Individualized Islamic practices and proving ‘normality’ - Thoughts and experiences of Muslim international students regarding their Muslim identities and everyday religious practices in Swedish society
Sammanfattning: Due to a rapid growth of immigration from Muslim majority countries, the number of Muslims living in Sweden has dramatically increased since 1950s. Sweden has a very diverse Muslim population in terms of cultural, ethnic, political, linguistic and educational background. Therefore, social research on the Muslim population in Sweden should include different groups of Muslims.This study aims to understand the thoughts and experiences of Muslim international students regarding their Muslim identities and everyday religious practices in Swedish society. I found international students a unique group since in addition to being identified as Muslims and immigrants, belonging to the academic world is a highlighted aspect of their identities and therefore, affects their experience of living in Sweden.By conducting semi structured interviews, I go through the experiences of International students who self-identify as Muslims and come from Muslim majority countries. Questions stated are how the participants make sense of their everyday religious practices in Sweden and how they think they are seen in Swedish society. By analyzing the interviews, I discuss the restrictions of practicing Islam in their new host society and the ways they rethink and recreate their Islamic practices in order to keep up with their daily lives in Sweden. Moreover, I show that even though there are no direct stigma against Muslim international students, stigmatization against Muslim immigrants in general is affecting this group as well. Further, I explore how the participants react to the stigma.
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