1950 – 1975
If the main emphasis of Muslims in the earlier period was the establishment of proper prayer facilities, the emphasis would shift towards the establishment of social, educational and welfare institutions. While not ‘history’ – it may well appear in the distant past to the majority of British Muslims today – half of whom are under thirty years old!
1962: Groups of students from six cities meet in Birmingham to form the Federation of the Students Islamic Societies in the UK & Eire (FOSIS). The UK Islamic Mission was also formed this year.
1969: The Muslim Educational Trust came into being, addressing the needs of Muslim schoolchildren, and publishing the landmark ‘First Primer of Islam’ in April 1969.
1970: Martin Lings (Abu Bakr Sirajuddin) appointed Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts at the British Museum. The Union of Muslim Organisations (UMO) was formed with Dr Syed Aziz Pasha as General Secretary. Bashir Maan elected the first Muslim councillor in Glasgow.
1971: Jamiat-ul-Muslimeen, Manchester, commence work on a purpose built mosque in Victoria Park; ‘Impact International’, the authoritative Muslim news magazine, launched in London in May; the ulema association ‘Jamiat Ulema Britain’ formed.
1973: Establishment of the Islamic Council of Europe, with headquarters in London and diplomat Salem Azzam appointed Secretary General. The Islamic Foundation, Leicester (subsequently relocated in 1990 to Markfield) was also formed this year with Professor Khurshid Ahmed as its first Director General.
1974: Opening of the Dar-al-Uloom, Holmcombe Hall, Bury; publication of the ‘Draft Prospectus of the Muslim Institute for Research and Planning’, by Dr Kalim Siddiqui
1976: World of Islam festival in London
1977: Belfast Islamic Centre established; Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) reverts to Islam.
1978: Completion of the new markaz of the Tableegh Jamaat in Dewsbury.
In his best-selling book ‘The English’, Jeremy Paxman offers a relatively well-known historical fact but then in his inimitable style concludes with a startling insight, “the first thing you discover about the English, is that they are not English – in the sense of coming from England – at all. They had arrived from Jutland, Anglen and Lower Saxony. The ‘English race’, if such a thing exists, is German. These first English people certainly demonstrated characteristics, which have reasserted themselves periodically through the English story…. they showed early symptoms of that urge to smash things which seizes the country from time to time, whether in the destruction of the monasteries or the levelling of town centres in the 1960s”. But there can be other less destructive patterns in social and cultural history – the multicultural conviviality of the Elizabethan coffee houses are due for a comeback.
The Islamic Quarterly, London, Volume I, April- July1957, ‘The British Isles According To Medieval Arabic Authors’ by D. M. Dunlop
The Islamic Quarterly, London. Volumes XVII, Nos. 1 and 2, January-June 1973, ‘A letter to Charles I of England from the Sultan Al-Walid of Morocco’ by D. S. Richards.
The Islamic Quarterly, London. Volumes XX-XXII, No. 4, December 1978, ‘Some Oriental Elements in Islamic Scholarship in the West’ by R. Hawari
The Islamic Quarterly, London. Volumes XXVIII, No. 3, Third Quarter 1984, ‘The Arabic contribution to English’ b Robert Devereux
‘Islam in Britain 1558 – 1685’ (Cambridge University Press, 1998) by Professor Nabil Matar. The section above ‘Sixteenth & Seventeenth Century’ quotes extensively from this source.