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Terrains of ExchangeReligious Economies of Global Islam$
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Nile Green

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190222536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190222536.001.0001

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Founding The First Mosque in Japan

Founding The First Mosque in Japan

(p.235) 7 Founding The First Mosque in Japan
Terrains of Exchange

Nile Green

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the global exchanges that surrounded the founding of the first purpose-built mosque in Japan. Opened in the port city of Kobe in 1935, the mosque was the fruit of six years of fund-raising by the Kobe Sunni Mosque Committee, a new religious firm established by emigrant Indian merchants. The chapter positions the Mosque Committee’s activities amid the evangelizing efforts of many foreign religious firms who flocked to the port cities of Japan from the late nineteenth century. As the Meiji Constitution’s commitment to religious freedom enabled a more productive and diversified religious economy to emerge in Japan, the chapter shows how the mosque was one of various Muslim religious projects there as Arab, Persian, Afghan and especially Tatar Muslims increasingly engaged Japan as an independent and industrializing “eastern” (mashriqi) nation. Through mosque-building and religious publishing, the ports of Japan thus became new Muslim hubs in a way that was entirely without precedent. As the era of imperial globalization that ended with the Second World War reached its zenith, the chapter shows how by the mid-1930s adaptive and innovative Muslim religious firms managed to transform Islam into a truly global religion.

Keywords:   religion, Islam, religious economy, global history, Japan, India, Kobe Port, migration, merchants, mosque

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