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‫بہذم یوناطرب یہ تہب کیا‬ A Very British Religion.

For the best part of the 20th and 21st Century Britain has welcomed member’s of the Muslim community into this country with open arms bringing a wide and vast array of culutre, knowledge and influence, this visual documentation look’s into the heart of the large and ever growing community of Britons. Muslim’s make up just over three million of the entire UK population and many look towards this community as an integral part of a thriving culture and community, sadly this is not always the case this visual representation of British Muslim Culture aim’s to combat stereotypes and aim’s to provide us with an in depth look into what it’s like to be a British Muslim, how it helps many through there lives. This stem’s from those who are Muslim’s from birth and those who are who choose to convert to Islam. When we remove prejudice and allow an open book into this world what are we left with? This investigates a community engrained within our society, we look at this very British culture.

Sh a h a d a h

Immam Habib (right) stands in the entrance to the Masjid, seen as a leader within the Muslim community the Immam is responsible for the teachings of the Koran and leading prayer times, this role is taken very seriously and Immam’s dedicate there lives to preahing and reasarching the teaching’s of Islam.

Gloucestershire, UK.

Nunu Miah, at the Entrance to Musjid Umar in Gloucester, a dedicated Muslim, Taxi Driver and Community worker

My Name is Immam Habib, I’m the Imam, for Gloucester Masjid e Noor, i’ve worked here for nine years, i’ve lived in the United Kingdom for Twelve years. My job is to teach Islamic values and deliver speeeches at friday prayer’s and especially on Eid day, i’ve found that Islam is a very peaceful religion and is also very respectful.


I’m a Bangladeshi Muslim and i’m British, I’ve lived in this country for a long time and above all I consider my self to be British, I am... British.

My Name is Billy Heggins, i’m 28 I was born in Swindon but I live in Gloucester, Being a Muslim in the UK is great I think it’s the best place to be a Muslim, we can practice our religion openly, we can eat what we like to eat, we can dress how we like to dress it’s good. Islam gives me discipline, consistency, regularity it gives me hope. I converted to Islam six and a half years ago, I went to University in East London and I had some Muslim freinds and really I was inspired by what they where doing at a very young age they where very selfless, they where very giving people, I slowly started practiscing my self, until the time came that I decided to do it as a life choice. Genereally it’s easy to make mistakes Islam is about remeberence it’s about doing good thing’s, of which i’m constantly reminding my self to do good thing’s.

My is Mohammed Ali, I’m a student at the University of Gloucestershire, studying business management i’m in my third year i’ve just started my dissertation. When I think of the word Islam I think of peace, tranquility and a brotherhood, obviously when I have struggles in my life it’s a close knit community so I always have Islam to turn to. One things Islam has done for is give me peace of mind when, when I was younger I wasn’t that in to the religion, I was actually a bit of a rebel. As I settled down and got older I found peace with my religion as we talk about religion and get older and we talk about prayer, this that and the other you realise there is more to it.

My name is Mohammed Islam, i’m twenty five year’s old, I live in Gloucester in the city centre, The best part about living in the UK is being able to practice you religion freely, It’s a life style choice and something we are able to do in this country.


What’s the difference within your religious practices in Malaysia compared to the UK? Honestly I would say that it is quite different I say that becuase back where you are in a tight knit community, of the same religion where I was brought up, it is diffrent in terms of the fact that you do it beacause other people do it, and because people advise you to do or do not do things when I was young I didn’t know what was right or wrong, when I moved to Canada my routine was diffrent and I did it because I wanted to do it rather then because of the group physchology or mentality. What makes the diffrence between somebody who is a Muslim and who isn’t? I guess to clarify I wouldn’t know how non muslim’s are feeling, living as who I am i’ve been through quite a lot of problems, i approach my problem’s with the same specific mindset which is to be greatful, most religion’s there is a depnedency to a supreme higher being, of which the normal human mind cannot think of so that dependency on to greatness, makes it hard for that dependancy or trust to be broken. It doesen’t effect the people who belong to these higher being’s of which I know some people who belong to a religion that don’t think that way it gives me something to latch on to, even if anything went to down the drain I always have someone to depend on. How do you view those who are extremist’s and commit crimes, and say that it is for Jihad, as a Muslim how do you view those people? In total honesty, I can’t imagine what goes on in there head and all the troubles that has lead them to think that is there only path, to such an extent that they will take the life of other people, to really attain what they think they will achieve, it goes the same for everything but i can’t put my self in there position for the extremist’s I can’t put my self there and knowing how they are able to do that. Do the things extremist say reflect Muslim Beliefs? I would go with the fact they have twisted and with any litrature they can twist to suit there needs, I can’t say wether they are Muslim or not but the things they do don’t relect Islamic practices.

