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0120160405

0120160405

One Islamic network runs over 40% of UK mosques. Who are they and what do they believe?

0120160405

The Deobandis are virtually unknown to most British people, yet their influence is huge. As the largest Islamic group in the UK, they control over 40% of mosques and have a near monopoly on Islamic seminaries, which propagate a back-to-basics, orthodox interpretation of Islam.

Founded in a town called Deoband in 19th Century India, it's a relatively new tradition within the Islamic faith, but has spread throughout the world, with the UK being a key centre. Migrants from India and Pakistan brought Deobandi Islam to the UK during the 1960s and 1970s, setting up mosques and madrassas in the mill towns of Bury and Dewsbury, from which a national network grew.

The Deobandi movement is large and diverse: from the quietest and strictly non-violent missionary group the Tablighi Jamaat to the armed sectarian and jihadist groups of Pakistan.

The BBC's former Pakistan correspondent Owen Bennett Jones investigates which strands of Deobandi opinion have influence in the UK, speaking to people from within the British Deobandi community, from scholars to missionaries to madrassa students.

In the first of two programmes he explores claims that Deobandi Islam is intentionally isolationist and that its strict beliefs put it at odds with mainstream British culture, leaving the community segregated from wider British society. Though if true, is that really the fault of Deobandi Muslims?

Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Sajid Iqbal

Researcher: Holly Topham.

0120160405

The Deobandis are virtually unknown to most British people, yet their influence is huge. As the largest Islamic group in the UK, they control over 40% of mosques and have a near monopoly on Islamic seminaries, which propagate a back-to-basics, orthodox interpretation of Islam.

Founded in a town called Deoband in 19th Century India, it's a relatively new tradition within the Islamic faith, but has spread throughout the world, with the UK being a key centre. Migrants from India and Pakistan brought Deobandi Islam to the UK during the 1960s and 1970s, setting up mosques and madrassas in the mill towns of Bury and Dewsbury, from which a national network grew.

The Deobandi movement is large and diverse: from the quietest and strictly non-violent missionary group the Tablighi Jamaat to the armed sectarian and jihadist groups of Pakistan.

The BBC's former Pakistan correspondent Owen Bennett Jones investigates which strands of Deobandi opinion have influence in the UK, speaking to people from within the British Deobandi community, from scholars to missionaries to madrassa students.

In the first of two programmes he explores claims that Deobandi Islam is intentionally isolationist and that its strict beliefs put it at odds with mainstream British culture, leaving the community segregated from wider British society. Though if true, is that really the fault of Deobandi Muslims?

Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Sajid Iqbal

Researcher: Holly Topham.

One Islamic network runs over 40% of UK mosques. Who are they and what do they believe?

0220160412

0220160412

In part two of The Deobandis, the BBC's former Pakistan correspondent Owen Bennett Jones reveals a secret history of Jihadist propagation in Britain.

This follows the BBC's discovery of an archive of Pakistani Jihadist publications, which report in detail the links some British Deobandi scholars have with militant organisations in Pakistan. Among the revelations are details of a lecture tour of Britain by Masood Azhar - a prominent Pakistani militant operating in Kashmir. He toured the UK in the early 1990s, spreading the word of Jihad to recruit fighters, raise funds and build links which would aid young Britons going abroad to fight Jihad decades later.

The programme also explores intra-Muslim sectarianism in Britain, and discovers how some senior Deobandi leaders have links to the proscribed organisation Sipah-e-Sahaba, a militant anti-Shia political party formed in Pakistan in the 1980s.

But how widespread and representative is this sympathy with militancy?

The programme explores the current battle for control in some British mosques, speaking to British Deobandi Muslims pushing back against the infiltration of Pakistani religious politics in British life.

As one campaigner says, this is 'the battle for the soul of Islam' and the 'silent majority' must speak out - but can moderate Muslims build the institutional power they need to really enforce change?

CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE:

Aimen Dean - former member of Al Qaeda and former MI5 operative

Rafaello Pantucci - Director in International Security Studies, RUSI

Mufti Mohammed Amin Pandor

Toaha Qureshi MBE - Trustee of Aalimi Majlise Tahaffuze Khatme Nubuwwat (Stockwell, London)

Aamer Anwar - human rights lawyer

Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Sajid Iqbal

Researcher: Holly Topham.

0220160412

Owen Bennett Jones reveals a secret history of Jihadist propagation in Britain.

0220160412

Owen Bennett Jones reveals a secret history of Jihadist propagation in Britain.

In part two of The Deobandis, the BBC's former Pakistan correspondent Owen Bennett Jones reveals a secret history of Jihadist propagation in Britain.

This follows the BBC's discovery of an archive of Pakistani Jihadist publications, which report in detail the links some British Deobandi scholars have with militant organisations in Pakistan. Among the revelations are details of a lecture tour of Britain by Masood Azhar - a prominent Pakistani militant operating in Kashmir. He toured the UK in the early 1990s, spreading the word of Jihad to recruit fighters, raise funds and build links which would aid young Britons going abroad to fight Jihad decades later.

The programme also explores intra-Muslim sectarianism in Britain, and discovers how some senior Deobandi leaders have links to the proscribed organisation Sipah-e-Sahaba, a militant anti-Shia political party formed in Pakistan in the 1980s.

But how widespread and representative is this sympathy with militancy?

The programme explores the current battle for control in some British mosques, speaking to British Deobandi Muslims pushing back against the infiltration of Pakistani religious politics in British life.

As one campaigner says, this is 'the battle for the soul of Islam' and the 'silent majority' must speak out - but can moderate Muslims build the institutional power they need to really enforce change?

CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE:

Aimen Dean - former member of Al Qaeda and former MI5 operative

Rafaello Pantucci - Director in International Security Studies, RUSI

Mufti Mohammed Amin Pandor

Toaha Qureshi MBE - Trustee of Aalimi Majlise Tahaffuze Khatme Nubuwwat (Stockwell, London)

Aamer Anwar - human rights lawyer

Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Sajid Iqbal

Researcher: Holly Topham.