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12 Jul 2024

British Muslim History isn’t as far away as you think

British Muslim History isn’t as far away as you think

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Zahra is an Indian Iranian creative who loves learning. Her particular areas of interest are culture & identity. Outside of researching, writing and collating stories together, she’s an avid reader and traveller.

British Muslim History isn’t as far away as you think

The Everyday Muslim Archive has released a trail of London that aims to bring Muslim history to the streets of London.

The trail aims to explore the hidden and diverse heritage of Muslims around London.

Associating Muslim British history with our physical streets can make us feel closer to our heritage. It reminds us that history and the present are interlinked, and our actions do have an impact.

Utilising the Everyday Muslim archive, the trail will visit spots that are linked to influential Muslim figures that work/worked in London. These include an aristocratic convert, a World War II veteran, community activists, and Muslim creatives.

We spoke to Sadiya Ahmed, the founder and curator of the Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive initiative. She created Everyday Muslim in response to the lack of representation of Muslims in history.

‘The trail statement map for London is another way of showing everyday aspects of Muslim history on a map and connecting geographical places to particular time stamps.

‘We’ve put places that aren’t intrinsically Muslim with places across London, like the magistrate court, and everyday buildings.

‘We do this to show Muslim history in the context of living in Britain; we want people from the Muslim community to see their history portrayed the same way British history is.

‘It’s another way of connecting people to the idea of preserving and documenting Muslim history in Britain.

‘I was brought up here so we should have our history documented just as everybody else, but it’s not the case. If we’re living here, and this is our home and we’re not represented in these spaces, it means that we aren’t represented in other things.’

 

About Everyday Muslim 

The Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative is a long-term project. It aims to document and collect a central archive of Muslim lives through arts, education, documents, interviews and photography. The aim of the project is to highlight an unmediated portrayal of Muslim life in Britain.

The project aims objective of the project is to educate and empower the Muslim community on the importance of creating tangible connections between their Muslim heritage and the representation of their identity in the wider society.

Sadiya spoke to us about why she created Everyday Muslim.

‘We’re looking for different ways to share archives to connect everyday people to history.

‘Some people may see the archives as boring, but when you unpick what they do, they’re the foundation of everything. They’re at the heart of representation.

‘Our archives are used by academics across the field, whether it be research about Muslims or more broadly. They’re helping people have a better understanding of Muslims.

‘We are creating them so we have ownership. We know these stories are from an authentic perspective rather than a third party.

‘Whilst we create walking trails, we also have educational resources, archives, workshops, exhibitions and things like that.’

This trail was made possible through the research conducted by Tabassum Hawa.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Everyday Muslim, click here.

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