There are several types of Islamic organisation in the UK, including civil society groups, campaigning bodies, think tanks, and charities. This CREST guide focuses on a number of the better known and more influential organisations.

In addition to mosques and sectarian reform movements, the public face of Islam in the UK is composed of diverse organisations, including those that represent British Muslims, provide space for discussion, lobby and campaign, and raise funds for charity.

The CREST guide covers civil society organisations and campaigning groups as well as charities including:

  • Cage
  • The City Circle
  • iEngage/MEND
  • Inspire
  • Islamic Relief
  • Muslim Aid
  • Muslim Hands
  • Penny Appeal
  • Tell Mama
  • Quilliam

Key points

Since the late 1980s, British Muslims have founded Islamic organisations to represent their interests nationally and to work with government and other civil society groups. These have included the UK Action Committee on Islamic Affairs, the Muslim Council of Britain, the British Muslim Forum, the Sufi Muslim Council, the Muslim Association of Britain, the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, and the Federation of Student Islamic Societies.

In addition to mosques and Islamic reform movements, there are several other types of Islamic organisation in the UK, including civil society groups, campaigning bodies, think tanks and charities.

Muslim organisations have been established with diverse objectives in mind, including open debate and discussion, advocacy, campaigning, critique of Government policy, the reporting and recording of anti-Muslim attacks and media coverage, consciousness-raising of gender issues, countering extremism, global development, and fundraising.

Civil society organisations are not aligned in their interests or wider relationships; in some cases, they are in competition or dispute with one another. Claims by some that others work too closely with Government are common, whilst others critique those they hold to be extremist or Islamist.

British Muslims have founded charities to provide humanitarian aid and development funding worldwide (including for UK causes) and to collect and distribute the obligatory Islamic alms, zakat.

Young Muslim volunteers see charity work as providing opportunities for active citizenship and ethical living.

Allegations about charities having extremist links and providing support to terrorists have been made but rarely substantiated in later investigations.