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The Hijra in French Salafism: A Quest for Purity Through Religious Migration

In: Sociology of Islam
Author:
Mohamed-Ali Adraoui Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow, Georgetown University; Edmund A.Walsch School of Foreign Service, USA, ma.adraoui@gmail.com

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This article reports the results of an ethnographic study of migration patterns (al‐Hijra) in French Salafist communities. The study reveals the break that Salafist believers attempt to achieve with their social and cultural environment after they embrace this puritanical, hard‐line form of Islam. For Salafists, migration represents a physical and above all moral exile that begins before converts depart for predominantly Muslim countries. Indeed, the migration process begins gradually as believers seek to distance themselves from ‘sources of perversion’ in France that Salafists oppose.

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