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Dr Robert Langer lecture: Turkish Shiites in Germany: Conversion, Ethnicity
Mon 8 May 2017, 17:30 – 20:00 BST
Title: Turkish Shiites in Germany: Conversion, Ethnicity, and ‘Germanisation’
This presentation focusses on a specific portion of the Twelver Shiites, those with a Turkish-speaking background. It will present an overview of their history, their differentiation into several ethnic backgrounds, and will especially deal with the phenomenon of conversion, namely of people with an original Sunni and Alevi Turkish background, to Twelver Shiism. Besides the traditionally Twelver-Shiite Azeri Turkish communities (‘Caferi’) with a strong ethnic identity that form a rather secluded sub-segment, it will be argued that Shiites in Germany with a Turkish background (both converts and ‘born-in’ Shiites) are especially active in trans-ethnic endeavors within the ‘Shiite field’ and, as second or third generation ‘Gastarbeiter’ children, are highly integrated into German society and, more than Iranian, Iraqi, or Lebanese Shiites, are on the forefront at providing German language religious services to the younger generation in Germany, which in turn results in a ‘Germanisation’ of parts of the ritual activity.