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Negotiating between Shi’a and Catholic Rituals in Iran

A Case Study of Filipina Converts and Their Adult Children

Ashraf Zahedi

Keywords: Catholicism; conversion; Filipinas; Islam; marriage migration; Muslims; religious identity; transnational marriages

Religious rituals, while comforting for believers, may be uncomfortable for those who do not share their manifold meanings. Catholic Filipinas who marry Muslim Iranian men face mandatory conversion to Islam, necessitating ongoing negotiations between Christianity and Islam. My research suggests that these Filipinas held their first religion dear while participating in – for them – unpleasant Shi’a Muslims rituals. Their Filipino/Iranian children, familiar from birth with Shi’a Islam, felt at home with both religions, no matter which one they chose for themselves. The discussion of converts’ perceptions of Shi’a rituals contributes to the literature on transnational marriages and marriage migration.

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