International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

What is the Role of Religion in Constructing Identity and Social Networks: Meskhetian Turks in the United States?
Hulya Dogan, PhD

Although the body of literature regarding the traditions and experiences of Muslim Americans continues to grow, few empirical investigations have specifically explored the process of adaptation of Muslim refugees in the United States. Based on an ethnographic study of conducted in Houston, Texas, this article examines the role that religion plays in the ethnic identity reconstruction process of a relatively recently resettled refugee group, Meskhetian Turks. Islam has been a vital component of Meskhetian Turk identity in Russia and the Republics of Central Asia during the exile years. So, I investigate whether religion still constitutes a critical role in their identity reformation process in the United States where a profound prejudice exists towards Muslims by the society at large. This study contributes to the theoretical understanding of ethnic identity formation among displaced populations, with special focus on how the processes of ethnic identity reconstruction and cultural preservation play out among a Muslim immigrant group residing in the U.S. after 9/11 and the Boston marathon bombings.

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