UCL News


Dr Zaki Badawi (1922-2006)

25 January 2006

UCL is deeply saddened by the death of prominent Muslim scholar Dr Zaki Badawi (UCL Psychology 1954) on 24 January 2006.

Often cited as a 'voice of moderation' and 'champion for peace', Dr Badawi was a highly respected and influential figure in political, education and religious circles and was considered to be the spokesperson for British Muslims.

Born in Egypt in 1922, Dr Badawi was Principal of the Muslim College in London, which he founded in 1986. He obtained a first degree in Theology and a Masters in Arabic Language & Literature at Cairo's Al-Azhar University. Upon graduation in 1947, he was awarded the King Faruq First Prize for best postgraduate student.

In 1951, Dr Badawi moved to the United Kingdom, where he enrolled on a psychology degree at UCL, followed by a University of London PhD in Modern Muslim Thought.

After returning to Al-Azhar University, he was sent as a representative to establish a Muslim college in Malaya. In 1964, he was appointed Professor of Islamic Education at Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, and returned to London in 1972 where he undertook research for King Abdul Aziz University in Saudia Arabia.

Since then, Dr Badawi's prolific career saw him appointed Director of the Islamic Cultural Centre, and Chief Imam of the London Central Mosque. He was instrumental in establishing the Sharia'h Council, which reconciles conflicts between Islamic law and the British Civil Code.Chairman of the Imams and Mosques Council since 1989, he enabled the Muslim College in London to achieve its founding objective to become a postgraduate seminary for the training of Imams and Muslim leaders in the West.

Prominent figures such as Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks have all paid tribute to Dr Badawi.

The Prince of Wales, who was a personal friend of Dr Badawi, said in a statement: "The sudden loss of Zaki Badawi is a devastating blow to this country and to me personally. His brand of wisdom, scholarship, far-sightedness and above all humour has ensured that Zaki played an extraordinarily important role in the life of this country and amongst the Muslim community."

Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost of UCL, stated: "The demise of Dr Badawi is a great loss to the many communities that he influenced for the better during his lifetime. He personified UCL's founding ethos of progressive thought and mutual tolerance. He was a great example to us all and we are very honoured to have had him as part of our community."