Muslim narratives of desistance among Norwegian street criminals: Stories of reconciliation, purification and exclusion
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionEuropean Journal of Criminology. 2021, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1177/14773708211018648
Stories about sin, regret and forgiveness are fundamental in Islam and other world religions. Islamic revivalism mediates a redemption narrative tailored to street criminals who want to break with the cycle of stigmatisation, imprisonment and violence. Drawing on so-called conversion narratives, this article examines the repertoire of such stories among street criminal men in Norway who turn, or ‘return’, to Islam. I have identified three narrative types: reconciliation, purification and exclusion. I explore the content of these stories and the work they do for tellers and their audiences. Arguably, these narrative types represents forms of desistance that open up and restrain particular paths into Islam and out of street crime.