Sufism in Britain – Conference

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Tuesday 13 April 2010; University of Gloucestershire
Tiered Lecture Theatre, FCH Campus,
Swindon Road, Cheltenham

Sufism is a movement in Islam that has contributed immensely to its expansion, especially in the non-Arab regions of the world. The mystical movement in Islam is noted for its diversity, its eclecticism, and its dynamism. This conference explores the nature of Sufism in the United Kingdom and its relationship with other Islamic strands and ideologies in this country.


10.15 – 10.45 Registration and Coffee

10.45 Welcome: Prof. Patricia Broadfoot, Vice Chancellor/Dr Shelley Saguaro, Head of Department of Humanities, University of Gloucestershire

10.50 – 11.35 Rt. Rev. Prof. Kenneth Cragg (Oxford), Factors in the Development of Islamic Sufism

11.40 – 12.25 Dr Muhammad Seddon (University of Chester)
Shaykh Abdullah Ali al-Hakimi, The Alawi Tariqah and British Yemenis

12.35 – 1.10 Sadek Hamid (University of Chester)),
The Rise of the Traditional Islam Scene; Neo-Sufism and British Muslim Youth

1.10 – 2.00 Lunch

2.05 – 2.50 Sariya Contractor (University of Gloucestershire)
Online Sufism – Young British Muslims, their internet ‘selves’ and virtual reality
Dr Ian Draper (University of Birmingham)
Cyberspace as Tariqua space – Wird (Qur’anic verses) and Wazifas (Divine names and attributes) Online among the Haqqaniyya and the Qadiri-Budshishiyaa Sufi Orders.

3.00 – 3.45 Dr Theodore Gabriel (University of Gloucestershire)
Expressions of Spirituality in Islam – unity and diversity in Sufi thought and practice

3.45 Vote of thanks: Dr Theodore Gabriel / Tea

FEES: £16 (£8 for students and the unwaged; £5.00 for students of University of Gloucestershire). Tea/Coffee will be served morning and afternoon.

A sandwich lunch (to include sandwiches, crisps, cookies, fruit and coffee/tea) will be available if ordered when your booking is made. The cost for this is £5.50 and should be sent with your conference fee.


Rt. Rev. Prof. Kenneth Cragg is Assistant Bishop of Oxford, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, and an author who has published prodigiously on the theme of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. He is the author of The Call of the Minaret; The Wisdom of the Sufis, Counsels in Contemporary Islam, and Muhammad and the Christian among numerous other volumes.

Dr Mohammad Siddique Seddon obtained his PhD in Religious Studies at University of Lancaster and is currently Director of the Centre for Applied Muslim Youth and Community Studies (CAMYCS), Lecturer in Muslim Studies and Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Chester. His research interests are historical and contemporary issues relating to Islam and British Muslim communities. He has published a number of related works and books including, British Muslims: Loyalty and Belonging, (2003), British Muslims, Between Assimilation and Segregation: Historical, Legal & Social Realities, (2004), and, The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Islam (2009).

Sadek Hamid is Lecturer in Muslim Youth work in the University of Chester. His research interests are in young British Muslims and religious activism, exploring the contemporary impact of different Islamic youth movements who were at the forefront of efforts to promote religious revival upon second and third generation Muslim communities in the UK He is the author of “Islamic Political Radical Radicalism in Britain: The Case of Hizb-ut Tahrir” in Islamic Political Radicalism: A European Comparative, Edinburgh University Press, 2007. and “The Attraction of Authentic Islam: Salafism and British Muslim Youth” in Salafism: A Global Movement, Hurst. London. 2009.

Sariya Contractor is a doctoral student in the Department of Education, University of Gloucestershire, and author of Is humility the essence of greatness? an article on Prophet Muhammad, and Hijab Empowering Women. Her doctoral research is on ‘Muslim Women in Multicultural Britain: Exploring the Inter-play between Islam, Ethnic Culture and Integration’.

Dr Ian Draper is lecturer in Islam and Contemporary Religion at University of Birmingham. He has worked as a youth and community worker among Muslim communities in Birmingham and as principal researcher in a project on transnational Sufism. His research interests are in Sufism in cyber space and the use of talismans among Sufi pirs in the United Kingdom. He is the author of “Transnational Sufism: the Haqqaniyya” in Sufism in the West (London, 2006) and “From Celts to Kaaba: Sufism in Glastonbury’ in Living Sufism in Europe and North America (London: Curzon RKP, 2004)

Dr Theodore Gabriel is an Honorary Research Fellow in Religious Studies in the Department of Humanities at the University of Goucestershire and was formerly Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education. He is the author of numerous volumes on Islam, the most recent being Christian Citizens in an Islamic State: The Pakistan Experience. He is Co-Editor of the forthcoming volume of essays Islam and the Veil, Continuum Books.

To attend, please contact:

Mrs P Downes, Department of Humanities, University of Gloucestershire
Francis Close Hall, Swindon Road, Cheltenham, GL50 4AZ
Enquiries: Telephone: 01242 714570 Fax: 01242 714826
Email: or

Or book on line (Events) at

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