A philanthropist has donated £850,000 to a university in a bid to help promote a better understanding of Islam in society.
Yousef Abdul Latif Jameel is supporting MA and PhD scholarships at Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam
Prof Sophie Gilliat-Ray, the centre’s director, said the funding would make a “positive difference to the lives of British Muslims”.
Mr Jameel has donated £2.5m since 2009.
The centre, part of the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, was set up in 2005 and has become a leading academic institution for research and teaching about Islam and Muslims in Britain.
Mr Jameel’s gift will provide nine MA scholarships, three PhD scholarships and two postdoctoral positions – one of which will be a specialist in religion/Islam in the media, and in particular, the involvement of Muslims in journalism.
As part of their studies, the students will also be asked to volunteer with the local Muslim community to foster a strong sense of social responsibility.
Mr Jameel, an international business leader and philanthropist, said his scholarships would allow students to research the major issues affecting Muslims in Britain in the 21st century, “helping to promote a better understanding of Islam in the wider society”.
Prof Gilliat-Ray, the centre’s director, added: “Mr Jameel values the fact that our research is directed towards improving knowledge of Islam and Muslim communities in Britain.”
Previous work of students who won a Jameel scholarship has included exploring the economic activity of Muslim women and Muslim music in Britain.
Matthew Vince, who volunteered as a teaching assistant at a local Muslim primary school while studying for his PhD, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at school, and the chance to give back was immensely important to me both academically and personally.”