#thèse de doctorat (disponible online):
Sisters in Islam. Women’s conversion and the politics of belonging: A Dutch case study
In this thesis, I address women’s conversion to Islam in the Netherlands, through a case study of converted women who participated in five Muslim women’s groups in Amsterdam-West (2006-2011 ). These groups were founded by converted women, but attracted a diverse audience, including born Muslim women from different ethnic backgrounds. In addition to the analysis of women’s individual conversion trajectories, I also looked at the local, national, transnational, and global context of these women’s groups activities.
I have opted to focus on converts’ ethnic, national, and religious belonging, as the concept of belonging has the advantage over the concept of identity in that it designates a dynamic process. Attention for the agency of my interlocutors has also been a vital part of unpacking stereotyped notions of their conversion. In this thesis, I have foreground their voices to address the following question: How do women who convert to Islam in the Netherlands, deal with possible tensions between ethnic, national, and religious belonging?
In general, all participants shared the need to be flexible: towards their non-Muslim families, in regard to the specific challenges of the non-Muslim society within which they live, and in finding their way as converts when learning how to incorporate Islamic precepts into their daily lives. The same is true for born Muslims, as new media technologies and migration influence their practice of Islam as well. These continual interactions between global trends, transnational influences, and local translations, are a promising field for further research on contemporary conversion to Islam.