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LeidenASA seminar: African Muslim Migrants in Secular Europe in the Age of Islamism: Negotiating Belief and Ethnoreligiosity in European Cities

Monday 18 November 2019
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

Studies on the religiosity of Sub-Sahara African Muslim migrants in Europe tend to give prominence to certain aspects of spirituality, like Sufism (see Kaag 2013; 2008; Soares 2004; Diouf 2002), but virtually not the wider question of belief and religiosity within the context of integration in a predominantly secular society. With the ‘war on terror’ shaping public perception of Islam and Muslims as monolithic ideology and community respectively (Kundnani 2015; Mamdani 2004; Diouf 2002), the essentialist view not only compounds the little regard accorded to varied nuances of Muslim religiosity, but also ethnoreligious experiences of Sub-Sahara African Muslims - often subsumed in the rubrics of the umma - as ethnic minorities living Islam in the European society that this study espouses. Taking belief as a multi-dimensional phenomenon with specific contexts (Day 2013), this study, therefore, seeks to enhance our nuanced understanding of Muslim religiosity among apolitical migrants who actively incorporate faith in their lives in secular societies accustomed to low-key approach to religiosity yet absorbed in the ‘war on terror’.

This is a joint seminar between the Leiden University Centre for the Study of Religion (LUCSoR) and the Leiden African Studies Centre.


Dr. Suleiman Chembea is a lecturer of Religion at Bomet University College, a constituent college of Moi University, Kenya. His research is on the interface between Muslim charity and Muslim Socio-economic welfare politics in secular state milieus; on Muslim-Christian relations; on Religion and migration and Religious extremism.

He holds a PhD in Islamic studies from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, an MA in Religion and a B.Ed (Arts) both from Moi University, Kenya. He is one of the first three early career researchers of Islam in Africa under the mentorship program of the Institute of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA), Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois since May 2019, for the review and publication of theses into books.


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