Kent to play leading role in €10 million research project on the Qur’an in Europe

Gary Hughes
Picture by Universitätsbibliothek Kassel, Landesbibliothek und Murhardsche Bibliothek der Stadt Kassel Ms Orient 4, fol. 119r
European facsimile copy of a Maghribi Qur’an, 17th century, Switzerland

Researchers at the University are set to play a major role in a new €10 million research project on the key role the Qur’an played in European cultural and religious history.

Dr Jan Loop of the School of History will lead a Kent team examining the many ways in which the Muslim holy book influenced European cultural, religious and intellectual history in the period 1150-1850.

The funding is being made through the European Research Council’s (ERC) Synergy Grant and Kent will receive €2.5 million over the coming six years.

The project will produce ground-breaking interdisciplinary research through scientific meetings across Europe, with the universities of Madrid, Nantes and Naples also involved.

As well as producing  academic conferences and books, it is planned that the project will also be accessible to non-academic audiences through a creative multimedia exhibition on the place of the Qur’an in European cultural history.

Dr Loop said: ‘The Qur’an is deeply imbedded in the political and religious thought of Europe and is part of the intellectual repertoire of Medieval and Early Modern Europeans. As such, this research will question the belief that Islam is ‘foreign’ to Europe but also challenge certain Islamic fundamentalist views about the Qur’an.’