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Shuruq Naguib: God-change

16 February 12

“God-change” is Chapter 5 of Religion and Change in Modern Britain (published Feb 2012 by Routledge). In this podcast Norman Winter is in conversation with one of the joint authors of this chapter, Shuruq Naguib.

Dr Naguib describes the dominant strands in Islam in Britain, and how they have reacted to, and been re-shaped by, changes and events in British society over the past few decades. She believes British Islam is and will remain diverse, but at the same time has been transformed in a relatively short period. One significant new emerging feature is, she believes, the confidence Muslim women have found to re-establish their own voice and leadership.

British Islam was for a while dominated by the traditions of South Asia from which many migrant families came. These already reflected an adaptation to modernity, but many Muslims were themselves unaware of that. In that initial period there was no significant polarisation between Islam and the values of British society.

The meeting of traditions then became much wider with further immigration, with Muslims coming to Britain from other significant Islamic backgrounds. The insularity of the first mosques was challenged. Muslims activists then found themselves needing to find and create new alignments in order to respond to prejudice and suspicion. This then threw into sharper focus the variety of emphases on the sources of authority in the Quran and in tradition to which their traditions turned for guidance. No single expression of unity has proved possible. Neither Sunni nor Shi’a Islam has achieved this over 14 centuries, so British society must come to terms with the diversity inherent in Islam.

Shuruq Naguib identifies significant new reforming trends. The authority of women as sources of truth is now being recognised in some quarters. Also the question which has featured prominently in the past, “Are you British or are you Muslim?” is by some being reinterpreted not as a polarising question regarding conflicting loyalties, but as a challenge which can be answered through integrating civic responsibilities with being truly Muslim.

Click here for the list of podcasts about the book.

Duration: 34.03

Podcasts compiled by Norman Winter 

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