IMES Report Series – Resistance from Activist Da’Wa Networks in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany

In this IMES Series Report the sort of activism employed in networks like Sharia4Belgium and Sharia4Holland is analysed. The authors address how the activism of such networks interact with practices of the government and media during the period 2009-2013.

This type of activism is not only about activities that are directly aimed at protesting against the state and its regulation of Muslims, but also about activities that engender an alternative regulation and self-regulation.

The following themes and questions are analysed:

  • What do the protests focus on and what are the answers provided by the activists?
  • How do activists support their claims? What are their knowledge channels?
  • What kind of techniques and practices are used: demonstrations, disturbances, public sermons, slogans, flag-waving, clothing, etc.?
  • How do these techniques relate to the claims made by opponents?
  • What concepts of self and identity are hidden behind the various aspects of activism and how do these forms of protest engender new identities and subjectivities through their interaction with media and government?

Tensions rendered visible

The authors argue that the actions of the da’wa networks in the public space and the reaction of the government to those actions, rendered visible the tensions that already existed in these societies such as: distrust of the government, Islamophobia, the position of the established Muslim organizations, the position of religion and militant-political forms of religion in the public domain, the idea that freedom of speech for Muslims is limited and international military interventions.
Publication details

‘Eilanden in een zee van ongeloof’, IMES Series Report, December 2014. Authors: Martijn de Koning, Carmen Becker, Ineke Roex and Pim Aarns, in a cooperation between the Radboud University Nijmegen and the University of Amsterdam.

You can download the report and the separate English and Dutch summary at the IMES site.


On 11 february a meeting will be held at University of Amsterdam to discuss the findings of the report with other researchers and Muslims who are active in the debates. More information will follow.

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