“Covid-19 and the Missionary Work of the Tablighi Jamaat in South Asia and Beyond: Negotiating Grassroots Activism, Religious Authority and the State”

with Dietrich Reetz (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient & Free University, Berlin)

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Zoom Virtual Event

Dietrich ReetzIn the early stages of the pandemic Tablighi congregations in India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia were held responsible for becoming hotbeds of the spread of the virus. The presentation seeks to understand the different dimensions of the responses of the leadership and the members of the TJ to the pandemic and the following restrictions. It takes into consideration the initial clerical response and is theological references. It further looks at the challenges faced by its leadership, notably in Pakistan and India to negotiate and enforce decisions between the demands of the state and the often emotional responses of local and international followers. The response became more complicated by the ongoing leadership struggle between the India and Pakistan factions. Since November 2015 the Global Shura formed in Raiwind’s TJ headquarters in Pakistan challenges the Global Amir Maulana Saad at the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi, India. Also the antagonistic political dynamics of both Pakistan and India had a strong impact on their situation which may as well play out beyond the pandemic situation.

Dietrich Reetz is a Senior Research Fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) and Associate Professor (Privatdozent) at the Department of Political Science at Free University Berlin. 
His research and teaching focuses on Islam and politics, with a special focus on regions outside the Arabian peninsula such as South and Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Europe. He took particular interest in the global networking of the Islamic educational movement of Deoband, the Tablighi Jama‘at and the International Islamic Universities (Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur). Between 2011 and 2016, he was co-chairing the research and competence network “Crossroads Asia” which studied interaction between South and Central Asia. From 2005 to 2009, he headed a research group studying “Muslims in Europe and their countries of origin in Asia and Africa” funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). He graduated in International Politics (MA) with a regional focus on South Asia from Moscow’s State Institute of International Relations and did his PhD in South Asian History at Humboldt University Berlin. He was previously a Fellow at Cornell University in the U.S. and at St. Anthony's in Oxford, U.K.
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