Institutionalising Islamic Religious Authority in Australia: The Case of the Australian National Imams Council

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Abstract

This article examines how Muslim religious actors exert their collective authority
within institutional settings. It focuses primarily on the role of the Australian
National Imams Council (ANIC). The article examines ANIC’s formation as a
clerical organization and its role in qualifying, recruiting and monitoring imams
in Australia. It draws on fieldwork data conducted between 2018-2019 and
includes in-depth interviews with imams and sheikhs as well as ANIC members,
Muslim academics and educators in the field of Islamic studies. The study includes survey data collected from members of the Muslim community about ANIC’s legitimacy as a nation-wide representative council of imams. It investigates the extent to which participants recognize and contest ANIC’s authority based on its interaction, inclusion and transparency with the wider Muslim community. The article concludes that ANIC operates with the goal of legitimizing its religious authority through its organizational structure, traditional Islamic schooling and social activism in a localized Australian context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-575
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Muslim Minority Affairs
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2022

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