classmates in the Danish Folkeskole (public school) and high school (both the gymnasium and the HTX technical gymnasium programs) and the ways in which they aimed to detach themselves from the secular and even anti-religious values that they had absorbed by being exposed to Danish society. Most of these young men had met during their school years. According to them there had initially been no way to practice Islam publicly in prayer or in dress at their schools. Fellow pupils—Muslims as well as non-Muslims—would have laughed if anyone had turned up dressed in the half-length tunic (jalabiyya) prescribed for neo-orthodox Muslims who are aiming to assimilate as closely as possible the practices of the Prophet. However, when I first got to know about the Muslim Youth Center in 2010, there was a sense of some success. Especially in one high school it had almost become accepted to pray and to wear the jalabiyya. Some teachers had been asking these young men not to sit together in class, not to perform the Islamic greeting and not to pray publicly. Yet these requests did not have much of an impact. In fact, according to the young men, these requests only served to strengthen their desire to practice and express their religiosity in school. I asked what the success of the Muslim Youth Center stemmed from. A young man who had just started his third year of technical gymnasium (HTX) described the success in the following way:

254 Suhr The Muslim Youth Center is a network of Muslims who support each other, who have the same opinions and who really understand how it is to be a Muslim in this country. I understand if one of my Muslim brothers has lived this life, has felt like a stranger because everyone around him did the opposite of what he did, and he would never be accepted unless he did what they did. A person doesn’t last long if he’s constantly pressed in this way. It’s here we come in. This is the reason for the Muslim Youth Center, it is to cover the social needs among Muslims who find themselves as strangers in the secular society, who feel constantly as if being pushed to give up. In this he pointed to the peculiar form of inclusion and exclusion he had felt during his school years—at once being asked to participate in a variety of practices with his classmates (birthdays, parties, sports, etc.), but at the same time constantly feeling that these practices required him to give up his religious conduct by subordinating it to the secular norms of the school system.19 As he saw it, the social environment offered by the Muslim Youth Center was highly different in that regard: Here in the Muslim Youth Center people share the same basic opinions but we don’t judge each other if a person isn’t always with us. It’s not only the religious who are part of this, it’s not only those who wear large beards and who wear the trousers above the ankle. Some people smoke and some people chat with girls on the Internet. There are among the Muslims those who socialize with girls, and smoke, even outside the mosque. But what makes our network or our sociality [socialhed] different is that we don’t judge when a Muslim has difficulties quitting a bad habit, or has problems adjusting to our opinions. We might advise a brother . . . but we never boycott a brother or tell him that he can’t be a part if he doesn’t obey our rules. This is opposite in the secular society. If I don’t start to integrate myself according to it, if I don’t take on its values, then I’m pushed out as if nobody wants anything to do with me . . . I felt like this, I felt like a stranger. Another member emphasized how one of the strengths of the Muslim Youth Center was that it not only offered the much-needed religious education on a regular basis (such as weekly lectures in basic Islamic theological principles and conduct, dars al-tawhid, akhlaq, recitation of the Quran, classical Arabic language, etc.). It also offered a form of sociality that was much stronger than what he had experienced in school: I feel as if we are all family. I really feel it like this, that this is my family. If I need guidance or if I need help, if I need anything at all, then of course the first I would address is Allah, “azza wa jal [the Mighty and Majestic],” who controls everything, but then I will find support

Brainwashed at School? 255 among my Muslim brothers. I’ve actually never written to a Muslim and said “Hi, friend.” We don’t use the word “friend,” we use something which is closer, in Arabic we say akhi [brother], but in Danish we say brother [bror]. We always use this phrase, we say: “How are you brother, beloved brother, are you well?” Why? Because a brother is much closer than a friend or a classmate. Our Islamic religion teaches us that we need to be together with our brothers, we need to love them, and wish for them the same that we wish for ourselves. This is an obligation. As described here, the Muslim Youth Center is an attempt to establish at one and the same time both an alternative educational framework and a family organization in response to the inability both of their own families and of the Danish school system to provide a safe environment for coming of age. Despite their frequent criticisms of the Danish school system, many of the young men I met in 2010 did well and, after finishing high school, moved on to higher education. Hence we are dealing with a youth culture that seemingly produces young men with a relatively high success rate in the Danish school system in terms of grades and completion, yet at the same time also has a highly critical view of this system.

BRAINWASHING AND RELIGIOUS INDOCTRINATION IN THE DANISH SCHOOL SYSTEM Brainwashing can be defined in a number of ways but generally refers to practices that subdue a person’s freedom of mind through various coercive mind-controlling techniques, leaving the human subject as an automatically responding tool of political or religious ideologies. In English, the concept of brainwashing was first used to explain how American prisoners of war in Korea could be indoctrinated with communist beliefs through torture and propaganda.20 In the 1980s the concept was applied to describe the conversion of people to new religious movements such as the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, Hare Krishna, the Children of God or Scientology. In Danish public discourse, as well as in academic debate, brainwashing and the risks of religious indoctrination have recently figured both in discussions of the so-called Islamic revival and in attempts to analyze the emergence of neo-orthodox Islamic groups such as the Muslim Youth Center in Brabrand.21 Originally derived via a Maoist take from a Tao Chinese expression, brainwashing is not an exact metaphor as what is described is often not the removal of something from a person’s mind, but rather the manipulation of thought patterns in such ways that the person’s decision-making faculty and the ability to freely control his or her own thoughts, behavior or emotions are blocked. If something is “washed out” during brainwashing, it is the person’s ability to make autonomous decisions under the impact of mind-controlling techniques.

256 Suhr The young neo-orthodox Muslims in the Muslim Youth Center frequently discussed brainwashing. As I was doing my fieldwork in the mosques of Aarhus, brainwashing especially became an issue when several young men traveled to Syria in order to perform jihad and join the Syrian rebellion in late 2012 and 2013. The departure of these mujahedeen resulted in a prolonged and heated debate in which terrified parents, and especially people from the older generations, accused a number of people of having brainwashed the young men. Some of the young men from the Muslim Youth Center defended the brothers who had joined the jihad, claiming that men who dared to join the struggles in Syria were truly unafraid of anything but God. They were as free as one could get in this life: free of detachment to earthly life (dunya), freely and fully submitting themselves to the path of God (alsirat al-mustaqim). To aid fellow Muslims was a duty, they argued. All those who stayed at home and criticized the few with the courage to help their Syrian brothers needed to understand that they were essentially sinners, slaves of their own fear. At other times, the term “brainwashing” was applied to describe the particular form of indoctrination that these young men had been exposed to as they grew up in Danish society and, especially, in the Danish school system. One of the initiators of the Muslim Youth Center, a high school student of Tunisian descent, who had taken on the role as imam (leader of prayers) during school hours explained it in this way: The whole aim with the educational system is of course to inculcate [indlære] their values in us, to get us integrated and change our way of seeing the world into the way the system sees the world. When one is brainwashed in this way then there’s something which covers [slører] the truth, things are put in front of people that prevents them from seeing the truth. The worst thing is probably the way we are taught to put the human at the center, to conceive of the human as God. This is shirk [heresy]. It’s both the state, the school and everything around us that attempt to program us in this way. The main message is that the human is in control, that humans should on their own figure out what is good and what is bad. This is the idea of democracy—that the human, the majority, should decide what is correct, what is immoral, what is wrong, etc. This is the greatest thing that needs to be unlearned. Either one puts the human as a God or one puts Allah, the creator, as God. It is precisely this that we need to purify, in order to see the truth more clearly. They have brainwashed us by putting so many things in front of us which hide the truth. We need to go through a process where we unlearn these things, these things that hide us from our real nature. Democracy often came up as one of the basic values that the members of the Muslim Youth Center had to be critical of. Yet it would be too much to claim that their position was really anti-democratic. During the national

