British Imams amongst the most poorly paid

There has been ongoing debate over the past decade or so about the need for better imams in British mosques. MuslimView has recently approached several imams employed in UK mosques to find out how much they are paid. The figures have been shocking.

Many imams are provided with accommodation by the mosque that is employing them and then they are paid either a weekly amount or a monthly amount on top of this. This ranges from £1000 a month to £1400 a month. The imams would be required to support their families in all financial matters through this amount. The average salary in the United Kingdom at present is about £27,000. British imams are therefore currently being paid below the average salary.

Of the imams that we spoke to, some were being paid £1000 per month while others were being paid up to £1400 pounds month . This is for those that have been trained in the United Kingdom. Imams that have been trained in Pakistan can earn between £700 and £1000 per month. Sometimes there is no security tied to this form of employment, pay scales are not used and training opportunities are rarely provided. For those that do not provide housing, then the majority of an imam’s salary can go to meeting their housing needs. Some imams are paid according to the rate per salah led in the mosque and classes taught in the mosque.

Though British mosques are currently undergoing a steady process of professionalization, employment practices concerning imams remain very poor. This is despite the fact that many mosque committees now consist of professionals who would not expect their own personal employment to be conducted in this manner. This is also despite the fact that many mosques have access to large funds which can become available for the development of the mosque facility itself. MuslimView is deeply concerned by these practices and feels that they harm the dignity of the employee, the employer and the Muslim community in general. The findings above are from a few initial enquiries. We call upon Muslim leaders and organisations to conduct a survey of employment practices in mosques and then to encourage a process of rapid professionalization through which imams can begin to be paid a more acceptable salary.

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