If Islam has taught you one thing in life what has it taught you? One things that comes to mind is greatfullness, being extremly greatful with whatever you, even if you have troubles, you know that the experience is there to enhance my self, never look at the trouble and walk with a negative attitude I might not learn what I should learn. it keep’s me going. In one word what is Islam for you? Islam for me is a way of life. How do you think that Islam treat’s women? I would say women are treated as equal in the past they raised the status of women to allow them to vote in the arabian world, in the eye of god everyone is seen as equal, the only diffrence is how you practice your belief for example during the muslim pilgramige, everyone rich or poor where’s the same white gown. personally for me I grew up living with my mum as a single parent, and there is know one as see as a stronger person in my life becuase I see what my mum can achieve, to an extent how hard she tries, she works, she is a leader in a hospital, even in Malysia there are alot of female leader’s. is it difficult for people to marry out of the religion? in Islam they really priortise faith, they allow marriage outside of the faith as long as you maintain your faith, and the essence of your religion, it’s about believing in faith because most of your drive when you have faith is stronger. what’s your view on arranged marriges? Arranged marriges... I have a very negative view in the sense that it doesen’t give any free will to the participants.


What is it about Islam that you love the most and how does it affect you as a person? I think it’s the peace side of it, I think that most people get confused about it, or when they hear about it I see in the news how where portrayed but people forget that everything within Islam promotes peace. In everything you do, there’s one saying that really sticks by me is that your only allowed to lie in order to make peace with people. Are you a practicing Muslim? I would say so yes, I strongly believe in what I believe in, I pray for the five daily prayers and I fast for rammadam. What do you think about when you fast for Rammadam? It’s amazing! people get really get really confused as to why us Muslim’s look forward to it so much, beaucse essentially you are starving your self for long periods of time over a month, I think it’s the spiritual factor more than anything, your for one month just trying to be the best person you can, because when you don’t have the food inside of you, you don’t have the energy to bitch, to get into fights to do things that you normally, your would and regret in a way your more thoughtful, you think more and you reflect more, that month is my way of reflecting of the year gone by.

Sometimes women are see as being treated negatively in Islam how does the make you feel? I know what my religion say’s I know how many rights we have. The only problem it’s not even that the western media publishes it badly, even in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, it’s patriarchal society’s it’s men who misinterpret it and use it for there benefit, it’s a sociotal thing not a religous thing. your orginally from Bradford which is a heavily populated Muslim area, how does it compare living in the south in Cheltenham? There is not many people I can relate to properly here, there wasn’t an Islamic society here, so ther’s not many facilites that I would have imagined would be so that’s quite diffrent, i’m surrounded by people who look and believ in diffrent thing’s and are different from me and getting to hear there viewpoint’s and you pretty much realise we are all the same. When you first came to University you set the Islamic society why was that? When I came here, there where certain thing’s, I didn’t know where any of the prayer rooms where, I’m vegeterian now but when I moved here I did eat meat, and I didn’t know the places that sold Halal, I started the society to help others get through these kind of struggles togther and have socials where we can connect. Has there been a time in your life that’s been difficult and has Islam help you through this? I think it’s the times when i’ve felt the most hopeless, my religion has helped if I can’t get my head around things that have happend, if I then read up on thing’s. It’s like the glass half full scenario that Islam really provides you with it makes you hopefull, positive and provides you with the things that make it easier.


