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"Muslims (Un)like the Others: The Ismaili in Portugal"

Eva-Maria von Kemnitz

Rocznik Orientalistyczny, 69 (2), 2016

This essay focusses on a specific Muslim community, that of Ismaili in Portugal, a minority of the (shi’i) minority in the global context of Muslim presence in Portugal in which Sunni constitute a majority. In parallel it shows the evolution of the Ismaili communities worldwide, highlighting the transformation of the traditional networking model into its present institutional form, culminating with a new kind of governance instituted by the actual Imam, Aga Khan IV, Shah Karim al-Husaini, described as an “authority without territory” concerning the situation of the Ismaili communities worldwide without a state. Further it analyses the process that enabled this community in Portugal to rise to prominence, as a result of changes that had occurred within the Ismaili communities worldwide, gaining particular visibility as a voice of “modern Islam”, becoming an outstanding partner of the Portuguese institutions and finally of the Portuguese state.

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