The Islamicate project has been in existence for just over two years. From the outset, the project was very much intended to be a pilot; an opportunity for those involved to explore new ideas and approaches with regards to Muslims living in Britain, and to primarily engage a readership of diligent Muslims committed to their faith and concerned with the role it plays in the various facets of their life as British citizens.
In many respects, the project has exceeded our expectations. Although it required a small number of committed personnel, we used very little resources and didn’t engage in fundraising. Our readership has been much larger than we initially anticipated, and they have engaged with the arguments and propositions presented by our contributors. In many instances, the articles were highly opinionated and this was done intentionally; after all, the only way to test the strength of an idea is to think about it and then present it to an open forum subjecting it to scrutiny. We hoped to inculcate a culture amongst Muslims that would help to establish a mature attitude towards religious and political debates as well as demonstrating that we can do so with civility.
Over the past two years, some readers have opined that Islamicate has done little in terms of offering solutions to the problems confronting the Muslim community. Whilst in some respects this is a valid criticism, solutions can only be offered once we, as a community, have fully understood both the variables and complexities around the issues we face. The superficial understanding with which we attempt to address them has manifested itself time and again, from the discussions that take place amongst Muslims in private gatherings, to the public appearances of Muslim commentators. A persistent problem is that many do not systematically consider issues, or otherwise feel at liberty to openly express views without any basis, and this is what our writers wished to address. Islamicate was never intended to be a medium for providing ‘solutions’ (and even where it tangentially suggested some it was interesting to see how people reacted) but a forum for people to express their thoughts on how we might arrive at them.
The time has now come for the editorial team to evaluate what we have learned from this phase of the project, and how we might improve things in the future. For this reason, we feel the most sensible course of action would be to take the website offline, to give us some space to evaluate the things that went well, and more importantly, to identify the areas where there is room for improvement. We hope to re-launch the website in the future upon the culmination of this process, with a fresh look and content that reflects substance and quality.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have taken the time to read Islamicate articles, offer your comments, and spread the word. We hope the conversations that we initiated served to aid in developing your thoughts and initiate a process of re- evaluation, just as your discussions with some of our writers has enriched their thoughts and informed their approaches. We ask Allah to grant us humility and wisdom, to engender within us civility and gratitude, and guide us to that which is upright and true.