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New project on Contagion, Purification, and Protection among Salafi Muslims in Egypt

The Danish research council has funded a postdoctoral project on "Illnesses of the Muslim Heart: Contagion, Purification, and Protection among Salafi Muslims in Egypt," to be carried out by Christian Suhr Nielsen.

03.10.2013 | Mark Sedgwick

The project sets out to explore how Salafi Muslims in Egypt seek to purify and protect themselves against doubt, envy, disbelief, hypocrisy, and despair—malaises broadly conceived in Sunni-Islam as “illnesses of the heart.” On the basis of collaborative ethnographic film production with Salafi Muslims in the neighborhood of Kafrat al-Gabal near the Pyramids Plateau, the project aims to capture potential moments of contagion in a highly unstable political climate where epidemics of such heart diseases reportedly are on the rise. Since contagious agents include Western tourists, money, TV, music, and fashion, the project is expected to bring new understandings of how Egyptian Salafi Muslims perceive and react to the impact of the “West.” Theoretically the study seeks to contribute with alternative and ethnographically grounded perspectives on the spread of what in “Western” medical terms would be described as “non-communicable diseases.”

Religion og teologi