Since antiquity, the Mediterranean basin has constantly been witnessing episodes of cultural clashes and encounters between civilizations. Thus, the region was not unfamiliar with cultural diversity and during the early Middle Ages Shi’i dynasties ruled in Asian, African and European sides of the basin. Due to this presence long before the recent migratory influx, it seems that there is not any historical discontinuity in the Shi’i presence in Europe. However, from sociological viewpoint there is a significant difference between the former and the current presence of Shi’is in Europe. The contemporary socio-political conditions in the region are the main responsible of this difference that ignites curiosity about the emerging tendencies of Shi’ism and its recent evolutionary patterns. The study of contemporary Shi’ism in Europe that examines the life-experience of Shi’is through anthropological and sociological approaches is a relatively neglected area of research and Shi’is have so far been subsumed under broader general narratives of mainstream Islam. This negligence is higher where Islam is a relatively young phenomenon such as in southern Europe. Obviously, the socio- political tendencies of the Asian countries of the Mediterranean basin and their relation with Europe have an impact on both migratory influx and the European policies for managing the religious minorities. Hence, the situation of Shi’is in Europe cannot be fully understood without considering both departure and arrival points.
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