Scottish Muslims are planning a radical campaign to play a greater role in the country’s civic life, to change the perceptions of their religion and to promote Scotland as an ideal country for Muslims to live and invest in.
Members of the newly formed Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF) are planning to launch the campaign, which will engage with issues such as the removal of nuclear weapons from Faslane and the environment.
Women will also be given a voice within mosques and will be encouraged to form committees to decide policies specific to them.
Traditional practices will be adapted to respond to Scottish society, with the intention of demonstrating the contribution Islam can make to the country, and a new mosque, currently being planned by a group of men and women that are mostly under 35, is expected to be built in East Renfrewshire, embodying the current thinking.
Hamza Yousaf, director of public affairs at the SIF, said: “We believe that the very nature of Islam adapts across the centuries, but what we are doing is trying to modernise ourselves and remind ourselves of what Islam actually says, reach out to the people of Scotland.”
As well as an ideological contribution, there are plans to contribute to Scotland’s economy. Last week, the SIF met with the head of Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar, after he spoke at the Edinburgh Television Festival, to discuss how Scotland can be promoted across the Islamic world.
Osama Saeed, chief executive of the SIF, said: “We showed arguably the most influential Arab around the hills and the lochs and he was really impressed. We also met with the deputy first minister and talked about how Scotland could promote itself and how little the Muslim world knows about Scotland.”
• Full story at the Sunday Herald.