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Muslim Childhood: Religious Nurture in a European Context

Muslim Childhood: Religious Nurture in a European Context Jonathan Scourfield, Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Asma Khan, and Sameh Otri Oxford University Press, 2013

  • The first published study of British Muslim children in this age group (12 and under) to focus on religious nurture
  • Presents rich qualitative data on children’s lives
  • The qualitative case study is set in a national and comparative context by an early chapter which provides statistical evidence on religious transmission
  • Includes material on Muslim children’s lives in various different domains – the family home; mosques and other religious organisations; school; and wider social networks

How do we learn to be religious? To make sense of this process should we emphasise the habitual reinforcement of bodily rituals? Or the active role of individuals in making decisions about faith at key moments? Or should we turn to cognitive science to explain the universal structures on which religiosity is built? And how does a relatively devout minority pass on religion in a generally secular Western context? What significance does religion have for family life in this situation? And how does a religious identity interact with other kinds of collective identification, for example with a nation, ethnic group or a locality?
These are some of the questions that Muslim Childhood deals with. This book is about ordinary British Muslims’ everyday religious socialisation of children in early and middle childhood. It provides a detailed description of how Muslim families in a secular Western context attempt to pass on their faith to the next generation. It is rooted in detailed qualitative research with 60 Muslim families in one British city. The authors’ own analysis of survey data suggests that Muslims in the UK more effectively pass on their faith to the next generation than other religious groups. This book is in part an attempt to explain why that might be.

Readership: Students and scholars of Islamic Studies; of religious studies; of the sociology of religion

Table of Contents

Glossary of Islamic terms
1: Islam and middle childhood
2: The inter-generational transmission of Islam: Evidence from the Citizenship Survey (co-authored by Chris Taylor and Graham Moore) 3: Qualitative research on Islamic nurture
4: Learning Islam in the home
5: Children in formal religious education
6: School, city and society
7: Muslim family life
8: Nationality, ethnicity and religion
9: Conclusion