Special Issue "Leadership, Authority and Representation in British Muslim Communities"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 April 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Sophie Gilliat-Ray

School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AT, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 07702345342
Interests: Muslims in Britain; imam training; leadership; chaplaincy; secularization; sociology of Muslim communities; Islamic movements
Guest Editor
Dr. Riyaz Timol

School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AT, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (0)29 2087 4884
Interests: Muslims in Britain; secularization; sociology of Muslim communities; Islamic movements; intergenerational transmission; conversion / de-conversion; British Muslim identity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue explores issues of leadership within British Muslim communities. Leadership takes many forms. It includes liturgical and ritual leadership from imams (who may be paid, unpaid, or low-paid) and educational leadership from academics or those serving in madrassahs, seminaries and other kinds of private establishments.  It encompasses both women and men and is exercised in increasingly diverse ways, such as virtual forums online or Islamic television channels. Religious leadership is also provided by an elite group of professionals with expertise in Islamic law, who may carry the title ‘mufti’ or ‘ayatollah’, or by Sufi shaykhs who provide guidance for their disciples.

Political leadership has emerged via a number of British Muslims taking up positions within local and national governance, some of whom have acquired senior government positions such as the current Mayor of London Rt Hon Sadiq Khan or Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. Alongside this, a range of regional and national organisations have developed to ‘represent’ the interests of Muslim communities in civil society, often headed by those with skills derived from a variety of public service and charitable roles. Bodies such as the Muslim Council of Britain and their affiliates exercise national influence while various councils of mosques claim to advocate on behalf of broad regional congregations. Muslim leadership roles have seen further diversification in recent decades through incorporation into professions such as chaplaincy and youth work, while those British Muslims in senior positions within the media, or the third sector, often function as influential spokespeople. Others who have succeeded in the public eye, such as Sir Mo Farah CBE or Nadiya Hussain for example, act as ‘role models’ garnering followings among a wide cross-section of British society.

This special issue explores the myriad ways in which British Muslims exercise leadership in a range of sectors. As such, we welcome the submission of articles that explore the ways in which leadership roles are changing in relation to the broader development of British Muslim communities and organisations, alongside changes in British society more generally. We interpret ‘leadership’ broadly, but are especially interested in the work of salaried ‘Muslim religious professionals’, by which we mean those who derive their livelihood from their employment as imams, chaplains, Muslim youth workers, and so on. The work of those employed to train these leaders is also of interest.

By focussing on British Muslim community leadership, the articles in this volume will provide systematic focus on a topic that has hitherto been given rather diffuse consideration. It will complement historical work on community leadership (Birt 2008, Birt 2008, Geaves 2009), as well as more contemporary discussion about the training and role of imams and Muslim chaplains in Britain (Lewis 2002, Birt 2005, Birt 2006, Gilliat-Ray 2006, Gilliat-Ray 2008, Gilliat-Ray, Ali et al. 2013, Hafiz 2015). There is merit in exploring issues of leadership from an interdisciplinary perspective, in order that scholars of religion, sociology, political science, history, and Islamic Studies can bring synergistic focus to a topic of current academic and political debate.

This special issue is in conjunction with a conference organised in the Cardiff University. Please find detailed conference information by clicking on the link: http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/islamukcentre/conference-on-leadership-authority-and-representation-in-british-muslim-communities/ .

Prof. Dr. Sophie Gilliat-Ray
Dr. Riyaz Timol
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Leadership
  • authority
  • representation
  • chaplaincy
  • institutions

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
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