Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, has warned recently of ‘sleepwalking our way to segregation’. Although he was not speaking principally about Muslims, they have become perhaps the most dominant group in British society. Divided along ethnic and sectarian lines, Muslims are nevertheless united by their creed, their law and the powerful concept of the umma, the totality of Muslims worldwide.
The process of migrating and establishing a Muslim community in a non-Muslim context has an important place in Islamic theology. The word hijra is used to describe such a migration, in particular the migration of Mohammed and his followers in ad 622 from Mecca, where they were persecuted, to Medina where they established the first Islamic state.