Accepted Paper:

Crossing boundaries: conversion to and within Islam in a local Belgian and globalizing context  

Author:

Iman Lechkar (Catholic University, Leuven)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will examine whether the growing success of Islam in the Global Age, is related to the ability of Islam to bridge the global/local divide, by offering the emotional bond of a local community rooted in an internally homogenizing but externally differentiating socio-cultural practice, which links the distinct local Islamic communities dispersed throughout the world to a worldwide "imagined community", the global Ummah.

Paper long abstract:

The increase of Secular/Christian Belgians converting to Islam and other conversions within Islam, characterized by reinterpretations of Islam by going back to early Islamic history, present the succes of (orthodox) Islam in the current globlized world. Globalization can be considered as the concept that allows defining this changed conversion environment at the start of the twenty-first century. It accounts for the growing tension between the Western and the Islamic world.

Firstly, we will examine whether the growing success of Islam in the Global Age, is related to the ability of Islam to bridge the global/local divide, by offering the emotional bond of a local community rooted in an internally homogenizing but externally differentiating socio-cultural practice, which links the distinct local Islamic communities dispersed throughout the world to a worldwide "imagined community", the global Ummah.

The second part of the paper will examine how secular/Christian belgians converting to Islam and converts within Islam in a globalized context use the internet as a communication instrument in order to improve their knowledge of Islam. We will also explore how the internet functions regarding the edification of the moral and religious values. The works of Sheikh Albani and Ibn Baaz will be analyzed in the light of Manuel Castells' work such as The Internet Galaxy (2001) and The Network Society (2004).

Panel IW05
Local encounters with the global: diversity of anthropological fieldwork approaches in globalization studies