Muslim Pilgrimage in Europe: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Muslim Pilgrimage in Europe

1st Edition

Edited by Ingvild Flaskerud, Richard J. Natvig


204 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-07-27
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In spite of Islam’s long history in Europe and the growing number of Muslims resident in Europe, little research exists on Muslim pilgrimage in Europe. This collection of eleven chapters is the first systematic attempt to fill this lacuna in an emerging research field.

Placing the pilgrims’ practices and experiences centre stage, scholars from history, anthropology, religious studies, sociology, and art history examine historical and contemporary hajj and non-hajj pilgrimage to sites outside and within Europe. Sources include online travelogues, ethnographic data, biographic information, and material and performative culture. The interlocutors are European-born Muslims, converts to Islam, and Muslim migrants to Europe, in addition to people who identify themselves with other faiths. Most interlocutors reside in Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Norway.

This book identifies four courses of developments: Muslims resident in Europe continue to travel to Mecca and Medina, and to visit shrine sites located elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. Secondly, there is a revival of pilgrimage to old pilgrimage sites in South-eastern Europe. Thirdly, new Muslim pilgrimage sites and practices are being established in Western Europe. Fourthly, Muslims visit long-established Christian pilgrimage sites in Europe. These practices point to processes of continuity, revitalization, and innovation in the practice of Muslim pilgrimage in Europe. Linked to changing sectarian, political, and economic circumstances, pilgrimage sites are dynamic places of intra-religious as well as inter-religious conflict and collaboration, while pilgrimage experiences in multiple ways also transform the individual and affect the home-community.


"Muslim Pilgrimage in Europe is therefore very helpful in explaining and providing knowledge about Muslim pilgrimage phenomena in Europe. It also highlights multiple important issues on Muslims’ living in the West, especially on issues of identity, religious revivalism, and interreligious dialogue."

Anwar Masduki, doctoral student in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen.

Table of Contents


Ingvild Flaskerud and Richard J. Natvig

1 Moved by Mecca: The meanings of the Hajj for present day Dutch Muslims

Marjo Buitelaar

2 Mediating pilgrimage: Pilgrimage remembered and desired in a Norwegian home-community

Ingvild Flaskerud

3 Online Bosniak hajj narratives

Dženita Karić

4 Pilgrimage to Mecca by British converts to Islam in the inter-war period

John Slight

5 Seeking blessing and earning merit: Muslim travellers in Bosnia-Hercegovina

Tone Bringa and David Henig

6 Pilgrimage as Muslim religious commemoration: The case of Ajvatovica in Bosnia-Hercegovina

Sara Kuehn

7 After the War, before the Future: Remembrance and public representations of atrocities in Sarajevo

Catharina Raudvere

8 Dealing with Boundaries: Muslim pilgrimages and political economy on the southern Albanian frontier

Antonio Maria Pusceddu

9 Pilgrimages in Western European Sufism

Francesco Piraino

10 Pilgrimage to a shrine: The recreation of a Sufi tradition in the UK

M. Amer Morgahi

11 Muslim pilgrims in Brittany: Pilgrimage, dialogue and paradoxes

Manoël Pénicaud

About the Editors

Ingvild Flaskerud is a Post Doc Fellow at the University of Oslo, Norway. Her main research interests include Twelver Shia rituals, their material and visual culture, the negotiation of religious authority, and Shia migration and regrounding in the West. Flaskerud has published the monograph Visualizing Belief and Piety in Iranian Shiism (2010), and is the co-author, with Inger Marie Okkenhaug, of Gender, Religion and Change in the Middle East: Two Hundred Years of History (2005), as well as the producer of the ethnographic film ‘Standard-bearers of Hussein. Women commemorating Karbala’ (2003).

Richard Johan Natvig is Associate Professor of History of Religions at the University of Bergen, Norway. His main research interests are everyday religion in Egypt, especially the zar spirit possession beliefs and rituals, saint cults, and religious iconography among Muslims. He has published several articles and book-chapters on these and other issues, and is co-editor of Islamer i Norge ("Islams in Norway", 2005), and of Metode i religionsvitenskap ("Method in religious studies", 2006).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Pilgrimage, Religious Travel and Tourism

The public prominence of religion has increased globally in recent years, while places associated with religion, such as pilgrimage centers, and famous cathedrals, temples and shrines, have attracted growing numbers of visitors and media attention. Such developments are part of a global process where different forms of travel – physical movement such as labor and lifestyle migration, tourism of various forms, the cultural heritage industry and pilgrimage – have become a major feature of the modern world. These translocal and transnational processes involve flows of not just people but also material objects, ideas, information, images and capital.

The public prominence of religion aligned to the modern growth of tourism (sometimes now claimed as the world’s single largest industry) has created a new dynamic relationship between religion, travel and tourism. It has been mirrored by expanding academic research in these areas over the last twenty years across a variety of disciplinary areas, ranging from anthropology, sociology, geography, history and religious studies to newly emergent areas such as tourism and migration studies. Such studies have also expanded exponentially in terms of the geographic spread of places, religions and regions being researched.

This series provides a new forum for studies based around these themes, drawing together research on the relationships between religion, travel and tourism. These include studies from global and cross-cultural perspectives of topics, such as:

  • commoditization and consumerism;
  • media representations of religion, travel and tourism;
  • heritage, tourism and the cultural politics of religious representation;
  • gender, sexuality and religious movements;
  • religion and travel writing;
  • ideological and violent struggles over religion and resistance to tourist intrusion;
  • inter-religious engagement;
  • religion, tourism, landscape and performance; and
  • thanatourism and pilgrimage to sites of suffering.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion