At our monthly meeting in June, we had the great pleasure of welcoming Innes Bowen to talk to us about Understanding Islam in Britain. Innes is a BBC journalist who spent seven years researching and gaining a great knowledge of Islam in Britain. In particular, she has gained a clarity and understanding of the different factions of the faith, where these structures came from, how they have developed, and the influence of these differing elements especially in regard to the running of mosques. These insights have been instilled in a detailed book titled ‘Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam’.
Innes gave us an overview of her research and thoughts, before opening the floor to views and questions. An interesting discussion developed, covering thoughts about the general situation in the country and about some more specific examples. Most present were interested in understanding this world better, especially those working in their local communities who reported that they often found it hard to make meaningful contact with those with influence in the Muslim community. Grass roots connection with others was held up as one of the most useful actions possible in combating some of the issues and problems that occur when communities are divided and suspicious of each other.
A huge thank you to Innes for an enlightening and thought-provoking evening. If you are interested in finding out more, we do encourage you to read her book!