chapter  7
19 Pages

Saudi religious transnationalism in London

ByMadawi Al-Rasheed

Writing in a prominent French daily newspaper a year after 11 September 2001, a French journalist investigated ‘terrorist networks’ in the heart of what he called ‘Londonistan’, a journey which led to mosques, Islamic centres and a series of interviews with a cross-section of the British Muslim population.1 London is increasingly portrayed in American, British and European media as one of those sites where Islamic radicalism is bred, thanks to a liberal British tradition and transnational Muslim connections.2 In this discourse, the problem of current terrorism is believed to result from religious flows between countries such as Saudi Arabia and British Muslims, both Arab and Asian. This chapter investigates Saudi religious flows in the British capital in an attempt to understand religious transnationalism as a complex process, which does not lend itself to straightforward cause-and-effect analysis.3 Moving away from the images conjured up by the association of the British capital with ‘Londonistan’, I examine Saudi-British religious connections with the objective of highlighting the unanticipated consequences of such flows.