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ISLAMIC FOUNDATION. Established in 1973, the aims of the Islamic Foundation are to encourage research into the implementation of Islam in the modern world, to project the image of Islam in Britain and Europe, and to meet the educational needs of Muslims, especially young people. To implement these objectives, the foundation works with young people and publishes research, especially in economics and about issues of Islam in the modern world, Christian-Muslim relations, and Muslim Central Asia.

The foundation came into being primarily at the initiative of a Pakistani Muslim economist, Professor Khurshid Ahmad, who was a leading figure in the Jama’at-i Islam! of Pakistan. Ahmad was the foundation’s first director, serving until he returned to Pakistan to become minister of planning soon after President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq came to power. He was succeeded by Khuram Murad, another leading member of the Jama’at-i Islami. Both men have since become deputy amirs of the organization. The current director is Dr. Manazir Ahsan, who is not a member of the Jama`at. The foundation is registered as an educational institution under the British law governing organizations with charitable purposes.

Initially housed in a small office in Leicester, United Kingdom, the foundation moved into an eighteenthcentury mansion in 1976. At the end of the 1980s it bought a small conference center from the regional health service, some ten miles north of Leicester. This Markfield Da’wah Centre now houses the foundation and hosts courses and conferences.

The foundation traditionally has relied for its funding on gifts from wealthy individuals around the Muslim world, with some particularly large donations coming from Saudi Arabia; such a donation allowed it to establish the Markfield Centre. More recently, the flow of such donations has abated, and the foundation has resorted to more intensive fundraising methods.

In its early years, the foundation was involved in establishing about twenty mosques and community centers. It owns the buildings of the Sparkbrook Islamic Centre in Birmingham, although it has handed over the running of its programs to the United Kingdom Islamic Mission. The foundation was the first Muslim organization in Britain to establish cooperative relations with higher education institutions, working with the then Leicester Polytechnic on multicultural education and with the University of Leicester on Islamic economics. Ahmad played a leading role in the establishment of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham.

During the 1980s the foundation increasingly concentrated its efforts on publishing; today most members of its permanent staff are working in this area. Regular bulletins on Muslim Central Asia and on Christian-Muslim relations have been published, and a series of books for Muslim children continues to appear. The Foundation has published a range of books on Islamic subjects, including theoretical works and those relating to various particular regional situations. Islamic economics has been a particular area of concentration, and, currently, a multivolume English translation of Abu al-a’la Mawdudi’s large Qur’anic commentary is being published (1990-)

The foundation has taken the lead in encouraging Muslim youth organizations, and it has a close relationship with the National Association of Muslim Youth. The wider Muslim community perceives it as being an expression of the Jama’at-i Islami, although the links to the Pakistani movement are personal rather than organic. While large parts of the Muslim community thus have an ambivalent view of the foundation (when it is not one of outright rejection), outside the community the foundation has established itself as a major representative of Islamic interests and expression, especially in educational circles.

[See also Great Britain.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Islamic Foundation. The Islamic Foundation: Objectives, Activities, Projects. Markfield, England, n.d. Nielsen, Jorgen S. Muslims in Western Europe. Edinburgh, 1992. See Pages 43-51, 134-136.

JORGEN S. NIELSEN

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/islamic-foundation/
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  • writerPosted On: June 21, 2014
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