HE has faced death threats for his beliefs and claims to be the only person living under a fatwa in the UK.

But instead of shrinking from the limelight, Scottish scholar Paigham Mustafa has pledged to step up his efforts to question Islamic teaching by setting up a new think tank  to reverse “Muslim social self-exclusion” and ensure greater integration for the community in the UK..

Mr Mustafa as targeted by Muslims in Glasgow and had to seek police protection after he spoke out about the more restrictive practices of Islam being propagated by Mosques.

In response, he says that 15 imams issued the fatwa  - or ruling - calling for other Muslims to take action against him.

He has since been threatened with beheading by extremists after he claimed fasting between dawn and sunset during the month of Ramadan is not a requirement in the Quran, and has sought the protection of the police.


Paigham Mustafa

The father of three, said that many Muslims were being taught "cultural" lessons which strayed from the true meaning of Islam.

He believes the community has allowed itself to become isolated and backwards-looking, and has called on his fellow Muslims to be more open to Western values.

Mr Mustafa who spent several years writing his book 'The Quran: God’s Message to Mankind', said: “It is high time that British Muslims become pro-active instead of reactive. The murders and mayhem perpetrated by misguided Muslim militants in the UK, and the continuing radicalisation of disaffected Muslim youth makes this a topmost priority.

“Logic, rationalism and pluralism must become the true hallmarks of British Islam to replace blind ritualism, outdated tribalism and a religious zealotry that are all predicated upon a largely anachronistic foreign-infused belief system.”

The new organisation, named the Oxford Institute for British Islam (OIBI) says that it will "not be beholden" to medieval theological interpretations, misogynistic patriarchal biases, archaic political baggage, outmoded cultural norms, irrelevant tribal customs or bygone practices from "distant ancestral homelands".

HeraldScotland: David Thompson of West Midlands Police said his force "would have to consider" any such request to wear a burka.

The wearing of the Burka has come in for criticism recently

Mr Mustafa is its co-founder, alongside Dr Taj Hargey, the imam at Oxford Islamic Congregation and Director of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, who last week supported Boris Johnson’s views on the burka.

Work is being undertaken to secure funding from UK donors, and OIBI will officially launch in early 2019 from premises in Oxford.

It is intended to be an educational unit and research foundation which will address the secular needs and spiritual concerns of British Muslims, combining the worlds of religion, politics, society and philosophy.

OIBI’s goal is to become the chief catalyst for developing fresh intellectual rigour as well as championing positive socio-political and religious momentum within the British Muslim community.

The plan is to establish an independent publishing arm to distribute research output, and launch a new Journal of British Islam, which will print original articles and provocative submissions from across the religious, philosophical and political divide.


Mr Mustafa has criticised "cultural" practices for influencing Islam

“Muslim social self-exclusion has become a largely voluntary phenomenon within the UK. This tendency towards Muslim segregation must be reversed to reduce social tensions, youth disaffection, juvenile criminality, economic deprivation, political disillusion and community alienation,” said Mr Mustafa.