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Accepted Paper:

Challenging the “monotheism of reason”: Public Islam among young Italian-Bangladeshis  
Andrea Priori (Fulda University)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation examines the different expressions of religious activism among young people with Bangladeshi origins in Rome, in order to shed light on the relationship between public sphere and Islam in migratory contexts, with a special focus on the positionalities of the subjectivities involved

Paper long abstract:

This presentation is based on ethnographic research among young people with Bangladeshi origins in the city of Rome (Italy), and examines the different expressions of religious activism in order to shed light on the relationship between public sphere and Islam in migratory contexts. By taking into account the rhetoric and practices of two groups of activists, respectively a group of young people involved in the activities of a migrant madrasah and a group of Italian-Bangladeshi members of a youth Islamic association, I illustrate two differing approaches to public expressions of religion: one that emphasises intertextuality between different ir-religious repertoires and follows a paradigm of interculturality; the other is based on an idea of mutual untranslatability and relies on values typically associated with multiculturalism. Both approaches account for the internal diversity of a Muslim public discourse, highlighting important generational differences, and mobilise the grammar of Islam within civic and political pathways with meanings drawn from the different positionalities of the people and organisations involved. The two groups stage a discourse on public Islam in theatrical forms that highlight deep interconnections between Islam and “modernity”, and therefore challenge the monotheism of reason that tends to exclude Muslim actors from a normative, and ultimately biased, concept of the public sphere.

Panel P137b
Religion, Political Participation, and Civic Engagement
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -