I analyze how Somalis in Helsinki re-interpret religious norms on marriage in light of: 1) the challenges of socioeconomic hardships and marginalization in Finland; and 2) ethical principles in Islamic tradition that underlie religious rulings such as striving against the selfishness of the ‘nafs’ (self) and seeking spiritual advancement. I examine how norms on spousal roles and rights are contested and reinterpreted. I highlight how young women, in particular, foreground the ‘ethical' in their religious understandings of marriage norms. I explore if Veit Bader’s1 concept of ‘internal religious governance’ can analytically explain these processes. I draw on data from individual interviews and focus group discussions with women and men; and interviews with mosque imams and a clan elder.
Amir-MoazamiSchirin and SalvatoreArmando. “Gender, Generation, and Reform of Tradition: From Muslim Majority Societies to Western Europe.” In: AllieviS. and NielsenJorgen (eds.). Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe. (Leiden: Brill2003). Pp. 52–77. P. 53.
CesariJocelyne. “Muslim Minorities in Europe: the Silent Revolution” In: EspositoJohn and BurgatFrancois (eds.). Modernizing Islam: Religion in the Public Sphere and in Europe (London Hurst2003). Pp. 251–269.
VertovecSteven. “Religion and Diaspora.” In: AntesPeterGeertzArmin W and WarneRandi (eds.). New Approaches to the Study of Religion. Volume 2: Textual Comparative Sociological and Cognitive Approaches (Berlin and New York: Verlag de Grutyer2004 ). Pp. 275–304.
Aud Taalle“Precarious Identities: Somali Women in Exile,”Finnish Journal of Ethnicity and Migration3/1 (2008) 64–82; Marja Tiilikainen “Somali Women and Daily Islam in the Diaspora” Social Compass 50/1 (2003) 59–69 Rima Berns McGown Muslims in Diaspora: The Somali Communities in London and Toronto (Toronto ca: Toronto University 1998).
Dale Eickelman“Mass Higher Education and the Religious Imagination in Contemporary Arab Societies,”American Ethnologist19/4 (1992) 642–55; Armando Salvatore and Dale Eickelman (eds.). Public Islam and the Common Good. (Leiden: Brill 2004).