Brainwashed at School? 257 elections of 2011, an association of young Muslims in Copenhagen fiercely demonstrated against Muslims voting, claiming that voting in a democratic election was a serious sin. The Muslim Youth Center took a critical stance against these demonstrations by pointing out that trying to establish sharia legislation and governance in a non-Muslim country was decidedly discouraged by the Prophet Muhammad, and furthermore by pointing out how damaging these demonstrations were for the image of Islam in Denmark. In a number of respects the Muslim Youth Center functioned like non-Muslim Danish associations, with formal meetings and elections. Thus the foreman of the group was elected by a majority vote. Yet the Youth Center would insist that majority vote could never work against the supreme authority of the sharia. These young men’s most basic criticism of the Danish secular and democratic society was the way in which it was designed to fulfill human desires that in their view basically were never-ending, effectively ruling out the possibility of proper legislation and governance by enslaving the human subject to earthly satisfaction. Their critique that the secular system is in itself a kind of religion is based on their “non-secular” and rather expanded definition of religion. The Tunisian explained it with reference to an episode with a highly “Islam-critical” teacher in the ninth grade of the Folkeskole who had accused him of religious extremism: The teacher said to us in class that if you couldn’t listen to Britney Spears and drink alcohol then you were an extremist. When people use this word “extremist” or “extremism” we need to go back to the definition of the word because extremism is different for each individual. Something may be extreme for you, while it’s not extreme for me. In Denmark people are not used to praying five times a day. If you go to church on Sunday, then you’re categorized as religious. If you do anything more, then you’re an extremist, that is, you’re being extreme in comparison to what ordinary people do. And just as we need to define what extremism is, then we also need to define religion and faith. For most people in this country religion and faith is something that can be separated from society, it’s private, it’s something for the individual alone, like with a hobby, while religion for Muslims is a life-system, it’s the way one lives one’s life. But for most secular people the way in which you live your life is through the secular system, this is your life-system. As a Muslim, I call this a religion. It tells you what is accepted and what is not acceptable, what is appreciated and what is not appreciated, how the country should be run and how it shouldn’t . . . And this whole lifesystem is directed toward people’s desires, this is the reason for the word democracy, it comes from humans, the rule of humans, this is what it’s all about. As a Muslim, I say God is the one who created us, he’s much more knowledgeable than us, and since he created everything and us, then he also knows what is right and wrong, while humans will always be in disagreement.

258 Suhr These arguments for sharia were repeated many times at the weekly lectures in the Muslim Youth Center. In essence, they go against the urge for change and novelty of modern society and instead turn backward toward the practices of the Prophet. Democracy as practiced by the Danish state and as taught by the Danish school system seemed to these young neo-orthodox Muslims to be an endless fixing of problems—a governance that had grown as a process of stopping the gaps between the glitches ensuing from the moral flaws of a system created by humans.

THE METHODS OF SHAYTAN Referring to the secular system that underlies teaching in the Danish schools as a kind of religion—indeed in their view a false religion—assumes the presence of the Islamic personification of evil, namely Shaytan (or Satan). When teachers or classmates criticized members of the Muslim Youth Center or seemed to be dragging them toward moral corruption, these actions were quickly perceived within the framework of the great battle between good and evil that was instigated with the damnation of Shaytan. According to these young Muslims, Shaytan, or Iblis, was originally a jinn—a spirit—who refused to obey God’s will and welcome humans into the world. For this arrogance (kibr, described as one of the worst sins), Iblis was irrevocably condemned to hell. But Iblis was envious (hasad, harmful envy), refusing to accept that humans would go to paradise. For this reason he decided to drag humans with him to hell: by creating doubt about the truth, by convincing people that there are other gods than God and by convincing people that they themselves in fact are gods, thus seducing them into heresy (shirk). While carrying out my fieldwork, I had many discussions with people about the invisible spirits called jinn, whose actions were perceived as being directed by the destructive drives encapsulated in the figure of Shaytan.22 Yet as the young men told me, “Shaytan doesn’t only operate through the jinn. There is the shaytan al-ins, Shaytan working through humans. So Shaytan is all kinds of unbelief, all things that lead astray to all that is immoral [til alt umoralsk].” In the Quran and the Sunna, one of Shaytan’s primary strategies is often described as creating division and disagreement between people, especially through the arousal of feelings such as arrogance (kibr) and envy (hasad) and by working on people’s desires (shahawat) so as to draw them toward unlawful actions. For the members in the Muslim Youth Center, division and seduction also seemed to be the main hazards in the Danish school system. One example that was referred to several times was when in 2006 the Aarhus municipality launched the so-called “compulsory dispersion” (tvangsspredning) policy for bilingual children with Danish-language problems from schools in the “ghettoes” of the western part of the city to schools in neighborhoods with fewer immigrants.23 The forced dispersion was subsequently the focus of a

Brainwashed at School? 259 lot of debate, as it involved driving more than 800 bilingual children from their homes to and from their new schools in taxis and minibuses on a daily basis, at a reported cost to the municipality of 23 to 26 million DKr per year (about $4.5 million).24 One of the younger men in the Muslim Youth Center who had himself been dispersed in this way made this comment: It’s the plan of the government, that they want to scatter those places where they see immigrants spending a lot of time together. I think this is why my school was closed—because there were a lot of immigrants. So it was not possible to do the things that normally would have happened in a school. For example, normal schools with not so many immigrant children—there you see children already in the seventh grade [13–14 year olds] being sweethearts [kærester], having sex and everything. For this reason it’s the plan of the government to split up immigrant children and scatter them. The members of the Muslim Youth Center talked about how some of their teachers—in various ways, though usually not very successfully— had attempted to break the solidarity between young Muslims. At a high school where the Muslim Youth Center had succeeded in establishing regular prayers, joint prayers were according to the young men at one point banned by the school administration. The attempt to ban the prayers had little effect, however. Instead it bolstered the wish to pray among the Muslims in the school. Similarly, one young man reported that a teacher in the ninth grade of the Folkeskole—without success—had tried to ban the Muslims from greeting one another in his class: It was this teacher, he was really prejudiced, sometimes he expressed it openly, but usually he tried to hide it. We Muslims have a special greeting: salaamu ‘alaykum, peace be upon you. We don’t just say, “Hi.” Hi, I’m not sure if this word has any meaning. We usually sit in a row of four or five in the classroom, so when a Muslim enters we say “salaamu ‘alaykum,” and if others enter who are not Muslims, then we usually just say “Hi.” For a Muslim it’s a big thing to greet. If someone greets me, then it’s an obligation for me to greet back in the same way or more. I’m sinful if I don’t do this. But then once when we started in this teacher’s class and we started to greet one another “salaamu ‘alaykum,” I think, he had just had enough of it. He said, “What’s going on with you?” We were just greeting one another. I mean, the class hadn’t even started. If a class had started, it wasn’t as if we would just walk in and disturb them. The class hadn’t begun, so we said that we were just greeting each other. The teacher continued, I can’t remember his exact words, but he got very angry over the fact that we were greeting one another. He said, “I don’t like it when you do this together, I don’t want this, you make everyone

