Islamic sermons, religious authority and the individualization of Islam in France

  • Frank Peter


Recent literature has highlighted the important changes in Islamic religiosity in Western Europe, particularly among second-generation Muslims (for example, Roy 1999, Klinkhammer 2000, Tietze 2001). However, this literature has focused mostly on the individual believer (for exceptions see Schiffauer 2000, Jonker 2002) and while the general importance of Islamic associations and religious authorities is sometimes acknowledged (Khosrokhavar 1997, Roy 2000), their precise role and functioning are mostly still unclear. There is indeed a certain tendency to see this role as declining as a result of religious individualization (Tietze 2001, 10). Contrary to this approach, this article starts from the premise that the current transformation of Islam in Western Europe cannot be seen as a simple decline of religious authorities, but as a process which also leads to a pluralization of religious authority structures. In France, we can indeed observe today the emergence of new types of religious authority1, who have a professional profile which does not conform to that of classical scholars and who target specific groups inside the ‘Muslim community’, in our case notably the French-born second-generation Muslims. This article will examine one such figure, the popular Francophone Islamic preacher Hassan Iquioussen, former president of the youth organisation ‘Jeunes Musulmans de France’ (JMF)2.


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© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Peter

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