The current political landscape of the Muslim community is one that is dominated
by Islamist groups. The South Asian Jamaat-e-Islami finds its outlet via the Muslim
Council of Britain, the Islamic Foundation in Leicester, the UK Islamic Mission
and a conglomeration of organisations based in East London Mosque, one of the
largest and most influential in the country. The Muslim Brotherhood used the
protests against the war in Iraq to project itself onto the national stage via the
Muslim Association of Britain and, more recently, the British Muslim Initiative.
It is only in recent years, particularly since 7/7, that non-Islamist groups have
emerged to challenge their control and present an alternative political agenda. Yet
this Islamist dominance has not come about organically. It is the result of years,
decades even, of Islamist activism and agitation within a Muslim community in
which the older generation is politically much more moderate than their children.
In the same way that al-Qaeda declared war on America in 1996, but nobody paid
attention until September 2001, so Islamists in Britain had already fought and, in
many places, won the battle for hearts and minds long before most people were
aware there was even a fight to be joined.
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