The special issue of this journal focused on Muslim young people in Britain and Russia. The research came out of a series of workshops on this topic, funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme and the New Eurasia Foundation (Fond Novaya Yevraziya). The opening article,1 by Marat Shterin and Basia Spalek (the Editors of this issue) gives an overview of the key topics and terms explored within the issue, as well as overviews of the articles themselves, some of which are reviewed on this site.
Shterin and Spalek utilise research based on New Religious Movements (NRMs) to introduce some of these issues, finding similarities between some NRMs in the 1970s and contemporary Islamic groups in that they can be spaces for the expression of youthful discontent. They also draw attention to how mainstream concepts, such as 'radicalisation' or dichotomies such as 'moderate' versus 'extreme' Islam can constrain and research and understanding into Islam and its practice. This issue is picked up in several of the articles, with alternative concepts and research strategies being suggested.
The Editors are keen to point out that this collection was not intended to provide systematic comparison between the two countries, but rather that it would serve to highlight interesting and new primary research, which nevertheless do draw attention to some shared questions and themes.
The articles from this issue which are reviewed on this site can be found here.
1 Marat Shterin & Basia Spalek (2011): Muslim young people in Britain and Russia: intersections of biography, faith and history, Religion, State & Society, 39:2-3, 145-154.