Dr Kalim Siddiqui

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Muslim Institute

Crescent International

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1. Introduction

The global Islamic movement is the dominant new reality in history. The aim of the movement is to re-establish Islam as a source of power and justice in all Muslim countries, and throughout the world. At its broadest level, the sole aim of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) is to contribute to the work of the global Islamic movement as best we can.

However, the work of the Islamic movement is too broad for any single institution. Our skills, background and experience are in intellectual, academic, media and public relations work. We believe that we can use these skills to contribute to the Islamic movement in three main areas:

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2. Background

The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) was established in 1998 to continue the work begun by the late Dr Kalim Siddiqui (1931-1996), who was Director of the Muslim Institute, London.

Dr Kalim Siddiqui worked to 'generate an intellectual revolution in Muslim political thought'. After the Islamic Revolution in Iran, he set about studying, understanding and promoting the political thinking of the new, global Islamic movement inspired by the Islamic Revolution. Under Dr Kalim Siddiqui's leadership, the Muslim Institute became the centre of a global network of Islamic institutions and workers which have carried the message of the global Islamic movement all around the world.

The ICIT was established by a number of Dr Kalim Siddiqui's closest associates to continue his work for the global Islamic movement. These include Zafar Bangash of Toronto, Canada, who is now Director of the ICIT, Imam Mohammed al-Asi and Imam Abdul Alim Musa of Washington DC, and Iqbal Siddiqui of London, now the editor of the Crescent International newsmagazine.

The ICIT also has affiliates all over the world. These include organizations and contacts in Canada, the USA, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Australia, and numerous other countries. Many of these are contacts who have been working with the Muslim Institute for over two decades.

The ICIT is built upon, and is carrying on from, virtually all the work Dr Kalim Siddiqui did in the global Islamic movement over a twenty-five year period. The ICIT, fully committed to the cause of the global Islamic movement, is now strongly placed to develop this international work over the next few decades, insha'Allah.

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3. The structure of the ICIT

The ICIT is an international body consisting of separate entities in different countries, including UK, Canada, South Africa and Pakistan. In other countries, the ICIT's operations are (or will be) carried out through local bodies or individuals working on behalf of the ICIT.

The activities of the ICIT are co-ordinated by an eight-member Board of Trustees. Zafar Bangash, based in Toronto, is Chairman of this Board, and Director of the ICIT.

Other Trustees are Imam Mohammed al-Asi (USA), Imam Abdul Alim Musa (USA), Mrs Suraiya Siddiqui (UK), Dr Maqsood Ali Siddiqi (UK), Mr Iqbal Siddiqui (UK), Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail (South Africa) and Dr Perwez Shafi (Pakistan).

The ICIT has offices in Toronto and London, and works through Crescent International offices in Karachi and Pretoria.

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4. The work of the ICIT

The ICIT's work can be divided into the following six categories:

Media; Internet; Publishing; Conferences and Seminars; Teaching and Lecture Courses; and Research
  1. Media

    The Crescent International, edited by Iqbal Siddiqui, is the international flagship of the ICIT. It has been published since before the Islamic Revolution. It is published in Toronto and Pretoria, with distribution centres in London and Pakistan. Its main editorial office is in London. Its worldwide circulation is about 30,000.

    Crescent International has both news and current affairs analysis, as well as discussions of political, methodological and other issues concerning the contemporary Islamic movement. It is also presently serialising a new tafseer of the Qur'an by Imam Muhammad Al-Asi.

    Crescent International is also published on the Internet, under the name Muslimedia (www.muslimedia.com).

    An Arabic version of the Crescent, called Al-Hilal Al-Dawli, was published from 1987-91. Plans for relaunching this are at an advanced stage, as are plans for publishing an Urdu edition of the Crescent in Pakistan.

  2. Internet

    The Internet is the new world medium, with massive potential. The ICIT is committed to developing a major and effective Internet presence to promote and serve the Islamic movement. The ICIT's website, islamicthought.org, is online but remains under development. It will, insha'Allah, be developed as a major central news and reference centre for the Islamic movement over the next few years. This will work closely with Muslimedia, the Crescent website, and other Islamic movement sites.

  3. Publishing

    The ICIT has affiliated publishing companies in many of the countries in which it operates, including UK, Canada, South Africa, Pakistan and Malaysia. These have been used largely for publishing and distributing the works of Dr Kalim Siddiqui and for distributing Crescent. Video-tapes have also been produced and marketed.

    The ICIT plans to step this work up in the immediate future, commissioning and publishing works on all aspects of the Islamic movement and contemporary history, both by authors within the ICIT and others. The ICIT's first publication, in 1998, was Dr Kalim Siddiqui's final paper, ‘Political Dimensions of the Seerah'.

    The ICIT's publishing programme for the year 2000 includes papers by Muhammad Al-Asi, Zafar Bangash, Dr Basheer M. Nafi, Dr Kalim Siddiqui, Dr Perwez Shafi and Iqbal Siddiqui.

