Muslim and Christian reform-movements; From Pious Hermits to Political Activists
Terje Østebø, Associate Professor at the University of Florida and Hans Geir Aasmundsen, Researcher at UiB Global in conversation with Åse Gilje Østensen, CMI.
Islam and Christianity have been subject to reform throughout history.
In the 20th century and until today, a plethora of reformist movements have emerged, often resulting in intra- and inter-religious conflict.
The viciousness nature of movements such as ISIS and the terror attacks in Paris, Mali, Kenya and California have created the assumption that violence is inherent to reform.
At the same time, there are numerous Islamic reformists that have not gone down this path. Adding to this, global Evangelicalism, mainly Pentecostalism, grows at an increasing pace in the global South, converting and changing individuals and cultures through a multitude of missionary strategies.
All this means that religious reform cannot be fitted under a simple label, but represents a phenomenon becoming increasingly complex, encompassing a range of movements, currents, and trajectories.
Terje Østebø holds a joint appointment in the Department of Religion and the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida. He received his Ph.D. in the History of Religions from Stockholm University. Before joining the faculty of the University of Florida, he was an Assistant Professor at NLA University College in Bergen, Norway.
His main areas of research are Islam in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa, and he has extensive field-work and research experience from Ethiopia. His recent book (Brill, Leiden) focuses on the emergence and trajectory of the Salafi movement in Ethiopia from the late 1960s to the present. It offers a nuanced understanding of the interaction between the outside (global) and the local, with a particular focus on the role of agents of change in relation to audience, and explores the process of religious change as a dialectic development.
Hans Geir Aasmundsen is researcher and adviser at UiB Global at the University of Bergen. Some of his research foci are Global Cultural and Religious Transformation, Global Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism and Religion and Society. He is author of the book "Pentecostalism, Globalisation and Society in Contemporary Argentina".
Åse Gilje Østensen is a postdoctoral researcher at CMI and breakfast forum host at Bergen Resource Centre.
Photo: Troens Bevis / Flickr