A sect is an unsuccessful orthodoxy. Within a religious context that insists on authoritative interpretations of revelation, in whichever form revelation comes, a sect constitutes an alternative and incompatible reading of revelation against the orthodox ruling one.

Darul Uloom Deoband and controversy have often gone hand in hand. In fact, whenever fatwa is mentioned it is Deoband that first comes to mind. The most recent fatwa to emerge from this 146-year-old seminary concerns photography.

It’s a wet October Thursday evening in East London, and my first visit to the Tablighi Jamaat’s Masjid Ilyas. The mosque has become controversial following a planning dispute between Tablighi Jamaat and the local council.

On a hot day in August 2007, an estimated 90,000 people gathered in the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, to call for the re-establishment of the Caliphate. The event was organised by Hizb-ut-Tahrir Indonesia, a chapter of the transnational movement Hizb-ut-Tahrir (Group of Liberation) whose key aim is the revival of the Caliphate.

An Islamist is not a cross between Islam and some ‘ism or ocracy’ but a creature that escapes taming by either. Increasingly, the Islamist is called a ‘salafist’, an acolyte of the salaf, Islam’s first generation.

It was a packed London underground train, so social interaction was already set at a glacial minimum – the standard non-communication of a late-morning English commuter crowd. In through the sliding door strolled a caricature from Hollywood central-casting of a potentially threatening Muslim male – a tall, big youth, with a thick beard, black boots, camouflage trousers and a vest with big swirling Arabic calligraphy tattooed all over his rippling biceps.

On 26 November 1938, Gandhi published in his journal Harijan a reasonably lengthy statement entitled simply, ‘The Jews’. ‘My sympathies,’ he candidly stated, ‘are all with the Jews.’

The West is so ignorant of the vast musical landscape of the Muslim world that even traditional styles seeming old-school in Istanbul could strike wild applause in Köln and Chicago. But there is more to jazz than New York and New Orleans.

Profitocracy does not have to be our political destiny, but it may well be if we do not start fiercely challenging the system of ideas on which it is based.