Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences - Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Fatima El Sayed

Fatima El Sayed

BGSS Generation 2021



Muslim Women’s Community Defense against Islamism and Anti-Muslim Racism in Germany



Prof. Gökce Yurdakul



Islamism has been on the rise for the last few decades, contributing to a negative public image of Islam and Muslims worldwide and, particularly in Europe and Germany, strengthening anti-Muslim attitudes and discourses. As a consequence, Muslims and Muslim communities are increasingly under pressure from both Islamists who seek to spread their ideologies within Muslim communities and recruit individuals for their political purposes and anti-Muslim racism in western societies which is primarily expressed through public stigmatization and discrimination, in both institutional and personal contexts. While it has been broadly acknowledged that Islamism poses a threat to the majority in western societies, Muslim communities have rarely been considered as main targets or specifically vulnerable groups. As a highly gendered topic, however, combating Islamism has been mainly attributed to male-dominated organizations, structures and figures, largely ignoring Muslim women and their organizations’ contributions to combating Islamism.

Thus, this doctoral dissertation asks to what extent and in what ways have Muslim women’s organizations been concerned with Islamism and anti-Muslim racism, how have they responded and created community defence strategies vis-à-vis these two forces and if, and how, have Muslim women’s organizations contributed to more egalitarian and democratic structures within and beyond Muslim communities in the context of crafting community defence strategies.

Drawing on theories of community development and boundary making and following a comparative case-study approach this project aims to examine Muslim women’s particular contribution to the immunization of Muslim communities vis-à-vis Islamism and anti-Muslim racism.