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

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162782

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162782.001.0001

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East German Conversions to Islam after the Collapse of the Berlin Wall

East German Conversions to Islam after the Collapse of the Berlin Wall

(p.69) Chapter 3 East German Conversions to Islam after the Collapse of the Berlin Wall
Being German, Becoming Muslim

Esra Özyürek

Princeton University Press

This chapter analyzes the conversion and life-story narratives of two East Germans who both grew up during the closed, authoritarian regime of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). When the wall fell, Zehra was a twenty-year-old woman from a family of regime opponents just about to begin her life after graduating from high school. Usman was a thirty-year-old man with an established position as a chemist at an East German state-run factory. The fall of the wall transformed both their lives radically, recasting them as second-class citizens with no foreseeable way out in the united Germany. Both Zehra and Usman converted to Islam shortly after the collapse of the East German Communist regime in 1989.

Keywords:   East Germans, Berlin Wall, German Democratic Republic, GDR, second-class citizens, united Germany, East German converts

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