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Religious Identity and Practice in Migration

Session Chair: N.N. | Thursday, August 27, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Sajida Fazal

Does tolerance increase through migration? A Case study on Pakistani Muslim migrants in Germany

This paper is going to examine to what extent intra-religious boundaries and differences as perceived in Pakistan transform in the Diaspora. It will explore how far Sunni and Shia relations are altered and which perspectives and constraints are discernible in the new environment. For this purpose the affiliation to the denomination and organisational structure will be examined by asking whether religious rituals and rules are maintained, abandoned, or substituted by others from different sub-denominations by the migrants. In this respect, the transnational networking of migrants will be considered in order to explore the impact of religious authorities in the homeland and in the Diaspora. In the scope of this qualitative research 20 narrative interviews have been conducted in Germany in 2014 with Pakistani Muslim migrants and analysed based on a grounded theory approach. This paper argues that the interactions of diverse Pakistani Muslim migrants contribute to foster tolerance among them in the Diaspora situation.

Frances Kostarelos

The Greek Orthodox Church in North America: Continuity and Transformation

This paper discusses tradition and transformation in the Greek Orthodox Church as it adapts to pluralism in North America. This ethnographic account examines challenges rooted in nationalism carried to America by Greek Orthodox settlers throughout the 1900s who founded parishes to serve the needs of an imagined ethnic enclave. The legacy and lasting impact of ethno nationalism has given way to a Church that is struggling with its identity and purpose in plural American religious landscape. The paper examines institutional changes resulting from inter faith and interethnic marriages and converts who seek to move the church beyond the parochial boundaries while sustaining the imagined unbroken Apostolic past they seek in the Orthodox Church.

Tine Vekemans

Moving the Jina - Jain religious practice and conduct in new global environments

This paper aims to assess different trajectories of development in Jainism in the context of migration. Today, about 5% of the adherents of this South Asian religious tradition live outside India. Being away from the context in which their tradition developed has pressed Jains to articulate, negotiate and adapt elements of their religious practice and conduct. Migration may hinder daily temple visits, change the way festivals and ceremonies are celebrated, and make taking darśan of monks and nuns impossible. It may also confront parents with dilemmas concerning the (religious) education of their children, act as a catalyzer for gender equality, and impact upon food habits. Using data drawn from interviews conducted in different locations and from a dataset on Jainism online, this paper will explore the dynamics and (dis)continuities in the ongoing processes of religious change and attempt to differentiate general factors and factors specific to Jainism.


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