260 Suhr else feel shut out.” He said a lot of things and I didn’t understand everything. But even our classmates who were not Muslims thought he was a complete idiot. They said to him that we were just greeting one another, what are you angry about? He said, “No, I don’t think they can do this, they’re not committing [tilegne] themselves to the school system, that some people have such a special greeting together, one doesn’t do that in school.” The non-Muslims supported us and said it wasn’t any of his business how we greeted one another. After this event he started acting nice to us. This small incident was described to me several times during my fieldwork. It marked a small victory, and the young men were evidently satisfied with it. On the one hand, it is easy to understand the frustration and anxiety of the teacher when a handful of pupils in his class suddenly start wearing jalabiyas, growing beards, sitting together and greeting one another religiously. Yet greeting is such an everyday part of life that it cannot really be criticized or banned without seriously obstructing social codes of normal conduct. As it turned out, the teacher ridiculed himself and exposed a degree of hypocrisy in his attitude to the Muslim pupils. As another young man added: Those who love Harry Potter and World of Warcraft and all these geek games—the school doesn’t come and say, “No, you can’t walk around together, you have to split up, you have to be together with those who aren’t like you, with those who don’t share your interests.” Apparently this is only a problem when it comes to religion, if someone shares some values that are religious. When the teacher tried to discourage the young Muslims from greeting one another in his class, his criticism also took on additional meanings. As stated in the passage quoted above, greeting in accordance with Islamic doctrines is understood to be a religious duty by many Muslims. In countering their teacher’s criticism, these young men very consciously referred to this demand that one greet as an obligatory and essential part of their religious practice. In addition, greeting is also used as one of the most basic techniques of purification. Thus, when entering a house or a room, the Islamic greeting “salaamu ‘alaykum” is often uttered as a way to expel evil jinn and Shaytan. When the teacher criticized the Muslim pupils’ greeting, he was unaware that his criticism was immediately conceived of in this way as a part of Shaytan’s attempt to prevent Muslims from protecting and uniting themselves. In this case, the teacher’s criticism worked to strengthen and confirm the experience of solidarity among the Muslim pupils. But despite experiencing a small sense of victory on this occasion, most of the young men in the Muslim Youth Center worried about other ways in which the Danish school system often succeeded in combating and scattering the solidarity between Muslims. In their view, the most forceful ways in which Shaytan attempted

Brainwashed at School? 261 to separate the Muslims were not the blunt and explicit attacks, criticisms or outright bans on religious conduct in school. Much more powerful were the subtle and elusive ways in which the school system and its regulations lured Muslim children into social interaction of an unlawful character: The way we can see that they don’t respect the way we want to live and the values we have is that they make these things obligatory in the schools—for example they make it compulsory to take part in activities that involve mixing the sexes. It can be class field trips, celebrations or other things. We have to take part in these things that are offered . . . They say “You have to participate, be social, you understand?” It’s not because we don’t want to be social or we can’t participate in the society. We do this, as long as our values and opinions are respected. Not when they are forcing us, saying, “No, this can’t be true that you can’t do this” or “No, this is obligatory, you have to do this.” In a way they discriminate saying; “Okay, you live in Denmark and that’s how we do it in Denmark, you understand?” these are the kinds of phrases they use. Most of the young men I talked with were in their late teens or early twenties and still unmarried. It is not hard to imagine how being attracted to the girls in school was one of the most difficult problems they experienced in their attempt to cultivate pious Muslim sensibilities. Thus the mere fact of being forced to share a classroom and spend the greater part of their everyday life constantly exposed to women was seen as one of the subtlest and most dangerous ways in which the Danish school system was trying to drag them away from a moral, religious life into unlawful interactions: They want to lure us into being social with the women. Shahawat [desires] are a part of human nature. No matter how much they say that we have to be social with Lise, Lone or Lotte [typical Danish girls’ names], and no matter that they say this doesn’t mean we have to sleep with them and we don’t have to kiss them or be intimate, we just have to be social and enjoy ourselves with them—you simply can’t go against the way in which one’s created. And no matter how much one says, “No, this is just my friend, we are just schoolmates,” in the end the attraction is always there. One thing leads to another and we humans, we can’t control it. Several of the young men told me how living one’s everyday life under such potentially corrupting influences quickly leads to the experience of hypocrisy (nifaq). These statements were rather serious, since hypocrisy in Islam is generally regarded as the most dangerous illness of all—an illness that works to darken the heart so that it cannot be touched by or receive the divine message. Nifaq basically consists in pretending to obey the law of the divine

262 Suhr while secretly denying it, despite being fully aware of its existence. As stated in Surat al-Baqara (Quran 2:8–10): Some people say, “We believe in God and the Last Day,” when really they do not believe. They seek to deceive God and the believers but they only deceive themselves, though they do not realize it. There is a disease in their hearts, to which God has added more: agonizing torment awaits them for their persistent lying. The multiple and often contradictory complicities that many of the young men felt pushed to engage in by their schools, classmates, parents and their brothers in the Muslim Youth Center often resulted in highly ambivalent feelings of being internally split and untruthful. These experiences were sometimes described as nifaq, a contamination of the body–soul complex that makes ethical conduct impossible.25

DA’WA AS EXIT COUNSELING In the Muslim Youth Center, concepts such as brainwashing, mind control and indoctrination are turned upside down and reapplied in the efforts by the young neo-orthodox Muslims to establish themselves as moral beings in spite of the Danish school system. When considering the literature on religious deprogramming, it is striking to see how the methods of brainwashing seem to be reapplied in the very process of deprogramming—including, for example, intensive exposure of the “cult victim” to lectures and talks aimed at exposing the paradoxes and fraud of cult beliefs, intensive engagement of the cult victim in social conversation, accusations that the cult victim has become a “zombie,” social rewards and recognition for confessions that the cult victim has been brainwashed, etc.26 Something similar can be said of the attempt by the members of the Muslim Youth Center to deprogram themselves from what they regard as the morally corrupt and potentially heretical virtues of the secular school system. What the young men engage in is certainly not the now heavily criticized, largely discarded coercive deprogramming method used in the 1980s in the United States, in which cult members were kidnapped and exposed to several days of forced deprogramming by their families and professional deprogrammers.27 Coercive involuntary deprogramming occurred only rarely in the community in which I worked. The few instances of involuntary deprogramming I heard of took place at the initiative of parents who sent their children for reeducation in the Middle East. In these instances parents felt that their children were at risk of being morally and socially corrupted, often by engaging in crime or drugs, and re-education in the Middle East was seen as a possible solution. Coercive deprogramming was not one of the techniques applied by the Muslim Youth Center. Rather, these young men’s efforts to deprogram and

Brainwashed at School? 263 purify themselves and their friends resembled the voluntary form of deprogramming sometimes termed “exit counseling”—a method based in the realization that lasting and non-traumatic re-conversion from the life-world of cults can only occur if cult members themselves freely choose to turn away from the cults. Like the coercive forms of deprogramming, exit counseling builds on the assumption that the cult victim’s capacity for autonomous decision making has been disabled through mind-controlling techniques. Exposure of the cult victim to intense social attention from family members, friends, exit counselors and former cult members is understood as the key to their successful rehabilitation in the old social world and belief system. As in coercive deprogramming, exit counseling aims at shaking or “de-freezing” the ego-identity of the cult victim by means of massive amounts of intense attention, debate and lecturing over a sometimes prolonged period of time. As suggested by Byongh-Suh Kim, the process of exit counseling can best be described as a form of ritual reconversion to the cult victim’s former belief system.28 The form of transformation effectuated by these deprogramming rituals resembles Victor Turner’s classic description of the “liminal” inversion of everyday life that marks the threshold between a person’s “pre-ritual status” and the status that he or she is supposed to obtain after ritual.29 Yet the deprogramming rituals I describe here are by no means intended to effect a return to the state of everyday affairs. The ritual is intended as part of a total transformation in which both “brainwashed” individuals and deprogrammers are absorbed, and in which all are enabled to reassume their lives in ritual purity.30 As with anti-cult deprogramming and exit counseling, the practices of the members of the Muslim Youth Center were intended to facilitate a gradual and eventually total submersion of their lives in the divine doctrine and the community of believers. In addition to the five daily prayers, voluntary prayers such as qiyam al-layl or the extensive salat al-tarawih prayer during Ramadan, obligatory as well as voluntary fasting and ritual purifications (wudu’, sunnat al-wudu’), a large number of additional activities were set up ranging from shared meals and table-tennis tournaments to video nights, lectures in Islamic theology and Arabic classes. These activities offered the possibility of living a whole life within the community of believers, without interference from potentially contaminating disturbances from the outside. As part of their transformation and purification, several members of the Muslim Youth Center also embarked on the practice of da’wa, inviting others to join Islam, particularly targeting other youngsters with the same social and ethnic backgrounds. Inviting others to return to the “straight path”— acting as their “exit counselors” from secularism—was seen as a particularly powerful way of purifying one’s own soul. Sometimes the missionizing da’wa work would even be extended into Danish society. The most daring in the group attempted several times to conduct da’wa among the Danish public by turning up at music festivals and discos with banners and flyers

264 Suhr bearing proofs of the existence of God, a variety of Islamic virtues and slogans such as “There is more to life than beer.”

