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Elusive JannahThe Somali Diaspora and a Borderless Muslim Identity$
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Cawo M. Abdi

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816697380

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816697380.001.0001

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United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

Partial Belonging and Temporary Visas

(p.59) 2 United Arab Emirates
Elusive Jannah

Cawo M. Abdi

University of Minnesota Press

Chapter Two explores how Somali migrants’ religious and ethnic affinity with the Emirati population allows them to strategically enact their ‘Arab’ and Muslim identify and do not experience any challenges to their norms and values in this context. But this sense of belonging is curtailed by their inherently insecure legal status. As a result, they long for, and work for, a more flexible citizenship, found by a small number of Somalis who have managed to acquire a passport from other countries in Africa or in Europe, Canada, or the United States. Such documents facilitate transnational economic, political, and social pursuits and bestow a prestige denied to those carrying a Somali passport that is no longer recognized by most countries. Contact between these two groups, as well as the transnational circulation of information about the ease of citizenship in the West, fuels dreams of further migration.

Keywords:   Somali migrants, affinity, religious, ethnic, Emirati population, identify, insecure legal status, flexible citizenship, migration

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