FULLY BOOKED THIRD PARTY EVENT: Who are the Tablighi Jamaat?

Talk September 27, 2012 6:00 PM

Organised by Lapido Media with photography by Jeremy Hunter.

The ‘ante-chamber of terror’ as the French security service is said to have dubbed the Tablighi Jamaat, or an other-worldly group of Muslims dedicated to piety and preaching? A movement of separatist, supremacist misogynists bent on the Islamisation of Europe, or a misunderstood part of Britain’s multicultural mosaic?

This little-known Muslim association whose name means ‘the preaching group’ has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to secure planning permission for its new world centre or markaz in Newham – yet scholars are completely at odds over its purpose and ethos.

This event launches Tablighi Jamaat by Dr Zacharias Pieri – the first of an authoritative new series Handy Books for Journalists on Religion in World Affairs published by Lapido Media.


Ziauddin Sardar, prolific writer, broadcaster and scholar of different Islams who wrote the three-part documentary Life of Mohammed broadcast in 2011 by BBC2. He is a former adviser to Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the Malaysian opposition; founding Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and a regular contributor to the nation’s better newspapers, including the New Statesman. Author of Balti Britain and Desperately Seeking Paradise in which he describes his own encounter with the TJ, he is the founding editor of the ground-breaking quarterly Critical Muslim (Hurst) and Chair of the Muslim Institute.

Dan Damon, former war correspondent who covered the Middle East and Bosnia with his camerawoman wife, Sian, is founder of News Network International and Sony Gold Award-winning presenter of the BBC World Service’s daily news magazine, World Update.

Jeremy Hunter, renowned photojournalist who specialises in the religious festivals of remote societies and is the only photographer to get official permission to photograph the Tablighi Jamaat’s little-known ‘gathering’ in Bangladesh that attracts more Muslims than the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Hunter contributes to The Sunday Times, The Telegraph Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine, The Guardian, Mail on Sunday, Conde Nast Traveller, /i>GEO, Stern, and many travel-related magazines. His reportages have been recognised with two UNESCO awards.

Dr Zacharias Pieri, is a political sociologist with extensive ethnographic research experience of British Muslim communities. Tablighi Jamaat in Britain is based on two years observation of the TJ in Newham. His current research is directed at identity politics and Islam in contemporary societies.

This event marks the fifth anniversary of the international religious literacy charity Lapido Media.