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Muslims in Motion

Islam and National Identity in the Bangladeshi Diaspora

Nazli Kibria

Publication Year: 2011

Muslims in Motion provides a comparative look at Bangladeshi Muslims in different global contexts-including Britain, the U.S., the Middle East, and Malaysia. Nazli Kibria examines international migrant flows from Bangladesh, and considers how such migrations continue to shape Islamization in these areas. Having conducted more than 200 in-depth interviews, she explores how, in societies as different as these, migrant Muslims, in their everyday lives, strive to achieve economic gains, sustain community and family life, and realize a sense of dignity and honor.

Published by: Rutgers University Press


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pp. vii

Figures and Tables

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pp. ix

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xv

On January 27, 2005, my father, Shah AMS Kibria, was assassinated. A member of the Parliament of Bangladesh, he had gone to his parliamentary constituency in Habiganj, Sylhet, to address a public meeting. As he was leaving, several grenades were hurled at him. Four others, including my cousin Shah Manzur Huda, were killed, and over eighty persons were injured. His murder followed...

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1. Muslim Migrants, Bangladeshis Abroad

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pp. 1-10

I trace the beginnings of this book to an informal conversation I remember having in the late 1990s. This was during a trip to Bangladesh, the country of my birth. I was at my parents’ house in a middle-class neighborhood of Dhanmondiin Dhaka, the capital city, having tea with friends, a group that included academics, lawyers, and NGO leaders. Eager for their feedback, I expressed an...

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2. Bangladesh: Nationalism, Islam, and International Migration

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pp. 11-27

Bangladesh, meaning “Bengal nation,” is a low-lying country formed by the alluvial plain of the Ganges-Brahmaputra river system—the largest delta in the world. Located on the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India, it has a territory of 147,570 square kilometers and a population of over 150 million persons, making it the eighth most populous country in the world and also one of the...

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3. Bangladeshi American Dreams

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pp. 28-56

In 2004, I interviewed Dr. Niaz, a Bangladeshi American cardiologist with athriving medical practice in a suburb of New York.1 It was three years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. After coming to the United States with a medical degree from Bangladesh in the late 1970s, Dr. Niaz had successfully taken the U.S. medical licensing exam and completed training in cardiology....

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4. Becoming Muslim American

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pp. 57-78

Scholars have long observed how in the United States, a country with high levels of religiosity, religion is generally accepted and, indeed, expected to play an important role in immigrant life. As Raymond Williams writes: “In the U.S., religion is the social category with clearest meaning and acceptance in the host society, so the emphasis on religious affiliation is one of the strategies that...

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5. British Bangladeshis: Changing Transnational Social Worlds

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pp. 79-112

In this chapter, I explore the lives of Bengalis/Bangladeshis in Britain, one of the largest Muslim ethnic groups in Britain today.1 As we will see, the British Bangladeshi experience is powerfully shaped by a history of deep-seated exclusion from mainstream British society along with limited opportunities for socioeconomic advancement. In responding to these conditions, British...

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6. Muslim Encounters in the Global Economy

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pp. 113-147

The very idea of international migration is suggestive of change, of altered social and political circumstances that produce novel opportunities as well as challenges for those who are part of such movements. In the case of Muslim migrants, the experience of becoming a religious minority is widely understood to be the critical shift implied by international migration. Reflecting a...

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7. Muslim Migrants: National Origins and Revivalist Islam

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pp. 148-150

The lives of international migrants are shaped by their national origins. This is no less so for international migrants who are Muslims. Indeed, for Bangladeshi Muslim migrants, as we have seen, their country of origin exerts a powerful and multidimensional influence. Among the many ways in which it does so is through the dynamics of global national image and their effects on the...


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pp. 151-153


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pp. 155-164


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pp. 165-167

About the Author

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pp. 168

E-ISBN-13: 9780813550886
E-ISBN-10: 0813550882
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813550558
Print-ISBN-10: 0813550556

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 4 tables, 1 map, 3 graphs
Publication Year: 2011