    The works of Dr Kalim Siddiqui, which make a massive and original contribution to contemporary Islamic political thought, are not as well known as they should be. ICIT also plans to use videotape, CD ROM and Internet technology to spread the ideas and understanding of the Islamic movement.

  4. Conferences and Seminars

    Over the last 20 years, international conferences have proved effective means of communicating the Islamic movement perspective to large numbers of people in the UK, North America, South Africa and Pakistan. We have also been able to contribute substantially to Islamic conferences in other parts of the world.

    Since its establishment early in 1998, the ICIT has already held major conferences in South Africa, the UK and Pakistan, designed to convey our Islamic movement perspective of history and current affairs to intellectuals, opinion-makers and ordinary people.

    Seminars, of a higher academic level than conferences, are also important for developing the ideas of the Islamic movement, and the understanding of Muslims all over the world. The seminars that Dr Kalim Siddiqui convened in London in the 1980s played a major role in developing Muslim understanding of the Islamic Revolution in its early years. But the amount of intellectual work which remains to be done is enormous.

    The ICIT is planning to launch a programme of intellectual seminars and other work in London, North America and other centres. The first of these will be on the political ideas of the Islamic movement. The proceedings of these seminars will be published in monograph form for widespread distribution.

  5. Teaching and Lecture Courses

    Teaching and lecture courses are also an effective way of spreading the Islamic movement's ideas and perspective. Under Dr Kalim Siddiqui, the Muslim Institute ran courses on Islamic culture and history before the Islamic Revolution, and then shifted its emphasis to Islamic political thought, culture and philosophy, as well as to the study of the Revolution itself. In recent years, Crescent has run courses in journalism for Muslims in North America and South Africa.

    The ICIT plans to develop this work. All major western universities have large numbers of Muslim students studying secular and western subjects, but also looking for Islamic education. The ICIT plans to run supplementary undergraduate-level courses for Muslim undergraduates in London to give them the fundamentals of Islamic history and political thought from an Islamic movement perspective. This is especially important to counter the secular ideas being deliberately inculcated among young Muslims by the enemies of Islam.

  6. Research

    The political thought of the Islamic movement also needs to be developed, and work in other areas, including history and other social sciences, is also essential. Scholars working from an Islamic perspective are generally disparaged and marginalised by the mainstream of academia. They need to be assisted, encouraged and given a platform.

    One idea the ICIT hopes to implement for this purpose is the publication of a quarterly journal of Islamic political thought. It is hoped that this will be launched during 2000-01.
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5. The ICIT's international work
  1. London, UK

    London is a major base (along with Toronto) of the ICIT. London is a hub of international affairs of all kinds, and the global Islamic movement is no exception. The editorial offices of the Crescent International are now based in London, under Iqbal Siddiqui.

    London is also a centre for ICIT's publications, through Crescent Publications (UK) Ltd., which also distributes Crescent, and for the ICIT's seminars and conferences. Current and pending local activities include seminars, lectures and teaching courses. The ICIT's London operations are run by Iqbal Siddiqui and Dr Maqsood Ali Siddiqi.

  2. North America

    Toronto, Canada, was the base of the Crescent International until 1999. It is also the base of Zafar Bangash, Director of the ICIT. Toronto is now one of the ICIT's two major bases, and the ICIT's publications and operations centre for North America.

    The USA is widely recognised today as the ‘sole superpower' and the dominant force in the exploitative and decadent western civilization. As such, it is also the main enemy of Islam in the world. At the same time, it is home to a large Muslim community, both immigrant and indigenous, and representing every part and sector of the Ummah. This community is both under great threat in the US, and has the potential to play a massive and unique role in the Islamic movement. The ICIT is committed to helping the Muslims in North America to survive in their hostile environment, to understand their position in the global Ummah and to contribute to bettering the conditions of their fellow-Muslims elsewhere in the world.

  3. South Africa

    The ICIT's operations in South Africa are co-ordinated by the Crescent office in Pretoria. Muslims in South Africa are already well aware of the work of the global Islamic movement. They are well established and have a history of supporting Islamic causes. The ICIT held a major conferences there in August 1998 and February 2000. They follow conferences held by Crescent International in 1996 and 1997. Our publications are already widely distributed and read. Production and marketing of other products are planned.

  4. Pakistan

    The situation in Pakistan is critical. Pakistan has always been influenced by America, but its people have always been deeply committed to Islam. They have also been deeply moved and inspired by the example of the Revolution in Iran. It is now a battleground where the Americans, the Saudis and other enemies of the Islamic movement are fighting to limit the influence of the Islamic movement, even at the cost of the total disintegration of society. But Pakistan is also ripe for Islamic movement work.

