SOAS University of London

New report from 'Universities and Muslim Seminaries Project' maps the Darul Uloom education sector and aims to strengthen and extend the sector’s ties with universities

8 June 2021

The Universities and Muslim Seminaries Project (UMSEP) led by Professor Dr Alison Scott-Baumann at SOAS University of London aims to build bridges between Darul Ulooms/ Muslim seminaries and mainstream universities. It has developed a toolkit for both types of institutions, and it seeks to continue offering support and strategic guidance to both.

First commissioned by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in 2019, Professor Dr Alison Scott-Baumann led a taskforce, which became known as the Universities and Muslim Seminaries Project (UMSEP). UMSEP is a community-led, Muslim-faith capacity-building initiative. The taskforce has explored the barriers to Darul Uloom (Muslim seminary) accreditation, and maps Muslim seminary graduates’ career paths after they leave their seminaries with no formal accreditation for their rigorous theological learning.

The report is the result of a five-month investigation in 2020 and builds strongly on twenty years of collective research and community engagement. The team comprised Shaykh Shams Adduha, Safiyya Dhorat, Dr Alyaa Ebbiary, Shahanaz Begum, Hasan Pandor and Julia Stolyar. 

The UMSEP research is the largest collection of Muslim HE and Training Institutions (METI) graduates’ data yet collected and attests to the significant obstacles to academic and career progression faced by METI graduates. Nevertheless, a third of METI graduates surveyed did go to university, with the majority having to study up to an additional four years after graduating without formal qualifications in their late teens and early twenties.

Alison Scott Baumann, Professor of Society and Belief said: 

“I’ve been working for twenty years with various British Muslim communities to develop cooperation between universities and Muslim seminaries. In 2010, I reported to the government on steps to take and in 2020 the government invited me to pick up these challenges again. Celebration of diversity and solidarity is very important and we have created better institutional understanding, co-operation and mutual respect.” 

The report will be launched online alongside a Q&A session via Zoom on Tuesday 8 June 2021 at 5.30pm (BST). Register online.

Read the report.