Converting to Pre-Islamic Glory: Historiography and national identity in the narratives of Iranian Christian converts in Denmark.

Martin Lindhardt, Sofie Alexandra Juliane Husbye Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

A widely accepted view in scholarship on religious conversion is that converting to a new religion involves a process of biographic reconstruction. But conversion may also involve a reconstruction of other kinds of pasts. The article presents a study of Iranian immigrants in Denmark who coming from an Islamic background, have converted to Christianity. For these Iranians conversion did not just entail a reinterpretation of their individual pasts, but also a narrative construction of Iranian history in which Islam plays the role of an alien and contaminating force. For converts, leaving Islam and embracing Christianity was not seen as a rejection of an Iranian heritage or identity but rather as a way of reconnecting with a pre-Islamic golden age that harbored the essence of authentic Iranian culture. The article explores how conversion to Christianity can be a multifaceted project involving simultaneous and closely intertwined negotiations of both individual biographic and historical-national pasts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
ISSN1353-7903
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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