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Imams in Western Europe

November 5, 2014 at 14:00 - 7 November 2014 at 2:00 PM

Aula Magna Viale Pola, 12

International Conference
Imams in Western Europe
Authority, Training, and Institutional Challenges
5-6-7 November 2014
LUISS Guido Carli University & John Cabot University, Rome, Italy

Organized by:

  • The Department of Political Science and the School of Government at LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome
  • The NordForsk Research Network "Norms and Narratives in the Nordic Countries" (NONA)
  • The European Council of Moroccan Oulema (CEOM) in Brussels
  • In cooperation with The Netherlands Interuniversity School for Islamic Studies (NISIS)
  • the Department of Cross Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen
  • John Cabot University (JCU) of Rome

Keynote speakers:

  • Hilary Kalmbach (Sussex University, UK)
  • Jasser Auda (European Council for Fatwa and Research, Ireland)
  • Jonathan Laurence (Boston College, USA)
  • Marco Ventura (Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium)
  • Olivier Roy (European University Institute, Italy)
  • Stefano Allievi (University of Padoa, Italy)

Conference webpage:


  • Mohammed Hashas, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Political Science, LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome.
  • Niels Valdemar Vinding, Assistant Professor, Department of Cross Cultural & Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen.


  • Khalid Hajji, Secretary General of the European Council of Moroccan Oulema in Brussels, & Associate Professor at Mohamed I University in Oujda, Morocco.
  • Jan Jaap de Ruiter, Assistant professor, Department of Cultural Studies, Tilburg University in the Netherlands.
  • Tom Bailey, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Philosophy, John Cabot University of Rome
  • Michael Driessen, Assistant Professor of Political Science & International Affairs, John Cabot University of Rome

Conference Programme:

Wednesday, 5th November
LUISS Guido Carli University (Viale Pola 12, Aula Magna)

13:15 PM Registration

Welcome session

2 PM Welcome by LUISS School of Government:
Giovanni Orsina

Welcome by the conveners:

Mohammed Hashas, LUISS Guido Carli
Niels Valdemar Vinding, University of Copenhagen
Khalid Hajji, CEOM
Jan Jaap De Ruiter, NISIS
Chair: Francesca Corrao, LUISS Guido Carli

Public Opening Session: Religious Authority in Secular Societies

2:30 PM Keynote 1: Jasser Auda, European Council for Fatwa and Research, Ireland
"Imams in the West: Challenges of New Fatwa and Community Leadership"
Discussant: Mohammed Hashas, LUISS Guido Carli
Questions and comments
Chair: Giovanni Orsina, LUISS Guido Carli

3:30 PM Keynote 2: Olivier Roy
Discussant: Jorgen S. Nielsen (University of Copenhagen)
Questions and comments
Chair: Carmela Decaro, LUISS Guido Carli

4:30 PM Break

5:30 PM Keynote 3: Stefano Allievi, University of Padova
"Precarious Reality, Distorted Visibility: Mosques, Imams and Preachers in Italy"
Discussant: Thijl Sunier, University of Amsterdam
Questions and comments
Chair: Raffaele Marchetti, LUISS Guido Carli

5:30 Roundtable 1: Jasser Auda, Olivier Roy, Stefano Allievi, Khalid Hajji, Abdellah Redouane (Secretary General of the Islamic Cultural Center of Rome), Francesco Zannini (PISAI, Rome)

Chair: Francesca Corrao, LUISS Guido Carli

6:30 M End of the day's program

Thursday, 6th November
LUISS University (Viale Pola 12, Aula Magna)

9 AM Session 1: The Imamate in Italy: The Status Quo and the Way Ahead

Paolo Branca, "Imams in Italy: Children of a Lesser God?"
Valentina Gentile, "Religious institutions and multiple establishment: the future of religious freedom in Italy"
Francesco Alicino, "Imams and other Religious Authorities in Italy: A Comparative Perspective"
Imam Yahya Pallavicini, "The training of a new generation of European Imams in Italy"