CONCLUSION After completing school, several members of the youth group that I met in 2010 embarked on long-term education in Arabic language and Islamic studies at private schools in Egypt in order to further purify and detach themselves from their secular upbringing. Most of the young men expressed a strong wish to emigrate permanently to a Muslim country or to the US or Britain, where they felt there was a greater degree of religious freedom and expression. A first-year medical student who had recently married and who had arrived in Denmark from Afghanistan with his parents as a refugee stated: Any Muslim should strive to get away, and I also do this. To have a long-term plan to get away. Because I grew up here I can see how I was influenced: 90 per cent by society and 10 per cent by my family. I only prayed because my parents told me to. When I was outside I wanted to paint the town red. I will not take this risk with my own children. God has given me a responsibility to take care of my children. As someone who grew up in the Danish school system, with great sympathy for the ideals of secularism and the openness and adaptability that I thought were offered by the system, I feel disturbed when a successful young university student who had the strength to hold out against the norms of Danish society and overcome his family’s traumatic past tells me that he finds the secular school system so invasive that he would not dare let his own children grow up in it. To simply swap religious brainwashing and its secular counterpart, deprogramming, may seem far-fetched. Yet, as I have argued in this chapter, this is precisely how the world looks from the perspective of the young pious Muslims. Taking their critique of the secular school system seriously allows us to appreciate the ambiguities and complexities involved in coming of age for young Danish Muslims.31 At the same time, it allows us to appreciate the importance of ethical self-cultivation as a trope for understanding how many Muslims attempt to establish a moral life in the modern world.32 Indeed it is precisely because of the ambiguous character of human existence that these young men experience the need for intense guidance and self-discipline. I have argued that the particular modality of self-cultivation embraced by the young men in the Muslim Youth Center focuses primarily on purifying and “weeding out” the secular virtues of the Danish system, especially the school system. This purification centers on the establishment of an alternative community, a brotherhood and an educational system that

Brainwashed at School? 265 counters the teachings and forms of sociality that they are exposed to in the Danish school system. As pointed out earlier in this chapter, most of the young men I met in 2010 did well and completed high school with fine exam results. A number of the young men in the Muslim Youth Center are now in higher education. For several of them, their intense embrace of Islamic practice and discipline became a way out of gang-related crime and drug use. It seems that the Muslim Youth Center accommodates religious young people with a relatively high success rate in the Danish school system, but at the same time with highly anti-secular opinions and criticisms of that system. These young men’s criticisms point to obvious problematic mechanisms within a school system that seeks to include and accommodate religious and cultural difference, and yet at the same time requires the radical transformation and diminution of religious practices in order for them to become acceptable. It is not difficult to understand these young neo-orthodox Muslims’ criticism when they claim that the Danish school system has submitted them to indoctrination of a religious cult that calls itself secularism. Their criticisms require us to reconsider whether and how a secular educational system could be established that could accommodate truly diverse ways of perceiving and inhabiting the world.

NOTES 1. This chapter is based upon informal conversations with members of the Muslim Youth Center during 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2010 and 2012 with a prime focus on Islamic conceptions of healing and illness. Additional interviews were conducted in 2013 with a specific focus on young Muslims’ experience and understanding of the Danish school system. All translations from Danish or Arabic to English are made by the author. I wish to thank the editor of this volume, as well as Lucy SetonWatson and Nadia Fadil, for their kind suggestions and critique. The study was funded by the Aarhus University research program “Islam, Muslims, and Danish Schools,” the Centre for Cultural Epidemics at Aarhus University, and the Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF–1321–00169). 2. See Gry Pauline Koefoed, “Vi er i krig med den islamiske civilization,” Politiken, December 28, 2012. 3. See Rasmus Bang Petersen, ”DFer: sæt Muslimer i russiske fængsler,” Information, September 30, 2005. 4. See the debate about Islam and the West in Samuel P. Huntington, “Will More Countries Become Democratic?” Political Science Quarterly 99:2 (1984), 208; Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 1996), 210ff; Bernard Lewis, “The Roots of Muslim Rage,” The Atlantic Monthly 266:3 (1990), 47–60; Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Talal Asad, “Europe against Islam: Islam in Europe,” The Muslim World 87:2 (1997), 183–195; Murad Wilfried Hofmann, “Has Islam Missed Its Enlightenment?” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 19:3 (2002), 1–10; Brian Arly Jacobsen, “Muslimer i

266 Suhr

5. 6. 7. 8.






mandtal: tal, fordomme og politik i Europa,” Tidsskrift for Islamforskning 3:1 (2008), 84–110; Jørgen Bæk Simonsen, Hvad er islam? (Aarhus: Akademisk Forlag, 2008). Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003); see also Edward W. Said, Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient (London: Penguin, 1995). Asad, Formations of the Secular, 159. Asad, Formations of the Secular, 164–65. In current academic writing, concepts such as “reformist” and “revivalist” Islam have grown popular to describe the current Islamic movements that aim to return to a more original state of pious practice. Here I stick to the term “neo-orthodox” so as to avoid judgment as to whether Islam in these current movements literally is being “reformed” or “revived.” For the young men I worked with, it is unthinkable that Islam could be changed. Rather Islam is given to humankind by God as an eternal and universally valid set of directions that lead toward the “straight path” (al-sirat al-mustaqim). I also avoid the term “Salafi,” as this is a term that people seldom use about themselves, but which others often apply with rather negative connotations to describe such groups. For a discussion of these terms, see, for example, John L. Esposito, Islam: The Straight Path (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); Mark Sedgwick, “Contextualizing Salafism,” Tidskrift for Islamforskning 1 (2010), 75–81. In a study of the peculiar ethno-nationalism conjured in the notion of “family Denmark,” Mikkel Rytter has described how people who do not exhibit the “national attachment” required of “real Danes” are excluded in a variety of ways. As Rytter states, citing the former minister of education and integration Bertel Harder, such people “live in a subculture outside the Danish tribe.” See Mikkel Rytter, “The Family of Denmark and the Aliens: Kinship Images in Danish Integration Politics,” Ethnos 75:3 (2010), 303; see also Birgitte Romme Larsen, “Drawing Back the Curtains: The Role of Domestic Space in the Social Inclusion and Exclusion of Refugees in Rural Denmark,” Social Analysis 55:2 (2011), 142–58. See, for example, Thomas Robbins and Dick Anthony, “Deprogramming, Brainwashing and the Medicalization of Deviant Religious Groups,” Social Problems 29:3 (1982), 283–97; James R. Lewis and David G. Bromley, “The Cult Withdrawal Syndrome: A Case of Misattribution of Cause?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 26:4 (1987), 508–22. See, for example, Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005); Charles Hirschkind, The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006); Mayanthi L. Fernando, “Reconfiguring Freedom: Muslim Piety and the Limits of Secular Law and Public Discourse in France,” American Ethnologist 37:1 (2010), 19–35; Nadia Fadil, “Not-Unveiling as an Ethical Practice,” Feminist Review 98:1 (2011), 83–109. Mahmood, Politics of Piety, 29. Mahmood’s analysis of ethical self-cultivation is based on fieldwork among Muslim women in the Egyptian piety movement. See also Michel Foucault, “On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress,” in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth. Essential Works of Foucault, 1954–1984, vol. 1, ed. P. Rabinow, trans. R. Hurley et al. (New York: New Press, 1997). Amira Mittermaier, “Dreams from Elsewhere: Muslim Subjectivities beyond the Trope of Self-cultivation,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18:2 (2012), 247–65.

