Islamism in the United Kingdom

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Islamism (political Islam) has existed in the United Kingdom since the 1970s, and has become widely visible and a topic of political discourse since the beginning of the 21st century.

Islam in the United Kingdom has grown rapidly due to immigration since the 1980s. In 2011, 2.7 million Muslims (4.8% of total population) lived in the UK (mostly in England), more than quintupling over a 30-year period (550,000 in 1981), with a continued tendency of rapid growth.[1]

Early history[edit]

Radical Islam has been present in Great Britain since the 1970s, but has not received wider public attention prior to the 7 July 2005 London bombings; terrorism in Britain during the 1970s to 1990s was mostly due to the Northern Ireland conflict, and it was only after the 2005 incidents that the presence of radical political Islam in Britain was widely recognized and studied.[citation needed]

Dawatul Islam is an Islamist organisation based in London, founded in 1978[2][unreliable source?] from the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan-originated UK Islamic Mission to cater to East Bengali Muslims in Britain after the founding of Bangladesh in 1971.[citation needed]

Syrian Islamist Omar Bakri Muhammad moved to the United Kingdom in 1986, and established a chapter of Hizb ut-Tahrir, and later Al-Muhajiroun ("The Emigrants"), which was proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000 on 14 January 2010. Social disturbance began in the Muslim community in England in 1988 with the publication of the satirical novel The Satanic Verses in London.[citation needed] The book was condemned with a fatwa the following year.[3]

In 1989, an Islamic Party of Britain was founded by a Sheffield-born convert.[citation needed]

The Islamic Forum of Europe was founded in 1990. It was reportedly founded by former members of the Jamaat-e-Islami-affiliated group Dawatul Islam, with whom it came into conflict over management of the East London Mosque "throughout the late 1980s"[4] resulting in "two High Court injunctions" in 1990 in "response to violence" at the mosque.[5]

The Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) was set up in 1990 to promote Islamic values.[6][7] The Young Muslims UK, established in 1984, was incorporated into ISB as its youth wing. In 1997, some supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood "broke off" from ISB to form the Muslim Association of Britain.[relevant? ]

Development after 2005[edit]

The Saved Sect operated from 2005 but was banned in 2006. The extent of the phenomenon was illustrated during the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy of 2006, when Al Ghurabaa, successor organisation to the disbanded Al-Muhajiroun, called Muslims to "Kill those who insult the Prophet Muhammad", resulting in extensive protests in London.[citation needed]

Following the 2005 terror attacks, the phenomenon of Islamism within the resident Muslim population in Britain receive wider interest. An early publication was Londonistan: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within (2006). Undercover Mosque aired in 2007 (with a 2008 sequel). Islam4UK led by Anjem Choudary (a British Pakistani born in the UK 1967) had been active from 2009. It has also been banned under the Terrorism Act 2000 on 14 January 2010.

Since 2006, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) has been under scrutiny as fostering Islamist politics among Bangladeshi immigrants.[8] IFE and the East London Mosque, have hosted extremist preachers including Anwar al-Awlaki.[9] A Dispatches documentary aired on 1 March 2010 suggested the IFE are an extremist organization with a hidden agenda that went against Britain's democratic values.[10] Dispatches quoted Azad Ali, the IFE's community affairs coordinator, as saying, "Democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that".[11] Responding in a comment piece in the Guardian newspaper, Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain suggested that many of the people interviewed on the programme had "hidden agendas of their own" suggesting that Jim Fitzpatrick's claim of the Labour Party having been "infiltrated" by IFE was motivated by upcoming elections.[12] The IFE and YMO were featured in the book The Islamist (2007) by Ed Husain, where he explains that the YMO attracts mainly English-speaking Asian youths, providing circles or talks daily at the East London Mosque; while teaching about Islam, it covers the political system of the religion.[13]

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC, established in 1997) was classified as "a radical Islamist organisation that uses the language and techniques of a human rights lobbying group to promote an extremist agenda" by the Stephen Roth Institute in 2005.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Perry, Keith (January 10, 2013). "Almost a tenth of babies and toddlers in England and Wales are Muslim, census figures show". The Daily Telegraph.
  2. ^ [1] Da'watul Islam UK & Eire on LinkedIn
  3. ^ "BBC ON THIS DAY | 14 | 1989: Ayatollah sentences author to death". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  4. ^ Husain, Ed, The Islamist, Penguin, 2007, p.24-5, 166
  5. ^ Husain, Ed, The Islamist, Penguin, 2007, p.279
  6. ^ Islamic Society of Britain. Last accessed April 15, 2008.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ Delwar Hussain, "Bangladeshis in East London: from secular politics to Islam Archived 2012-04-12 at the Wayback Machine", openDemocracy, 7 July 2006
  9. ^ Andrew Gilligan (16 May 2010). "Radical Muslims lose grip on London council". The Daily Telegraph.
  10. ^ Andrew Gilligan, Backlash at the mosque, Daily Telegraph, 13 March 2010
  11. ^ Andrew Gilligan, "IFE: not harmless democrats", The Guardian, 4 March 2010. Andrew Gilligan (22 October 2010). "'Britain's Islamic republic': full transcript of Channel 4 Dispatches programme on Lutfur Rahman, the IFE and Tower Hamlets". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  12. ^ Inayat Bunglawala, "Watch out: democratic Muslims about", The Guardian, 3 March 2010
  13. ^ The Islamist, pp. 52-60.
  14. ^ "The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) is a radical Islamist organisation that uses the language and techniques of a human rights lobbying group to promote an extremist agenda. Formed in 1997 by its current chairman, Massoud Shadjareh, the IHRC supports jihad groups around the world, campaigns for the release of convicted terrorists and promotes the notion of a western conspiracy against Islam. Shadjareh and the IHRC subscribe to the radical Islamist belief that Jewish conspiracies are afoot to undermine Muslims, and they liken Jews and Israelis to Nazis. Members of the IHRC's board of advisors have even called on Muslims to kill Jews. They include the Saudi Islamist Muhammad al-Mas‘ari and Muhammad al-‘Asi, an American convert to Islam who was banned from preaching at his mosque in Washington, D.C., and has been a frequent visitor to Britain. Antisemitism And Racism, 2005 United Kingdom Report, Stephen Roth Institute. Retrieved July 2, 2007.