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Mainstream Islamism in Britain: Educating for the “Islamic Revival”

Date Published: 
Thursday, 12 September, 2019
Summary: 

There is a distinct strand of Islamism in Britain comprised of a network of individuals and organisations, generally working within the parameters of the law, for what they see as an “Islamic revival”. The groups in this network, distinct from both violent and non-violent Islamist groups that reject participation in the democratic process, have been referred to as “participationist” Islamists1 and as members of “the New Muslim Brotherhood in the West”.2 They sometimes refer to themselves as part of a global “Islamic Movement” or as “Islamic revivalists”. This network or movement is actively engaged in British mainstream social and political life, and so for the purposes of this paper may be described as “mainstream” Islamists.

The first mainstream Islamist organisations, established by Jamaati and Brotherhood cadres in the 1960s and 1970s, include the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS); the UK Islamic Mission (UKIM); the Muslim Educational Trust (MET); Muslim Welfare House; the Islamic Foundation; and Dawatul Islam UK & Eire. In the 1980s and 1990s came the Islamic Sharia Council; Muslim Aid; the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE); the Association of Muslim Schools UK (AMS-UK); the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund (Interpal); and the Palestine Return Centre. In 1997, three important organisations were founded, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB); the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB); and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). In the 2000s, additional groups were established, reflecting a further diversification of Islamist interests, including Cage (initially called Cageprisoners); the Islam Channel; the Cordoba Foundation; Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND, initially called iEngage); and the Middle East Monitor