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Transnational Marriage Among Ahmadi Muslims In The UK

Ahmadi Muslims constitute a reformed sect of Islam founded in 1889 by a charismatic leader, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. In this article I explore the character and processes of transnational marriage arrangements among Ahmadi Muslims over three generations in the UK. I suggest that the process of conversion to Ahmadiyyat and the organizational structure of Ahmadi mosques have combined to produce a flexible pattern of marriage among Ahmadis that is unusual among South Asians. A significant number of earlier and contemporary Ahmadi marriages are interethnic, reflecting an expansive Ahmadiya identity that is perceived to be independent of ethnicity. Further, analysis of marriage proposals accepted as well as rejected suggests gender differences in perceptions of and motivations for marriage. The analysis suggests that while gender differences in expectations of marriage may have parallels in some other South Asian transnational marriages, Ahmadi religious identity and organization plays a distinctive role in shaping the processes of Ahmadi marriage arrangements.

Authored by Marzia Balzini

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