Brainwashed at School? 267 14. Samuli Schielke, Second Thoughts about the Anthropology of Islam, or How to Make Sense of Grand Schemes in Everyday Life (Berlin: Centrum Moderner Orient Working Papers, 2010). 15. Schielke, Second Thoughts about the Anthropology of Islam, 2–3. 16. In a forthcoming article, Nadia Fadil points to precisely this oscillation between ambiguity, doubt and the necessity for purification among pious Muslims and argues that the scholarly critique of the so-called paradigm of religious selfcultivation misses the point since the ambiguity of human life is precisely at the core of neo-orthodox Islamic religious practice. See Nadia Fadil, Rediscovering the Everyday Muslim: Notes on an Epistemological Battle Ground. Unpublished article. 17. The Danish state defines a “ghetto” as a social housing complex whose inhabitants consists of more than 50 per cent immigrants or descendants of immigrants from non-Western countries. Furthermore, a ghetto is defined by having an unemployment rate among its inhabitants of at least 40 per cent, as well as a higher than average ratio of crime. For a list of residential areas designated as ghettoes, see Ministry of Social Affairs, Liste over ghettoområder pr. 1. januar 2011, Policy Paper (2011), accessed March 28, 2013, mentertilnyheder/2011/ghettoomr%C3%A5der_pr_1_januar.pdf. 18. For a thorough discussion of the somewhat problematic concept of the “ghetto,” see Mette-Louise Johansen’s recent PhD thesis, “In the Borderland: Palestinian Parents Navigating Danish Welfare State Interventions,” Aarhus University (2013). See also Loïc Wacquant, “Ghettos and Anti-Ghettos: An Anatomy of the New Urban Poverty,” Thesis Eleven 94:1 (2008), 113–18; and Tom Slater, “Ghetto Blasting: On Loïc Wacquant’s Urban Outcasts,” Urban Geography 31:2 (2010), 162–68. 19. For a discussion of these forms of inclusion and exclusion see also the introduction of this volume, as well as Asad, Formations of the Secular, 164. 20. See Edward Hunter, “‘Brain-Washing’ Tactics Force Chinese into Ranks of Communist Party,” Miami Sunday News, September 24, 1950; Joost A. M. Meerloo, The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide and Brainwashing (Cleveland, OH: The World Publishing Company, 1956); Peter Clarke, ed. Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements (Oxon: Routledge, 2004), 76. 21. See, for example, Andrew Coulson, “Education and Indoctrination in the Muslim World: Is There a Problem? What Can We Do about It?” Policy Analysis 511 (2004), 1–36; Dan Bilefsky and Ian Fisher. “Across Europe, Worries on Islam Spread to Center,” New York Times, October 11, 2006; Shiraz Thobani, “The Dilemma of Islam as School Knowledge in Muslim Education,” Asia Pacific Journal of Education 27:1 (2007), 11–25. The concept of brainwashing is also debated on a number of Muslim blogs, see for example: and http://usnews.nbc 22. Christian Suhr, “Descending with Angels: The Invisible in Danish Psychiatry and Islamic Exorcism (PhD thesis, University of Aarhus, 2013). See also the forthcoming book by Stefania Pandolfo, The Knot of the Soul: Madness, Psychiatry, Islam (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, in press). 23. “Bilingual children” is often used as the politically correct way to describe children from immigrant families. 24. See Line Rønn, “835 børn kører hver dag i skole med taxa,” Århus Stiftstidende. April 14, 2011; “Busbørn koster Århus 13 mio. kroner,” Jyllands-Posten Aarhus. March 15, 2010; “Tosprogede er blevet spredt,” Jyllands-Posten Aarhus, April 23, 2011.

268 Suhr 25. There are many ways to understand the utterances of the young men regarding their experience of nifaq. In my PhD thesis I discuss the recognition of nifaq and the subsequent seeking of redemption as a particular technique for achieving humility in relation to the divine. See also my forthcoming article: Christian Suhr, “The Failed Image and the Possessed,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Special issue on Examples (eds. Andreas Bandak and Lars Højer, in press). 26. See, for example, Byong-Suh Kim, “Religious Deprogramming and Subjective Reality,” Sociological Analysis 40:3 (1979), 206. 27. See the discussion in Michael D. Langone and Paul R. Martin, “Deprogramming, Exit Counseling and Ethics: Clarifying the Confusion,” Christian Research Journal 15:3 (1993), 46–47. 28. Kim, “Religious Deprogramming and Subjective Reality,” 197–207. 29. Victor Turner, The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967), 95. 30. Several scholars have recently shown how rituals in diverse cultural and religious contexts work to produce a total transformation wherein distinctions between normality and liminality cease to make sense. See, for example, Mahmood, Politics of Piety, 131; Bruce Kapferer, “Montage and Time: Deleuze, Cinema and a Buddhist Sorcery Rite,” in Transcultural Montage, eds. C. Suhr and R. Willerslev (New York: Berghahn, 2013), 20–39. 31. See the debate in Schielke, Second Thoughts about the Anthropology of Islam (2010), and Mittermaier, “Dreams from Elsewhere” (2012). 32. See, for example, Asad, Formations of the Secular (2003); Mahmood, Politics of Piety, (2005); and Hirschkind, The Ethical Soundscape (2006).


Sally Anderson is an associate professor in the Department of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. Trained in anthropology, she has conducted research over recent decades in a broad range of Danish educational settings—recreational activities, sports associations, public schools and private faith-based schools. Her studies have focused on notions of children, forms of social organization, modes and ideologies of civil sociality and the ways in which moral orthodoxies of civil enculturation are put into practice in educational settings. Her present project looks at how children of Muslim and refugee background are learning to fashion their difference as Muslims in small-town schools, where they constitute a small minority among a majority of mainstream Danish Lutherans. Recent publications include Civil Sociality: Children, Sport and Cultural Policy in Denmark (2008) and “Going through the Motions of Ritual: Exploring the as if Quality of Religious Sociality in Faith-Based Schools” (2011). Barbara Breen-Wenninger is a lecturer in the Department of Education at the University of Vienna, where she is working on a doctoral thesis on professional communities in the context of teacher education and is involved in school development, qualitative research, practice research, blended learning and higher education. She has also worked as an educational scientist at the Center for Teacher Education and Professionalism Research at the University of Vienna, as well as in private industry, providing internal training as an e-learning consultant. She has recently published “The Professional Community as a Socio-Virtual System: An Education Concept for Teachers” (2007, in German). Laura Gilliam is an associate professor in educational anthropology in the Department of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. She has conducted fieldwork in Danish schools among ethnic-minority children with Muslim background, as well as among children in Northern Ireland and Guinea-Bissau. The main topics of her research are children’s ethnic and religious identities and social relations within educational institu-

