Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. An experienced and lived ideology

Link: Lecture Series "Contemporary Political Islam"


Lecture: Brigitte Maréchal (CISMOC - UCL)
Discussant: Iman Lechkar (IMMRC KULeuven)

Since the 1960s against the backdrop of conflicts with political regimes, specifically in Egypt, Syria and Iraq., the Brotherhood is slowly but steadily integrating in Europe, as they established a network of religious, social and political organizations. It mostly expanded in European cities with a strong Muslim presence, first in Germany but later also in France and Britain. In Belgium too, the Brotherhood has left its mark on the religious experience of many Muslims. Adopting an anthropological perspective, this lecture will give us insight in the ideological aspect of the European Muslim Brotherhood. It is based on a profound fieldwork, that did not solely focuse on the leaders of the movement, but engaged in the heterogeneous dynamics that make up the movement, with particular attention to the lived experiences and values of its members. From an analysis of the contemporary re-appropriation of the brotherhood’s legacy by European Muslims, it takes stock of what constitutes the strength and weakness of the Muslim Brotherhood in terms of spiritual and intellectual resources. As the historical contribution of the brothers remains a major mobilizing reference for many European Muslims today.

Brigitte Marechal obtained her Ph.D. in Sociology in 2006 (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium) and is now professor at UCL, where she teaches, among others courses, the sociology of religion and the socio-anthropology of contemporary Islam. Brigitte Marechal is now director of CISMOC (Centre Interdisciplinaire d’Etudes de l’Islam dans le Monde Contemporain) and has published extensively on issues related to European Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood in different journals and wrote a book on ‘The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. Roots and Discourses’.

Iman Lechkar has a PhD in sociocultural anthropology and is a postdoctoral research fellow at IMMRC- KULeuven and Lecturer at the department of social work at the University College Brussels (Odisee). Her doctoral dissertation researches conversion and religious practices in a Belgian context. Her teaching and research engage with questions of multiculturalism, secularism, conversion, religious practice, religious identities/authorities, citizenship, subjectivity, agency and the significance of media in self-fashioning processes

This lecture is part of the series "Contemporary Polical Islam[+INFO]