Islamic Society of Britain

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The Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) was set up in 1990[1][2] for British Muslims to promote Islamic values. It reportedly has about 750 members as of 2013.[3]

Its youth wing is The Young Muslims UK (YMUK).

Background[edit]

The ISB's first president was Zahid Parvez. On 16 November 2013 Sughra Ahmed was elected president of ISB, the first female to hold that post.[4] According to Islamic Organizations in Europe and the USA, the society caters to non-Arab Sunni Muslims, born and brought up in Britain.[3] Anti-Islamist author, Ed Husain, who participated in an ISB "Usrah" religious study group in the 1990s, describes the society as "proudly British", predominately middle class and professional.[5]

According to the book The Muslim Brothers in Europe: Roots and Discourse, the society is "based on a chaotic partnership" between members or former members of the Muslim Brotherhood and former members of Jamaat-e-Islami.[6] R. Geaves describes ISB as one of several movements that "have their ideological roots in the activism of Sayyid Qutb and Maulana Mawdudi", but whose "radical voice that called for an Islamic state has been toned down to a gradualist approach and the emergence of `British Islam`."[7] According to Husain, the society broke with Jamaat-e-Islami, and has taken a "vehement stand" against the global, neo-caliphate Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. According to Husain the group is made up of Muslims of a variety of tendencies and lacked the "disciplinarian streak" of Young Muslim Organization or the "mind-control tactics" of Hizb ut-Tahrir, but (at least in the 1990s) shared the antipathy towards "Jews, Hindus, Americans, gays", belief in the "subordination of women" of other Islamist groups.[5]

In 1997, some supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood "broke off" from ISB to form the Muslim Association of Britain, and Husain writes, some bitterness remains between the two groups.[8] According to Anshuman A. Mondal, the society "has been one of a large number" of British Muslim "organizations, individuals and processes ... that have been contesting older Islamist ideas, to varying degrees."[9]

Methods of working[edit]

The Islamic Society of Britain directs its work into the following areas:

Internally:

  • Open and dynamic organisation
  • Personal development of members- in outlook, Understanding, skills and character
  • Facilitating spiritual progress of members

And externally:

  • Promoting a deep awareness of Islam
  • Social concern and engagement

Membership and structure[edit]

The Islamic Society of Britain is a nationwide organisation that has local branches in addition to a national guiding body, the 'Shura' - consisting of representatives from all the major sections of the organisation. The president and Shura are elected every two years by the membership. Annual Members Meetings provide a formal setting for members to feedback to the leadership, exchange views and opinions and help shape the organisation (although informally this is occurring all the time).

ISB is an organic body of Muslims with no hierarchical structure other than individual participation. Membership is open to all Muslims irrespective of gender, age or background.

Activities[edit]

The activities of ISB are held at local, regional and national levels. They encompass a range of events, which contribute to fulfilling ISB's aims and vision. These include:

  • Islam Awareness Week
  • Radio broadcasting
  • Exhibitions
  • Conferences
  • Seminars
  • Weekend spiritual development retreats
  • Regional and national camps
  • Lecture programs
  • Study circles
  • Dinners and social gatherings
  • Jumu`ah (Friday prayer) provision at schools
  • Sports tournaments

ISB also produces:

  • Information leaflets
  • Booklets
  • Magazines
  • Audio and video material

They run many national projects including:

The Islamic Society of Britain is an affiliate body of the Muslim Council of Britain.[10]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Islamic Society of Britain. Last accessed April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ "From scholarship, sailors and sects to the mills and the mosques". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media Limited). 2002-06-18. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  3. ^ a b Matthias Kortmann, Kerstin Rosenow-Williams, ed. (2013). Islamic Organizations in Europe and the USA: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. 
  4. ^ "Islamic Society of Britain elects first female president". ISB. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Husain, Ed (2007). The Islamist: Why I Became an Islamic Fundamentalist, what I Saw Inside, and why I left. Penguin. p. 169-71. 
  6. ^ Brigitte Maréchal, ed. (2008). The Muslim Brothers in Europe: Roots and Discourse. Brill. p. 65. 
  7. ^ Geaves, R. (2009). Markus Dressler, Ron Geaves, Gritt Klinkhammer, ed. Sufis in Western Society: Global Networking and Locality. Routledge. p. 103. 
  8. ^ Husain, Ed (2007). The Islamist: Why I Became an Islamic Fundamentalist, what I Saw Inside, and .... Penguin. p. 172. 
  9. ^ Rehana Ahmed, Peter Morey, Amina Yaqin, ed. (2012). Culture, Diaspora, and Modernity in Muslim Writing. p. 47. 
  10. ^ Muslim Council of Britain. Last accessed April 15, 2008.

External links[edit]