Institutional churchification of Islam in Eastern Europe
Lecture by Egdūnas Račius, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania
Info about event
The lecture will focus on the patterns of governance of Islam in post-communist Eastern Europe, which are found to differ from those common in Western Europe. Governance of Islam in Eastern Europe, and particularly in countries with autochthonous Muslim populations, is arguably permeated by ‘churchification of Islam’. Churchification here is understood as a state-pursued policy strategy in governing of religious plurality, whereby the national legislation pertaining to governance of religions, including Islam, foresees institutional and structural churchification of registered religious collectivities along the lines of the (once) dominant (national) Christian Churches. Research findings reveal that leading Muslim religious organizations in countries under research have accepted the state-set rules of the game and have been (willingly) turning themselves into church-like institutions (national Muslim Churches), reminiscent particularly of Orthodox Churches. The lecture is based on the fieldwork research in Bosnia, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Lithuania and Poland conducted between 2016 and 2019 and draws on the author’s monograph Islam in Post-Communist Eastern Europe: between Churchification and Securitization (Brill, 2020).
Egdūnas Račius (PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Helsinki, 2004) is Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania). He is the Reviews Editor of the Journal of Muslims in Europe and a co-editor of the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe (both by Brill). His research interests encompass Eastern European Muslim communities and governance of religion (particularly Islam) in post-communist Europe. Račius is a co-editor (together with Antonina Zhelyazkova) of Islamic Leadership in the European Lands of the Former Ottoman and Russian Empires: Legacy, Challenges and Change (Brill, 2018) and the author of Muslims in Eastern Europe (Edinburgh University Press, 2018) and Islam in Post-Communist Eastern Europe: between Churchification and Securitization (Brill, 2020). He is the Lithuanian team leader in the Horizon 2020 project “Radicalisation, Secularism and the Governance of Religion: Bringing together European and Asian Perspectives (GREASE).” Račius is a consultant to numerous Lithuanian state institutions and NGOs on questions of immigration, integration, religious radicalization and securitization of Islam in Europe.