270 Contributors tions and the civilizing projects of schools. Her publications include The Impossible Children and the Decent Human Being: Identity, Troublemaking and Muslim Communities among Ethnic-Minority Children (2009, in Danish) and Civilizing Institutions: Ideals and Distinctions in Upbringing (forthcoming, in Danish, with Eva Gulløv). Rannveig Haga is a postdoctoral researcher in the Faculty of Theology, Uppsala University, Sweden. Her field of research is Islam, gender, discrimination, ethnicity, identity and transnational networks. She is currently leading a research project on “Parenting and Islam,” started in 2010 in collaboration with Barni Nor. The project focuses on what kind of Islam Somali mothers adhere to or construct when they shape their parenting strategies within the Swedish and Finnish contexts. Her dissertation was “Tradition as Resource: Somali Women Traders Facing the Realities of Civil War” and her recent articles include “Piety and Trade: A Somali Woman Trader in Dubai” (2010). Lene Kühle is an associate professor in sociology of religion in the Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Denmark. Her previous work deals with religious diversity and pluralism and religion and politics. Her previous research on Islam includes a study of mosques in Denmark and a study of radicalization in Aarhus. Her recent publications include “‘School Islam’: Lived Religion in the Context of a Secular Public Institution” (2013, with Sidsel Jensen), and “‘We Are in This Together’: How the Cartoon Crisis Changed Relations between the Danish State and the Muslim Danes” (2013). Marianne Holm Pedersen is a senior researcher at the National Collections Department (Danish Folklore Archives), the Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark. Her research focuses on topics such as belonging and placemaking, family and generational relations, religious socialization, and ritual performance and everyday life, primarily among Arab migrants in Denmark. Her publications include Iraqi Women in Denmark: Ritual Performance and Belonging in Everyday Life (2014) and “Going on a Class Journey: The Inclusion and Exclusion of Iraqi Refugees in Denmark” (2012). Iram Khawaja is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. A psychologist by training, she did her PhD in social psychology on young Muslims in religious communities in Copenhagen. Her research covers topics such as the negotiation of Muslimness and Otherness, the formation of community, religiosity in everyday life and the multi-sited construction of belonging and home. Her publications include “Gazes: The Visibility, Embodiment and Negotiation of Muslimness” (2011, in Danish), “Researcher Positioning: Muslim

Contributors 271 Otherness and Beyond” (2009, with Line Lerche Mørck) and “‘Home is Gone!’ The Desire to Belong and the Renegotiation of Home” (2014). Elif Medeni is a doctoral student and research assistant in the Department of Education at the University of Vienna, Austria. She conducts research on Islamic schooling in Austria using qualitative methodology. Her recent articles include “A New Approach in Religious Education: Competence Models and Educational Standards: A Conceivable Implementation of the German and Austrian Model in Turkey” (2013, in Turkish) and “School Development at an Islamic Private School between Cooperation and Reflection, Theory and Practice” (2013, in German, with Barbara BreenWenninger and Siegrid Friedl-Neubauer). She also co-edited the volume Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians (2013). Trees Pels holds a chair in Socialization in the Multi-Ethnic City at VU University, Amsterdam, and is senior researcher at the Verwey–Jonker Institute, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Her disciplinary background is in clinical psychology, and her field is the socialization and development of minority children in the Netherlands and the interaction between their families, peer group, school and such other socializing agents and institutions as the mosque. Her publications include “The Influence of Education and Socialization on Radicalization” (2011, with Doret J. de Ruyter), “Youth and Their Islam: Youngsters about Their Support as Muslims in the Netherlands” (2008, in Dutch, with Marjan de Gruijter and Fadoua Lahri), and “Socialization Practices of Moroccan Families after Migration: A Reconstruction in an ‘Acculturative Arena’” (2007, with Mariëtte De Haan). Inkeri Rissanen is a doctoral student of religious education in the Faculty of Theology, the University of Helsinki, Finland. She has researched Islamic education in Finnish schools using qualitative ethnographic methodology, with a focus on the processes of negotiation that are involved in teaching and studying Islam in a modern liberal context. She has studied Finnish teachers’ attitudes toward Muslim students and teachers’ intercultural competence. Her most recent publications include her dissertation, “Negotiating Identity and Tradition in Single-Faith Religious Education: A Case Study of Islamic Education in Finnish Schools.” Mark Sedgwick is professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark, where he led the research project on “Islam and Muslims in Danish schools” in which many of the Danish contributors to this volume were participants. He is by training a historian, and works in several fields, including the encounter between Islam and modernity. His most recent book is a biography of the great Egyptian modernist theologian, Muhammad Abduh (2009), and his recent articles include “Something

272 Contributors Varied in the State of Denmark: Neo-Nationalism, Anti-Islamic Activism, and Street-Level Thuggery” (2013). Margrete Søvik is a senior adviser at the Norwegian Center for International Cooperation in Education (SIU), Bergen, Norway. She holds a PhD in modern European history, and her articles include “Islamic Instruction in German Public Schools: The Case of North-Rhine–Westphalia” (2008) and “Secularization: A Concept and a Research Paradigm Under Pressure” (2006, in Norwegian). Christian Suhr is a filmmaker and an assistant professor in the Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University. He is author and director of the forthcoming ethnographic film-monograph Descending with Angels about Islamic exorcism and Danish psychiatry. His publications include the co-authored “Can Film Show the Invisible?” (2012) and the edited volume Transcultural Montage (2013). He is also co-director of the award-winning films Unity through Culture (2011) and Ngat Is Dead (2009), as well as Want a Camel, Yes? (2005).


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Aarhus 27, 126, 134–5, 252–62 Abildgård School (Denmark) 134 Act of Recognition of the Adherents of Islam (Austria) 230 Act see Act of Recognition of the Adherents of Islam; Freedom of Religion Act; Private School Act; Religious Education Act; School Law Afghanistan 178, 205–6, 215, 219–20, 250, 264 Afrophobia 45 aggression 177–9, 210–11; see also crime; oppositional identities Al-Azhar International Schools (Austria) 235–44 alcohol 26, 29–30, 45–7, 129, 217, 252–3, 257 Allah see God Al Wahda mosque (Netherlands) 63–9 angels 157, 159, 213 Anthropology of Islam 3–4, 250–2 Arabic schools see Islamic schools Arabic: in heaven 173; learning 25, 27, 59–61, 64, 66, 69, 218, 229, 235, 239, 242–3, 254–5, 263–5; understanding 34, 68, 93, 114 Asad, Talal 2, 4, 197, 250; see also Anthropology of Islam assimilation 47–8, 79–80, 85, 87–8, 97–8, 140, 241, 244; see also integration Austria 229–45 Austrian International Schools 235–6; see also Al-Azhar International Schools Ayasofya mosque (Netherlands) 63–9

Bakke School (Denmark) 134 bathing 126–7, 130–5, 137, 139, 169, 207, 210 behavior, proper 1–3, 5–9, 11–15, 65, 116–17, 193 Berber 60, 66, 68 Bible stories 82, 149–50, 152, 209, 212–14, 216 bilingual children 126, 134, 169, 208–10, 215, 219, 221, 258–9 Bin Laden, Osama 153, 158, 218; see also terrorism Black Cobra gang (Denmark) 253 bodies 99, 124, 262; see also nakedness books see textbooks Bosnia 24, 230 Bourdieu, Pierre 3 Bouyeri, Mohammed 57 brainwashing 249–65 Buddhism 151, 156 camps, school see school trips Camre, Mogens 249 carols see hymns Cartoon crisis 154, 158, 187 Catholicism 24, 65, 77–8, 81, 88, 151–2 Cesari, Joscelyne 1–2 Chechnya 235, 239 Christianity 65–6, 116, 128, 137, 148–9, 152–3, 169, 183, 209, 212, 213; “Bible-true” 212; conflated with the West 45, 95, 114–15, 140, 169–70, 175, 178; contrasted with Islam, 92, 175, 180, 215–16, 217, 249; see also Bible stories; Catholicism;



