Migration and Diasporas
Although in the European countries the presence of madrasahs is often associated to a militant and hostile image of Islam, visions of the future centred in Quranic tuition do not necessarily entail a confrontational relationship to the so called ‘Western culture’.
Based on ethnographic research carried out in a Bangladeshi Islamic educational institution in Rome, this contribution seeks to shed light on hopes and desires of the sons of first generation migrants. Girls and boys who live at the crossroad of different cultural influences, and take part at the same time in the educational project of the Italian public school, and in an Islamic educational project whose aim is to find a balanced compromise between “modernity” and “tradition”.
Through analysis of interviews and participant observation, the paper will show how the students embody and shape their image of the future drawing from apparently contradictory repertoires, and intertwining supposedly incompatible positions, such as subscription to Bangladeshi nationalism and identification with the umma, hedonism and adhesion to the teaching of Quran, Italianness and Bangladeshiness.
In this way, boys and girls become part of an everyday utopia in which the Islamic education does not act as an element of division between groups, but works as an instrument able to mediate between potentially conflicting models, and to mould a peaceful vision of the future.