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Accepted Paper:

Styles of religious leadership among Muslims in Europe  
Thijl Sunier (VU University, Amsterdam)

Paper long abstract:

The proposed paper addresses the emergence of new forms of religious leadership among Muslims in Europe, by elaborating the nexus between mass mediated forms of religion, the contemporary 'unsettling of religious authority', among Muslims in Europe, and the shifts in the position of Islam in European societies in the last two decades. New types of Islamic leadership that have emerged since are hardly tight anymore to 'traditional' constituencies and structures. A shift has taken place from representative to performative styles of religious leadership. An increasing number of leaders operate on the intersection of mediatised stardom, political leadership and religious innovator. They address a public rather than a 'natural' rank-and-file. Following insights in studies on media and religion, I argue that new media technologies and mass-mediated consumerism are not only instrumental in the emergence of these new religious expressions, these new leaders are themselves part of a process of religious renewal.

Panel W051
From the mouth of God: 'the political' from a post-secular perspective
  Session 1