Muslim Identity in the West

I’ve seen and heard a lot of this:

By the same token some converts or born-again Muslims wear a very visible form of attire to express their newly chosen identity (white cap, long white shirts and sometimes turbans). They use in Western language coded Arabic expressions such assalamu alaikam, bismillah, and jazakallah, which are never so frequently heard in any “native” Muslim language. THey are staging their own selves, often to the verge of exhibitionism, which is also part of the expression of an exacerbated individualism.

From Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam, pg 193.

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2 Comments

Filed under Europe, European Muslims, Literature

2 responses to “Muslim Identity in the West

  1. What a lot of cobblers Oliver roy Is talking. I always use these expressions and a practising Muslim esp from the arab world litter their speeches with them.

  2. I think Roy is referring to second and third generation Muslims who use these in their speech to locate themselves within a particular globalized Islam. Many students at university in MSAs often go through the same experience. They are new to being in an Islamic environment, may or may not be practicing and are exposed to a Muslim/Islam culture and quickly adopt it. Within a couple months the usage usually declines. Its an MSA or Islamic Society syndrome. Not to say that these usages are not commonly used, but as I read it it evoked in my mind the image of many MSA students that feel it compulsary to beging every sentence with either alhumdulillah, or subhanallah, or something else.

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