Call for Papers: “Mosques, families and Islamic Law”

‘Danish Mosques – Significance, Use and Influence’ together with the ‘Nordic Mosques Research network’ invites papers and applications for participation. This will be the first workshop as part of the HS-NOS funding and the mid-term conference in the Danish Mosques research project.

The workshop will take place at in Göteborg in Sweden at the Hotel Panorama from 21st to 23rd August 2019.

The deadline for the call for papers is May 1st, 2019.

All contact should be addressed to Niels Valdemar Vinding,

Call for Papers

For this workshop, we invite scholars and researchers in the Nordic countries (and beyond) that work in the intersection of mosques, family and Islamic law. Mosques are widely understood as Muslim institutions in the discursivity of Islam. Similarly, Islamic law is widely defined as Islamic ethics, norms and practice. In our view and in legal terms, the biggest challenge for mosques and Muslims in the Nordic countries is building authentic and responsive legal institutions that may help Muslims in their ethnic, social and legal dilemmas and problems, where Western society seems to disappoint. There is a significant degree of experimentation and different attempts at articulating a religious legal identity and institutions amongst Muslims in the Nordic countries. This has been going on for a number of years, but now seems to be quasi-institutionalised to point where we are able to find legal documents, interview people and observe the process of legal institutionalization.

However, currently Muslim legal institutions are reaching out to governments and courts to better regulate and establish their practices to mitigate the significant risk of having their work deemed illegitimate and even illegal. The most significant legal concern by far is Muslim family law with the fear of parallel legal orders and subversive counter-normativity.

The operable questions for the workshop are; how are Muslims in mosques (and beyond) articulating their legal, ethical and normative identities? What kind of institutions are being build? How many so-called Islamic councils are there in the Nordic countries? How are they seen and used by Muslims? What kind of Islamic law and ethics issues are seen by the courts and quasi-courts in the Nordic countries, such as family matters, divorce, mediation, inherence, honour, polygamy? How do the courts and the legal systems in general approach and address these issues?

We are inviting submissions for papers as well as for participation in the workshop. We will give preference to papers to be presented during the workshop. For paper presentations, we are expecting written contributions to either an upcoming special issue of a leading journal or to a concluding anthology on Nordic Mosques in Context.

Paper abstracts of 300 words or expressions of interest in participation and a short CV to be submitted to Niels Valdemar Vinding,, on May 1st 2019 at the latest.

Workshop Series Theme

This is the first in a series of three workshops on Nordic Mosques in Context – On the institutional embeddedness of Islam in the Nordic countries sponsored by a NOS-HS Workshop Grant. The second is on ”Mosques, power and politics,” in Copenhagen, Denmark, in January 2020, and the third is on ”Mosques, communities and finance,” in Oslo, Norway, August 2020. The purpose of the workshops is to investigate the dimensions of institutional embeddedness of Islam in the Nordic countries as mosques seek to be responsive institutions for the needs of Muslims, challenged by economic, legal and political alternatives. We are considering mosques as the focal point of Islam in economic, legal and political terms, the primary objective of this research project is to study the institutional strategies of mosques and Muslims in embedding Islam in the Nordic wider societies. The key here is to see to what extend mosques are responsive institutions for the needs of Muslim in soliciting the wider public, or if Muslims go beyond the mosque in the pursuit of other more apt forms of institutionalised religious life such as invoking Islamic economic, legal and political responses. We argue that the entire future of mosques depends on whether they can give and refine responsive and meaningful answers and make them coherent with the economic, legal and politics questions that Muslims seek the answers to. As such, this may result in the secularisation of mosques as they negotiate and find their place in society. Will these new or re-interpreted institutional expressions clash with the general public, will they fail Muslims or will they be viable alternatives for embedding Islam in the Nordic countries?

Workshop structure

We are aiming to conduct this workshop from the afternoon on Wednesday 21st August and finish with lunch on Friday 23rd August. All accepted participants will have flights, trains and other public transportation and hotel costs covered. We are organising a programme with keynotes, paper sessions with 20 minutes presentation and 10 minutes Q&A, as well as an afternoon open to the public and local stakeholders.


Brian Arly Jacobsen, assoc. professor, Sociology of Religion, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Torkel Brekke, Research Professor, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway

Göran Larsson, Professor in Religious Studies, Göteborg University, Sweden

Niels Valdemar Vinding, post.doc., Islamic Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark