Contextualising Islam in Britain II is a unique and groundbreaking report published by the Alwaleed Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge. The report is the result of a series of symposia involving leading British Muslim scholars, activists and community leaders who came together to discuss what it means to live faithfully as a Muslim in Britain today.
The report was launched in England last year, but in January 2013, the Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre and the Alwaleed Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge came together to launch the report in Scotland.
The formal launch took place at the University of Glasgow on the 21st January with a large and diverse audience gathering to hear the reflections of Dr Saeko Yazaki (now at the University of Glasgow but formally Outreach Projects Manager at the Alwaleed Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge), Professor Yasir Suleiman (University of Cambridge and leader of the project) and Professor Hugh Goddard (Director of the Alwaleed Centre, Edinburgh).
On the 22nd of January, the report was discussed at a special roundtable event at the Scottish Parliament, kindly sponsored by Hanzala Malik MSP. This time, Professor Suleiman and Professor Goddard were joined by Dr Shainool Jiwa (Institute of Islamaili Studies and Scottish contributor to the project) alongside Hanzala Malik MSP.
The full report and the accompanying Executive Summary can be downloaded from the Alwaleed Centre of Islamic Studies website. Follow the link below.
In November 2012, the Alwaleed Centre delivered a third training course for Scottish judges exploring the Islam and Muslims in Scottish courts.
All three sessions have encouraged judges to consider how they would respond to the particular needs of Muslims appearing in court.
These sessions were delivered through the Judicial Studies Committee and we look forward to continuing our work with the JSC in 2013.
In partnership with Lothian and Borders Police, the Alwaleed Centre is happy to be delivering a series of six lectures for Scottish police officers exploring Islamic belief and culture.
The series will run from October 2012 through to March 2013 and will cover Islamic history, Middle Eastern politics, new Islamic movements, Muslim communities in Scotland and South Asian history and culture.
All lectures will be delivered by academic staff based within the University of Edinburgh’s Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department.
Above: Fayaz Alibhai delivers the first lecture in the series to seventy police officers from across Scotland.
The Alwaleed Centre was honoured to welcome ambassadors from fourteen nations of the Arab League to Edinburgh for an event organised in partnership with the Scottish Arab Federation.
The ambassadors were welcomed by University of Edinburgh Vice Principal Professor Charlie Jeffery before hearing presentations from the University's Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department, the Scottish Arab Federation and the Alwaleed Centre.
These presentations were followed by a significant discussion concerning the relationship between the University of Edinburgh and the Arab World.
This meeting looks set to be the catlyst for future engagements and we hope productive relationships will grow as a result.
In April 2012, the Alwaleed Centre hosted a major two-day conference exploring Muslim political participation at both grassroots and governmental levels.
We welcomed speakers from across the UK, Europe, the USA and even Australia for a stimulating and timely conference that showcased important research and initiatives from both academics and pratitioners.
Eighteen of the twenty papers presented at the conference can now be listened to online; just follow the link below.
As part of our recent conference exploring Muslims and political participation in Britain, the Alwaleed Centre organised a unique public engagment event at the Scottish Parliament.
Around 150 people listened to Muslim representatives of the four main poiltical parties in Scotland discussing their political careers as well as their reflections on Muslim participation in and impact on Scottish politics.
Professor Mona Siddiqui OBE chaired this fascinating event which can now be watched online by clicking on the link below.
In March 2012, the Alwaleed Centre sponsored the first meeting of the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on the Middle East and South Asia.
The meeting brought together academics from the University of Edinburgh's Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies Department and the Centre for South Asian Studies with MSPs and community representatives.
The meeting took place in the Scottish Parliament and was part of the Alwaleed Centre's continuing wok with policy-makers in Scotland and the wider UK.
In February 2012, representatives of all six Alwaleed Centres in the UK, the USA and the Middle East came together at Harvard University to discuss future collaborative projects and learn from one another's experiences.
We were honoured to be joined by His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and Her Highness Princess Ameerah who took the time to meet with staff from all the centres.
The meeting featured two high profile public events. The first was a panel conversation involving all six Alwaleed Centre Directors alongside His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. The panel discussed contemporary developments in the Muslim world as well as the challenges facing Muslims living in the West.
The meeting finished with an extraordinary dinner hosted by the Alwaleed Foundation, the highlight of which was a fascinating conversation between His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and former President Jimmy Carter.
In January 2012, the Alwaleed Centre was delighted to welcome the Right Honourable Mr Alistair Burt MP to the University of Edinburgh for a round table discussion with experts from the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of Politics.
Mr Burt is UK Government Minister for the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan (amongst other regions).
Mr Burt was was interested in hearing from academics about ways forward in these areas and the group took this opportunity to explore Iran, the Lebanon and Syria as well as assessing the tensions between Sunni and Shi'i Muslims in Bahrain.
We look forward to convening more of these useful encounters in 2012.
