AT ONE O’CLOCK in the afternoon, a handful of young Muslims gather for prayers in Blackburn, Lancashire. They are not meeting in a purpose-built mosque, however, but in a couple of sparsely furnished rooms above a chemist’s shop—a kind of startup prayer room. Everyone is welcome, says Mohammed Lorgat, a congregant, for “a chat and a brew”. There are “no questions at the door”, he says; the gathering is non-denominational and non-sectarian.
Haroon Sidat (pictured above), the 32-year-old imam who leads the prayers, clubbed together with his friends’ families to buy the premises. They wanted a place to practise their faith in a way that reflected the cultural and linguistic norms of their generation, rather than those of their parents and grandparents. They are demanding a new way of following Islam, and a different type of imam. The consequences for British Islam could be profound.
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