The intergenerational transmission of religiosity among Muslim families in four European countries

Frank Kalter, University of Mannheim
Konstanze Jacob, University of Mannheim

Comparative research on religious trends among Muslim immigrants in Europe suffers from at least two major methodological drawbacks. First, there is a lack of truly comparative data. Second, trends can usually only be analyzed over period time by trend designs or by looking at synthetic cohorts.

This paper studies secularization patterns and trends among Muslim families by using data from the new Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries (CILS4EU). This offers a unique opportunity to investigate the religious integration of immigrant youths in Europe. The project seeks to answer key open questions on the integration of children of immigrants in four European countries: England, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Between November 2010 and June 2011, approximately 20,000 14-year old adolescents of native and immigrant origin were surveyed within schools. Additionally, we conducted self-completion and telephone interviews with one of their parents. Identical questions on religion in the youth and parental questionnaires, respectively, provide the opportunity to analyze different dimensions of the processes of intergenerational transmission of religiosity within immigrant families particularly accurately. Several aspects of religious affiliation, religious self-identification, religious identity and religious behavior, both private and public, are included in the interviews.

Two research questions guide this paper. The first one is descriptive: What patterns of secularization do we find among different Muslim groups in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden? By analyzing adolescent-parent dyads, we investigate how religious identification and religious behaviors change over successive immigrant generations. We especially ask about within-group variations between host countries, and about within-host-country differences between different origin groups. The second aim of the paper is to analyze the potential causes behind the diverse patterns. Referring to rivaling theoretical approaches we are especially interested in the impact of structural and social integration.

Presented in Session 31: Immigrant religion and integration across Europe