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Philanthropist funds scholarships to study Islam in the UK

10 May 2018

Yousef Abdul Latif Jameel

A philanthropist’s £850,000 gift to fund research into Islam in the UK, with a unique emphasis on scholars’ social responsibilities, will make a “positive difference to the lives of British Muslims”.

Yousef Abdul Latif Jameel is again supporting MA and PhD scholarships at Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK as part of the Yousef Jameel Academic Program.

This is his fourth gift to the centre taking the total to more than £2.5m since his first in 2009.

The centre, part of the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, was set up in 2005 and has become the leading academic institution for research and teaching about Islam and Muslims in Britain.

Mr Jameel said: “I am delighted to continue my support of the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University.

“The Jameel scholarships allow top students to undertake research into the major issues affecting Muslims in Britain in the 21st century, helping to promote a better understanding of Islam in the wider society.”

Professor Sophie Gilliat-Ray, the centre’s director, said: “The new funding consolidates the reputation of Cardiff University as THE place for postgraduate level social scientific study of Islam and Muslims in Britain.

“Mr Jameel values the fact that our research is directed towards improving knowledge of Islam and Muslim communities in Britain and aims to make a positive difference to the lives of British Muslims.”

Mr Jameel’s gift will provide nine MA scholarships, three PhD scholarships, two postdoctoral positions and a part-time administrative post.  

One of the postdoctoral scholars is a specialist in religion/Islam in the media, and in particular, the involvement of Muslims in journalism.

Jameel scholars’ previous work has included exploring the economic activity of Muslim women; how Islam promotes wellbeing and social welfare; and Muslim music in Britain.

TJ Rawlinson, the University’s Director of Development and Alumni Relations, said: “We are most grateful for our continuing partnership with Mr Jameel."

Mr Jameel asks each scholar to volunteer with the local Muslim community to “foster a strong sense of social responsibility”, which complements the strong ethos of community engagement in the centre’s research and activities.

PhD scholar Matthew Vince, who has volunteered as a teaching assistant at a local Muslim primary school, said the community volunteering was one of the most attractive aspects of the scholarships.

He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at school, and the chance to give back was immensely important to me both academically and personally.

“The Jameel scholarship is unique for this reason; embedding its commitment to social engagement in its scholarship model to foster ongoing relationships between academics and the wider community.”

Laura Jones, who completed an MA scholarship last year, said: “The Jameel scholarship has been invaluable for me in improving my social research skills, a field I envisage continuing in for my future career. The skills and knowledge gained through my MA also enabled me to secure a role coordinating an international conference on peaceful coexistence, after completing my degree.

“The community engagement part of the course, particularly working with local mosques, allowed me to gain valuable insights for my postgraduate research, gave me opportunities for fieldwork and meant that I could give something back to the communities who informed my work.”

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