church; hymns; Lutheranism; Orthodox Christianity Christianity Studies see religious education (Denmark) Christmas 30–1, 65, 126, 136–7, 170, 175, 209–10, 212–13, 217; see also holidays (Christian) church: Finland 107; Slagelse 24; visits 126, 136, 169–70, 175, 215–16, 218; see also National Church (Denmark) church and state 77–8, 80–81, 90, 94, 98–9, 230–31; see also secularism Church Ministry (Denmark) 149 citizenship 77–80, 82–4, 87–8, 89, 97–8; education 105–6, 113–15, 119, 189, 196, 207; rights 48, 51 claims-making 77, 123–41 Clash of Civilizations 10, 153–4, 158, 249; see also terrorism; securitization class, social see status, social community of practice 23–36; see also Muslimness, umma confirmation 125, 149, 169, 209–10 conflict 9, 94; see also Clash of Civilizations conversion to Islam 107, 191; see also proselytization Copenhagen 24–5, 34, 37, 126, 130–2, 167, 188, 198 corporal punishment 57, 63, 67 counterculture 177–80 crime 25–6, 70, 179, 210, 253, 262, 265; see also aggression curricula: Egyptian 235; Islamic 28–9, 61, 66, 71, 77–8, 89, 91–5, 97, 99, 109–10, 230, 233; national (Denmark) 147–57, 168, 173; school 56, 58, 84, 87, 108, 168, 171, 233; see also General Islam Dalum School (Denmark) 129–30 Danish Association 135 Danish People’s Party 129, 133, 135–8, 141, 150, 154, 249; see also neonationalism Dansk Folkeparti see Danish People’s Party Da’wa 262–4

democracy 77–9, 84, 86, 88, 92, 97, 118, 207, 231, 236; rejected 252, 256–8 Den Danske Forening 135 Denmark: families 21–37; schools 123–41, 146–59, 165–84, 187–202, 205–22, 255–8; young Muslims 249–65 deprogramming 249–65 Derrida, Jacques 52 dialog, inter-religious 82, 99, 232 didactics 59, 61, 82, 94, 233; see also pedagogy discrimination 45, 99, 132, 168, 241–4; see also racism; status, social Diyanet 25 drugs 95, 253, 262, 265 Durkheim, Emile 176 education, religious see religious education Egypt 173, 230, 235, 239–40, 264 Eid 173, 198, 215, 218; see also holidays (Islamic) emancipation 68, 86–9, 93, 96, 98, 128; see also freedom Enlightenment 78–9, 82–3, 86–8, 98; see also France equality 40–1, 79, 83, 87–8, 99, 115, 118, 128, 168–9, 238; see also gender equality Esbjerg 133–4 ethnocentrism 86, 147, 151–2, 155–7 Eurabia see Islamization European Islam 1–2, 44 Evangelical Christianity see Lutheranism everyday life 27–8, 68, 94, 113, 116, 165–7, 174, 187–8, 190–1, 194–6 extremism 57, 234, 244, 257; see also Clash of Civilizations; securitization; terrorism Facebook 207 Fælles Mål see curricula fasting 25, 263; see also Ramadan fathers 42, 46, 61, 64–5, 69, 129–30, 131–2, 239; see also parents festivals see holidays Finland 42, 45, 105–20 Folkekirke see National Church (Denmark)

Index Folkeskole see Denmark, schools Folkeskolelov see School Law (Denmark) football 191, 220 Foucault, Michel 4, 189, 198, 251 France 58, 60, 77–89, 91, 94, 96–9, 123, 136, 146, 187 Frederikssund School (Denmark) 132–3 freedom 40, 45–6, 48–52, 84, 86–8, 99, 130, 138, 196, 252, 255, 264; see also emancipation freedom of belief see freedom of religion freedom of religion 65, 77, 81, 84, 86–8, 108, 113, 136–7 Freedom of Religion Act (Finland) 108 Frevert, Louise 249 Front National (France) 85 gangs 253, 265 Gebauer, Klaus 91, 94 Gellerup 253 gender 21, 28, 32–4, 56–7, 128–9, 165–84, 189, 201, 208, 211 gender equality 57, 77, 88, 95, 232 General Islam (Finland) 106, 109–12 generations 21–4, 34–6, 99, 140, 207, 229, 256 Germany 89–99, 210 globalization 62, 112, 120, 139, 212 God 30, 32, 36, 51, 95, 112, 114, 154, 193, 250, 252, 256–7, 258, 262; Lutheran understandings 136, 148, 152–3, 212–4; 99 names 190 Gogh, Theo van 57 government policies 77–159, 230–1 Haarder, Bertel 134–5, 150–1, 159 habitus 3–5, 56, 123, 230, 244; see also Muslimness headscarves 27, 33, 49, 123, 172, 182; Denmark 129–31, 153–4; France 83–9, 97–9 head teachers 130, 131–4, 136, 139–40, 149, 169–70, 208–11, 213, 222, 237–8 Hell’s Angels 252–3 Helsinki 107–08 hijab see headscarves Hinduism 156–7 Hizb ut-Tahrir 35 holidays: Christian 152, 168, 209, 212, 214; Islamic 27, 126–7, 134,


152, 210, 242; national 60; see also Christmas; Eid Holland see Netherlands Holy War see jihad human rights see equality; freedom; freedom of religion; injustice hymns 136, 149–50, 175, 209, 212–14, 216–17, 222 imam see religious authorities individualization 40, 43–4, 46, 86 injustice 39–43, 53 integration: Austria 229, 232, 237–8, 241, 244; Denmark 26, 124, 130, 137, 139–40, 158, 205, 208, 216, 221; France and Germany 77–9, 84–9, 92, 96–9; Netherlands 56–9, 65; Sweden 36; see also assimilation; neonationalism inter-religious dialog 82, 99, 232 Iran 24, 41, 173, 205–06, 215–16, 218, 230 Iraq 24–5, 157, 173, 178, 198, 205, 206, 250 Islam-as-threat see Clash of Civilizations Islamic education see religious education Islamic Faith Community (Denmark) 134 Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich 230–1, 231–2 Islamisches Schulamt (Austria) 231, 234 Islamic Religious Community in Austria 230–1, 231–2 Islamic schools 56, 59, 126, 129–33, 191, 233–44; see also mosque schools; Quran schools Islamic Schools Office (Austria) 231, 234 Islamisk Trossamfund 134 Islamization 129, 135–7, 140–1; see also neo-nationalism Islamophobia see neo-nationalism Jehovah’s Witnesses 123, 138, 210 Jensen, Ole Vig 150, 159 Jesus 27, 136, 153 jihad 142, 153, 158, 256; see also Clash of Civilizations; securitization; terrorism Jospin, Lionel 84–7



Judaism 65, 66, 77, 81, 85, 90, 123, 137–8, 151, 154–5, 237 Jutland 136, 198, 250 Khader, Naser 34 Kjærsgaard, Pia 133 Krarup, Marie 249 Krarup, Søren 135 Kristendomskundskab see religious education (Denmark) laïcité 78–84, 87–8, 94, 98; see also France; secularism law see Act of Recognition of the Adherents of Islam; Freedom of Religion Act; Private School Act; Religious Education Act; School Law liberty see freedom Lutheranism 90, 107–9, 114, 125, 147–53, 155–6, 158–9, 209 masculinity 165–84 materials, teaching see textbooks media, new 207 media, old: Austria 231, 233, 236; Denmark 25–6, 123–40, 176, 211; Finland 105, 113; France and Germany 83, 87, 89; Netherlands 57, 70 memorization 56, 62, 80, 67, 70; see also Quran, learning mentors 33, 221 methodology 41–3, 52, 63–4, 106–7, 167, 188, 237–9; see also Anthropology of Islam; everyday life Milli Görüş 66 minister see religious authorities (Christian) Ministry of Education: Austria 233; Denmark 127, 129, 132, 134, 137, 149, 151 Ministry of the Interior (Denmark) 134 Ministry of Worship (Denmark) 148 moderation 31–2; see also “relaxed Islam” modernity 23, 80, 86, 97–8 modernization 43–4 Moonies 255 Morocco 57–71, 157, 171, 173 mosque schools 56–71; see also Islamic schools; Quran schools

