Social debate strengthens faith

27th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

27 March 2007, AMSTERDAM – Many young Muslims value their faith as important to their identity. They tend to place more importance on it now than they used to. This is a result of their social environment (parents, relatives, friends), but it also seems as if the constant discussion in society about Islam encourages young Muslims to become more committed to their faith.

27 March 2007

AMSTERDAM – Many young Muslims value their faith as important to their identity. They tend to place more importance on it now than they used to. This is a result of their social environment (parents, relatives, friends), but it also seems as if the constant discussion in society about Islam encourages young Muslims to become more committed to their faith.

This emerged from the study "Van vasten tot feesten" (From fasting to feasting), a survey of young Muslims commissioned by multicultural institute Forum. The results of the study were presented in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

The researchers gathered information from talks with key figures about 27 networks of young Muslims in Amsterdam and Leiden. Four of these networks were of Surinamese background, the rest were made up of Turkish and Moroccan youth.

Talks were also held with 248 Muslims university students in Amsterdam. The interviewers used a set question list. Finally seven parties in Amsterdam and environs were visited to study the "party culture" of young Muslims.

Young people practice their religion in all sorts of ways, by upholding traditions like attending mosque and prayer, and honouring Ramadan in particular. There are also new developments however, including more in-depth involvement with the faith, in which internet plays an important role.

The study showed that the students find their faith even more important than a study two years ago showed. They pray more often, but do not attend mosque more frequently.

Of the three ethnic groups, Moroccan students place the most importance on being Muslim and pray and fast the most often, but they also differ the most from their parents with regard to religion.

Turkish students pray the least, but young men have started to do so more over the past few years. Younger Turkish students take their religion more seriously than older students. Young Muslim men go to the mosque more often than young Muslim women.

The majority of the students interviewed think that ethnic tensions in the Netherlands have increased over the past two years. They feel excluded by ethnic Dutch more often than they used to. Younger Muslims especially say they feel ignored by native Dutch people.

Men have this feeling more often than women. Young Muslims still hang out primarily with other Muslims. But a common religion is no guarantee of friendship: there is little mixing of Turks, Surinamese and Moroccans at parties or other social events.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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