Can the umma replace the nation? Salafism, home-making and the territorial nation-state

Zoltan Pall


Engaging with contemporary literature on migration and home-making, in this article I examine Salafi concepts of home and its relationship to the idea of nation-state. I discuss how Salafism, a transnational Islamic proselytizing movement, strives to create the ideal home for believers by reorienting their belonging from the local and territorial to a deterritorialized and abstract space. Thereby Salafism bypasses, and indirectly challenges, the nation-state due to the inherent tension between the aspirations of the two. Presenting case studies from Cambodia and Lebanon I show how the Salafis’ strategy of home-making can differ depending on the local sociopolitical context, how the home-making process plays out in reality, and how the Muslim communities’ relationship to the nation-state in which they live and their attachment to the territory influences it.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/729820