Heard And Not Seen


This is our archive where you can access some of the wealth of material we’ve collected during the project and can also add your own material.

If you have images relating to islam, especially the relationship between islam and the uk, visit the picturing islam page, where you can view and upload images.

You can also listen to our audio archive on the interviews page.


2 Comments so far

  1. Rangzeb Hussain September 30th, 2008 4:47 pm


    Islam. In the 1970’s this was a taboo subject in England. Racism and religious intolerance were a part of life for immigrants arriving from the Indian sub-continent. The residents of Birmingham were afraid of the unknown and felt threatened by the increase in cheap foreign labour.

    When the first mosques were created (usually these places comprised of nothing more than a few rooms in a house) there was condemnation. Questions about whether children born in England should be taught Arabic were raised. Other concerns such as loyalty, identity and assimilation became tabloid headlines.

    Instead of conforming to negative stereotypes Birmingham Muslims took a leaf out of the life of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and began to illustrate the benefits of Islam through practice. The seeds of understanding were sown and in time they helped to build bridges between the various communities.

    As time marched on, and more people were introduced to the tranquillity and compassion of Islam, more purpose built Mosques were constructed in suburbs like Sparkbrook and Small Heath. Islam became visible to the larger community. People began to take interest in the Islamic calendar – Ramadan and Eid became part of school life – and pillars of Islam such as Zakat showed that Muslims were continually engaged in charity.

    The social, political, cultural and economical contribution of Islam upon the city of Birmingham continues to resonate. Muslims from such diverse places as India and the Middle-East (and more recently from Eastern Europe) brought with them exotic foods and fashions which boosted trade at the renowned Bull-Ring Markets. Birmingham now enjoys a multitude of delicacies and several areas have become gastronomical landmarks. Curry has replaced fish-&-chips as Britain’s national dish. Middle-Eastern fashion, heavily influenced by Islamic designs, has been incorporated into mainstream haute-couture.

    Despite virulent Islamaphobic reportage, from every platform of mass-media post-9/11, people are curious and want to learn about Islam. The Holy Qur’an has become an international bestseller and more people are reverting to Islam. The simplicity of Islam offers a refuge from the chaos of modern life. The philosophy at the heart of Islam, with its potent message about universal brotherhood, is now more pertinent than ever before.

    Birmingham, and to a certain degree the larger British community, has successfully integrated Muslims. People have witnessed Islam being practiced by local residents and they have come to realize that it offers an antidote to the many ailments currently afflicting society. Furthermore, Muslims actively engage with their environment to make it a safer place. Facilities are now available where disaffected youth can safely play and where help and advice is also available to gain employment or pursue further education. Muslims have shown that they can rise above prejudice and offer a positive contribution to their city.

    Birmingham continues to evolve and now, as we head into the second decade of the new century, Islam continues to rejuvenate the city. The example set by the Muslims of Birmingham has become a beacon of hope to all those searching for peace and security.

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