07 SES 12 A, The Dimension of Religious Education in Intercultural Education; Policies, Practices and Research in Europe today
Within a multi-cultural, multi-religious, “wired” society, the use of the Internet for religious purposes has potentially important implications for inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations, policy making and education. Furthermore, Internet has, over the past decade, provided a new platform for religious groups as a new approach and avenue for proclamation, communication and interaction, with both members and non-members of their faiths. In this framework, little attention has been paid to the use of social network for religious socialization, especially within Muslim families. The paper will be focus on 1) how young Muslims living in Italy use Facebook for developing, managing and discussing their religious belonging and 2) the effects of this process on the relationship between first and second generations. These issues will be discussed using qualitative data (30 interviews with Moroccans, first and second generations) aimed at both identifying differences and similarities among Muslim generations and outlining how the web changes religious belonging. In the framework of religious education among immigrant families, Italy is becoming an interesting case study. It is not only a recent immigration country, facing a growing presence of immigrants, but also this growth has taken place in a short period, compared with other traditional migration countries. Of course the migratory flows follow a growing trend, but they are characterized by internal transformations. Among these, a growing juvenile population with a Muslim background can be considered a remarkable challenge in a Catholic country. In this scenario, the paper will be focussed on 1) How young Muslims living in Italy use Facebook for developing, managing and discussing their religious belonging and 2) The effects of this process on the relationship between first and second generations and in relation to education in the Italian national schools. Can internet (and social networks in particular) be the safe arena in contrast with cities, neighbourhoods and groups where anti-Muslim feelings are in the air and break out frequently? Is online religious identity a good strategy for overcoming stereotyping in the real world? And how is this handled in Italian schools and in religious education? The analysis will also be enriched by considering experiences and new practices developed by second-generation Muslims in Italy and by the association Giovani Musulmani d’Italia online and offline (public readings, theatre and Facebook groups).
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