PD Dr. Dietrich Reetz


Forschungsprojekt: World-Making from the 'Margins': Muslim Global Actors from South Asia
Regionaler Schwerpunkt: South Asia, related to the research subject also Islam in Europe and North America, South East Asia, Central Asia, South Africa
PD Dr. Dietrich Reetz
PD Dr. Dietrich Reetz


2011 - Present
Academic Adviser of the World Economic Forum Consultant for various German political foundations and government departments on topics of his specialization
2011 - 2017
Co-Chair for ZMO of the BMBF research and competence network “Crossroads Asia” which studied interaction between South and Central Asia
2008 - Present
Dissertation supervisor and PI at the Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies at Free University Berlin
2005 - 2009
Head of research group studying ‘Muslims in Europe and their countries of origin in Asia and Africa’
2003 - Present
Assoociate Professor (Privatdozent) at the Department of Political Science at Free University Berlin
1995 - Present
Senior Research Fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient


Postdoctoral Habilitation thesis in political science at Free University Berlin, published in 2006 by Oxford University Press as ‘Islam in the Public Sphere: Religious Groups in India, 1900-1947’
PhD in South Asian History at Humboldt University Berlin
International Politics (MA) with a regional focus on South Asia from Moscow’s State Institute of International Relations


I. Books, Monographs

2010, (Ed.), Islam in Europa: Religiöses Leben heute.(Islam in Europe: Religious Life today) Münster: Waxmann.

2007, with Bettina Dennerlein (eds), South-South Linkages in Islam. In: Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Durham: Duke University Press, Vol. 27, No. 1. 

2006, Islam in the Public Sphere: Religious Groups in India, 1900-1947. Delhi, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

2001, (Ed.), Sendungsbewußtsein oder Eigennutz: Zu Motivation und Selbstverständnis islamischer Mobilisierung. (Sense of mission or self-interest: On motivation and self-definition in Islamic mobilisation)(Studien / Zentrum Moderner Orient; Nr. 15) Berlin: Das Arabische Buch.

1997, with Heike Liebau (eds.), Globale Prozesse und „Akteure des Wandels“. Quellen und Methoden ihrer Untersuchung; ein Werkstattgespräch(Arbeitshefte; Nr. 14) Berlin: Das Arabische Buch.

1995, Hijrat - The Flight of the Faithful. A British File on the Exodus of Muslim Peasants from North India to Afghanistan in 1920. (Arbeitshefte/ FSP Moderner Orient, Förderungsges. Wiss. Neuv. mbH; Nr. 5), Berlin: Das Arabische Buch.

II. Research Articles

2017, Mediating mobile traditions: the Tablighi Jama‘at and the International Islamic University between Pakistan and Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan), in Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg, 123-168.

2014, Indien: Das zweitgrößte islamische Land der Erde. Online-Dossier Indien. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Überarbeitung von 2007).

2014, (1) Tablīghī Jamā‘at. (2) Laïcité and Piety - The Tablīghī Jamā‘at in France. Frank Peter, and Rafael Ortega (eds.), Islamic Movements of Europe: Perspectives on Public Religion and Islamophobia. London: I.B. Tauris, 2014, 195–200. 

2013, Travelling Islam – Madrasa Graduates from India and Pakistan in the Malay ArchipelagoZMO Working Papers 8. Berlin: ZMO.

2013, (1) Barelwi movement. (2) Deobandi movement. In: Gerhard Bowering, Patricia Crone, Wadad Kadi, Devin J. Stewart, and Muhammad Qasim Zaman (eds.). The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 64–65; 131–132. 

2011, The Tablighi Madrasas in Lenasia and Azaadville: Local Players in the Global ‘Islamic Field’. In: Abdulkader Tayob, I. Niehaus, & W. Weisse (eds.), Muslim Schools and Education in Europe and South Africa. Münster, New York, München, Berlin: Waxmann, 85–104.

2010, (1) Islam in Europa: Religiöses Leben heute (Einführung) (Islam in Europe: Religious Life Today, Introduction). (2) Frömmigkeit in der Moderne: die Laienprediger der Tablighi Jama’at. (Piety in Modernity: The Lay Preachers of the Tablighi Jama'at) In: Dietrich Reetz (Hg.), Islam in Europa: Religiöses Leben heute. Münster: Waxmann, 9–18, 19–52. 

