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Diaspora by Design

Diaspora by Design: Muslim Immigrants in Canada and Beyond

Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 223
  • Book Info
    Diaspora by Design
    Book Description:

    This book challenges the common misperceptions of Muslim immigrants as a homogeneous, religiously driven group and identifies the tensions they experience within their host countries.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8787-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables and Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-24)

    The identifier ‘Muslim diaspora’ is not as self-explanatory as it may appear, particularly when it is used in reference to the vast number of ethnically, culturally, linguistically, nationally, and religiously diverse migrant populations of Muslim cultural background in the West. But apart from these complicating realities, the uncertainty also reflects a shift in the notion of ‘diaspora,’ as this term, once a rather romantic, mystical notion – the source of nostalgic poetry and creative arts, reserved for groups forced to depart from a sacred place of origin – is increasingly used by academics and sometimes even by the media to refer simply...

  6. 2 Community Profiles, Social Origins, and Status
    (pp. 25-56)

    This chapter presents data related to the social and economic status of the four populations in Canada and in other settings, providing a general background for the four communities surveyed – Afghans, Iranians, Pakistanis, and Palestinians. For Canada, in addition to the data of our own samples, we have used social indicators drawn from the 2001 Census (the last census to provide data on ethnicities) that include the size and demographic characteristics of each community, levels of education, and immigration trends.¹ Economic indicators cover rates of labour-force participation, employment, and levels of income, including income composition and the incidence of low...

  7. 3 Family and Spousal Relations in Diaspora
    (pp. 57-83)

    Family, whether it is the main domain of cultural norms, values, and practices or a protected space that insulates the immigrant or exile from public watch and interference, is nonetheless affected by changes in life circumstances. How the changes are processed and absorbed or made the subject of a continuing internal contestation differs for individual families, depending on social and economic conditions and other interactive factors that negatively or positively influence the process of adjustment. Many migrants or refugees, and particularly younger individuals, while valuing aspects of their formative cultural practices and mores, gradually become as selective in engaging with...

  8. 4 Religious Identities and Identification
    (pp. 84-110)

    An underlying concern in this study has been that, given the diversity of populations of Muslim cultural background in the West, wrapping them in a single religious cloak tends to cloud crucial differences among various groups and divert attention away from their most pressing practical needs. As has been discussed in chapter 1, Muslims, particularly in Canada, are quite diverse; their numbers include peoples from culturally and linguistically distinct societies in the Middle East, South and South-east Asia, and Africa who vary in ethnicity and culture as well as religious affiliation. By one account, Muslims in Canada originate from more...

  9. 5 Youths: Living between Two Generations and Two Cultures
    (pp. 111-143)

    The issue of youths of Muslim cultural background emerges, in the first instance, because the educational and occupational success of this group and the integration of its members are essential for the development of a genuinely multicultural, inclusive, and affirming society. However, under the pressure of international events, a new wave of racism today presents Islam as a leading danger. This has had a contradictory impact on Muslim youths living in the West, both in terms of life experience and life options. On the one hand, these youths are facing many of the structural barriers that were not expected to...

  10. 6 Social and Economic Integration
    (pp. 144-167)

    Undoubtedly, tension is increasingly felt between Muslim populations in the West and the governments and larger societies of Europe and North America. This tension is the result of conflicting aims on both sides, and the inability, so far, to find a way to accommodate them. For the majority of Muslims, the key issues are the removal of barriers to their full involvements and integration in the economic, social and political life of their new adopted country. For the minority with a strong religious commitment, it is getting recognition for their right to a public expression of faith and maintaining cultural...

  11. 7 Sense of (Not) Belonging
    (pp. 168-196)

    We have argued so far that structural and socio-economic discrimination are major factors in instilling a continuing sense of ‘not belonging’ among minority groups, including the four communities from Muslim-majority countries that we have studied.

    Our concern has been that when persons from ethnic or religious minorities feel they are not included in the social and cultural life of the receiving society, they may look back to their country of origin for inspiration, a sense of connection, and the social and political involvement they feel they have been denied. This can lead to the formation of separate ethnic enclaves. The...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 197-202)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 203-214)
  14. About the Authers
    (pp. 215-216)
  15. Index
    (pp. 217-223)