‘Salafism is everywhere’ – Understanding an Islamic utopian movement – University of Copenhagen

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‘Salafism is everywhere’ – Understanding an Islamic utopian movement

Guest lecture by Post-Doc Martijn de Koning, Radboud University Nijmegen:

Since the 1980s and 1990s Europe has witnessed the emergence of a global movement that aims to revitalize Islam based upon an idealized vision of the first generations of Muslims. This movement, Salafism, spread from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries to all over the world. Slowly but with increasing pace after 9/11, Salafism has become associated with intolerance, terrorism and other modes of violence, anti-semitism, anti-homosexuality, misogyny and so on. As such the movement has become the main target of counter-radicalization policies in many European countries.
In this lecture I will offer a different perspective to understand Salafism that focuses more on processes of meaning-making and the practices of constructing a moral community of ‘true' Muslims. Questions will be addressed such as how to define Salafism, how is Salafism related to developments among Muslims and wider society in Europe and what kind of challenges does Salafism create for secular-Christian societies in Europe?

Martijn de Koning is an anthropologist at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. In 2008 he defended his PhD on Moroccan-Dutch youth and the formation of religious identity. Since 2007 he is working on Salafism in the Netherlands and the UK. He maintains his own blog Closer at http://religionresearch.org/martijn