Salafism: A Challenge to Social Cohesion in the UK

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Salafism: A Challenge to Social Cohesion in the UK

24th November 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Salafi Muslims are devoted to emulating the traditions of the salaf, the first three generations of Muslims that followed the prophet’s revelations in the 7th century. Instructed to fraternise only with other Salafis – and so reject their families and friends if they do not follow the doctrine – they reject Western media, literature, music, art and intellectual concepts associated with western thought, whether from economics, education, ethics or politics.

Salafi Imams contrast the creed with the ‘spiritual poverty’ of most Muslims today, condemn all later developments in religion and culture after the prophet’s era, which would include Shiism, Sufism, and even non-Salafist Sunni Islam, as worthless heresy and all other Muslims sects as apostates, while all non-Muslims are viewed as subhuman and destined for hell. They claim to offer the most pure and authentic Islam, with rules for daily living sourced from Medieval scriptures.

A very socially conservative movement, particularly concerning women, Salafi women wear the ‘niqab’ full face veil, believe a woman should obey her husband and be secluded from non-related men, which limits her options for economic activity.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to this timely discussion on Salafism in the UK. What is driving the growth this anti-modern, anti-Western and anti-integration religious movement, now the fastest growing Islamic sect in the UK ?  What are the implications for social cohesion of the increased uptake of a faith identity of Medieval Arab origin, distinct from the Muslim mainstream as well as the majority British culture ?  Is not a segregated lifestyle and supremacist thought system liable to become more extreme in the absence of engagement with moderating views?



Usama Hasan is a research consultant at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change specialising in developing Islamic theological critique of, and alternatives to, Islamist extremism. His focus areas include developing policy and programmatic interventions to support deradicalization efforts in the UK and internationally, and Islamic approaches to religion-state relationships.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and also Imam at Tawhid Mosque, London. He has a PhD from Imperial College London, an MA from the University of Cambridge,  has previously been a Planetarium Lecturer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and a Director of The City Circle. He is a member of the Muslim Reform Movement, which advocates for ‘a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam’. and of the Against Violent Extremism and UK Counter-Terrorism advisory networks and a regular contributor to national and international media.




Canada-based ex-Muslim Yasmine Mohammed is the author of “Unveiled”, is a memoir/polemic that recalls her experiences growing up in a fundamentalist Islamic household and her arranged marriage to a member of Al-Qaeda. She advocates for the rights of women living within Muslim majority countries, as well as those who struggle under religious fundamentalism in general. She is the founder of Free Hearts Free Minds, an organization that provides mental health support for members of the LGBT community and freethinkers living within Muslim majority countries- where both ‘crimes’ can be punished by execution.

A member of the prestigious Center for Inquiry (CFI) Speaker’s Bureau, she has spoken in Canadian parliament on M103 and ‘Islamophobia’, in Ivy League universities such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Dartmouth and for many organizations including: The Freedom From Religion Foundation, Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation, Ayn Rand Institute, and Think Inc. She is the Board Directors for Humanist Global Charity. Yasmine been featured on CNN, CBC, BBC, ABC Australia, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Charlie Hebdo, Le Point, The Jerusalem Post, and many others.


Dr Wasiq Wasiq is an Associate Fellow at Henry Jackson Society currently completing Ph.D in War Studies at King’s College London. With a particular expertise in islamism, Wasiq focuses on the issue of how non-violent Islamism is threatening western democracies.  Wasiq was one of two lay advisors on the Singh Investigation, which reported this year into alleged discrimination and ‘Islamophobia’ in the Conservative Party. Wasiq has a BA (Hons) in Music Technology, a Masters in Educational Leadership from UCL and is founding trustee for the charity Muslims Against Antisemitism (MAAS). Wasiq Wasiq currently writes extensively on matters of extremism and terrorism and antisemitism for a number of well-known media outlets such as: Harry’s Place, Jewish News, Spiked and The Mallard. Furthermore, Wasiq has also appeared on broadcast media such as GB News and LBC.



Hannah Baldock is a Research Fellow within the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society. A former foreign affairs journalist and business intelligence consultant, she has 15 years experience of researching and analysing evolving geo-political events and political and business risk. Since the summer 2017 terror attacks she has been researching Islamist extremism, its origins, goals, methods and the risk it poses to Western secular democracies, as well as its symbiosis with Far Left and Far Right extremism. She has an MA in Spanish and French from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism from City University, London.





On the 24th November 2021, Hannah Baldock, a Research Fellow within the Centre on Radicalization and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society, Usama Hasan, a Research Consultant at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Yasmine Mohammed, author of “Unveiled”, and Dr Wasiq Wasiq, an Associate Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society discussed Salafi Muslims and their devotion to emulating the traditions of the salaf, the first three generations of Muslims that followed the prophet’s revelations in the 7th century. The panellists began by discussing Salafi Islam and how it was a challenge to social cohesion in the UK. They discussed the principles of Salafism and how those differed within the Islam religion.  


24th November 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


United Kingdom


Dr Usama Hasan, Yasmine Mohammed


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