NCSR 2008 - Urban Diversity and Religious Traditions
13-15 August 2008, Åbo Akademi University

Who am I now? Iranian and Turkish migrant women living in Australia

Nicole Stirling

This paper will focus on women from two Muslim majority countries, Iran and Turkey, who have migrated to Brisbane, Australia. The paper, which is based on in-depth interviews with 39 Iranian and 26 Turkish migrant women, examines changes in religious identity and practice through the women’s eyes. Many of these women form an invisible group in the city of Brisbane due to economic constraints so I found a large percent through visiting cafés and kebab shops. The women themselves speak out on negotiating between their ethnic identity, nationality, class and religious identity. Several questions arise. How has daily life in a multicultural and secular city caused these women to re-evaluate their religious beliefs? Given that Iran and Turkey demonstrate strongly contrasting modes of incorporating Islam into society, how have these women’s present religious identity been affected by life in their homelands?
Additionally, how have the political events such as 11 September 2001, the Bali bombings, and the recent Iraqi war and Australia’s involvement affected these women’s religious identity and practice? The results reflect a surprising outcome regarding the changes of religious identity between the majority of the two migrant groups.