Why We Need Heritage

There are very few archive collections in the UK which document the history of a Muslim community.

Annabel Gill (archivist at Royal Holloway College, University of London) discussing the East London Mosque archive at the Open University seminar ‘Engaging with the past to inform the present: the Muslim community of London’ December 2012

We are voices that need to be heard. Generations of Muslim people born in Britain need to have their voices heard and their stories told.

Mohammed Ali, street artist, speaking at the Curating Islamic Collections workshop at the V&A Museum, 30 November 2012

If we begin to gather records and document the stories of British Muslims today, historians of the British Muslim experience in the future will not face the same predicaments as we do at present: a lack of records and a lack of documentation.

Professor Humayun Ansari, Royal Holloway College, University of London, ‘Connecting the Past with the Future,’ at the Open University seminar ‘Engaging with the past to inform the present: the Muslim community of London,’ December 2012

A sense of identity for many young Muslims, is formed from a mixture of experiences within the community, educational institutions, religion and family. Yet many young Muslims feel they have an inadequate grasp of their own heritage and history, against which to balance the other influences in their lives.

(Source: Young Muslims Speak, Peace Direct, 2006)Living apart together British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism Munira Mirza, Abi Senthilkumaran and Zein Ja’far 2007, accessed July 2010

We go to museums and see stuff about kings, queens, and white people. I suppose it’s fine cos it’s their country but I never really thought we could do it for our community. Now it’s come up it makes sense. My parents had a completely different lifestyle when they first came here, it almost sounds like a different world. I know loads of people that would like to see that [way of life] in a museum or exhibition or something.

Teenage Muslim participant at an early-stage Khizra Foundation consultation meeting, July 2010.

Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam’ exhibition at the British Museum which attracted more than 80,000 visitors in less than seven weeks between January and April 2012. The exhibition proved so popular (with both Muslim and non-Muslim communities) that opening hours were extended to accommodate visitor demand.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/13/hajj-exhibition-british-museum accessed on 21/08/2012