Finnish Muslim Women and Conflicts Abroad

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Title: Finnish Muslim Women and Conflicts Abroad
Author: Tuomala, Jannimaija
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Teologinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology
Helsingfors universitet, Teologiska fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Religion, Conflict and Dialogue
Religion, Conflict and Dialogue
Religion, Conflict and Dialogue
Abstract: This thesis examines the relation between the young Finnish Muslim women and conflicts abroad involving Muslims. The subject of my study arises from topical questions and events which combine conflicts and Muslims strongly. The foreign fighter phenomenon has generated concerns about young Muslims, for instance. The purpose of my study is to offer Muslims a possibility to shed light on their own perspective regarding conflicts. The research questions of this thesis are 1) What is the young Finnish Muslim women’s relation to conflicts abroad concerning Islam or Muslims, 2) what role does Islam play in this relation and what kind of articulations does it receive and 3) how does the media function in forming a relation to conflicts abroad. The theoretical background utilizes a perspective, which clarifies on two levels where a relation can exist between Finnish Muslim women and conflicts abroad. The effects of conflicts on a transnational level and the impacts in Finland are concentrated. Transnational Islam and especially solidarity explain the first level. The media, as well as the whole history of how the West has viewed Islam as the other, constitute important factors on the local level. The data in my study was generated in ten qualitative research interviews, which I implemented in Helsinki during six months from December 2017 until May 2018. I analyze the data by using a content analysis to interpret the ways the informants construct their relation to conflicts abroad. My study shows that Muslim women build a relation to conflicts abroad through two kinds of paths. On the one hand, the Muslims receive conflicts via different factors, and on the other hand, they construct the relation to conflicts by themselves. Receiving consists of several negative phenomena, which especially the media generates. Islam functions as the most crucial intermediary in approaching conflicts and mostly defines the perspective. My study reveals that the Finnish Muslims’ relation to conflicts abroad contains challenges and unbalanced elements. The scope of the effects of conflicts for them appears too extensive compared to the Muslims’ limited attempts to approach conflicts. The position of religion differs remarkably in how conflicts relate to Muslims in Finland and how they in turn relate to those conflicts. Additionally, the biased picture of Muslims as active perpetrators in conflicts differs from the reality, where the Finnish Muslim women only attempt to show solidarity for suffering fellow Muslims. The relation includes the element of inevitability, because conflicts affect Finnish Muslims without their own volition and Islam urges them to look after fellow believers. This thesis contributes to the field of the research on Finnish Muslims. The themes of conflicts and the media have been addressed in previous research, but this study approaches them from a new angle. Prospective studies can draw on the findings of this study when approaching the topic in the future.
Subject: conflict
the media
Islam as the other

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