Crescent International, 1980-

One of Dr Kalim Siddiqui’s key objects after the Islamic Revolution in Iran was to help to turn the idea of the global Islamic movement, which he had hypothesised even before the Revolution took place, into a functional reality. This depended, he realized, on facilitating contact, communication and the exchange of ideas between Islamic movements and activists all over the world.

The World Seminars that the Muslim Institute convened in London in the 1980s were designed for this purpose. He and other members of the Muslim Institute, notable Zafar Bangash, also traveled the world attending local conferences, addressing meetings, and establishing contacts. However, the reach of such personal contact was obviously limited.

In an age before the Internet, therefore, the key instrument of this work was the Crescent International newsmagazine, published from Toronto. This had been established as a local community paper in the 1970s, and by the end of the decade, was edited by Zafar Bangash, a member of the Muslim Institute preparatory committee in London, who had moved to Toronto after completing his studies. In 1980, Kalim Siddiqui proposed that the paper be converted to an international ‘newsmagazine of the Islamic movement’, and over the next few years, Crescent became essential reading for Islamic movement activists around the world. Even today, over 30 years later, many activists of a certain age remember Crescent as a key influence shaping their thinking in their youth.

Produced by a small editorial team led by Zafar Bangash, under the guidance of Kalim Siddiqui, Crescent published incisive current affairs analysis charting the impact of the Islamic Revolution on the rest of the Muslim world, and the West’s response to it. It was also the first platform for the publication of many of Kalim Siddiqui’s own writings. Annual compilations of its articles were published as ‘Issues in the Islamic Movement’, every year from 1981 to 1988. An Arabic edition was published under the name al-Hilal al-Dawli, and the same team also ran a news syndication service, under the name Muslimedia for several years.

Despite the radical changes in the news and information landscape brought about be the internet revolution, Crescent International continues to be published to this day, as a monthly magazine, still promoting a global Islamic movement perspective based on the ideas of Dr Kalim Siddiqui. It also have a major web presence, with daily news updates. It is now managed by an editorial team consisting of Zafar Bangash (who is also now Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought), Imam Muhammad al-Asi and Afeef Khan. For more information, see: www.crescent-online.net.