Nottingham,UK Words of Tamina. In as short a words as possible describe what it’s like to be a British Muslim? As I was growing there was nothing you didin’t even notice the diffrence, obviously I was born and bred here and I’ve always had the religion there was no prejudice, no racism in our face, there was nothing. I must admit that I wasn’t pracitising earlier on, it was only after I had married that I started practiscing. I think nowadays, one thing and this is the truth this is how I find it now, I think because of the media, because of the things that are going off because of the Islamaphobia, We feel like we have to justify our selves, if something happens in the word and it’s linked to Islam, it isn’t who we are and sometimes you get a bit sick of it yet a bit sick of having to justify it, because I think for example when I was raising my daughters and they where going through school e.t.c you would find your self going out your way wether it’s with the school or the community to show that muslim’s arnt’t like that so it’s like a justification of who we are, that’s our personalities, we are in the community all the time and we stand as the pillars in a way to show that Muslim’s arn’t like that, and then you have Muslim’s elsewhere who tend to keep them selves to them selves wouldn’t be able to portray that. Have you ever been a personal victim of Islamaphobia? No I haven’t. Do you feel that’s because you’ve promoted your self in the community as a family that can mix both? Deffinelty yes, we are a family that can mix both, that we are practicsing, we have values from both, we have good old traditional family values you don’t link that to a religion it’s more than that it’s just good old traiditonal values that we have. when we look at the religion, we look at it properly there is nothing in the religion that say’s you have to keep your self seperate or secular , if anything your meant to branch out. How do you as a pracitising Muslim view these extremist’s and the way in which it’s published? To be fair in Islam we can’t if someones a Muslim or not a Muslim, so I can’t say that these extremist’s are not Muslim’s that’s not for me to judge i’m not being placed on this earth to judge anybody, everyone will be judged for there own action’s so I can’t say that they’re not Muslims,but what they are actually doing does not follow Islamic pracitces, what they have actually done targetting innocnece and innconcent people, all the destruction the leave behind and all the destruction they cause are not Islamic values and Islamic tradition’s I have to leave it open that way. What they are doing goes against Islamic pracitices and our values are set out by the Koran, by the Hadith so that’s what the values and mannerism’s are set out, extremist’s do not follow Islamic values. What is it for you about praciticing your religion? You know what’s to come it’s the afterlife, you know that when you have that strong belief in that afterlife, you know that in your life you will be judged and that in the after life you will be rewarded or punished, so things that happen the event’s that you go through, illness or loss, it’s a justification for the things that happens, if you have the belife that everything happens for a reason.

Word’s of Tahir. That’s why all the book’s came The Bible, The Koran all the messengers ibrahim, Jesus Muhammad all brought the message, you know god’s message and any religion Christianity, Islam any religion they won’t tell you to do bad thing’s everything religion is telling you to go good thing’s only god can bring life, you can’t take somebody else’s life this is what it is if you follow the books, you can only do good things evenrything is in there and people this is what happens with the bible and all people change the books and this is what happens and the Koran came and the last messenger came after Jesus this is god’s message. When was the first time you read the Koran? I’ve been reading the Koran since I was five year’s old. How many times would you say you have read it over your life time? i’ve read it an unlimited amount of times, everytime I wake up and when I go to bed i’m always reciting it in my head or i’m reading, I read everyday. as soon as I wake up I read, sometimes in my dream’s ill recite the Koran in my sleep, It just tell’s me and keep’s me on the right path. everything in the Koran sticks to me, especially what you read in the Salah, the words at the start of the Koran the first page ‘all the praises and worship’s are for Allah’ this where the Koran starts with that. In one word tell me what the Koran has given you? Proud. and Lucky, Just Lucky. i’m going to start crying in a minuite. I can’t thank god enough for choosing me to priaise him you only get chosen once in a life and just to sya his name i’m so lucky. I remeber there a millions of people but if you rmeber god he will remeber. everything has been destined for you we follow the 6 pillars of immam. If I wasn’t a Muslim I would probably be lost on the wrong path, being a Muslim it makes me a good man, if I wasn’t a Muslim I would be a different man, I’m a talk as an individual person.


A British Religion.