Imams of the West

- A Research Project on Islamic Authority in Europe, North America and Australia, 2014-2017

Project outline

‘Imams of the West’ proposes a qualitative sociological interview study of between 50 and 60 imams in Europe, Australia and North America (‘the West’) in order to document how the Islamic religious institution of the imam changes in the challenging encounter with a global, multicultural and post-migration ‘Western’ world.

The three main research objectives are to produce;

  1. A clear sociological and Islamic studies profile of the institution of the imam in the Western context, in both its archetypical, classic form and in all its modern and contemporary varieties. Simply put; who is the imam and what does he think and do?
  2. An in-depth analysis of the reflection by the interviewees on the challenges facing Islam in the West today, leading to an assessment of the theological innovations of Islam in the West. Where is Islam headed and how does it respond to the West?
  3. A comparative analysis of the developments, positions and reflections of the imams in their geographical spread. While migratory, political, economic and historical circumstances diverge in the individual countries and states, there is a comparable and ongoing discourse about Islam and imams on all three continents.

About the Imams of the West project

Niels Valdemar Vinding, MA, PhD, is the main responsible researcher of the Imams in the West project. It is sponsered by the Carlsberg Research Foundation, and is based at University of Copenhagen with the Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies.

Niels Valdemar Vinding on the University of Copenhagen Web

Niels Valdemar Vinding on

Niels Valdemar Vinding