2010, Antiamerikanismus als Triebfeder pakistanischer Politik? In: Bernhard Chiari und Conrad Schetter (Hg.), Wegweiser zur Geschichte: Pakistan. Potsdam: Schöningh, 177–187. 

2010, From Madrasa to University – the Challenges and Formats of Islamic Education. In: Akbar Ahmed and Tamara Sonn (eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Islamic StudiesThousand Oaks, CA; London: Sage, 106–139. 

 2010, ‘Alternate Globalities?’ On the Cultures and Formats of Transnational Muslim Networks from South Asia. In: Ulrike Freitag/Achim von Oppen (eds.), Translocality: The Study of Globalising Processes from a Southern Perspective.Leiden: Brill, 293–334. 

2010, Muslim Grassroots Leaders in India: National Issues and Local Leadership. In: Who Speaks for Islam? Muslim Grassroots Leaders and Popular Preachers in South Asia(NBR Special Report No 22) Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 29–40. 

2009, Migrants, Mujahidin, Madrasa Students: The Diversity of Transnational Islam in Pakistan. In: (National Bureau of Asian Research– NBR) Transnational Islam in South and Southeast Asia: Movements, Networks, and Conflict Dynamics. Seattle: National Bureau of Asian Research, 53–77. 

2008, The ‘Faith Bureaucracy’ of the Tablīghī Jamā‘at: An Insight into their System of Self-Organisation (intizām). In: Gwilym Beckerlegge (ed.), Colonialism, Modernity, and Religious Identities: Religious Reform Movements in South Asia. Oxford, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 98–124. 

2007, The Deoband Universe: What makes a transcultural and transnational educational movement of Islam? In: Reetz, Dietrich/ Dennerlein, Bettina (Hg.), South-South Linkages in Islam. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Durham: Duke University Press, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 139–159.

2006, Sufi spirituality fires reformist zeal: the Tablīghī Jamā‘atin today's India and Pakistan. In: Archives de sciences socials des religions, Paris, July-Sept 2006, 51 : 135, pp. 33–51. 

2006, Pakistan. In: Sigrid Faath (Hg.): Anti-Americanism in the Islamic World. London: Hurst, pp. 182–196. 

2004, Aktuelle Analysen islamistischer Bewegungen und ihre Kritik. In: Forschungsjournal Neue Soziale Bewegungen, Themenheft "Does Religion Matter? Zum Verhältnis von Religion und sozialen Bewegungen", Stuttgart, p. 61–68.

2004, Flashpoint South and Central Asia: Strategic Aspects of a Historical Relationship. In: Erich Reiter, Peter Hazdra (eds.): The Impact of Asian Powers on Global Developments. Heidelberg: Physica/Springer, pp. 17–40.

2003, Pakistan: internationaler Partner oder Problemfall? In: FES-Analyse, Bonn/Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 19 p.

2003, Präsident Musharraf und der institutionelle Islam – Bruch, Reform oder Kontinuität? In: Hans-Georg Ebert, Thoralf Hanstein (Hg.), Beiträge zum Islamischen Recht III(Leipziger Beiträge zur Orientforschung, Bd. 13), Frankfurt a. M.: Lang-Verlag, p. 129–172.

2000, Options for Pakistan and India in Kashmir: A Viewpoint from Germany. In: Talaat Ayesha Wizarat (Hg.), Conflict Resolution in a New Era: Lessons for South Asia, Karachi: Karachi University, Dept. of International Relations, pp. 93–115.

1999, Islamic Activism in Central Asia and the Pakistan Factor. In Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Villanova, PA (USA), Vol. 23, No 1, pp. 1–37.

1998, On the Nature of Muslim Political Responses: Islamic Militancy in the Indian North-West Frontier Province in the 1920s, Mushirul Hasan (Hg.), Islam, Communities and the Nation: Muslim Identities in South Asia and Beyond, Delhi: Manohar, p. 179–200.

1997, Islamische Bewegungen im kolonialen Indien: Konzepte und Quellen. In: Dietrich Reetz/Heike Liebau (Hg.), Globale Prozesse und „Akteure des Wandels“. Quellen und Methoden ihrer Untersuchung - ein Werkstattgespräch.  (Arbeitshefte; Nr. 14) Berlin: Das Arabische Buch, p. 143–168.

