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“Salafism: The mundaneness of purity”

November 15, 20216:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62) and Casa Árabe’s YouTube channel. 6:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached. Mask use is required at all times.
In Spanish.

On Monday, November 15, we will be presenting this work by Luz Gómez García at our headquarters in Madrid. It is a new publication put out by the Catarata publishing firm. The event will also be shown live on our YouTube channel.

The author will be talking with Jordi Moreras during a hybrid online/in-person discussion about the definition of one of the most controversial trends within the spectrum of Islam.

How should Muslims live in order to prevent getting carried away by the world? How can they surmount the material and epistemological dependency that has turned them into subordinate subjects of history? Or to sum it up more concisely: how can they empower themselves? Salafism seeks to give its own answer to these questions, shared by all across the broad Islamist spectrum, using provocative and controversial arguments, and, above all, proposing to revive the original purity of Islam, embodied by the earliest, “authentic” Muslims, the Salaf (from which comes the term “Salafism”), an ideal that has now been perverted. However, because reviving means building, Salafists, whether they like it or not, build their identity, both individually and collectively, through a “mundane” community of discourse, material and occasional, which leads to quietist and even eremitic mutations, and even others para-democratic or jihadist. This mundaneness of purity, ontological and not just functional, is thus the inevitable foundation of Salafism. The intellectual history of this transnational trend, following the very course of Islam and now linked to a modernity in flux, is the subject of this book, which explains why it is as appealing to some Muslims as it is disturbing or aberrant for the majority. 

Luz Gómez is a professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She has taught Arabic Studies and Translation and Interpreting at the University of Alicante. A specialist in the intellectual history of Islam, she has devoted a part of her career to translating Arabic poetry; her translation of the Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish earned her the National Translation Award. She contributes to different media, including El País, and her latest books have been Entre la sharía y la yihad. Una historia intelectual del islamismo (Between Shari’a and Jihad:An intellectual history of Islamism, Catarata, 2018) and Diccionario de islam e islamismo (Dictionary of Islam and Islamism, Trotta, 2019).

Jordi Moreras is a Serra Húnter Lecturer in the Anthropology Department at the Universidad Rovira i Virgili (URV). He earned his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, a Master’s degree in Euro-Arab Studies from the University of Girona and a PhD in Anthropology from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. Specializing in studying the Muslim communities in Catalonia, his latest works have been Identidades a la Intemperie. Una mirada antropológica a la radicalización en Europa (Identities Exposed: An anthropological look at radicalization in Europe, Bellaterra, 2018), and Annotated Legal Documents on Isla in Europe: Spain (Brill, 2021) along with Juan Ferreiro.
“Salafism: The mundaneness of purity”