Dying your own way?

A comparative approach to Mortality as a religious identity marker in British Islam and British Judaism


  • Marta Dominguez Diaz University of St Gallen




death – religious aspects, Islamic studies – rituals and practice, Jewish death customs, Jewish studies – rituals and practice, Muslim death customs


This article explores how two religious traditions, Judaism and Islam, confer meaning on the phenomenon of mortality, and it examines how their adherents seek to make sense of death in 21st century Britain. This research scrutinizes the religious identities of these two groups within the context of British multiculturalism, and it proposes approaching the manners in which death is perceived and experienced by Muslims and Jews as identity markers. The article argues that death issues contribute to the processes of collective labelling, self-perception and definition, through the perspective of religion. This inquiry will try to elucidate how the study of doctrines and practices to do with death can provide a meaningful platform for exploring identity boundaries. What does it mean to be a Jew or a Muslim in Britain today? Can the ways in which Jews and Muslims relate to mortality help us to answer this?


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Author Biography

Marta Dominguez Diaz, University of St Gallen

Dr Marta Dominguez Diaz is an anthropologist of religion who specializes in the study of transnational Sufism, and has also conducted research on ritual aspects of Islam and Judaism in a comparative perspective. Marta held a Junior Research Fellowship at the Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations Woolf Institute between 2009 and 2012, a study in which she explored religious variations in attitudes towards death, dying and grief among Muslims and Jews in Britain. She is currently the Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland.


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How to Cite

Dominguez Diaz, M. (2013). Dying your own way? A comparative approach to Mortality as a religious identity marker in British Islam and British Judaism. Fieldwork in Religion, 8(2), 241–257. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v8i2.241




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