Accepted Paper:

Following the Prophet's Path: narrating migration in the Hizmet community in Brazil  

Author:

Liza Dumovich (NEOMUFF)

Paper short abstract:

After the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, the Hizmet Movement has been largely affected by the ensuing crackdown. This paper analyzes changes in how members of the Hizmet community in Brazil have dealt with their experience of migration, reimagining Turkey, the Movement, and their role in it.

Paper long abstract:

The Hizmet community in Brazil is part of the Hizmet Movement, a transnational Turkish Sunni Muslim movement with a missionary character, present in many countries worldwide. "Hizmet" means "service" and is a term used by the community's members to refer both to the Movement itself and to the religiously motivated service in which they engage - a whole set of activities and practices, which includes religious performances but also different kinds of involvement in the community's daily life and worldly activities. After the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, the ensuing crackdown has led to a financial and social reconfiguration of the Hizmet community in Brazil, affecting the ways its members imagine their country, the Hizmet Movement, and their role in it. Since then, the idea of hicret (the Turkish version of the Arabic hijra) has been used by the community's members to reaffirm their migratory movement as religiously rather than politically motivated. This paper is based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork with the Hizmet community in Brazil, and is centered on that period of transition, comparing the two ethnographic moments - before and after the coup attempt. Then, it analyzes how members of the community have articulated the religious notions of hizmet and hicret in order to deal with their new reality, thus mobilizing Islamic history and vocabulary to reelaborate their migration experience and life mission.

Panel MB-SSR02
Ideas of movement, faith, and home in Muslim communities in the diaspora