Being British Muslims: Beyond Ethnocentric Religion and Identity Politics

Dr Mamnun Khan

About Project

Being British Muslims is a project that seeks to: (1) produce insights into how faith can become more meaningful and relevant in today’s world; and (2) inform public debate and understanding of the multifarious crossroads, imaginings and challenges currently making and remaking British Muslim identity.

The cultural imperative to root into the societies in which Muslims live is an inviolable facet of Muslim history. This agenda needs to be brought to the fore in a much more organised, thoughtful and God-centred way. Especially so because in the 50-60 years of Muslims in the UK, the population has increased from about 100,000 and a handful of mosques in the 1950s to over 3m and about 2000 mosques and prayer spaces in 2019. And, for the first time, in 2019, more than 50% of the Muslim population was born in the UK. As a result, we’re seeing starker inter-generational, socio-economic and demographic changes, which have meant that the current making and remaking of “what it means to be a British Muslim” is at multifarious crossroads, imaginings and challenges, perhaps like never before.

If we look forward, again, we see challenges. At the current rate, by 2050, that’s in 30 years’ time – in other words in just one generation time – the UK’s Muslim population is expected to double to about 6.5m to 7.5m which will be around 10% of the total UK population.

These realities mean that we need to reflect on how we “do Islam” and to what extent it should remain ethnocentric or forged on identity politics both within Muslim communities and with the wider society. How should we as Muslims develop individually and as a community, and what vision do we need to set ourselves? Are we aware of the roles and responsibilities that as Muslims we’ll be expected to deliver on, not just by society but implicitly on account of being British, being Muslim, and being Godly?

There are so many questions like these that we need to grapple with and the book, as well as this website on an ongoing basis, explores many of the most pertinent areas of focus in the making of a confident, theocentric expression of Islam in Britain.

This is an independent, non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-affiliated project based on the book Being British Muslims: Beyond Ethnocentric Religion and Identity Politics.

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Research papers taking an in-depth look at areas of public religion and offering recommendations for the development of British Muslim communities and public policy.

Strategy Paper

Towards a Unified Approach to Crescent Moon Sighting in the UK (2015)​

Briefing Paper

Contextual development of the Hanafi madhhab: implications for UK Muslims sending zakat abroad & the eight zakat-eligible categories (2018)

Briefing Paper (Coming Soon)

Untangling extremism from integration and religious conservatism (2019)

Book Flyer

Being British Muslims: Book Flyer

Briefing Paper

Election 2019 Special: Reality Checking Muslim Manifesto (2019)

Briefing Paper

Covid-19 comprehensive explainer: Science, response, lessons and God (2020)

Guide to Learning

Learning how to be guided by the Qur’an (2020)

Briefing Paper

How UK fatwas on Covid-19 missed making Islam more relevant and meaningful (2020)

Briefing Paper

Improving religious guidance on public matters (2020)

Briefing Paper

How long till the pandemic ends in the UK? (2021)

Support Us

As with all good projects, this project needs your support in order to reach its full potential.

We’d like to promote and expand the current research into Being British Muslims so that we can educate, inform and bring about positive and lasting change within the UK’s Muslim communities and society at large.

To help, please donate through the GoFundMe site. You can also help by being an advocate of the research by sharing it amongst your friends and family.

Any funds raised will specifically be used to support ongoing production and creative dissemination of the research (e.g. through website development, videos etc.), as well as making free copies of the book available to as many people as possible (worth £11.95).

About the Author

Mamnun Khan completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Imperial College London, and subsequently gained a PhD in Molecular Immunology from Cambridge University.

In recent years, Mamnun has advised a number of UK organisations on projects and strategy, as well as founding grassroots initiatives. His passion is to bring critical insight and thought leadership in advocating contextualised Islam and making the British Muslim experience God-centred.

If you would like to provide any feedback to the author or to request topics for research please fill in the form with your message and contact details.