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Seminar & PhD Defence Amer Morgahi

  • Amer Morgahi
Tuesday 6 March 2018
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Aula VU University Amsterdam

Purification of Hearts. Rituals, Devotion and Recreation among the Minhajul Quran followers in Europe

NISIS member Amer Morgahi will defend his dissertation entitled Purification of Hearts. Rituals, Devotion and Recreation among the Minhajul Quran followers in Europe in the Aula of VU University Amsterdam at 15.45 March 6, 2018. 

The thesis deals with religious discourse and form of organisation of Minhajul Quran. The movement preserves and convincingly defends traditional Sufi practices and cultural forms. I explore these religious forms and practices to see how they give new meaning to the everyday life of Minhajul Quran followers. Focusing on celebratory, informal and everyday practices or forms of religiosity, I propose more inclusive forms of Muslim religiosity in Europe. These developments goes further than to understand the debate about Muslims in Europe merely through individualisation of Muslims or creating pious subjects. I explained how ritualized means of veneration, devotion, and religious imaginations shape new religious forms and practices. Through such practices and discourse Minhajul Quran empowered its followers by claiming the spiritual superiority of the Sufi tradition over simplistic Deobandi and Islamist versions of Islam. Through its networks in Europe, it did not merely transplant its networks, it developed new spaces to create sacral forms and identities.

Before Morgahi's defence, there will be a seminar with contributions by Prof. Muhammad Khalid Masud, Prof. Martin van Bruinessen, Dr Alix Philippon, and Dr Irfan Ahmed. 

The seminar will take place in BV-0H20 in the BelleVu Building from 9.30-13.15 hours.

Sacrality acting up in Secular space: scope and limits of the South Asian Muslim groups in Europe and in homeland

The seminar deals with the contemporary dynamics of Muslim lives in Europe and South Asia by addressing the question of how their lives are affected by local and transnational religious networks. In the last decades these networks have been more inclusive for the new generations of migrants who were born and  raised in Europe. Minhajul Quran, originated in Pakistan, is a prime example of such a movement. Movements like Minhajul Quran emphasize on individualistic reform that would lead to social change. It embraces many aspects of modernity, forms of organisation and patterns of social activism.

This explains the diverse transnational configurations of religious practices that have become popular among the migrant communities in Europe. Transnational movements like the MQ emphasize new religious forms and devotional practices in shaping the religious manifestations in Europe. However, these locally defined forms of religiosity have to deal with new forms of nationalisms both in Europe and South Asia. Therefore, we ask how the emerging religious spaces deal with the secular public space in European and South Asian contexts? The seminar seeks to address the following questions and themes:

  • The historicity of religious movements associated with Muslim spirituality.
  • The encounters between neo-traditional South Asian Muslim groups from South Asia and Western Europe in the era of extremism and nationalism.
  • Transnational religious movements and new forms of religiosity

Transnational Sufi groups and their impact on discussion of  Muslim migrations



9.15- 09.30: Registration/Coffee-Tea

9:30- 09.45: Opening and welcome: Prof. Thijl Sunier & M. Amer Morgahi

09.45-11.15: Panel I | 
Chair and Discussant Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, SOAS, London.
Prof. Muhammad Khalid Masud, IRI, International Islamic University Islamabad.

Problems of Studying Religious Movements in secular contexts.

Dr. Alix Philippon, IEP-CHERPA, Université d’Aix-Marseille.

11.45-13.00: Panel 2 |
Chair and Discussant Prof. Martin van Bruinessen, Utrecht Universiteit.
Prof. Irfan Ahmad,  Max Planck Institute for Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Gӧttingen.

Home, Homeland, Territorial Sacralization: Religion and Belonging across Europe and South Asia.

See also the website of VU University for information. 

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