Islamic nurture in the West : approaches to parenting amongst second generation Pakistanis and Khojas in Peterborough
Literature on South Asian migration to Britain points to the continuing importance of religion to migrants, particularly to Muslims. Religious continuity depends on effective transmission of beliefs, practices and values to younger generations. South Asians account for around three-quarters of British Muslims but within this group there is wide variation as regards socio-economic status, education, migration and settlement history, cultural norms and sectarian affiliation. This study considers the impact of migration on the religious nurture provided by two groups of second generation parents of South Asian Muslim origin in Peterborough: one group's background is in Pakistan, and the other group, the Khoja Shi'a Ithna'asheri, are East African Asian Muslims. This qualitative study is based on interviews with parents about their approaches to the religious nurture of their children and the ways in which this was similar to or different from their own upbringing. In each group twenty-four parents, mostly mothers, took part in semi-structured interviews. These were supplemented by ethnographic observation to give a detailed account of religious nurture in the two communities. The study investigates both formal and informal nurture as well as the family background contexts and the impact of children's schooling. Similarities and differences between the two communities are described and an explanatory framework in terms of trans nationalism and diaspora is suggested; the use of the concepts of 'community' and A culture' is discussed with reference to the groups studied. Transgene rational differences in approaches to nurture are discussed in the context of changes attributable to migration and those linked to aspects of modern life at a global level. The analysis suggests that differences are linked to socio-economic status and migration history, particularly as regards the 'once-mig rant' and 'twice-migranf character of the communities. Differences are also related to the conflation of religion and culture in the Pakistani families and to community support networks and the nature of the Shi'a religious calendar in the Khoja Shi'a Ithna'asheri ones. The study highlights the extent of Muslim diversity within the two communities as well as differences between them. Parents showed very high levels of commitment to the transmission of religious values and practices to the third generation. Levels of religious observance were variable but had not declined overall across one generation. Most parents did not aspire to educational success for their children if it was to be achieved at the expense of religious continuity. They negotiated ways of maintaining Islamic requirements as they interpreted them whilst trying to 'fit in' with mainstream life in Britain.