    ICIT has operation centres in Islamabad and Karachi. The Crescent is distributed there and is very influential among sections of the English-reading population, including sympathetic opinion-makers. Plans for producing the Crescent locally, in both English and Urdu, in order to communicate with more people, are under active consideration. So too are plans for distributing ICIT publications widely in English and Urdu.

    A major conference, designed to plant our ideas deeper in the minds of local activists and intellectuals, was held in Islamabad in October 1998. This was followed by a lecture tour in Karachi. However, the need and potential for work in Pakistan are both immense. Further work will be launched with programs in Pakistan in the summer of 2000, insha'Allah.

  5. Other countries

    In other countries, our presence is mainly informal. However, Crescent is widely read, our publications are available and distributed, and we have important contacts who contribute to our work internationally and promote our ideas in their own areas. The potential for expansion in some areas, such as Malaysia, Australia and India, is huge, once ICIT operations are better established in its main bases.
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6. ICIT Publications

The ICIT's main publication is the twice-monthly Crescent International newsmagazine. This presents an Islamic movement perspective on current affairs, as well as discussing issues concerning the contemporary Islamic movement. (For more information, see section 4 above.)

The ICIT is also committed to publishing academic and other literature which develops and promotes the Islamic movement and the Islamic world view. Since its formation, the ICIT has published three major papers. These are:

  1. Political Dimensions of the Seerah
    by Dr Kalim Siddiqui (1998).

    This was Dr Siddiqui's final paper, written shortly before his death. It outlines his understanding of the need for a reinterpretation of the Seerah ‘from a power perspective' in order to draw lessons for the contemporary Islamic movement and the present situation facing the Ummah. In it, Dr Siddiqui suggested that a major research programme into the Seerah was required, which would involve work in many areas by scholars all over the world over a number of years, at least. The ICIT plans to work extensively in this area in the future, insha'Allah.

  2. The Seerah: A Power Perspective
    papers by Muhammad Al-Asi and Zafar Bangash (2000).

    This volume, the first of the ICIT's ‘Papers on the Seerah' series, consists of papers which seek to develop the ideas presented by Kalim Siddiqui in his Political Dimensions of the Seerah. Imam Al-Asi's paper, The Prophet (p) and Power, examines the theoretical basis for legitimacy, authority and power in Islam. Zafar Bangash's paper, Power in the Framework of the Seerah, traces the Prophet's acquisition of power through the various stages of his Prophethood.

  3. The Rise and Decline of the Arab-Islamic Reform Movement
    by Basheer M. Nafi (2000).

    This paper, in the ICIT ‘Papers on Muslim Political Thought' series, aims to construct a historical and conceptual framework for understanding recent Islamic reform movements in Arab countries and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

More papers are due for publications in the near future. Most of these will be new papers, although some will be papers which have previously been published but are little known, even among Islamic movement thinkers and activists.

The ICIT and Crescent Publications (UK) Ltd., its main publishing partner, which is based in London, also plan to re-issue and promote writings of Dr Kalim Siddiqui and other major Islamic movement intellectuals of the recent past whose work can contribute to the contemporary Islamic movement.

The ICIT is also aware that there is a great demand for material on Islamic movement affairs which can go into greater depth than is possible in Crescent International, but is not as heavy as books and academic papers. To fill this gap, the ICIT is planning a quarterly journal of Islamic news and political thought, to be launched sometime in 2000-01, insha'Allah.

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7. Conclusion

The global Islamic movement is more than a movement of individuals -- it is a movement of history. The task of establishing Islamic order, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala's prescription for good living in this world, all over the Muslim world, is massive and wide-ranging.

The Islamic Revolution in Iran, at the dawn of the fifteenth century hijri, has given the Islamic movement a boost which may prove the beginning of its rise to global success, insha'Allah. But the task of consolidating the Revolution, and repeating its success in other Muslim countries, may take the rest of the century or longer.

Few individuals play crucial roles in the turning of history. Rather, it is the collective effort of all Muslims each doing his/her part. All any individual can do is find one or more parts of the work to which he/she can contribute, and doing so to the best of his/her ability. The success of the movement of the whole will then depend on the will of Allah.

The task the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought has set out to do is just one part of the work required by the Islamic movement if it is to succeed. But we believe it is an important, indeed essential, part of the work. All we hope to achieve to have played our role in the future success of the Islamic movement, and to have served the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala in the process.

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Copyright: the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, London, 2000.
Website edited by Iqbal Siddiqui.
Website: islamicthought.org / e-mail:
This page published: April 17, 2000. Last updated: April 17, 2000.

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About the ICIT

The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought
an intellectual centre of the global Islamic movement

The ICIT: an introduction

This is an up-dated version of an introductory document first published in July 1998. It provides a fuller introduction to the aims, objectives and work of the ICIT.


  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. The structure of the ICIT
  4. The work of the ICIT
  5. The ICIT's international work
  6. ICIT Publications
  7. Conclusion