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Kalim Siddiqui


  1. Beyond the Muslim Nation-States (1977)
  2. A Review Paper for Members of the Preparatory Committee (July 1976)

The late Dr Kalim Siddiqui will be remembered as author of the ground-breaking tract ‘The Muslim Institute for Research and Planning – Draft Prospectus’ published in 1974 and as an innovative thinker on Muslim community development who was in some respects ahead of his times in identifying issues of importance. He was leader of the Muslim Parliament project that was launched in 1992 and which came to an end soon after his death on 18th April 1996.

Kalim‘s early career was as a reporter in the British regional press and subsequently as a sub-editor in The Guardian from 1964 to 1972. He would later regale colleagues of his time on Harold Wilson’s campaign bus. While working he completed a PhD in political science at University College, London and also taught part-time at an American university’s campus near his home in Slough.

The break-up of Pakistan in 1971 was a watershed moment and led him to work with the late Dr Haneef Fatmi , a cybernetician teaching at Chelsea College, London, in the Khilafat-e-Rashida movement . He established the Muslim Institute in 1973 and for several years its weekly meetings at Endsleigh Street near Euston became a focal point for discussion and debate on epistemological and conceptual issues in a remarkable range of subjects. Among his own early essays were ‘Beyond the Muslim Nation-States’ (1977) and ‘The Islamic Movement - a Systems Approach’ ( 1978). The Institute also launched an annual Arabic language summer school at the City University, London, during the mid-1970s in cooperation with the University of Riyadh. Kalim’s gregarious and affable nature attracted many talented collaborators and he was ever ready to provide encouragement and support to promising scholars. His early collaborators at the Institute included Dr Ghias Siddiqui, Sarwar Rija, Iqbal Asaria, Ziauddin Sardar, Ajmal Ahmed, Dawud Rosser-Owen, Mufti Barkatulla, Dr Maqsood Siddiqui, Dr Zafar Bangash, Dr Zaki Badawi and Dr Yaqub Zaki. During this period Dr Kalim Siddiqui developed links with Shaikh Jamjoum of Saudi Arabia and participated in meetings of the World Anti-Communist League at his behest. This connection enabled him to achieve financial independence for his Institute.

The Islamic revolution of Iran in 1979 altered the Institute’s priorities from longer-term research and epistemological considerations to robust defences of the new order and an anticipation of far-reaching changes in the Muslim world. The Institute maintained its ground-breaking reputation by organising a series of lectures by Hamid Algar on the new Constitution of Iran and the concept of vilayat-e-faqih. At about this time Dr Kalim Siddiqui also injected new life in a Canadian journal founded by Latif Owaisi and it was relaunched as ‘Crescent International’ . Articles from the Crescent and other contributions were compiled in an series Issues in the Islamic Movement, seven volumes of which were published from 1982 to 1989.

In the wake of the Satanic Verses Affair in 1989, Dr Kalim became a bête-noire in the British media for supporting Imam Khomeini’s opinion on the author Salman Rushdie. The Muslim Parliament idea launched in 1992 introduced many innovative concepts such as the establishment of Muslim Manifesto Groups at the grass roots level and much effort was spent in preparing 'white papers' and 'bills' for presentation and discussion. For example it considered educational under-achievement and proposed a scheme of tutorial groups. His activities reached their zenith a year later with a conference on the Balkans held at the Institute of Education in 1993. The concept of an autonomous 'Parliament' for 'Muslim minority politics' did not gain much currency within the Muslim community at large who opted to work within mainstream British politics. It ceased to function soon after his death, though its work investigating the halal meat trade culminated in the establishment of the Halal Food Authority that continues today as a certification authority. The Crescent International magazine is now edited by Zafar Bangash and his son, Iqbal Siddiqui. The Muslim Institute has recently been relaunched under new management.

  1. Beyond the Muslim Nation-States (1977)
  2. A Review Paper for Members of the Preparatory Committee (July 1976)

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