Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies

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B4 Mosques and the Production of Belonging

Prof. Dr. Dr. Rauf Ceylan

Rauf Ceylan, Foto: Simone Reukauf

Islamic Studies/Sociology of Religion
Osnabrück University

Project B4 investigates how mosques, in addition to their religious functions, produce local, national, and transnational affiliations, emerging as influential focal points in the context of migration societies. Mosques are conceptualized as both local and transnational infrastructures actively engaged in the creation of ›transnational communities‹, fostering forms of communal bonding that extend across various nation-states. The project focuses on Turkish-German mosques in Germany, which mobilize various identity categories and generate affiliations not only with local (religious) communities but also with the (imagined) country of origin, Turkey, to maintain or expand Turkish-national or Turkish-Muslim loyalties. Additionally, they influence the spatial mobility of their community members.

The project examines how mosques cooperate and compete with a variety of actors, both within the Islamic-religious field (e.g., with other mosque communities and associations) and outside (e.g., with schools, sports clubs, political actors, media, families, migrant communities, etc.). To capture these negotiations and conflicts over affiliations, the project draws on Pierre Bourdieu's theory of religious field as a guiding research approach. This allows an explanation of power struggles over the interpretation of religion and belonging, as well as the mechanisms of the formation of positions in the Islamic-religious field.

Empirically, the project focuses on a mosque that is a member of the Turkish-Islamic umbrella organization DITIB (Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs). Through extensive ethnographic field research, the complex interconnections with different categories of belonging and their negotiation, each with specific dynamics, forces, and configurations within and through the mosque community, is elucidated. The changing and occasionally contentious relationships and ties of the mosque (including those with the Turkish state and the state religious authority, given its affiliation with DITIB) are examined for their significance in the production of religious as well as local, national, and transnational affiliations.