In 2012, an inter-faculty group of experts in fields related to Islamic culture working at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG) began holding periodic meetings to discuss their research. Given the transnational nature of Islam, particularly evident in the recent influx of immigrants to Europe, this GISG (Groningen Islamic Studies Group) was revived in 2015, with the hope of engaging people beyond the RUG community (in addition to those already reached via Social Media).
This website, monitored by Clare Wilde and assisted by others, is intended for anyone in Groningen or elsewhere who is interested in an ongoing dialogue about, and with, Islam and Muslims.
Traditionally, Islam could connote a religion (dīn), legal system (shar’), polity/region (dār), and community (umma). And, like Christianity, Islam has shaped, and been shaped by, various societies and cultures. What, then, are the necessary or sufficient elements of an “Islamic” society? Who has the authority to determine whether or not an action is “Islamic”?
Especially in the light of the vast amount of information available on the internet, coupled with the contemporary mobility of populations, there are ample opportunities for misunderstanding and miscommunication. In order to alleviate some of these misunderstandings, visitors to this website are strongly encouraged to submit (via the CONTACT US tab) any questions they might have about Islam and/or recommendations (of books, films, news items, music, etc.) that are reflective of aspects of Islam, Muslims and/or Islamic societies or cultures. We also hope to see your reflections on our blog posts. And, for those in the Groningen area, we hope to see you at some of the events we host or suggest.