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Accepted Paper:

The self-representation and striving for recognition of Ahmadi-women in Switzerland: a qualitative-empirical approach  
Sarah Beyeler (University of Bern)

Paper short abstract:

In Switzerland, the Ahmadis struggle for recognition of their Muslim identity in the face of generalisations and (negative) attributes made by the social majority. Against the theoretical background of (religious) boundary making and (religious) self-identification this process will be explained.

Paper long abstract:

In Switzerland, the Ahmadiyya's position could be regarded as marginal in two respects. Its members perceive themselves as belonging to a Muslim collective that is, on the one hand, a minority in the Swiss social majority and, on the other, a minority within the Muslim minority. They struggle for recognition of their Muslim identity, particularly against the background of generalisations and (negative) attributes made by the Swiss social majority in the ongoing socio-political debate on Islam and Muslims.

By creating a distinction from the Muslim majority, they represent themselves as "true" and peaceful Muslims and try to correct the "false" ideas about Islam. Therefore they are self-confident protagonists who do not remain passively on the margins of society. As an example of their striving for recognition, I will examine the Ahmadiyya's public relation efforts, especially those pursued by the women. The focus lies on (religious) boundary making and on (religious) self-identification and external categorisations.

Panel W005
At the margins of Islam in Europe
  Session 1