mothers 41–53, 58, 61, 69, 239; see also parents Muhammad (prophet) 27, 34, 65, 95, 154–5, 157–8, 190, 218, 251–3, 257 multiculturalism 43, 86, 96–7, 105–8, 118–20, 123–4, 128–9, 137–41, 168, 236–8; see also Neonationalism; pluralism music 182, 253, 263; see also hymns Muslimness 123, 167, 173–5, 176, 178–81, 183–4, 187–90, 193–202; see also habitus Muslimsk Ungdoms Center 249–65 Muslim Youth Center (Denmark) 249–65 nakedness 124, 131–5, 172, 193, 196, 218 namaz see prayer narcotics see drugs National Church (Denmark) 152, 209; constitutional status 147–8; and schools 125–6, 127, 149, 168–9; see also religious education (Denmark) nationalism see neo-nationalism nation-state 80, 82, 113 neo-nationalism 57, 85, 147, 150–1, 153–5, 187; see also Danish Association; Danish People’s Party; Front National; Islamization neo-orthodoxy, Islamic 35, 57, 249–50, 252–8 Netherlands 56–71, 234, 236–7 Nordic region see under individual country Nørremark School (Denmark) 136 North Rhine-Westphalia 91–6 nudity see nakedness Odense 126, 129–30, 134 oppositional identities 127, 177–81, 183–4; see also generations opposition of Muslim and national identities: Denmark 126–26, 183, 214; Finland 45, 114 oppression 86, 99 Orthodox Christianity 81, 108 orthodoxy, Islamic see neo-orthodoxy, Islamic Othman Mosque (Netherlands) 63–9

Index Pakistan 171, 173–4, 230, 239 Palestine 21, 24, 26, 31, 131, 153, 171–2, 191 parents: Austrian Muslim 229–45; challenged 46; Danish Muslim 21–37, 123, 127, 130–2, 136, 149, 169–70, 175, 188, 190–8, 206–8, 210–11, 215–22, 262; Dutch Muslim 56–9, 61–4, 69–70; Finnish Muslim 102–12, 229–45; French and German Muslim 83, 87, 92, 96; Swedish Somali 39–53 parliamentary debates (Denmark) 128–40, 249 pastor see religious authorities (Christian) PE see physical education pedagogy: Austria 231, 236, 241; Denmark 166, 188, 197, 207–9, 214; Finland 106; France and Germany 78, 82, 89, 91–9; Netherlands 56–7, 59–71; see also didactics Peru 171 physical education 60, 116; see also bathing; sex segregation; sport play 60, 69, 194, 207–8, 210, 214, 215–16, 220, 221 pluralism 78, 82, 85, 87, 91, 96, 152, 158; cultural 80; democratic 98–9; religious 80; textbooks 147, 150, 155–8; see also multiculturalism policies, government 77–159, 230–1 pork: alternatives supplied 126, 169; avoided 29, 47, 124, 172, 178, 218; disliked 131, 134, 171; in gelatin 31 power 34, 40–3, 46, 48, 51–2, 189, 193, 197–8; parental 46; speaking truth to 40 practice, communities of 26–8 practice, religious 21–37, 60, 90, 92–5, 98, 115, 149, 156–8, 171–2, 178–9, 211, 243, 251–8, 263; accommodated or not 126, 135, 169; against church 136; see also fasting; prayer; Quran reading prayer, Christian 136, 213–14 prayer, Islamic 187–202; at school 33, 210, 241–3, 259; Danish views of 171; Friday/communal 24, 31,


33, 263; regularity of 25, 27–8, 30, 33, 172, 174, 175, 178, 253, 257, 259, 263; supplication (du‘a) 33, 190; teaching/learning 60, 92–3, 218, 232 preaching see proselytization priest see religious authorities (Christian) principals see head teachers privacy 33, 112, 191–4, 257; see also nakedness private identities 87, 91 Private School Act (Austria) 233 Private schools see Islamic schools propagation see proselytization proper behavior see behavior, proper proselytization 59, 84, 146, 148, 157–8, 168, 169–70, 196 Protestantism see Lutheranism punishment see corporal punishment Quran: learning 59–61, 93, 232, 235, 238–9, 242–3, 254; reading 25, 30, 32, 33, 58, 192, 241; understanding 95 Quran schools 25, 27, 29, 33, 61, 92–3, 129, 171, 173; traditional 56, 67; see also Islamic schools; mosque schools racism 39, 86, 211; see also Afrophobia; discrimination; neonationalism Ramadan 27, 30, 67, 124, 126, 137, 169, 172–3, 175, 178, 182, 253, 263; see also Eid; fasting; holidays (Islamic) Ramadan, Tariq 62 “Relaxed Islam” 181–4 religious authorities: Christian 126, 215–16, 210, 215; Islamic 42, 43–4, 57, 61, 108, 139; see also Church Ministry; Diyanet; mosque schools; Quran schools religious education: Austria 231–3; Denmark 30–1, 125, 135, 146–59, 168–70, 173, 180, 187, 209, 210–14; Finland 105–20; Germany 89–97 Religious Education Act (Austria) 231 religious freedom see freedom of religion republicanism, French see France



right, far see Islamophobia; neonationalism rights, human see equality; freedom; freedom of religion; injustice ritual see practice, religious rote learning see memorization Rotterdam 57, 63–4 Roy, Olivier 2, 105 Salafism see neo-orthodoxy (Islamic) salat see prayer Satan 258–60 Scandinavia see under individual country School Law (Denmark) 127, 134, 136, 147–9, 151, 207, 212 schools: Austria 229–45; Denmark 123–41, 165–225; Finland 105–20, France 77–89; Germany 89–99; see also mosque schools; Quran schools school trips 32, 124, 130, 132–4, 178, 207 secularism 40, 43, 52, 123, 193, 197–8, 201, 250; condemned 250–4, 257–8, 262–5; in Danish schools (alleged) 126–7, 147, 150, 168, 209, 211, 214; Islamic 44, 94, 97; see also Enlightenment; laïcité securitization 85, 93, 130, 236 segregation see sex segregation sex: attraction 99; education 134, 136; harassment 41; in Islam 155; premarital 45, 46–7, 252, 259 sex segregation 45, 46, 66, 131, 134, 234, 241, 243, 261; see also gender Shi’i Islam 109–10, 199–200, 253 shirk 251, 256, 258

showers 131–5; see also bathing; nakedness Slagelse (Denmark) 22, 24, 25–6 social status see status, social Somalis 24, 39–53, 130, 194, 250 Sønderskolen (Denmark) 167–84 spirituality 232, 238 sport 33, 69, 210, 254; see also football status, legal 81, 89, 90, 229–30, 233–4 status, social: individual 46, 166, 176–83; Muslims in Western Europe 107, 113, 116; see also discrimination subjectivity 187–90, 193, 195, 197, 199, 201 Sunni Islam 109–10, 157, 190, 199–200, 215, 253 Sweden 39–53, 128 swimming see bathing Syria 30, 34, 173, 220, 230, 256 Tatar 108 teaching materials see textbooks teaching see didactics; pedagogy terrorism 85, 153–4; see also Bin Laden; Clash of Civilizations; securitization textbooks 61, 64, 66–7, 70–1, 109, 126–7, 133, 136, 147, 151–8, 169, 230 Turkey 24–5, 33, 57, 61, 63, 66–8, 92–4, 171, 173, 230, 235, 250 Umma 25, 33, 176, 199–201, 241–2 Unification Church 255 veil see headscarf Vienna 231, 233, 235, 237 Yderbyskolen (Denmark) 167–84