A new guiding light for the new Muslim | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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A new guiding light for the new Muslim

“When India plays [cricket with] Pakistan, I cheer for India. But when England plays India, I find myself rooting for England.”

mumbai Updated: Mar 24, 2010 01:07 IST
Sujata Anandan

“When India plays [cricket with] Pakistan, I cheer for India. But when England plays India, I find myself rooting for England.”

That is Imam Ibrahim Mogra, based in Leicester, and chair of the high profile Masjid and Community Affairs Committee of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Part of a delegation of prominent British Muslims, Imam Mogra and three others are touring India to interact with and understand the key concerns of Muslims here, to promote a cross-fertilisation of ideas between British and Indian Muslims.

Imam Mogra, a classical theologist, is part of an emerging group of Muslims in the UK, who are working towards a new understanding of Islam, and reinterpreting the faith to enable Muslim youth to integrate better with British society.

“My father’s world was different from mine and my world has been different from my children’s. Present-day society has lots of challenges for us, and it is critical that young Muslims have as little conflict as possible with their religion and their identity.”

While his family was originally from Bharuch in Gujarat, he was born in East Africa – and his cricket loyalties are clear.

He is attempting to bring a similar clarity over identity issues in young Muslim minds in the UK, and has worked to stop racial profiling of Muslims by British authorities, with help from non-religious leaders like Lancashire’s Faizal Patel, whose work promotes Islam as a peaceful religion.

The two are joined by Sajda Mughal, the only known Muslim survivor of 7/7, who was traumatised by the knowledge that Muslims executed the bombings. A non-Hijab wearing role model for young Muslim women, she now works towards inter-faith integration.

With them is Remona Aly, who co-founded Emel, a lifestyle magazine for Muslims, with a significant non-Muslim readership. She now works as Campaigns Director at the Exploring Islam Foundation.