The religious lives of immigrant Muslim women in Canada : the case of Bangladeshi women in St. John's, Newfoundland

Akhter, Nasrin (2010) The religious lives of immigrant Muslim women in Canada : the case of Bangladeshi women in St. John's, Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This qualitative research study reveals how Bangladeshi immigrant Muslim women adjust their religious practices in order to integrate themselves in their new context in St. John's, Newfoundland, and analyzes the meanings they attribute to these adjustments. There are five principle findings based on research with six female participants. Firstly, this study corroborates the widely-recognized idea that immigration often results in women's greater empowerment, independence, and egalitarianism in relation to the gendered division of labour and decision-making power (male/female, couple/parents). Secondly, this study also explores why female immigrants tend to experience an increase in religious capital and a sense of ecumenism. I explore other impacts of the transnational socialization that Bangladeshi immigrant women experience in St. John's, such as an increased awareness and knowledge about Islam, and the restoration of religious practices in an effort to form a universal Islamic community. Thirdly, this thesis examines various elements affecting women's religiosity, such as how their religiosity tends to increase alongside their status as mothers and their exposure to religious plurality, as well as the urge to impart faith to children. Fourthly, I argue that media attention following 9/11 positively influenced local people's perception of Muslims, resulting in an increased tolerance toward, and acceptance of, Muslims and their public religious practice. Lastly, I consider how these women assign religious meaning to unpleasant experiences and how this helps them adjust to their new environment. -- Keywords: Tolerance; acceptance; perception; Muslims, Islam; empowerment; independence; gender; egalitarianism; decision-making power; couples; parents; gendered division of labour; religiousness; religiosity; universality; imparting faith to children; motherhood; status as mothers; religious plurality; religious capital; religious practice; assimilation; ecumenism; religious identity; public religious practice; awareness; ostracization; social integration; social pressure; transnational socialization.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9004
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 132-151).
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Gender Studies
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Bangladeshis--Cultural assimilation--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Bangladeshis--Religious life--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Muslim women--Religious life--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Women immigrants--Religious life--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's

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