1 Section for the Study of Religion, Faculty of Theology, Aarhus University, Aarhus University
The trajectory of communication between scholars in the West and religious authorities in the Muslim world has expanded from a one-way direction to a multidirectional exchange of ideas. Scholars affiliated with a traditional institution of authority as the al-Azhar University in Egypt are familiar with and study the work of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. The paper argues that despite the flow of thinking, the old patterns of religious authority of guidance only slowly give way to new authorities. The European Council is not regarded as a legitimate body of religious authority, and the traditional authorities do not give recognition to its work. It further suggests that there is a tendency among the Western scholars to seek independence from authorities in the Muslim world, but they are still effectively in connection with the countries of origin. They are committed to a shared normative background that has its roots in the traditional seats of Islamic learning and defines the framework for interpretation. In studying Western Islamic guidance on gender issues, it appears that Western scholars take into consideration the minorities' circumstances but are not representing a particular non-traditional viewpoint on gender relations. The effect of the transnational mobility of thinking is thus not in the direction of "modernisation" from Europe to the Muslim countries.
Women, Gender and Research (kvinder, Køn and Forskning):transnational Experiences. Migrants Connecting Europe and the Middle East, 2007, Issue 2-3, p. 76-90