1997, Akteure des Wandels und die Globalisierung - zur Einführung. In: Dietrich Reetz/Heike Liebau (Hg.), Globale Prozesse und „Akteure des Wandels“. Quellen und Methoden ihrer Untersuchung - ein Werkstattgespräch.  (Arbeitshefte; Nr. 14) Berlin: Das Arabische Buch, p. 5–17.

1997, In Search of the Collective Self: How Ethnic Group Concepts Were Cast Through Conflict in Colonial India. In:  Modern Asian Studies. Cambridge. Vol 31, No 2, pp. 285–315.

1995, Central Asia and Pakistan - A Troubled Courtship for an Arranged Marriage: Conflicting Perceptions and Realities. In: Dr. Moonis Ahmar (Hg.), Contemporary Central Asia, Karachi (Pakistan): University of Karachi/Hanns-Seidel Foundation, pp. 85–104.

Conference Talks (since 2015)

2018, The China Pakistan Corridor Project - Imagination and Reality: Exploring the Balance of Ideology, Politics and Governance. Paper in Panel: P27 “Economic Corridors, Development and Regional Cooperation in South Asia and Beyond”, 25thECSAS, 27 July, EHESS Paris.

2018, The ex-territorial extension of Pakistan in the Gulf: plural life-worlds of Pakistani migrants in the UAE. Paper in Panel by Antía Mato Bouzas, ZMO, “Interactions in the Gulf -South Asian space: Pakistani migration to the Gulf.” at WOCMES Seville 2018, 19 July.

2017, Political contestations over Muslim minorities and migrants in Europe: how to reconcile European policies on integration, migration and counter-terrorism strategies. Conference “Countering Radicalization and Terrorism in Europe, the Middle East and South Asia in the wake of international migration - Moving Towards Peace and Harmony”. Area Studies Center Europe, Karachi University, 14 March.

2017, Muslim Global Actors: Islamic movements from South Asia and their global engagement with Sufi references, religious reformism and modernization. International Conference “Pir Abu Bakar Siddique and the Socio-Religious Reform Movements in South Asia”, Kolkata, India, 15 January. (on Facebook by Syed Muhammad Junaid, 14 Jan 2017.)

2016, Islamic movements in South Asia - Challenges & Opportunities. Contribution at the “India International Islamic Academic Conference of the SIO” (Students Islamic Organisation of India), 8 October, Delhi, India.

2016, Incongruous match-making: The US and China caught in the web of the mangled Pakistan-India relationship. Paper at Panel 29 (Security challenges in contemporary India-Pakistan relations) at 24th European Conference on South Asian Studies (ECSAS), Warsaw, 27-30 July.

2016, Between Knowledge, Activism and the Global Market: International Students at Islamic Madrasas and the International Islamic University in Pakistan. Paper at International Workshop convened by Prof. Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka, “Student Mobilities and Mobilisations in South Asia. Global Challenges - Local Action,” at ZiF Bielefeld, 16-18 June.

2015, Local insurgencies and civic rehabilitation: the challenges and opportunities of the political process in Pakistan. Paper at National Defence University Workshop, “Challenges of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Stabilization in Militancy Affected Areas of Pakistan”, 25 November, in cooperation with the German Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSS). (participation on invitation)

Lectures (since 2016)

2019, World-Making from the ‘Margins’: Muslim Global Actors from South Asia. Keynote lecture at Summer Institute: “Lived Islam in contemporary Africa”. University of Florida, Gainesville, USA, 22 May.

2019, Tablighi Jamaat. Lecture series “Current issues in Islam”, Gulen Chair of Islamic Studies, Katholic University Leuven, Belgium, 28 March, 4-6 pm.

2018, Concluding remarks (as member of advisory board) at International Conference, “Future of Salafism”, ERC Project Changing Structures of Islamic Authority (CSIA), Department of International Development, University of Oxford, 5-7 December.

2018, China and US relations with India and Pakistan, at Centre for Governance and Policy, Information Technology University (ITU), Lahore, Pakistan, 20 Nov.

2018, Chairing 3rdsession Panel “Country Studies” at 6th International Islam & Liberty Conference “Building an Islamic Case for Open Markets" 14/15 Nov, International Islamic University Islamabad.

2018, Muslim Global Actors from South Asia, talk at Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue, International Islamic University Islamabad, 7 November, and at Islamic Studies Department, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Islamabad, 8 November.

2018, Cultural diversity can drive economies. Lessons from India. School of Gandhian Thought and Development Studies, MK Gandhi University, 5 Oct. (Prof. Ilias Hussain)

2018, Remnants of Partition: Trajectories of Muslims in India. Talk at SIO India History Summit of the Students’ Islamic Organization of India (SIO), 30 Sep.

