Iraqi Diaspora and Public Space in a Multicultural Suburb in Finland

In: Muslims at the Margins of Europe
Author: Marko Juntunen

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The chapter introduces one way in which ethnographers can engage with social and symbolic boundary marking in a complex suburban setting where globally produced sectarian and political discourses intersect with immigrant regimes and multicultural policies. The Iraqis in diaspora in Finland who hold contrasting religious and political perceptions and complex personal histories of persecution must come to terms with the fact that the rapid fragmentation of Iraqi society is in many ways present in the form of tense social and symbolic boundaries in the multicultural suburban contexts in Finland. The Iraqis in diaspora in Finland are caught up in a collision of discourses not only with relation to violence and social fragmentation at home; they also stand between the increasingly contradictory refugee regime and multicultural social policies that essentialize identities on religious and sectarian terms. Multicultural work attempting to build bridges between diasporic communities and the Finnish state often fail to recognize the internal divisions within the diaspora and thus engender particular types of responses: silences and forms of silencing that are rooted in cultural and religious practices.

Muslims at the Margins of Europe

Finland, Greece, Ireland and Portugal