Muslims, Sports & Physical Activity

Joyce Koeman's picture
October 12, 2015
Subject Fields: 
Ethnic History / Studies, Islamic History / Studies, Public Health, Social Sciences, Sport History / Studies

Call for Papers – Muslims, Sport and Physical Activity

International Colloquium at KU Leuven (Belgium)

December 7th - 2015

Outline: In the recent years, there have been an increasing number of studies on the physical activity of Muslim youth and especially on Muslim schoolgirls in Europe. The researches on physical activity have expanded in new domains such as sports activities during the month of Ramadan, wearing headscarf in Olympic games and football matches, halal meals in football training camps, mixed-sex swimming lessons and dancing clubs. Sports are also at the centre of the debates on Islamic expressions of identity and diversity. These researches on life experiences of Muslims in different contexts reveal how sports constitute a terrain for identity making, empowerment, and religious plurality particularly with regards to Islam.

The visibility of Muslim and the presence of Islam in sports need specific attention. On the one hand, there is an increase in social mobility, socialisation and participation in the society via sport; on the other hand, research has indicated that this participation in sports reveals some particularities in Islamic codes of living. These particularities and religious expressions in sports are seen as a means of defying secular values and life.

This workshop attempts to provide more insight on the relationship between Muslims who live in Europe and sports-physical activity. We would like to examine how Muslims make sense of religion and their religious identity in sportive activities and how public policies are organized vis-a-vis the needs of the Muslim populations in Europe. During this workshop we want to address a range of issues such as space, gender, social inclusion, multiculturalism, citizenship, politics of identity and secularism.

Invited keynote speakers: Annelies Knoppers (Utrecht University, NL) Mahfoud Amar (Quatar University) and others

Tuition Fees: there will be no tuition fees.

Publication outcome: A selection of papers presented will be proposed for publication in a Special Issue in one of the leading peer-reviewed journals in the field or will be published in an academic peer-reviewed book publication.

Selection criteria:  the workshop will accept up to 10 participants, each of whom must meet the following requirements:

  • have a professional and/or research background in related topics of the workshop;
  • be able to attend the entire programme

Since the Workshop expects to address a broad range of topics while the number of participants has to be limited, writers submitting abstracts are requested to bear in mind the need to ensure that their language is technical only where it is absolutely necessary and the language should be intelligible to non-specialists and specialists in disciplines other than their own; and present clear, coherent arguments in a rational way and in accordance with the usual standards and format for publishable work.


  1. Abstracts (300–500 words maximum) and CVs (maximum 1 page) to be received by 12th October 2015.
  2. Abstracts to be short-listed by the Editorial Board and papers invited by October 15th 2015.
  3. Conference: 7 December 2015
Contact Info: 

Editorial Board and Organizers

Joyce Koeman, Institute for Media Studies, KU Leuven

Pascal Delheye, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven

Erkan Toğuşlu, Gülen Chair and IMMRC, KU Leuven