Turizam Volume 20, Issue 3-1
MOSQUE-VISITING: MOTIVATIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF NON-MUSLIM VISITORS AT THE AL-AZHAR MOSQUE IN EGYPT
Authors: Ahmed Abdel Fattah, Mary E. Eddy-U
Abstract: Mosque-visiting is a form of religious tourism worthy of special consideration due to the
intense, mainly negative, media attention to Islam around the world. Despite a long scholarly tradition of looking at the relationship between Islam and tourism, the topic of non-Muslim visitors’ motivations and experiences in visiting mosques has not been researched. Terefore, this paper explores non-Muslim visitors’ motivations and experiences when visiting Al-Azhar mosque in Egypt. Tis paper presents the fndings of semi-structured interviews with twenty six non-Muslim visitors. Tree key themes were revealed of commonly reported motives and experiences shaping how non-Muslim visitors came to appreciate the site, namely: curiosity in learning more about Islam and its heritage sites; viewing icons of religious diﬀerence and taking photos; and personal interaction. Such experiences were explicitly secular and corresponded predominantly to the divergence paradigm of religious tourism. Important issues to be considered for the development and growth of non-Muslim mosque tourism are discussed. Finally, the paper indicates avenues for future research.
Keywords: mosques; Egypt; non-Muslim visitors; motivations; experiences; religious tourism.
Article info: 105-127
Received: August 2016 | Accepted: September 2016