Custodians of the Creed: A Comparative Study on the Level of Religiosity Among First- and Second-Wave Iraqi-Shi'a Muslims in an American Community

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Cappucci, John Francis




The dissertation compares the level of religiosity among first-wave (1991-2002) and second-wave (2003-2011) Iraqi-Shi’a Muslims residing in greater Dearborn, Michigan. In order to accomplish this task, it is necessary to first provide a detailed historical survey that explores the Iraqi Shi’as’ resilience in overcoming centuries of precarious challenges to their religious and ethnic identity. This survey begins with the struggles the Iraqi Shi’a faced in their native homeland followed by their mixed experience in America. The historical research is complemented with empirical data collected
by interviewing fifty members of the Iraqi-Shi’a community or twenty-five from each wave. The interview results reveal that the first wave appears slightly more religious than the second. This overarching observed pattern will be analyzed in light of Will Kymlicka’s multiculturalism model, Robert E. Park’s race relations cycle, Charles Glock, Benjamin Ringer, and Earl Babbie’s comfort hypothesis, and Alejandro Portes and Min Zhou’s segmented assimilation theory. The two waves espouse a moderate, but nonetheless traditional approach to their religion that is almost completely devoid of any
controversial ritualistic practices or radical belief systems.


Political Science
Middle Eastern History




Carleton University

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Political Science

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Theses and Dissertations

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