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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies URPP Asia and Europe (2006–2017)

The Hajj and European Imperial Powers: Between Pan-Islam, the Cholera, Shipping Trade

Prof. Dr. Umar Ryad, Utrecht University
May 15, 2017, 18:15–20:00
Room RAA G 15, Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zürich


May 16, 2017, 10:15–12:00, Room ZUB 416, Zürichbergstrasse 4, 8032 Zurich


The Hajj is not merely a religious undertaking of devotion for Muslims. It
is a global annual event that included political, social, economic, and intellectual
aspects throughout world history. European connections to the Hajj
have a lengthy history of centuries before the influx of Muslim migration
to the West after World War II. During the colonial age in particular, European
and Ottoman empires brought the Hajj under surveillance primarily
for political reasons, for economic interests in the control of steamships and
for the fear of the growth of pan-Islamic networks. The paper will focus on
the political perceptions of the Hajj, its global religious appeal to Muslims,
and the European struggle for influence and supremacy in the Muslim
world in the age of colonial empires. The study of Europe’s connections
with the Hajj therefore tests the hypothesis of how the concept of agency
is not limited to isolated parts of the globe; and by this the Hajj, which by
nature is a global activity, would become part of global and trans-cultural
history of Europe.