Mark Bryant

Mark Bryant

Development Officer for the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK , Cardiff University and lead academic producer for 'Muslims in Britain' course.

Location Cardiff, Wales


  • @MeesamAbbas welcome to the course. Your interest in the content is commendable and it will be interesting to other learners to hear a youth perspective on the various issues covered.

  • Welcome aboard @Shabana we hope the course will be of benefit to your practice and look forward to hearing your experiences in the field through the conversations

  • Welcome @IsaacMyers we hope the course will be of use to you with your work in pastoral support for students. We all know recent time have put a particular strain on the mental health of our learners.

  • That is an interesting observation @SobiaAsim I wonder if other learners have come across this situation

  • Hi, @SobiaAsim welcome to the course from the other side of the world. I am sure your insights into your practice in New Zealand will be an interesting addition to the discussions.

  • @TayyebTahir thank you - that makes sense and I understand you reasons for doing so

  • Thank you for your insight @Tayyeb. I was wondering if referring to "patients by their names even when talking about them in their absence" did not cause any issues with confidentiality.

  • Hi Lauren, it sounds as if this course may be of help in your important work of supporting Afgan refugees. As with many first-generation immigrants, language is a barrier to communicating with health providers and also a barrier to finding out what help is available in the first instance. Thank you for highlighting this important issue.

  • @LorraineThomas The University of Edinburgh has put together an FL MOOC "The Sharia and Islamic Law: An Introduction" that starts early next month.

  • @LorraineThomas (cont'd...)

    Sahar (Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales) is supported in her right to wear what she chooses by Holly Willoughby in contrast to Dr Taj Hargey. This exchange puts into question the popular idea that it is Muslim men who force women to wear such clothing.

    It is true that...

  • Hi @LorraineThomas. Re your statement "the vast majority wear black clothes". What do you base this on? The picture for this step shows an old lady who I photographed in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. I hope this image demonstrates that a range of colours can be "acceptable".

    The Wikipedia article on the Hijab (head scarf) is replete with images showing a riot of,...

  • @GrahamWright Chain migration refers to the process by which immigrants from a particular town or village follow other individuals from the same same location "back home" to the new area of settlement.

  • @BENROBERTS to be fair you didn't indicate "in the past 20 years" in your comment. I think this highlights an issue when using statistics as one can draw the line wherever makes one's point.

  • @BENROBERTS I think you might find that the IRA are, by far, "responsible for the majority of terrorism committed In the uk" according to the link you sent. Therefore people might argue that Irish Nationalism has presented "a greater threat and perpetrator of terror in the uk"

  • @MikWisniewski Thank you for your comment. Although it may be somewhat dated, you may the following piece of research useful in terms of empirical data regarding the media's portrayal of Muslims as alluded to in the video for this section:

  • Hi Lorraine. Yes it does include water. Basically it is 'Nil by mouth' to use the medical jargon. Pregnant women are not expected to fast.

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  • @BeeGreene Happy to help! The Qur'an as we know it today has not been modernised. It is written in Classical Arabic, which is perfectly understandable to contemporary speakers of modern Arabic. Indeed, it was fascinating for me to watch my wife reading the Birmingham Qur'an manuscript, which was carbon dated between 568 and 645AD - she had no problem...

  • @MikWisniewski Quite correct - thank you for pointing it out! I'll make sure that that's changed

  • @RebeccaMahmood You really need to cite sources for claims such as this in a social science based course. Also I am not sure of the relevance of your statement to this section or indeed the course.

  • Thank you for your reply Graham your input has been noted.

  • @MikWisniewski You've hit the nail on the head! These are exactly the questions that make more social science based research in this area necessary

  • Can I please request that you keep to the topic of the course as otherwise threads become confusing. Similarly, in keeping with FutureLearn's Code of Conduct, please ensure that posts are in the language of the course, or at the very least provide translations.

  • @NicolaJames You ask some very good questions, and indeed academics in our field are asking similar ones. I know that one of our PhD students' thesis is entitled "Understanding and Explaining the Economic Inactivity of Muslim Women"; unfortunately, as she has only recently finished, it will not be available for public consumption for a little while. You might...

