Sacred Sites in Contested Regions

Lectures & Publications

Hassan Bey Mosque


The politics of sacred places: Palestinian identity, collective
memory, and resistance in the Hassan Bek mosque conflict
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 2008, volume 26, pages 1036 ^ 1052

Geographers dealing with religion have pointed to the process of conflict and contestation involved in the production of sacred sites. This paper explores the conflict over a sacred site in the formulation of a minority identity by transforming the place into a nexus of resistance and collective memory formation. I argue that under hegemonic secularizing states and within the context of ethno-national conflicts minority groups mobilize and articulate a dynamic meaning of sacred sites which allows an elaborate politics of identity. Further, in the context of their national struggle members of the community emphasize different aspects of the sacred. In the context of the national struggle (and for the duration of the conflict) minority members enhance inclusive nationalistic (Palestinian in this particular case) identity, however, while in a community context they emphasize the religious (Islamic) meaning of the place. Particularly, I examine the dynamic nature of interpreting and constructing the sacred through the analysis of the restoration project of the Hassan Bek mosque by the Arab-Palestinian community of Jaffa, Israel.


Nimrod Luz

Read publication