2018, Incongruous match-making: The US and China caught in the web of the mangled Pakistan-India relationship, talk at  the South Asia Department of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), New Delhi, 25 Sep, and Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Marg, Jamia Millia Islamia, 1 Oct.

2017, Islam und Westliche Werte: Widersprüche, Überschneidungen, Ergänzungen. 5. Dezember, AStA Universität Mainz und Referat für politische Bildung AStA Uni Mainz.

2016, 7th Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial lecture “Muslim Global Actors from South Asia: World -Making from the from the 'Margins' of The Islamic World”, Delhi, India, Jamia Millia University 13 Oct, Mumbai, Max Mueller Bhavan 14 Oct organised by the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism and Heinrich Boell Foundation India.

Media Engagements

Cultural diversity can drive economies. Here are lessons from India” Agenda Blog, World Economic Forum (WEF), 05 Jul 2018.

Debate: A Tryst with Pluralism”, Panel at the India Economic Summit (IES) Delhi of the WEF, 05 Oct 2017.

What does the new US policy on Afghanistan mean for India and Pakistan?” Agenda Blog, World Economic Forum (WEF), 12 Sep 2017.

Erfurter Moschee erhitzt die Gemüter - Islam-Experte beantwortet eure Fragen", Interview mit Martin Kappel, vom Medienportal „Thüringen 24“ über die Proteste gegen den Moscheebau der Ahmadiyya in Erfurt, 22 Dec 2016.

Einfluss südasiatischer Muslime nicht zu unterschätzen”, Interview mit Florian Beißwanger für „Cicero – Magazin für politische Kultur” über Islam in Südasien, 28 Oct 2016, Berlin.

Interview on YouTube by organisers of “India International Islamic Academic Conference of the SIO”(Students Islamic Organisation of India), 8-9 Oct 2016, Delhi, India.

The Economist: Back ground info talk with Bruce Clark, Online Editor for Public Policy, Religion & Ethics, on Islamic education in Western Europe (Germany, Britain, France) for article on Islam in Europe, 02 August 2016 at ZMO, published “The Faith of our Fathers”, 20 August 2016.

BBC 4 / BBC World : back ground Interview for 2-part radio documentaries on the Deoband tradition, with Richard Fenton-Smith, Senior Producer Current Affairs, 9 July 2015, broadcast 05 April 2016 (part 1) and 12 April 2016 (part 2).

Studiogespräch with N24, Thomas Klug, in den Nachrichten zu ISIS und ihrem Verhältnis zur Zerstörung von Kulturgütern in Mossul sowie zu Gründen, warum jemand wie der aus London stammende “Jihadi John” zur ISIS kam. 27.02.2015

Interview with Mittelbayrische Zeitung on the beliefs and practices of the Ahmadiyya community, 27 January 2015: “Ahmadiyya ist kooperativ”. 

Interview with RadioEins (RadioOne) of Berlin-Brandenburg public radio (Katja Weber; Jenni Zylka), on whether to be scared of Islam or not (live). (German) Große Themen - keine Meinung? radioeinsnews talk show, 9 January 2015.


