Global Islam: What Is It and Where Did It Come From?


Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs




The primary aim of this project is the development of a concise book defining and analyzing global Islam and the processes behind its fissiparous forms. By defining a set of core criteria (organization; communication; replication; revenue; campaigns), the book shows how some religious actors and organizations increase their transnational impact while others do not. A key argument is that there is no single global Islam in theological terms: there are Salafi, Shi‘i and Sufi, extremist and quietist forms. What distinguishes global Islam is scale: the ability of some organizations to transfer their activities and ideologies across spatial, ethnic, or political boundaries. The book explains how, where and why this process occurs. In addition to the book, a series of short online lectures will discuss how Islam works as religion. The overall aim is to reach a larger Muslim and non-Muslim public confused by the cacophony of voices claiming to speak for Islam as a whole.