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Religion and Nation: Iranian Local and Transnational Networks in Britain
Volume 15

Forced Migration

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Religion and Nation

Iranian Local and Transnational Networks in Britain

Kathryn Spellman

248 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-57181-576-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2004)

ISBN  978-1-57181-577-4 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (December 2005)

eISBN 978-1-78238-940-8 eBook

Hb Pb   Buy the eBook from these vendors Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Spellman's Religion and Nation does bring to light a vibrant community that, due to its small size and peaceful demeanor, often goes unmentioned when discussions of British immigrant populations arise. Her detailed accounts of the religious practices of Iranians in London provide an overview of an immigrant community trying to adapt and reconcile the former identities and practices of its members to their new home. Spellman's is a study that has demystified the religious lives of British Iranians, placing religious change into a transnational context.” • H-Net Reviews

“Given the lack of information about this population in the Westrn world, the focused materials presented in this book help build a better information base on the diverse practices and beliefs of Iranian outside their homeland.” • Choice

“[This] first full-length study of the Iranian Muslim diaspora in Britain… enhances our empirical and theoretical understanding.” • The Muslim World Book Review


An estimated 75,000 Iranians emigrated to Britain after the 1979 revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic. They are politically, religiously, socio-economically and ethnically heterogeneous, and have found themselves in the ongoing process of settlement. The aim of this book is to explore facets of this process by examining the ways in which religious traditions and practices have been maintained, negotiated and rejected by Iranians from Muslim backgrounds and how they have served as identity-building vehicles during the course of migration, in relation to the political, economic, and social situation in Iran and Britain. While the ethnographic focus is on Iranians, this book touches on more general questions associated with the process of migration, transnational societies, Diasporas, and religious as well as ethnic minorities.

Kathryn Spellman received her MSc. and Ph.D. in Politics and Sociology at Birkbeck College, University of London, where she is currently an Honorary Research Fellow. She is a lecturer of sociology at Huron International University in London and Syracuse University (London Campus). Kathryn is also a Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre of Migration Studies Department at the University of Sussex.

Subject: Refugee & Migration Studies Religion General Anthropology
Area: Middle East & Israel Europe


Preface Acknowledgements

Introduction: Religious Identity in the Process of Migration

Chapter 1. The Iranian Revolution and the Subsequent Waves of Emigration
A Brief Look at the Iranian Revolution
The Islamic Republic and the Nationalisation of Islam
The Iranian Diaspora
Political Opposition Groups
The On-going Process of Settlement

Chapter 2. Iranians in Britain
Demographic Information
Iranians in London during the 1980s
Iranians in London during the 1990s
The Media Environment
The Iranian New Year
Khatami’s Presidency

Chapter 3. Sofreh: a Shia Muslim Religious Ritual for Iranian Women
Early Shiism
Sofreh Gatherings in Iran
Sofreh Gatherings in London
Socio-religious Networks in London
Gender and Discourse

Chapter 4. Iranian Sufi Orders in London
Sufism in Iran
Sufism and the Islamic Republic
Sufism in the West
The Nimatullahi Order
The Nimatullahi Khâneqâh in London
The Oveyssi Spiritual Tradition
Maktab Tariqat Oveyssi Shahmaghsoudi [Islamic School of Sufism]
The Shahmaghsoudi Oveyssi Order in London
The Oveyssi Shahmaghsoudi Sufi Order and New Religious Movements

Chapter 5. The Iranian Christian Fellowship and Elam Ministries
The Pentecostal Movement
Protestant Christianity in Iran
The Iranian Diaspora and Pentecostalism
Elam Ministries and Ex-Muslims
Training to Become Christian Pastors
The Congregation
Baptisms and Church Members
Iranian Women as Born-Again Christians – Preserving Morals
Expectations of Women Outside of the Church

Chapter 6. Conclusions and Findings
The Iranian Revolution
The Settlement Process
Khatami and the Programme of Reforms?


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