Complex network theory is introduced to solve the islanding problem in an emergency of distribution networks. In this study, the authors put forward an intentional islanding method based on community detection. In this method, a new index has been defined called electrical edge betweenness, on the strength of edge betweenness in complex networks, which fuses electrical characteristics with ... [Show full abstract] topological features of actual power lines. Based on the index, the Girvan-Newman algorithm is employed to detect the community structure of distribution networks. Through referring to the modularity value (function Q) and coherent generator groups, they can get a reasonable amount and regions of communities. Then the whole distribution network can be partitioned into several self-sustainable islands meeting the stable operation constraints. The effectiveness of the authors' proposed method is tested on a standard IEEE 118-bus system.