Chair: Antonio La Spina, LUISS Guido Carli

10:15 AM Break

10:30 AM Keynote 4: Hilary Kalmbach, Sussex University, UK
"Authority in Islam: Men, Women, and Religious Leadership in Europe"
Discussant: Riem Spielhaus (University of Erlangen-Nurnberg)
Questions and comments

Chair: Ersilia Francesca, L'Orientale University of Napoli

11:30 AM Session 2: Giving voice to religious authority

Melanie Kamp, "Religious Authority and Media Practices of Imams and Du'at - A Case Study from Germany"
Sara Silvestri, "ISIS' Caliphate: What Authority for Muslims in the West?"
Sara Borrillo, "Murshidat in Moroccan Mosques: A New Female Religious Authority?"

Chair: Zaid Eyadat, University of Jordan

12:45 PM End of the morning session

The State and the Imamate: Negotiating Authority, Recognizing Institutionalizations

2 PM Keynote 5: Jonathan Laurence,
"The Imam and the State"
Discussant: Niels Valdemar Vinding, University of Copenhagen
Chair: Michael Driessen, John Cabot University

3 PM Session 3: Imams and the Struggle for Recognition in Europe

Jan Jaap de Ruiter, "The ideological struggle of Imams in the Netherlands"
Evrim Ersan Akkilic, "Imams in Austria: The crucial role of Imams in the integration process"
Romain Sèze, "For a visible Islam. The emergence of a protest speech in French mosques?"

Chair: Samim Akgönül, Marc Bloch University in Strasbourg

4 PM Break

4:30 PM Session 4: Making Islam Work in Europe: Aesthetics and Authority

Thijl Sunier, "Aesthetics of Islamic authority: making Islam work in Europe"
Farid El Asri, "Modèle(s) de formations des imams en Europe"
Tuomas Martikainen, "Efforts to establish Imam training in Finland"

Chair: Oliver Scharbrodt, University of Chester

5:45 PM Roundtable 2: Jonathan Laurence, Hilary Kalmbach, Riita Latvio (Forum for Culture and Religion FOKUS, Finland), Shaukat Warraich (Faith Associates and Imams on Line Programme CEO, UK ), Solenne Jouanneau (University of Strasbourg), Atif Imtiaz (Cambridge Muslim College)

Chair: Federico Cresti, University of Catania

6:30 PM End of the day's programme

Friday, 7th November
John Cabot University (Lungotevere Raffaello Sanzio, 12, Room T.G 4)

9 AM Keynote 6: Marco Ventura (University of Louvain),
"Training religious personnel in Europe: The Islamic challenge"

Discussant: Domenico Melidoro, LUISS
Chair: Tom Bailey, John Cabot

10:00 – 10:30 AM Break

10:30 – 11:45 AM Session 5: Training imams in Europe

Goran Larsson (University of Gothenburg), "Non-Muslim imam training programs in the West: An enterprise caught between a rock and a hard place?"
Abdullah Sahin, "The Role of Imam Training Institutions in Contextualising Islamic Religious Authority in Western Europe: Challenges and Ways Forward"
Riem Spielhaus, "Establishing Islamic Theology to Train Imams in Germany?"
Kirstine Sinclair, "Islamic Universities in the West and Questions of Authenticity: Educating Tomorrow's Muslim Community Leadership"

Chair: Khalid Hajji, CEOM

11:30 – 12:15 Break

12:15 - 1:15 AM Second 6: Training imams in Europe – continued

Juan Ferreiro Galguera, "Imam's Training in Spain"
Cédriq Baylocq, "A Critical Imâm inside the Brotherhood Network"
Mansur Ali, "British Imams in Chaplaincy: Working at the interface of 'public' and 'private'"

Chair: Jan Jaap de Ruiter, University of Tilburg

1:15 PM Closure
End of the conference