The Battle over Mosque Reform

November 29, 2007

Author: Dominic Casciani

Source: BBC News

British Muslim leaders are to tell mosques to reform - but do young Muslims even care?

This week began as just another for Britain's mosques. But by the end of it, things could be very different.

The four largest Islamic organisations in the UK have, against expectations, agreed professional standards for mosques. It may sound like management speak - but these standards on a mosque's obligations to society are part of a battle for hearts and minds in the face of violent extremism.

The unwieldily-named Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (Minab) is seeking signatures on the dotted line. The question is whether any of it will make a difference.

The great era of mosque building was in the 1970s and 1980s, led by the first generation immigrants. They copied what they knew and mosques were built as prayer halls largely run on ethnic, cultural or tribal lines.

Today there are at least 1,500 institutions which are broadly independent of one and other. But while they may be about to get a dose of 21st Century management consultancy, tens of thousands of young British Muslims have already drifted away.