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




The Muslim Institute, London 1974-1998

Until its decline following Dr Kalim Siddiqui's death in 1996, the Muslim Institute was a world-renowned centre of Islamic movement thought and activism, known for the seminars it held in different parts of the world, its books and papers, the Crescent International newsmagazine, and its role in the establishment of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain. The ICIT has been established to continue its work. This section of the ICIT website provides information about the Muslim Institute.

Information about the Muslim Institute

  1. A short introduction to the Muslim Institute

  2. The Muslim Institute -- setting out to change the world
    The second section of the biography of Dr Kalim Siddiqui, providing a fuller account of the principles, establishment and early work of the Muslim Institute.

  3. The Muslim Institute's work for the global Islamic movement
    The third section of the biography of Dr Kalim Siddiqui, explaining the Institute's role after the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

  4. The Draft Prospectus of the Muslim Institute
    The foundation document of the Muslim Institute, written by Dr Kalim Siddiqui (but authored by the Preparatory Committee of the Muslim Institute), and published in February 1974.

  5. Chronology of Muslim Institute work

  6. Muslim Institute publications

  7. More about Dr Kalim Siddiqui and his work

  8. More about the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain

  9. More about Crescent International, the newsmagazine of the Islamic movement



A short introduction to the Muslim Institute

The Muslim Institute emerged from talks in 1972-73 among a group of young Muslims in London led by the late Dr Kalim Siddiqui. Its foundation proper can be dated to the publication of the Draft Prospectus of the Muslim Institute, its foundation document, in 1974.

The early years

The Muslim Institute's initial object was to lay the intellectual groundwork for a revival of Islamic civilizational fortunes which Dr Siddiqui and his colleagues expected to occur at some stage in the future. These objectives are laid out in the Draft Prospectus. During the 1970s, the Institute arranged a series of events in London, primarily aimed at local and overseas Muslim students, designed to remind Muslims of the intellectual roots of Islam and encourage them to think of political and social science issues in Islamic terms rather than those of the west. In his writings at this time, Dr Siddiqui hypothesised the existence of the global Islamic movement which would develop the capability to re-establish Islamic civilization.

The Islamic Revolution and the global Islamic movement

The Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1978-79 was a turning point. Muslim Institute activists realized that this was a beginning of the revival of Islamic political fortunes which they had expected to occur decades in the future. The resources of the Muslim Institute were immediately committed to studying and supporting the Islamic Revolution itself, and also the global Islamic movement which it inspired.

During the 1980s, the Institute held a series of annual international seminars in London, at which members of the Islamic movement came together to discuss key issues and develop their understanding of them. The papers presented at these seminars, and later published, influenced the understanding of Islamic movements and activists around the world. Smaller seminars, lecture tours and courses were also arranged in other countries. This work, particularly overseas, continued on a smaller scale into the 1990s.

It was also immediately after the Islamic Revolution, in 1980, that the Crescent International, previously a Muslim communty paper in Toronto, Canada, was taken over by the Muslim Institute's publishing wing and converted to a 'newsmagazine of the global Islamic movement' under the editorship of Zafar Bangash. Alhumdulillah, it has continued in this role ever since.

The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain

In 1989, Salman Rushdie published his notorious book The Satanic Verses. Dr Kalim Siddiqui was at the forefront of Muslim reaction to it. At the same time, the Muslim Institute launched a research project into the position of Muslims in Britain, which resulted in the publication of The Muslim Manifesto in July 1990. This proposed the establishment of a 'Council of British Muslims'. The Muslim Institute also took on the task of establishing this institution, which was inaugurated as 'the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain' in January 1992.

The Muslim Parliament immediately acquired a far-higher public profile, as a community organization, than the Institute, an intellectual body, had ever had. Over the next few years, the greater part of the Muslim Institute's resources were committed to the development of the Muslim Parliament as a radically new type of Muslim community organization. Many of the Institute's traditional activities, such as conferences and seminars on global Islamic issues, were continued in the Parliament's name. The plan was to establish the Parliament as a separate and independent body once it was able to stand alone.

The Decline of the Muslim Institute

After Dr Siddiqui's death in April 1996, while attending a Muslim Institute/Crescent International conference in South Africa, he was succeeded as Director of the Muslim Institute by his assistant, Dr M. Ghayasuddin. Dr Ghayasuddin also became Leader of the Muslim Parliament. However, the Institute was unable to maintain its previous work and declined within two years to a point where it was effectively defunct. The Muslim Parliament continued to demand open access to its resources, but was also unable to maintain its development and momentum.

The Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought

Disillusioned with these developments, and unable to persuade the new leadership of the Muslim Institute and the Muslim Parliament to address the issues, a number of Muslim Institute members and associates, including Zafar Bangash (a Trustee of the Muslim Institute and editor of the Crescent International), Dr Maqsood Siddiqi (a Trustee of the Muslim Institute), and Iqbal Siddiqui (Dr Kalim's son), decided in 1998 to establish a new institution to continue the Muslim Institute's work. This became the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT).

Virtually all Dr Siddiqui's and the Muslim Institute's overseas friends, associates and contacts, including Imam Mohammed Al-Asi and Imam Abdul Alim Musa in the USA, Dr Perwez Shafi in Pakistan, and Dr Siddiqui's key contacts in Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria and other countries, transferred their affiliation to the ICIT.



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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.