Being German, Becoming MuslimRace, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe

Being German, Becoming MuslimRace, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe

Esra Özyürek

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780691162782

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Abstract

Every year more and more Europeans, including Germans, are embracing Islam. It is estimated that there are now up to 100,000 German converts—a number similar to that in France and the United Kingdom. What stands out about recent conversions is that they take place at a time when Islam is increasingly seen as contrary to European values. This book explores how Germans come to Islam within this antagonistic climate, how they manage to balance their love for Islam with their society's fear of it, how they relate to immigrant Muslims, and how they shape debates about race, religion, and belonging in today's Europe. The book looks at how mainstream society marginalizes converts and questions their national loyalties. In turn, converts try to disassociate themselves from migrants of Muslim-majority countries and promote a denationalized Islam untainted by Turkish or Arab traditions. Some German Muslims believe that once cleansed of these accretions, the Islam that surfaces fits in well with German values and lifestyle. Others even argue that being a German Muslim is wholly compatible with the older values of the German Enlightenment. This book provides a fresh window into the connections and tensions stemming from a growing religious phenomenon in Germany and beyond.