British Muslims have been unsettled by the combination of a generational gap in leadership and politically motivated extremists, Dr Anshuman Mondal told a panel of distinguished commentators on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze.
Called upon as an expert witness for the topical discussion programme, he added that a younger generation of Muslims were bringing positive change, but that it would take some time to take effect.
Dr Mondal, a reader in English at Brunel University London, said that although the question of a crisis in Muslim leadership had cultural origins it was the politically ideological agenda of jihadists creating the biggest division.
Cross-examined by priest and journalist Giles Fraser, and former Secretary of State for Defence Michael Portillo, Dr Mondal added that, until very recently, Muslim leadership has been in the hands of elders that younger people challenge, distrust and don’t listen to.
However, of the 2.7 million Muslims in the UK only an estimated 20,000 are extremists and sympathisers, while the Islamic Society of Britain has recently demonstrated modern thinking by electing its first female chair. Outside of a highly politicised agenda, Dr Mondal argued, there are clear examples of moral leadership among British Muslims.
The programme can be found here.