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‘We are always changing, that’s a good thing’: A qualitative exploration into the identity of young Muslims.

Ahmed, Iffath (2019) ‘We are always changing, that’s a good thing’: A qualitative exploration into the identity of young Muslims. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Despite Islam being the fastest growing religion in the UK, there is limited research conducted on the lived experiences of young Muslims. This study explores the personal experiences of young Muslim individuals with an aim to understand the contributing factors to their respective identities and how they deal with this in their day-to-day life, within their personal, social and professional growth, beyond existing literature. Six participants were involved in semi-structured interviews, producing qualitative data. Use of thematic analysis methodology uncovered common themes amongst the interviews; these are: ‘religion’, ‘belongingness’ and ‘societal expectations’, each with their respective subthemes. Although there were minor differences between participants’ experiences, the overarching thoughts and understandings emerging from the data provide an overview of related factors, particularly maintaining one’s faith, finding safe spaces, and upholding a level of fluidity within our sense of self. Based on the findings of this study, a preliminary understanding of navigating identity in today’s society is presented and discussed, using existing literature around the subject. By incorporating these findings, academic staff, employers, and wellbeing services can provide effective and holistic strategies for young Muslims to find their place in the world.

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