In partnership with the University of Cambridge and the Muslims in Britain Research Network, the Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre has organised an exciting conference exploring political engagement of Muslim communities in Britain. The conference will be taking place in April 2012.
"Muslims and Political Participation in Britain" will see academics and practitioners coming together to reflect on the history of Muslim political participation in Britain as well as looking to the future.
For more information and to see the call for papers, follow the link.
The Alwaleed Centre is delighted to be supporting "Breaking Barriers"; an exciting initiative led by the Church of Scotland.
Breaking Barriers is a two-day residential conference aimed at bringing together young Christians and Muslims in Scotland to explore each others' faiths and build lasting relationships.
For more information. follow the link.
"Reforms in Islamic Education" took place in Cambridge in April 2011. The conference was jointly organised by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies (Cambridge) and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World (Edinburgh).
The question of reforms in Islamic education is controversial, and has been for well over a century - from at least the time that the Grand Mufti of Egypt Muhammad Abduh attempted to open space for new styles of scientific enquiry at Al-Azhar university in Cairo.
However, this conference was not concerned with any attempt to change what is fundamental to Islam or Islamic education. Rather, its goal was to consider the dynamics behind internal reforms which are already taking place within the broad field of Islamic education.
In partnership with the Annandale Street Mosque, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government, the Alwaleed Centre welcomed urban spiritual graffiti artist Mohammed Ali to Edinburgh in September.
Mohammed has risen to become one of Britain's leading public artists. But his murals are more than just artistic masterpieces; they fuse together classical Arabic techniques with modern street art and are imbued with messages of solidarity, reconciliation and peace.
Mohammed came to Edinburgh to paint his first ever mural in Scotland. The mural was painted on the side of the Annandale Street mosque and has already become a tourist attraction, turning the heads of everyone who walks passed.
Click the link to see more images of the mural or, even better, go along to Annandale Street and see it for yourself!
Senior pupils at Stewarton Academy, East Ayrshire, spent a day exploring the history, culture and beliefs of Islam as part of a study day delivered by the Edinburgh Alwaleed Centre.
The study day took place as part of Stewarton's annual “Justice and Peace week”. The day began with Dr Alex Metcalfe who took the pupils on a journey back to the Medieval Mediterranean when relationships between Muslims, Christians and Jews were at their most productive (watch the lecture by clicking on the link below).
This was followed by a hands-on workshop focused on the Arabic language. "You Already Speak Arabic" was led by Mourad Diouri from the University of Edinburgh and involved investigating the roots of many English words which are of Arabic origin.
In the afternoon, the pupils watched the film "The Imam and the Pastor" and the day ended with a panel session involving local shaykh, Ruzwan Mohammed, and Edinburgh-based solicitor Safeena Rashid who discussed justice and in an Islamic context. You can download this discussion as a podcast by clicking on the link below.
If your school would like to host a study day, please contact Outreach Projects Manager Tom Lea: email@example.com or phone 0131 650 6686.
In August 2011, the Alwaleed Centre, in partnership with the Edinburgh Festival of Spirituality and Peace, welcomed globally renowned American Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to Edinburgh.
During his visit, Imam Feisal appeared on Edward Stourton's "Sunday" programme on Radio 4. You can hear this interview by following the link.
The Alwaleed Centre is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Yuka Kadoi as Outreach Postdoctoral Fellow in the field of Islamic Civilisation. Dr Kadoi will take up her post in January 2012 and brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as well as significant experience working with museums across the world. We look forward to the valuable contribution Yuka will doubtless make to both the academic and the outreach profile of the Alwaleed Centre.
The Alwaleed Centre is delighted to announce the appointment of two outreach PhD Students who will be joining the Centre in September 2011.
Fayaz Alibhai and Michael Munnik were selected from a strong panel of candidates to contribute to the Centre's work through research into Muslim communities in Britain.Fayaz will be researching Muslim participation in the public sphere, with particular reference to the cultural life of Edinburgh. Michael will be exploring the presentation of Islam and Muslims in the British media, a project involving an innovative "ethnography of a newsroom".
Although research is central to Fayaz and Michael's studentships, we also look forward to involving them in outreach work across Scotland and beyond
In May 2011, the Alwaleed Centre delivered a series of stimulating workshops exploring different aspects of Islam and Islamic culture for pupils at Loretto School in Musselburgh.
Over a period of four weeks, sixty pupils learnt about Islamic history, the Arabic language and the importance of the Qur'an and the Shari'ah to the lives of Muslims across the globe.
The workshops were led by Prof Hugh Goddard (director of the Alwaleed Centre), Rania Hassan (PhD student, African Studies), Siraj Khan (MSc student, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies), Majied Robinson (PhD student, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies) and Mourad Diouri (e-Learning, Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab world).
Loretto pupils pitured with workshop leaders following the final session of their four week course on Islam and Arabic.
This article was published on Feb 1, 2013