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Framing Islam at the World of Islam Festival, London, 1976

Journal article
Authors Klas Grinell
Published in Journal of Muslims in Europe
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 73-93
ISSN 2211-792X
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 73-93
Language en
Keywords Museum, Islam, Europe, Islamic art, traditionalism
Subject categories Globalization Studies, Research on Europe, Middle East, Art History, Visual Arts, Islamology


This article focuses on a neglected historical example where contemporary museological framings of Islam in Europe were established—the World of Islam Festival in London, 1976. The material consulted consists of the publications and materials from the Festival Trust, media coverage and academic discussions of the Festival. These are analyzed from a frame theory perspective. The Festival is situated in a very specific historical period after the advent of Gulf oil money, but before the resurgence of Islam and the Iranian revolution. It was framed by the traditionalist perspective of Frithjof Schuon and Seyyed Hossein Nasr and in large part funded by the United Arab Emirates. It is argued that what might at first appear to be a festival celebrating the presence of Muslims in modern Britain acted to stabilize a dichotomy between Islam and modernity that is still dominant in museological framings of Islam in Europe.

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