Some prominent institutions from across the globe that speak in the name of Islam today have been selected for study. A few are located in Muslim-majority countries with off-shoots in the West, while the remaining represent initiatives that have primarily emerged in the West.
The institutions from Muslim-majority countries that are under study are:
- Al-Azhar University (Egypt)
- Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband (South Asia)
- Diyanet, the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Turkey)
- Al-Medina University (Saudi Arabia)
These institutions define Islam for the majority of Muslims in the world today. Their influence is not just restricted to their home countries. They all have a major, global following, although the extent of a particular institution’s influence in any western country tends to be in proportion to the national and ethnic make-up of the Muslim diaspora community. This is because historically mosques in Europe and the United States have tended to emerge along ethnic and linguistic lines. Once a diaspora community becomes relatively stable, it normally sponsors an imam from the home country to lead the mosque and to offer its children a basic Islamic education. In addition to the above institutions The Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) is being studied. CILE is a promising initiative and is a member of the College of Islamic Studies, part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University at the Qatar Foundation.
The western-based institutions and scholarship under study are:
- Alqueria de Rosales (Spain)
- Zaytuna College (United States)
- Professor Tariq Ramadan's scholarship (Oxford University and CILE)
Professor Tariq Ramadan and the scholars in these newer institutions argue for the use of reason and logic in understanding Islam. They emphasise how Islam, reason and western liberal spirit can not only co-exist, but that Islam has and can make a contribution to the development of the West.