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New Book: “Becoming German, Becoming Muslim”

BEING GERMAN, BECOMING MUSLIM: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe by Esra Özyürek
Princeton University Press

“Through thoughtful portraits, Özyürek explores the dilemmas faced by converts to Islam in Germany, where new Muslims are seeking nonethnic forms of the religion. She shows how these converts are finding an original way to be German through their Islam–a discovery that seems dangerous to some in the German state. A clear, convincing account of new Muslims in a European land.”
—John Bowen, author of Can Islam Be French?

Every year more and more Europeans, including Germans, are embracing Islam. It is estimated that there are now up to one hundred thousand German converts—a number similar to that in France and the United Kingdom. What stands out about recent conversions is that they take place at a time when Islam is increasingly seen as contrary to European values. BEING GERMAN, BECOMING MUSLIM: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe, by Esra Özyürek, explores how Germans come to Islam within this antagonistic climate, how they manage to balance their love for Islam with their society’s fear of it, how they relate to immigrant Muslims, and how they shape debates about race, religion, and belonging in today’s Europe.

Esra Özyürek looks at how mainstream society marginalizes converts and questions their national loyalties. In turn, converts try to disassociate themselves from migrants of Muslim-majority countries and promote a denationalized Islam untainted by Turkish or Arab traditions. Some German Muslims believe that once cleansed of these accretions, the Islam that surfaces fits in well with German values and lifestyle. Others even argue that being a German Muslim is wholly compatible with the older values of the German Enlightenment.  BEING GERMAN, BECOMING MUSLIM provides a fresh window into the connections and tensions stemming from a growing religious phenomenon in Germany and beyond.

Given the current position of Islam in Europe, why do Europeans convert? What do the experiences of converts reveal about contemporary life, particularly in Germany? This rich book offers a new perspective and entrée into the discussion of religion in Europe.”
—Damani J. Partidge, University of Michigan

About the Author:
Esra Özyürek is an associate professor at the European Institute of the London School of Economics. She is the author of Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey.

Dale F. Eickelman and Augustus Richard Norton, Series Editors