Concepts of Diaspora in Contemporary Islamic Discourse on Muslims in the West
Recent studies on Muslims in the West have frequently characterised them as living in a state of ‘diaspora’. As the question of whether Muslims regard themselves or their co-religionists residing in Western countries as forming a ‘diaspora’ has, however, remained widely understudied, this article provides insights into Muslim perspectives on the notion of ‘Muslim diaspora’ as a self-designation. It explores how far prominent scholars and intellectuals—among them al-Qaradawi, al-Alwani, Ramadan and Nayed—conceptualise Muslims in the West as belonging to a ‘diasporic community’ or whether and for what reasons they reject this classification. Arguing that current controversies surrounding this question are intrinsically linked with the discussion of the traditional Islamic view that the world is divided into a ‘territory of Islam’ and a ‘territory of war’, the article challenges the widespread assumption that the notion of ‘Muslim diaspora’ is, unlike other examples of diaspora, devoid of a distinct territorial component.