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Muslim Childhood

'Muslim Childhood' by Jonathan Scourfield, Sophie Gilliat-Ray, Asma Khan and Sameh Otri is the first published study to focus on the religious nurture of British Muslim children in the age group of 12 and under, and presents rich qualitative data on children’s lives.

Muslim Childhood by Jonathan Scourfield

The qualitative case study is set in a national and comparative context by an early chapter which provides statistical evidence on religious transmission.

The book also includes material on Muslim children’s lives in various different domains – the family home, mosques and other religious organisations, school, and wider social networks

Just some of the questions that Muslim Childhood deals with are:

  • How do we learn to be religious?
  • To make sense of this process should we emphasise the habitual reinforcement of bodily rituals? Or the active role of individuals in making decisions about faith at key moments? Or should we turn to cognitive science to explain the universal structures on which religiosity is built?
  • How does a relatively devout minority pass on religion in a generally secular Western context?
  • What significance does religion have for family life in this situation?
  • How does a religious identity interact with other kinds of collective identification, for example with a nation, ethnic group or a locality? This book is about ordinary British Muslims’ everyday religious socialisation of children in early and middle childhood. It provides a detailed description of how Muslim families in a secular Western context attempt to pass on their faith to the next generation. It is rooted in detailed qualitative research with 60 Muslim families in one British city.

The author's own analysis of survey data suggests that Muslims in the UK more effectively pass on their faith to the next generation than other religious groups. This book is in part an attempt to explain why that might be.

Video of Jonathan Scourfield talking about his book

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