Yahya Birt

Yahya Birt

PhD Candidate

Summary: I am undertaking doctoral research on the social and intellectual history of postwar British Muslim activism, c.1960–c.1997.



Yahya completed a BA (Hons) in Comparative Religion from SOAS and an MPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford. In 2014 he started his doctorate after having won a Leeds 110 Anniversary research scholarship. In 2014–15, he was a PG Impact Fellow at the Centre for Religion and Public Life. In 2015–16, he is a PGR Tutor in the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, leading seminars in Introduction to the Study of Islam (THEO1015) in Semester One and Religion, Politics and Society in the Modern World (THEO1920) in Semester Two.


Islam and Muslims in Britain, Islam and Muslims in Europe, modern Muslim intellectual thought, sociology and anthropology of Islam, ethnicity and identity politics, state-Muslim community relations, Islamophobia studies, critical Muslim studies, decolonial theory

Select Publications


(with Ron Geaves, Liverpool Hope University) Abdullah Quilliam: Selected Writings (Markfield: Kube).

'Islamic Council of Europe', Encyclopaedia of Islam, third edition (Leiden: Brill).

'Patriotism or Islamism? Contemporary British Islam and the Afterlives of Abdullah Quillaim' in Jamie Gilham and Ron Geaves (eds) Abdullah Quilliam and Islam in the West (London: Hurst).


(with Dilwar Hussain and Ataullah Siddiqui) (eds) British Secularism and Religion: Islam, Society and the State (Markfield: Kube Publishing, 2011).

Chapters and Articles

(with Sadek Hamid, Liverpool Hope University) 'Jihadi Movements in the United Kingdom' in Frank Peter and Rafael Ortega (eds) Islamic Movements of Europe (London: I.B. Tauris, 2014), 171–173.

(with Sadek Hamid, Liverpool Hope University) ‘Movimietos «yihadíes» en Reino Undo’ in Frank Peter y Rafael Ortega (eds) Les movimentos islámicos transnacionales y la emergencia de un «islam europeo» (Madrid and Barcelonia: Biblioteca de Casa Árabe and Edicions Bellaterra, 2012), 231–235.

(with Phillip Lewis, University of Bradford) ‘Britanya’da İslami Reform Modeli: Müslüman tarikatçılığı ile daha geniş toplumla bağlar kurma arasında kalan Deobandiler’ in Martin van Bruinessen and Stefano Allievi (eds), Avrupa’da Müslüman Öznenin Üretimi: Fikirler, Bilinçler, Üretimi (Istanbul: İletişam, 2012), 143–184.

(with Philip Lewis, University of Bradford) ‘The Pattern of Islamic Reform in Britain: the Deobandis between intra-Muslim sectarianism and engagement with wider society’ in Martin van Bruinessen and Stefano Allievi (eds) Producing Islamic Knowledge: Transmission and Dissemination in Western Europe (London: Routledge, 2010), 91–120.

‘A Mosque Too Far: Islam and the Limits of British Multiculturalism‘ (with Sophie Gilliat-Ray, University of Cardiff) in Stefano Allievi (ed.) Mosques in Europe: Why a solution has become a problem (London: Alliance Publishing Trust, 2010), 135–152.

‘Governing Muslims after 9/11‘ in S. Sayyid and Abdoolkarim Vakil (eds) Thinking Through Islamophobia: Global Perspectives (London and New York: Hurst and Columbia University Press, 2010), 117–127.

‘Promoting Virulent Envy? Reconsidering the UK’s Terrorist Prevention Policy‘, RUSI Journal, August 2009, 154/4, 42–48.

‘The Radical Nineties Revisited: Jihadi Discourses in Britain‘ in Madawi al-Rasheed and Marat Shterin (eds) Dying for Faith (London: I.B. Tauris, 2009), 105–110.

‘Islamophobia in the construction of British Muslim identity politics‘ in Peter E. Hopkins and Richard Gale (eds) Muslims in Britain: Race, Place and Identities (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2009), 210–227.

‘Good Imam, Bad Imam: Civic Religion and National Integration in Britain post-9/11’, The Muslim World (Hartford Seminary), (October 2006), 96/4, 687–705.

‘Locating the British Imam: The Deobandi `Ulama between Contested Authority and Public Policy Post-9/11’ in Jocelyne Cesari and Sean McLoughlin (eds) European Muslims and the Secular State (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), 181–196.

‘Lobbying and Marching: British Muslims and the State’ in Tahir Abbas (ed.) Muslim Britain: Communities under Pressure (London: Zed, 2005), 92–106.

‘Wahhabism in the United Kingdom: manifestations and reactions’ in Madawi al-Rasheed (ed.) Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf (London: Routledge, 2005), 168-184.

Select Presentations (2014–)

 'Crisis, Reaction and Periodization, or what’s at stake in how academics frame British Muslims?', British Association for Islamic Studies, 2nd Annual Conference, Senate House, University of London – 13 April 2015

'Before Rushdie: Towards an Intellectual and Social History of British Muslim Activism, 1962–97', Muslim Leadership in Britain, Muslims in Britain Research Network Conference, University of Central Lancashire – 1 April 2015

'The Britannic Crescent: The Making of British Muslim Histories', Everyday British Muslim Symposium, Khizra Foundation & Bishopsgate Institute – 31 January 2015

'Planning for Impact in Fieldwork', Fieldwork – designs, plans and tales of the unexpected, FLAG Postgraduate Methods Workshop, University of Leeds – 15 December 2014