Be traditional: The religious influence of the diaspora on its “homeland”

Author Name

Henrique Schneider

Author Address

Swiss Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises, [email protected]


Kosovo, Religion, Islam, Diaspora, Tradition, Custom, Value


This paper explores the influence of the diaspora on the religious practices of its “homeland”. It will be claimed: 1st) Diaspora favors a conservative view of religion in its “homeland”; 2nd) even if the diaspora itself does not practice religion in a conservative sense; 3rd) the justification for this expectation is that conservative religious practices belong to the tradition of the “homeland”; this tradition being equalled with identity; and 4th) diaspora has a static understanding of what the identity (values, custom, traditions) of its “homeland” is. These claims will be substantiated by quantitative and qualitative data being gathered among Muslim Kosovo-Albanians living in Switzerland. The explanation for these attitudes is a “frozen mind-picture” that diaspora tend to have of its “homeland”. This means that most emigrants form a picture of their native region in their mind and  do not allow this picture to evolve over time. Each time they return to their original community, they expect to see the mind-picture they formed at the time of their leaving, thus favoring conservative practices, including in religion.


International Conference on Migration, Diaspora and Development
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