In the aftermath of the US launched ‘War on Terror’ many Muslim majority countries started to promote an image of an Islamic heritage that is peaceful and encourages interfaith dialogue. Morocco is one of the countries actively positioning itself as a key advocate of a ‘moderate’ Islam. This lecture explores how in Morocco, binary discourses regarding a ‘moderate’ vs. a ‘radical’ Islam are constructed through music. Central are the practices and perspectives of vocal performers of Islam-inspired music. Driven by commercial, religious, and political incentives, they strategically create space within and between the dominant discourses of the state in order to disseminate their own ideas on Islam and citizenship.
Nina ter Laan is a cultural anthropologist from the Netherlands with a research specialization in art and popular culture in relation to politics and Islam in Morocco. In her MA-thesis she explored activist painters within the Amazigh (Berber) movement of Morocco. Her PhD dissertation, which she completed at the Department of Islam studies at the Radboud University (December 2016), focuses on the political role of Islam-inspired music in Morocco. Between 2013 and 2015 she worked at Leiden University as a lecturer at the Department of Cultural anthropology and the Department of Middle Eastern studies. She currently is a postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.