PETS IN THE INTERFAITH FAMILY HOMES: THE CASE OF TURKISH SPEAKING MIGRANTS IN THE NORTHWEST OF ENGLAND

Abstract

Author(s): MEHMET DAVUT COSTU*

Based on individual interviews and observations in the Northwest of England, this article examines how Turkish Speaking (TS) migrants experience pet practices. Building on approaches to space making practices, as well as studies on everyday lived religion, this article explores how TS migrants constitute pet practices within their understanding of Islam and the context in where they live. Although largely overlooked by scholars of religion, pet practices reflect religious identity of TS migrants.

This article shifts the emphasis from the study of texts to the study of lived practices. This study explores how texts are employed in distinctive ways by individuals in everyday life. Additionally, it has been discussed that Muslims’ lives cannot be reduced to text only. Instead, the text and the context mutually reconstitute individual’s everyday lives. TS migrants established a way of life by taking seriously into account the mutual relationships between the text and the context. They lived in a certain context without excluding the text. This study explored that their everyday lives are inspired by the text. Particularly, pet practices are chosen to demonstrate the negotiation between the text and the context.

Despite the increase of pet practices among Muslims in Europe, including Britain, it is less researched. Examining the stories of six men in the UK who are mixed married, this article pushes further the discussions of Islamic view on dogs, by exploring the challenges that male migrants face theologically and socially, and strategically adapt to deal with unique situations and their everyday experiences. It reveals that mixed married TS migrants come across two main strategies to deal with this practice: convincing kids to avoid dog adoption or creating religious spaces in the home sphere by not allowing dogs to enter certain rooms

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