Muslims, schooling and the limits of religious identity

Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Recent decades have witnessed what could be called a ‘religious turn’—a renewed focus on religion across all areas of life, including politics, academia, and education (Bachmann-Medick, 2016). Akin to what is called the ‘linguistic turn’ in philosophy—which brought attention to the constitutive and mediating role of language in the social construction of reality—the concept of ‘religious turn’ reflects a recognition of the role of religion in shaping discourses, social change, and practices in a variety of cultural contexts. This term has become more closely associated with Islam than with any other religion, and can be traced back to the 1980s and certainly the 1990s, following events such as the Iranian Revolution and the Rushdie Affair, and, more recently, the attacks of 11 September 2001 (9/11) and the London bombings of July 2005. Although intellectual and cultural shifts regarding religion were taking place before this time, these events had widespread implications for education and research agendas. One such implication has been the increased interest in adolescent Muslims as research subjects, leading subsequently to numerous studies about Muslims, schools, and religious identity internationally (Moulin, 2012). Another implication, particularly following the London bombings of July 2005, was the development of educational programmes and policies aimed at Muslim youth and intended to combat extremism.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Oxford Review of Education