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Title: How do Muslims convert to Evangelical Christianity? Case studies of Moroccans and Iranians in multicultural Brussels
Authors: Choi, Priscilla
Issue Date: 20-Apr-2012
Abstract: SUMMARYThis dissertation is an ethnographic research concerning the cartography of the religious conversion of Belgo-Moroccan Sunni and Belgo-Iranian Shia Muslims into Evangelical Christianity in Belgium (2008-2011; field: 2 communities in Brussels). Muslims en route to, and during, their (transnational, in case mostly for Iranians) migration in Europe and others report conversion from Islam into Christianity as they live as immigrants in Europe.This anthropological research project aimed at learning the underlying, transformative processes of Belgo-Moroccan Sunni and Belgo-Iranian Shia Muslim’s conversion into Evangelical Christianity in the multicultural Brussels area. Religion, in an immigrant society, becomes a salient feature and a medium for (re)constructing new ethnic identifications vis-à-vis the local society. What was perhaps “similar to all,” and therefore the norm, could have become an instrument through which new group ethnic identities can be (re)formulated in the context of immigration. The new vertical man-and-God relationship allows changes in the locality of the horizontal man-and-man relationships across various social, cultural, economic, political, and ethnic boundaries.Ethnographical methodologies: participant-observation, survey, and in-depth interview were applied to draw a cartography marked by fluidity, flexibility, ‘retroversion’,‘becoming’, .and multi-layered identifications. Our converts use dreams in the process of (re)creating their socio-cultural and ethnic identity via ongoing (re)negotiations within their formal Muslim communities, and within Belgian society-at-large. The focus in this research is on: converts’ practices, their dreams, their ethnic identifications and the continuity in their Religious Habitus before and after and sometimes even during the converting process… Different from what is written in the literature that exists upon this kind of converting to Christianity, we find more continuity than discontinuity during the conversion in both our communities. Key words: Muslim, Religious Conversion, Evangelical Christianity, Belgium, migration, ethnic identity.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre

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