The role of imams and mosques in health promotion in Western societies—a systematic review protocol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Yassar Mustafa
  • Diya Baker
  • Preeti Puligari
  • Teresa Melody

Colleges, School and Institutes


Muslims comprise 4.8% of the national population in the UK and also form a significant proportion of its ethnic minority population, with trends set to continue for the foreseeable future. With ethnic minority health inequalities deepening further, there is an apparent lack of strategies to effectively tackle this growing problem. Imams, Muslim religious leaders, represent a hitherto under-investigated group who may have the capacity to facilitate positive health change within Muslim communities. The aim of this systematic review is to investigate the role of imams and mosques in health promotion in Muslim communities residing in Western societies.

We will undertake a systematic literature review of PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library (CENTRAL) Register, NICE Evidence and Google Scholar. Eligible studies will primarily assess the role of imams and mosques in health promotion in Western societies. Secondary objectives include the identification of how mosque-based and imam-supported interventions were organised and delivered, and to explore which, if any, subgroups within the Western Muslim communities are more responsive to such interventions. Two independent reviewers will screen references from the electronic literature searches for eligible studies. The following data will be extracted to populate a tabulated form: study design, location of study, time of study, participant demographics, description of intervention, outcome measures of individual study, analysis methods, religious content (imams, mosques, religious denomination), outcomes and conclusions of study. Two investigators will independently assess the methodological quality of included studies. A narrative synthesis approach will be employed to analyse the extracted data in order to explore the role of imams and mosques in health promotion in Western settings.

This systematic review will elucidate the role and effectiveness of imams and mosques in health promotion in Western societies. If the use of imams and mosques is shown to be effective, this will encourage further research in Western Muslim communities that effectively utilise imams and mosques as part of novel strategies and interventions for health promotion in this group. The review will also aid policy makers in Western societies with a view to tackling and potentially reversing the problem of increasing ethnic minority health inequality.


Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalSystematic Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2017


  • Health promotion, Imam, Mosque, Muslim, Narrative synthesis, Religious leader, Systematic review protocol, Western societies