Dalgaard, Nina T. ‘The Impact of Islam and the Public and Political Portrayals of Islam on Child-Rearing Practices—Discursive Analyses of Parental Accounts among Muslims Living in Denmark’. Culture & Psychology, vol. 22, no. 1, Mar. 2016, p. 65.
With the rise of Islamist terrorist attacks in the US and Europe the impact of Islam on child-rearing practices has become a matter of public attention and debate. Within the political discourse in the Western world and in the mass media, Muslims are often being portrayed negatively. Research has documented how Muslims living in the West are adversely affected by the negative portrayals of Islam associated with the War on Terror. The aim of the present study was to explore the impact of Islam on child-rearing practices and parental identity formation among self-identified Muslims in Denmark. Using a discursive approach to analyzing interviews with parents in 29 Middle Eastern refugee families, six rhetorical strategies were identified: (1) minimizing differences, (2) highlighting compatibility, (3) emphasizing positive aspects of Islam, (4) countering common prejudice, (5) actively distancing oneself from terrorists/extremists, and (6) separating Islam as a religion from cultural traditions. It is argued that the global as well as national political discourse post 9/11 is reflected in all of the six rhetorical strategies. Whether parents position themselves as having a high or low bicultural identity or a Muslim parental identity, their positioning involves drawing on the discursive resources from the mass media, the global and national political and public discourse. Furthermore, it is argued that all rhetorical strategies can be seen as attempts to counter the hurt associated with the negative portrayal of Islam.