From ‘Sort of Muslim’ to ‘Proud to be Alevi’: Young British Alevis and Identity

Layal Mohammad's picture
October 27, 2017
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Childhood and Education, Contemporary History, Ethnic History / Studies, History Education, Immigration & Migration History / Studies

The Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations is hosting the event From ‘Sort of Muslim’ to ‘Proud to be Alevi’: Young British Alevis and Identity on Friday 27 October 2017.

This presentation explains how the negative identity of second-generation Alevis in the UK has been transmitted intergenerationally, linked to their history of persecuted exclusion in Turkey and to the transnational settlement of Alevi migrants in the UK, and how this sense of marginalisation and invisibility in the receiving country can be addressed. Education is identified as a starting point for the underachievement and disaffection of Alevi pupils, which can lead them into more serious trouble and descent into the rainbow underclass.

In the quest to tackle this identity issue, a unique collaborative action research project was set up between an Alevi community centre, local schools and a university to develop the world’s first Alevi lessons as part of the compulsory Religious Education curriculum in British schools. The Alevi Religion and Identity Project was started in 2010 and has contributed towards a more positive Alevi identity as a reflection of this vibrant community.


Dr Celia Jenkins is a Principal Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster where she specialises in the sociology of education, religion and research methods. She has been working collaboratively with Dr Umit Cetin and the London Alevi community for the past seven years and recently published a special issue of the journal National Identities on Alevi identity. She has recently completed an Erasmus funded international research project on the graduate labour market with colleagues from Turkey, Germany and Czechia.

Dr Umit Cetin is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster. He specialises in the sociology of religion, migration, suicide and the labour market. Dr Cetin conducted his PhD research on suicide amongst young men in the London Alevi community and he has co-edited the special issue of National Identities with Dr Celia Jenkins and Professor Suavi Aydın. He was also a researcher on the Erasmus project that Dr Celia Jenkins led.

Chair Dr Sevgi Adak

Can't join us in London? Register for a place to attend via GoToWebinar

Contact Info: 

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations
210 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DA
United Kingdom​

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