Supervision/Review of PhD Projects
BGSMCS: FU Political Science: Yahya Ismail, Where is my Ummah? Understanding the influence of transnational networks on inter-Muslim relations in Southern Africa.
BGSMCS: FU Political Science: Salwa Yahya, Caste-based Muslim claims on the Indian state : A study of the Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz.
BGSMCS: FU Political Science Sarah Holz, Governing the Islamic in the Republic — A Study of the Council of Islamic Ideology.
BGSMCS: FU Politikwissenschaft: Sumrin Kalia, Muslim Identity and Civic Engagement; Exploring Pakistan’s Urban Youth Attitudes.
Universität Erfurt, Islamwissenschaft: Muhammad Afzal Khan, “The Taliban Becoming in Pakistan”
HU Zentralasienstudien: Just Boedeker, „The Land of Unrestraint: Negotiating Baloch Groups at the Borders of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan”
HU Geschichte Südasiens: Patrick Hesse, "To the Masses." Indian Communist Dialectics of Religiosity and Progress, 1920–47.
BGSMCS/ HU Südostasien: Arie Setyaningrum Pamungkas „The Dakwah Media in Post Suharto Indonesia: From Politics of Identity to Popular Culture (the Case of Ummi)”
Department of History University of Hamburg, Ulrich von Schwerin, Ayatollah Montazeri. From Revolutionary to Reformer. Authority and Power in the Discourse on Islam and Politics in Iran.
Courses (since 2013)
Summer Term 2019
Free University Political Science Master/Bachelor: World-Making from the 'Margins': Muslim Global Actors from South Asia, Seminar 15243, FU Politikwissenschaft Summer Term 2019 (annually, since 2017).
Summer Term 2016
Free University Political Science Master/Bachelor: Alternate Globalities? Muslim Networks from South Asia as Global Actors, Seminar 15376, FU Politikwissenschaft Summer Term 2016 (annually, since 2015).
Summer Term 2014
Free University Political Science: PhD Candidate Colloquium: Regionale Politikanalyse Asien, Europa, politische Ideengeschichte, Moderne politische Theorie. Colloquium 15461 FU Politikwissenschaft Summer Term 2014 (2 SWS).
Summer Term 2013
Free University Political Science Master/Bachelor: Religious Politics or Politicised Religion? State, Identity and Religion in Muslim South Asia. (with Sarah Holz) Hauptseminar 15300 FU Politikwissenschaft Summer Term 2013 (2 SWS).
Summer Term 2013
Free University Political Science Master/Bachelor: Politics of Contemporary South Asia. (with Antía Mato Bouzas) Hauptseminar 15301 FU Politikwissenschaft, Summer Term 2013 (2 SWS).


2011 - 2016
Crossroads Asia. Antragsteller und Vorstandsmitglied für ZMO-Beteiligung (2011-16) für Kompetenz-Netzwerk zu Süd-, West- und Zentralasien beim Programm Regionalstudien des BMBF nach Hauptlaufzeit 2011-2014 in der Verlängerung 2015-16.
2009 - 2013
Alternate Globalities: Global Muslim networks from South Asia. Teilprojekt im Rahmen des BMBF-finanzierten Programms “Muslim Worlds-World of Islam?”. 1.07.2009-31.12.2013.
2006 - 2009
Koordinator und Sprecher des BMBF-finanzierten Verbundprojektes am ZMO, zus. mit den Universitäten Frankfurt/Oder, Hamburg und Halle: „Muslime in Europa und ihre Herkunftsgesellschaften in Asien und Afrika im Vergleich: Gelebte Religiosität, ihre Vielfalt und Folgen in unterschiedlichen Kontexten“ (7 Teilprojekte), mit eigenem TP zu „Strategien von Abgrenzung und Anpassung: Islamische Gruppen aus Südasien in der europäischen Diaspora – die Tablīghī Jamā`at und die Daw`at-i Islāmī“. Förderlinie „Geisteswissenschaften im gesellschaftlichen Dialog“, Themenschwerpunkt: „Kulturelle und soziale Bestimmungen Europas und des Europäischen“. 01.07.2006-30.06.2009.
2006 - 2007
DFG-finanziertes Projekt am ZMO Berlin: „Die Kluft überwinden: zur Verbindung islamischer und säkularer Bildung in neuen Schulprojekten Indiens und Pakistan“.
2004 - 2005
DFG-finanziertes Projekt am ZMO Berlin: „Zur religiösen und politischen Kultur eines "peripheren" Pan-Islamismus: Das Ausländerstudium an der International Islamic University Islamabad (Pakistan) und der Dār al-'ulūm Deoband (Indien)“.
Visiting Fellowship am Centre For Indian Studies des St. Antony’s College der Oxford Universität im Rahmen eines Stipendiums der Stiftung Volkswagenwerk für Entwicklungsländerwissenschaftler aus der ehemaligen DDR. 1. September bis 1. Dezember 1992 (Herbstsemester - Michaelmas Term)
Visiting Fellowship beim South Asia Program des Center For International Studies an der Cornell Univestität im Bundesstaat New York, U.S.A. im Rahmen des „Fellowship Program For Young East German Scholars“ der Ford-Stiftung und des Stifterverbandes der Deutschen Wissenschaften über das American Institute of Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), Washington DC. 14. Februar bis 30. Juni 1992 (Frühjahrssemester).


  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Asienkunde (DGA)
  • Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO)
  • European Association of South Asian Studies (EASAS)


  • German (native)
  • English
  • Russian
  • Urdu
  • French (basic)