Churchification of Islam in Europe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

This chapter explores the concept of churchification in relation to
Islam and Muslim organisations in Europe. The first part of the article surveys the word in variations, the phenomenon it describes and different observations of this phenomenon across a number of European contexts by a selection of European scholars on Islam in Europe. After the initial observations and conceptualisations of churchification and after discussing the promising institutionalist theories follows a process of analytical distinction into four closely related but distinguishable logics of churchification. Firstly, churchification is understood as pedagogical, analogical or rhetorical usages comparing mosques to churches, or imams to priests, and so on. Secondly, churchification as normativisation is identified, which maintains that mosques should or ought to function like the churches, imams should act like priests, and that for a number of politically or ideologically motivated reasons. Thirdly, churchification can be identified in terms of structural and implicit hegemony emanating from the established paradigms of church and state relations, or from the churches themselves. Here, the sheer positional power and presence of the churches in Europe makes it almost impossible to avoid an influence on Islam and Muslim organisations. Fourthly and finally, churchification can be seen as a deliberate neo-institutionalist isomorphic strategy – or counter-strategy – where Muslim organisations and institutions deliberately model themselves on the church either because they are structurally coerced to do so, because it raises standards or because doing so is smart and cost-efficient. Equally, there are Muslim organisations and communities who move in the opposite direct, exactly because they want to distance and distinguish themselves from European churches, priesthood, theology, and institutional expectations. This often proves to be a more difficult strategy and although tempting isomorphic institutionalisation might not yield the hoped outcome of resource mobilisation,
acceptance or recognition for Muslims in the European context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExploring the Multitude of Muslims in Europe. Essays in Honour of Jørgen S. Nielsen
Number of pages17
Publication date12 Mar 2018
ISBN (Electronic) 9789004362529
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2018
SeriesMuslim Minorities

Bibliographical note

Niels Valdemar Vinding, PhD (2013), University of Copenhagen, is Assistant Professor researching on Islam in Europe and European Muslim institutions. Currently, his focus is on ‘Imams of the West’ and the authority and leadership challenges amongst Muslims.

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Churchification, Church and Islam, Christianity and Islam, Islam and Muslims, Islam and Muslims in Europe, Sociology of Religion, Church, Islam, Muslims

ID: 194944989