Since the turn of the century, and particularly since 9/11, much new research has been published on Moroccan Dutch and Muslims in the Netherlands — terms that are often used interchangeably. This literature has produced fresh insights on the religious identities and experiences of young Muslims. It nonetheless produced new conceptual binaries that should be further explored. Many qualitative studies identify and make claims about a generation gap: the religious experiences and practices of young Muslims are claimed to differ from those of their parents. “Popular Islam” emerges as a key concept to describe the religious practices and experiences of ‘first generation’ immigrants. This term assumes significant cultural homogeneity among first generation Moroccan migrants, as well as continuity in their religious praxis across a half century. These assumptions remain unsupported, because very little research has been done on the religious experiences and lifeworlds of this ‘generation’. The existing literature raises a number of questions, such as how did Moroccan Dutch men and women experience Islam during their childhood and adolescence in their native towns and villages? How did their religious experiences change after their migration to the Netherlands? It is often suggested that guest workers brought Islam to the Netherlands — but what precisely did they bring? A small number of studies published in the 1990’s demonstrate that the image of a homogenous and static ‘first generation’ is incorrect. Since research on the religious experiences of this ‘generation’ is so limited, claims about a religious generation gap — investigated exclusively from the perspective of young Muslims — lacks empirical rigour. With this research project, I seek to shed light on the elided religious experiences of first and second ‘generation’ Moroccan Dutch and their intergenerational dynamics by using life history methods and drawing on Bourdieu.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
H.B. Entzinger (Han) , W. Schinkel (Willem)
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Abaâziz, B. (2021, November 25). ‘Ze waren onwetend.’ : Een onderzoek naar de religieuze beleving van de eerste en tweede ‘generatie’ Marokkaanse Nederlanders. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from