Religious urban decolonization: New mosques/antique cities

Nimrod Luz, Nurit Stadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the changing nature of urban landscapes and everyday life in the context of indigenous religion within settler-colonial societies. We argue that against the rationalization of modern cities in which marginalized and minority groups are generally muted, religion, particularly within settler-colonial societies, increasingly becomes a way of claiming the city. Our empirical case study is the reconstruction, inauguration, and daily use of the Lababidi mosque in the ethnically mixed city of Acre (northern Israel). By analysing the renovation process, we focus on the unique strategies by which the Muslim community challenges the hegemonic logic of modern city planning. We show that urban spaces and landscapes in Acre are becoming increasingly influenced by the religious claims and religious buildings of indigenous communities, to challenge the prevailing colonizers’ urban planning and logic. Our case study shows that the struggle over religious sites is fought on all urban fronts and influences a variety of issues within the multi-cultural multi-ethnic city. This struggle does not end with the simple demand for more democratic urban procedures, but is also a mechanism that marginalized urban citizens can use to challenge the prevailing colonial-settler logic and its domination of the urban landscape.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)284-300
Number of pages17
JournalSettler Colonial Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • Acre
  • Colonial settlers society
  • Decolonization
  • Ethnocracy
  • Lababidi mosque
  • Mixed city
  • Urban religion

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Law
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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