Alfred Deakin Institute
The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) is a leading humanities and social sciences research institute based at Deakin University, Australia. Our researchers aim to understand the complex meanings of citizenship, social inclusion and globalisation, and investigate the imp


Islamic Religiosity and Challenge of Political Engagement and National Belonging in Multicultural Western Cities

This is an Australian Research Council funded project conducted by researchers at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, Australia, and City University of New York (CUNY), United States.

The project illustrates the role that Islamic religious beliefs, rituals and faith-based community practices play in shaping experiences of belonging and citizenship in multicultural, western cities. In particular, the project informs our understanding of the extent to which the emotional and spiritual aspects of Islamic religious practices encourage feelings of openness toward others and foster forms of civic and political engagement in multicultural cities.

The research was conducted with Muslim community members in three western cities/nations: Melbourne, Australia; Detroit, USA and in France. Approximately 100 people in each city/nation were asked to take part in face-to-face or online surveys to identify what faith based, spiritual and cultural practices Muslims engage in, how often they engage in these activities, in what places they participate in these activities and the feelings they experience in these places. Five focus groups (of 10-15 participants) and 50 individual interviews were also be conducted in each of the three cities to explore these themes in more depth, and to ascertain whether these practices contribute to feelings of national and local belonging, and/or encourage forms of civic and political engagement.

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The findings show that most Muslims felt no contradiction between the personal dimension of Islamic ethics (often referred to as Sharia law) and the society they live in.

Project funding

This project is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant Scheme