Another Islam: Barelwi transnationalism between Lisbon and Nova Sofala

Principal researcher: Pedro Pestana Soares

Research group: Circulation and Place-Making


Transnational religions | Islam | Religious subjectivities

Funding Institution

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT)



Start date





Among the studies on religious diversity in Portugal, Sufi-inspired “muslimnesses” represent a dimension of Islam that is still insufficiently explored. This project aims to study one of the most expressive materializations of this Islamic sensitivity in the country, the Barelwi doctrinal orientation, contributing to an understanding of Islam as a plural and multifaceted religion. Starting with an ethnographic approach to one of the main Barelwi places of worship in Portugal – the Al Qadriyah mosque, in Laranjeiro – we develop a contextualized cartography of the local contingencies and the transnational public space that inform the experience and the identity and religious imaginaries of Portuguese Barelwis. The widening of the ethnographic scope to sites in Mozambique and England – namely to the shrine of Nova Sofala and the British city of Leicester – allow us to explore the role of two particularly significant axes of global articulation: the memory of a land of origin, which extends colonial logics into the contemporary world, and the link to new dynamics of expansion of Sufi movements in Europe, which reflect strategies of adaptation to Western secular normativity.


Full members

José Mapril

Circulation and Place-Making