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A Call To All British Muslims: Take Part In The UK’s Largest Academic Study About British Imams

Are you a British Muslim? Do you have any thoughts, opinions, suggestions, or personal experiences – good or bad – about British imams?

Are you a British Muslim? Do you have any thoughts, opinions, suggestions, or personal experiences – good or bad – about British imams?

What is this study about?

Who are Britain’s imams? What do they do on a daily basis? Where do they receive their theological training?  What are the joys and challenges of their roles? How do they cater to the needs of increasingly diverse multi-ethnic congregations in modern Britain? 

A team of Muslim researchers based at Cardiff University’s Islam-UK Centre are exploring these, and many other questions, as part of a ground-breaking three-year research project called Understanding British Imams.

To find out more, head over to our project website.

What research have you conducted so far?

We’ve already collated biographical data of over 2,000 British imams serving in mosques around the country. This will allow us to sketch, for the first time, a national profile of British imams based on variables like age, ethnic background, qualifications, country of birth, or proficiency in the English language. 

Additionally, we’ve conducted 40 in-depth interviews with British imams from various ethnic and theological backgrounds. This has provided unparalleled insights into their daily lives and shed light on issues as diverse as their working conditions, family life, or the work they do away from the prayer mat.

So how can I get involved?

We’ve launched a new survey asking the British Muslim public at large for their thoughts on British imams. 

Here is a sample of the questions: 

  • How approachable or friendly do you feel your imam is?
  • How important do you feel it is for your masjid/imam to provide prayer facilities for women?
  • Do you feel imams are paid adequately for the work they do?
  • Can you provide one example of when the imam made a positive difference to the community?
  • Should imams be entitled to leave on public holidays (such as bank holidays or New Year’s Day)?
  • How comfortable do you feel approaching your imam about personal issues?
  • Would you suggest any changes to the way the imam/masjid caters to women’s needs? If so, what would they be?
  • What can mosque management committees do to help imams serve their congregations better?
  • Do you feel imams could benefit from secular education delivered in universities?
  • To what extent is your imam a role model for you?

British Muslims from all walks of life are invited to complete the survey and share their views.

Click here to take part!

Why should I do take part in this research?

We appreciate that British Muslims vary as much as the weather in Britain. That’s why it’s important to hear everyone’s voice on issues so pertinent to the future of British Muslim religious leadership. 

Your answers will be vital to British Muslim organisations and educational institutions, and recommendations will be presented back to Muslim communities to support their development.  

But I don’t even know an imam?

No problem! We appreciate that many British Muslims have little to no contact with an imam.

Your views are just as important as someone who has their afternoon tea with the local imam. Please explain to us the reasons why you don’t know an imam.

Perhaps you’d like to be able to interact with an imam but are unable to do so? Maybe the imam is much older than you or speaks a different language? Do you feel uncomfortable approaching a male imam as a Muslim woman? If so, should your masjid employ a female religious authority for you to consult? Maybe you’ve simply never needed to contact an imam or you seek religious guidance elsewhere? 

Whatever the case, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Are my answers confidential?

Yes. Rest assured that all responses are fully anonymous and confidential.

Nothing you say can be traced back to you or an individual imam or mosque.  

Who is funding this research?

The project is entirely funded by the Jameel Research Programme, a philanthropic organisation set up to improve understanding about Muslims in the West. 

It’s based at Cardiff University and is completely independent of government or any other external organisation. 

OK, so how do I fill in this survey?

Head over to the survey by clicking this link.

It will take around 15-30 minutes to complete so you might want to grab a cuppa before starting. While the water is boiling, have a look at the animated video above, further explaining what the survey is about.

If you’ve got any questions or concerns, feel free to drop us a line at [email protected].  We’d be delighted to hear from you.

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