The establishment of the Solas Foundation is an important moment for Scottish Muslims, Scotland and the rest of the British Isles.
Islam directs man towards the Eternal, and yet roots him into the local. All over the world, whether in Turkey, Morocco or China, Islam has cultivated deep roots into local cultures as Muslims have adapted themselves to their respective local environments.
This is happening in Europe today, and Scotland through the Solas Foundation is leading the way. It is lead by two scholars - Glaswegians - who have travelled the world to immerse themselves in the Islamic tradition in its depth and subtlety. They understand what Islam is, and how it should be practised. Simultaneously, they are proud of their Scottish heritage and are well-placed to help define and build a new Scottish Muslim identity - one that is true to its faith and country.
They have already established a new programme of study - the iSyllabus - which help meets the needs of second and third generation Scottish Muslims and the remarkable success of this programme is proof of the fact that young Scottish Muslims today want to stay true to their faith whilst living in today's modern context. The Solas Foundation is at the cutting edge of Islam in Europe today.
I, like many others, look forward to its development and progress. I wish them every success, give them my full support and ask all to join hands with the Solas Foundation so that it can become a source of strength, wisdom, creativity and support for Scottish Muslims in particular and the wider Scottish community in general.
PROFILE: After studying psychology and philosophy at City University, Dr. Atif Imtiaz completed a PhD in social psychology at the London School of Economics on Muslim identity politics. He has been active in Muslim community life for over two decades. He was part of the Young Muslims UK and FOSIS in the 90s serving on the national committee for both organisations and has since studied Sufism with Shaykh Nuh Keller. More recently he worked as an Equality and Diversity advisor to NHS Bradford and Airedale. He has advised the British government on deradicalisation, Bradford Council on integration, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Healthcare Commission and the BBC. 'Wandering Lonely in a Crowd' is his first book and contains a series of reflections on recent debates that affect the Muslim community.
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