|Biographical detail : ||Arab scholar who believed passionately in interfaith dialogue and the idea of the British Muslim.
Zaki Badawi, who chaired the Council of Imams and Mosques in Britain and attempted to establish a modern Islam that can fit comfortably with British values. Far from portraying Islam as being at odds with modernity, Badawi saw it as the immigrant’s route to becoming a contended Briton.
Badawi first coined the term “British Islam” believing that in a couple of generations Muslims in Britain will lose their cultural baggage and the whole community will adopt western cultural values and get together as British Muslims.
Badawi was a pioneer of Islamic mortgages and insurance and his Islamic schemes introduced to, is now backed by the British Treasury that could transform the lives of British Muslims. Free from religious problems around paying interest, many more may soon be able, with a free conscience, to buy property in Britain.
Badawi also revolutionised the training of Islamic thinkers in Britain, thus challenging the traditional inward-looking, rule-based education of most British Imams with a broad, multi-faith training grounded in western philosophical study.
Badawi waged scholarly war against, for example, forced marriages and female circumcision, which have cultural rather than Islamic bases.
Badawi founded the Muslim College in west London.
Zaki Badawi who was born Muhammad Aboulkhair Zaki Badawi in Sharkia, Egypt to a religious family. He agitated against British presence as part of the Muslim Brotherhood. He spent 23 years at Al-Azhar University. A small and confident man bursting with vitality, he went on to teach and lead communities in Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore, before he came to Britain, in 1951, and was appointed the first chief Imam at London’s Regent Park Mosque in 1978.
He collapsed while at a conference in London. He was awarded an honorary Knighthood in 2004 (having chosen to remain an Egyptian citizen).