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Open AccessArticle

New Labour and the Re-making of British Islam: The Case of the Radical Middle Way and the “Reclamation” of the Classical Islamic Tradition

Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol, 11 Priory Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1TU, UK
Religions 2013, 4(4), 550-566; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel4040550
Received: 22 June 2013 / Revised: 8 August 2013 / Accepted: 9 August 2013 / Published: 4 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Islam, Immigration, and Identity)
This article examines the emergence of new forms of Islam in Britain between the 1990s and the present, and in particular the role played by the New Labour government (1997–2010) in encouraging new expressions of Islam. It charts the development of the Islamic tradition in Britain between the migration of mainly South Asian Muslims in the 1950s and 1960s and the Rushdie affair in the late 1980s, before outlining some of the challenges Muslims in Britain have faced transmitting Islamic traditions in a stable state to younger generations. Against the backdrop of increasing public concern about an inter-generational divide among Muslims and its supposed role in allowing radicalism to flourish, the article explores recent attempts to develop and promote forms of Islam that are “authentically British” and that challenge radical perspectives. Using the case study of the Radical Middle Way initiative, it looks into the uneasy relationship between these newer forms of Islam and the supportive New Labour administration, highlighting weaknesses in literature that focuses on the ‘disciplining’ of Muslims. Finally, it explains how the concept of classical Islamic tradition is utilised in creative ways not anticipated or engaged with by advocates of the “clash of civilisations” thesis. View Full-Text
Keywords: Islam; British Islam; immigration; Prevent; New Labour; Radical Middle Way Islam; British Islam; immigration; Prevent; New Labour; Radical Middle Way
MDPI and ACS Style

Jones, S.H. New Labour and the Re-making of British Islam: The Case of the Radical Middle Way and the “Reclamation” of the Classical Islamic Tradition. Religions 2013, 4, 550-566.

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