Migration and the Religiosity of Muslim Women in Spain
This chapter presents the results of qualitative research based upon in-depth interviews with immigrant women of Moroccan heritage currently resident in Spain. 1 The Moroccan community is without doubt the most significant Muslim presence in the country. Moreover, smaller groupings, such as the Algerians and Pakistanis, are predominantly male. The research seeks to present Muslim women as active subjects and explore their perceptions of the process of social, cultural and religious adaptation that is taking place as part of their interactions with Spanish society. Fieldwork was conducted in the three regions with the largest concentration of Muslims (Madrid, Catalonia and Andalucia) and a total of 60 women were interviewed. The data presented here reflects the diversity of individual women's experiences and their discourses about religion. Nevertheless, it also reflects a profile that can be more generally identified within the Moroccan community (Khachani, 2000). Moreover, as we shall see, the research provides a deliberate counterpoint to the stereotyped and reductionist images of Islam and Muslims that are currently prevalent in Spain. For this reason, Spain's Catholic heritage and the current non-denominational framework of the Spanish State, requires some brief consideration first of all, as does the integration of Islam and Muslims within such a context.