Project Responsibilities: Scandinavia news and research
Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religious Studies
University of Gothenburg
Area of Expertise:
Islam, Islamic History
Islam and Muslims in the West
Islam and Muslims in Sweden
Islam and Muslims in Scandinavia
Islamic Popular Culture
Sufism in the West
Ramadan – en svensk tradition (Ramadan – A Swedish Tradition)
Red. Berglund, J & Sorgenfrei, S. Lund: 2009
Kärleken begär att dessa ord skall fram – Jalaluddin Rumis liv, lära och lyrik (Love demands these words to be spoken – the life, teachings and poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi) Red. Dahlén, A & Sorgenfrei, S. Stockholm: 2008
Simon Sorgenfrei is interested in Islam and Sufism in the past and present. His thesis – “American Dervish. Traditions and Trajectories in the Mevlevi Order of America – focuses on Sufism in the USA and especially on the issue of tradition and change in the Mevlevi Order of America (MOA). Doing participant observations and interviews Sorgenfrei is interested in the activities of the MOA as a “lived religion”, focusing on individual narratives and meaning constructions. The study of the development and activities of Mevlevis in the west also allows him to contribute to the discussion on religious identity and categorization.
Simon Sorgenfrei has a background in Literature Studies, Persian Studies, History of Religions and Islamic Studies. He is currently teaching Religious and Islamic Studies at Södertörn University College in Stockholm, Sweden.
Like any rousing Islamic preacher, Muhammed Tahir ul-Qadri’s voice rises to a shout and his index finger jabs as he hammers home a point. But rather than angry calls for jihad (holy war) or a vitriolic denunciation of the West and its aggressions against Islam, Qadri’s message, equally forcefully delivered, is about moderation, peace, inclusion and understanding.
Addressing a packed auditorium from a raised platform, his words beamed on to large screen behind him, more than 1,000 young followers hang on his every word, even as his lecture moves into its fourth uninterrupted hour. Qadri, 58, who was born in Pakistan but now lives in Canada, is a renowned scholar of Sufism, a long tradition within Islam that focuses on spirituality, emphasising peace and moderation. In Britain, he is the main draw at a three-day retreat for young Muslims called “Al Hidayah” (Guidance), which over the past five years has grown into the biggest spiritual camp of its kind, with more than 1,200 attendees from a dozen countries.
The British government has worked to promote Sufism, supporting the creation in 2006 of the Sufi Muslim Council, a group that took a strong stand against Islamist extremism. But since then, it has moved away from explicit support, saying that working via the Sufi community — whose exact number in Britain is not known — is just one element of a wider approach to countering Islamic radicalism.
The German Sufi Master Hussein Abdul Fattah Hill recognized by his high spiritual, religious and cultural capacity will be giving a conference about Sufism nowadays in Carmen de la Victoria de Granada on the 14 of March, and since the 16 until the 18 of March at the Puebla de Don Fadrique. The event will be open to any type of belief, sex, so that the traditional Islam of Andalusia can be explained.
Islam must find its place in the West. Abdennour Pierre Bidar, professor of philosophy, is persuaded of this and wants to convince us as well. But his Islam is particular – it is the result of a long personal path that has let him to consider himself today as an atypical muslim, a “polka-dotted zebra” who believes in a divine presence and in individual liberty. He is against those who lock themselves into submission to the religious law and to “the mortal idea of jihad”.