Muslim chaplains connect communities to public bodies

Muslim chaplains in Britain play a key role linking their communities with public organisations, research by Cardiff University has found.

It found a rapidly growing number of Muslims in a sphere of work usually associated with the Christian faith. Chaplains can be found in prisons, hospitals, airports, courts, higher education and the military, with some people describing them as role models. A conference at the university will discuss the project on Thursday.

The research involved interviews with 65 Muslim chaplains, both male and female. It observed them at work, and spoke to the people they were working with. Led by Dr Sophie Gilliat-Ray of the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, it is aimed at finding out more about the background, training, role and impact of Muslim chaplains in Britain.

“Chaplaincy is a rapidly expanding sphere of work for Muslim religious professionals in the UK, but we know very little about the work and role of these chaplains,” said Dr Gilliat-Ray. “We wanted to answer questions such as: Who decides to become a Muslim chaplain? What is involved in Muslim chaplaincy practice? What is the impact of Muslim chaplaincy within and beyond the institutions they serve?”

BBC News, 22 September 2011