Salafism: Production, Distribution, Consumption and Transformation of a Transnational Ideology in the Middle East and Europe

Supervisors:

  1. prof. dr. Harald Motzki (Radboud University Nijmegen)
  2. prof. dr. Martin van Bruinessen (chair at Utrecht University and former ISIM chair)

The project initially was a joint venture of ISIM and Radboud University. Since ISIM is closed as per 1 January 2009, the whole project now resides in Nijmegen (with both prof. Motzki and prof. Van Bruinessen still as supervisors).

At ISIM and currently at Radboud University Nijmegen I am a postdoctoral fellow within the ISIM/Radboud University project ‘Salafism: Production, Distribution, Consumption and Transformation of a Transnational Ideology in the Middle East and Europe’, funded by the NWO. In his project I focus on the demand side of religious knowledge by looking at how young Muslims actively engage with the writings of major religious leaders of the different Salafi currents in the Middle East and their representatives in the Netherlands.

The aim of this research program is to understand how religious knowledge of the Salafi movements is produced, distributed, consumed and transformed on a transnational level and a local level. The subproject on Muslim salafi youth in the Netherlands combines insights from social movement theory with identity politics of Muslim youth and will focus on the demand side of religious knowledge by looking at how young Muslims actively engage with the writings of major religious leaders of the three different Salafi currents in the Middle East and their representatives in the Netherlands.

Young Muslims are not seen as a passive audience in this process, but as agents who actively create their own notion of what the correct Islamic beliefs and practices are, which in turn are based on their religious experiences and their life-world. This subproject concentrates on questions as how do Dutch Muslim youth acquire their knowledge of Islam? How do they practice it? Whom do they regard as religious authorities? Why are some of them attracted to Salafism and why do they choose one of its currents? How is the Salafimovement in the Netherlands influenced by the practices of Muslim youth?

Because the label ‘salafism’ is ubiquitous at the moment I have chosen to reframe the research into the different modalities of understanding Islam among Muslims who visit and/or participate in the networks of mosques that follow the salafi manhaj.
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