  • @NicolaJames I can't speak for other courses. From the outset, this course has aimed to show learners an academic social science approach. It is unfortunate that you feel that the course does not encourage debate; to the contrary, it does, but such debate would need to work within the framework of an evidence based approach. Within that framework, arguments...

  • @NicolaJames On a personal note. As an add on to my previous comment.

    I have no idea to what extent "luck" played a part in Ayesha's journey thus far. What I do know is that an incredible amount of hard work and dedication was involved. She has secured a prestigious PhD scholarship in a highly competitive field and produces some groundbreaking work....

  • @NicolaJames I would urge you embrace the great opportunity presented in this course to engage more usefully with real Muslims living in the UK. It appears, when you are presented with evidence, in the form of testimony, you seem to dismiss it as an exception but offer no evidence as to why. Ayesha's replies to you form a fascinating insight into the life of...

  • @GrahamWright As stated in the description, the video is exploring the Qur'an and its "significance to Muslims". As such, it is of course "partisan" in that it is an exploration of the Muslim viewpoint - the "Muslims believe that..." part can be taken for granted considering the context. Similarly, "the portrayal of Muhammad as an all around good guy" is a...

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  • @TonyMay Re:Your comment - "when I raise "Islam" people invariably respond with "Muslims"." I would remind you, once again, that this is a course that deals with Muslims in Britain and their lived experiences. It is not a course on theology; it does not deal with "Islam", or indeed the truth or worthiness of any religious tradition. It also does not look...

  • @TonyMay I would remind you that when you signed up for this course you agreed to abide to the code of conduct. By doing so I would point out that you did indeed accept the courses restrictions. Esposing views that are regarded as extreme fall within the code and such comments will be deleted as per the code you agreed to.

  • @LorraineThomas Hi Lorraine, so glad I was able to clear this up. It's great that you are undertaking this course - hopefully you will continue to gain from it!

  • @TonyMay Thank you for the clarification. I'm not sure that a quote from a Victorian Prime Minister calling the Qur'an an "accursed book" means that people in the 21st century would not regard this as an extreme religious view (and therefore in conflict with the Code of Conduct), especially considering contemporary, more enlightened sensibilities around this...

  • Hi @LorraineThomas I hope I didn't give the impression that I was making any claims about who is or isn't a "good" Muslim in my comment - that's not really what we're here to do on this course. As sociologists of religion, we wouldn't want to (or even cannot) really make these kinds of judgements - and indeed, many Muslims would say that such judgment is...

  • Tony please explain what you mean by the "-------- book" - so other learners can understand your meaning

  • Welcome Fayette. Your story sounds fascinating. I hope you will enjoy the social science focused course and am sure other learners will benefit from your engagement.

  • Hi Sara - I am glad you found the talk interesting. Here is the link for anyone who would like to see it.

  • Mazz B comments are removed by futurelearn moderators if the breech the code of conduct you agreed to when signing onto the course.

  • Hi Nicola. I think the point here is that Muslims can indeed be described as a 'distinct' group that have some particular social policy needs. Facilities for daily prayers could be described as such a need. This is in line with other distinct groups eg other religions and LBGT community.

  • @TonyMay I would ask you to remember this course's Code of Conduct when dealing with other learners. Your usage of the phrase "Aspergers like literalism" is insensitive and quite probably offensive to both your fellow learners and people on the Autism spectrum.

    You are quite right to point out the inconsistency in 1.19 - thank you for that, I will make...

  • Hi Mik. Recitation is not one of the five pillars; as you will see from the next section (1.13-1.21) they are: Declaration of faith, Prayer, Fasting, Alms giving and Pilgrimage. The ability to recite Qur'anic verses in Arabic e.g. during prayers does not require an understanding of the language. Around the world (including in the UK) there are Muslims who...

  • Hi Mik. An ability to speak Arabic has never been a precursor of adherence to the faith. Bear in mind the vast majority of Muslims throughout the world do not and never have spoken Arabic. Muslims will generally speak the language of their country. So Indonesians (largest Muslim population at over 200 million) speak indonesian as their official language...

  • Hi John. The Hajj takes place in the last month of the Islamic year. The feast of Eid Al-Adha marks the end of the Hajj. You must only complete the Hajj if you are physically and financially able. Umrah, also known as the lesser Hajj, can be undertaken any time of the year and incorporates some of the activities of the Hajj but is not one of the five pillars...