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Dr Sara Silvestri Europe s Muslim Women: Potential, Problems and Aspirations A seminar by Dr Sara Silvestri Cambridge University.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Sara Silvestri Europe s Muslim Women: Potential, Problems and Aspirations A seminar by Dr Sara Silvestri Cambridge University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Sara Silvestri Europe s Muslim Women: Potential, Problems and Aspirations A seminar by Dr Sara Silvestri Cambridge University and City University London Citizenship and Immigration Canada Ottawa 27 April 2009

2 Dr Sara Silvestri My areas of work RESEARCH: Interdisciplinary (across Internat.Politics and Sociology) mainly qualitative + collaboration on quantitative projects ONGOING PROJECTS and INTERESTS Muslim political mobilisation and institutions in Europe European public policies towards religion and Muslim communities Suspect Communities (counter-terrorism and Irish & Muslims in UK) Muslim women: potential, aspirations and challenges Radicalisation & counter-terrorism Migration, integration and social cohesion TEACHING: Political Islam & Muslims in Europe Religion in Global Politics, EU, International Relations POLICY-RELEVANT WORK: consultant/advisor on Muslims in Europe, intercultural dialogue, counter-terrorism (EuroMed, EU, UN Alliance of Civilisations, UK gov, think thanks)

3 Dr Sara Silvestri Objectives of Muslim Women study Charter issues of concern to these women as subjects rather than objects. Eg. No focus on hijab Stress relational experience: to faith (learning paths, appreciation, practice), minority community, organised Islam, mainstream society, family, work/school Investigate to what extent religions shapes their daily experiences Beyond the victim angle: look at potential: what they dream, for themselves and for their children, their contribution to society See if there are recurring trends across countries and ethnicities and compare to previous research Identify issues for future investigation and for policy makers to bear in mind

4 Dr Sara Silvestri Research process 49 interviews 3 countries (UK, Italy, Belgium) Questionnaires and interviews 2 research assistants Mixed sampling method including snowball Review of diverse literature: Islamic studies, migration, ethnicity, gender, feminism, politics, etc

5 Dr Sara Silvestri Findings Touching human experience High response rate and gratefulness Respondents warmly welcomed project and thanked us for talking to them as individuals, as women Relationship to faith: love, moral guidance in life, effort to study and understand it, personal empowerment through access to knowledge of the faith Belonging to Europe: Pride, appreciation of rule of law and opportunities Prejudice and discrimination: happen but not defining issue. Mindset of country of settlement influences Sophisticated critical approach to community and to society (eg prejudice goes both ways) Attempts to renovate community from within tradition Nuance, no rigid categories (eg Islamist, feminist, disaffected) Very unexceptional dreams and aspirations Oppression, self-segregation, low achievement: remain realities but not useful to tackle them by demonising and attacking community Overall importance of project: establishing contacts, trust, credibility


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