Lars Leszczensky, Rahsaan Maxwell, Erik Bleich
What Factors Best Explain National Identification among Muslim Adolescents? Evidence from Four European Countries

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, In Press: (publ. online before print)
ISSN: 1369-183X (print); 1469-9451 (online)

An important public debate in contemporary Europe is whether immigrant-origin Muslims will successfully integrate into mainstream society. We engage those debates by analysing national identification among immigrant-origin Muslim adolescents in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. A common argument is that the Islamic religion prevents Muslims from integrating because its practices are incompatible with mainstream European culture. However, we find that religiosity is not the most important predictor of Muslim identification. Instead, citizenship, contact with the native majority, and perceived discrimination are all as important as religiosity for predicting Muslim national identification. In addition, we find the same relationships between these variables and national identification among Muslim and non-Muslim immigrant-origin adolescents. Country of birth, host language proficiency, and socio-economic status, by contrast, are less important predictors of national identification of both groups. In sum, our findings suggest that Muslims are not necessarily a uniquely problematic population, as their national identification is best understood through dynamics that affect immigrants more broadly rather than Muslims specifically, though more research is necessary to identify specific causal pathways.