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Strategies of adaption and dissociation
Islamic missionary groups from South Asia in the European diaspora – the Tablighi Jama’at and the Da’wat-i Islami

Islamic Training Institutes in Germany
links to Training Institutes in the Middle East and Europe

Between participation and disengagement
The Muslim minority and its schools in South Africa and Europe

Islamism, the Reform of Islam, and Civil Religion in France

„Pioneers of 'Euro-Islam'“?
The role of Muslim women in the Milli Görüs. Crossed views: Germany-Turkey

The Ahmadiya in Germany
Areas of conflict between Islamic identity and secular embedment


“Pioneers of a Euro-Islam“?

Muslim Women in the Islamic Community Milli Görüs

, Viadrina-University Frankfurt/Oder

The project aims at combining the analysis of gender role construction in the Turkish-Islamic organisation Milli Görüs (IGMG) with a discussion on gender approaches in Islamic contexts. The main focus lies on the broadly discussed question of whether liberal-democratic public spheres in Europe generate specific “European” or “German” versions of Islam or whether gender discourses in Muslim organisations point instead to the transnational ties and continuities of Muslim traditions in migratory contexts.

Initially the project will provide insights into key historical backgrounds, in particular in the context of positioning local Muslim actors vis-à-vis the colonial powers in the 19th century. The tension between the public visibility of Muslim women and the recourse to a gender concept defined by Islam was moulded during this period. The aim of the inquiry is to situate contemporary gender constructions within the organised Sunni field in Germany in an “Islamic discursive tradition” (Asad 1986).

In a second phase, using qualitative interviews and field observations I will analyse the gender conceptions that circulate discursively within the IGMG and the social-religious practices generated thereby. In this context I will conduct a discourse analysis of published and unpublished texts, including those on Internet sites, videos and audio-cassettes, on gender-related issues diffused by the organisation. The focus is on the following questions: towards which local or global religious, or indeed secular, authorities are the discourses and practices oriented? To what extent do they point to transnational discourse circulations? What role do women play in the organisation and the movement’s transnational network?

The project presupposes that new forms of collectivisation of Islam in Europe will emerge in a reciprocal process between Muslims and the “recipient societies”. In a third phase, the project will embed the gender discourses more systematically in the German public sphere. The aim is to analyse the strategies actors use to position themselves in a public discursive field, which potentially rules out their compatibility with the normative premises of German society.

The project pledges to enrich the research field in many respects. On the one hand, it will draw historical analogies to the contemporary situation of Muslims in Europe. It thereby attempts to overcome the attitude of regarding Muslim forms of social life in Europe as the result of migration processes, and instead regard it as a phenonomen that could be characterised as the continued interaction between modern rationalities and Islamic discursive traditions. On the other hand, the project embeds contemporary discourses and practices systematically in a transnational perspective, in an endeavour to go beyond the perception of European forms of Islam as a niche phenomenon. While most studies have focused primarily on the individual social strategies of Muslim women, this project will concentrate on collective and organised forms of Islam in Germany. It will furthermore include voices of male actors and their views on gender roles. Only this complementary view will reveal the legitimacy and authorisation of certain gender conceptions in Muslim community life in Germany, particularly of reform-oriented approaches.

Finally, the research project attempts to consistently combine the “internal perspective” of Muslim minorities with an analysis of the normative premises of the majority societies, thereby calling into question the common demand for a linear adaptation of Muslims to predefined norms. Hence the study will contribute to challenging dominant discourses, which, especially with regard to gender constructions, tend to interpret potential conflicts solely as the result of young Muslims undergoing a process of Islamisation.


BMBF - Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung   ZMO -Zentrum Moderner Orient   Universität Hamburg   Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)   Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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