Letter: Popular religion

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Reading Paul Vallely's article "The New Muslims" (3 November), one cannot help wondering whether the media will ever spare the Muslims and Muslim organisations in this country.

Paul Vallely's sweeping remark that the Islamic Foundation "was founded by members of Pakistan's militant Jamiat-i-Islami Party, but ... has more recently received funding from the Saudis and other Gulf states," is untrue.

None of the three founding trustees has ever been a member of the Jamiat- i-Islami, Pakistan. The Foundation's board of trustees consists of many different nationalities, including five British, three Pakistani, two Saudi, one Kuwaiti, one Malaysian, one Kenyan and one Egyptian. As for its funding, all of it comes from book sales, conference centre income, income from endowments and contributions from trustees and other well- wishers. It has never received any state funding, from Saudi Arabia or other Gulf states.

The Islamic Foundation is primarily a research and academic organisation. It runs post-graduate courses at the neighbouring Loughborough University. It organises seminars and conferences and publishes books. It has a very modern library used by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars and researchers. To try to give this organisation a militant label is mischievous.

ABDUR RASHID SIDDIQUI

Secretary, Board of Trustees

The Islamic Foundation

Markfield, Leicestershire

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