writer Tharik Hussain, who has been uncovering some of Europe's forgotten
Islamic history for nearly two decades, has launched London's first European
Muslim Heritage Exhibition this week.
the London Muslim Centre in the heart of Tower Hamlets, east of the capital,
the exhibition has already attracted a diverse crowd of both Muslim and
non-Muslim visitors, with a sold-out launch event.
exhibition showcases a selection of photographs from Hussain’s travels across
Europe - Spain, Bulgaria, Estonia, France and England, as part of his quest of
uncovering the continent’s forgotten Muslim heritage.
in this section include a photo of a medieval Muslim tomb in the Balkans, today
revered by both Christians and Muslims, one of a ninth century coin found in
Estonia minted by the Muslim Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad, and a man
worshipping in the mosque that was home to Britain’s earliest indigenous Muslim
community who were led by converted Victorian Lords and Ladies.
Al Arabiya English on the launch night, Tharik explained how the exhibition
serves a role in debunking the popular myth that the heritage of Europe is
common story has developed throughout history that Muslims have not played a
pivotal role in shaping European culture. The exhibition strives to re-orientate
that misconception. It's not about a triumph of one religion over another.
Instead, it's about seeking parity - that Islam like its Jewish and Christian
counterparts, has contributed to European culture."
many people would know, for instance, that Muslims have in fact been part of
Europe's evolving cultural identity for 14 centuries."
launch coinciding with the 21st anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, the
exhibition also had photographs commemorating one of Europe's darkest events
since World War II.
were captured by Bosnian photographer Jasmine Agovic during his decade-long
tenure at the International Commission on missing persons.
on the images, Tharik said: "Often Muslims are presented as the 'Other' in
Europe and that's no truer than today. Srebrenica reminds us what happens when
that goes to the absolute extreme."
Muslim Heritage Exhibition
day like today, whilst we should never forget, it's also about offering
hope.... Making sure the Muslim part of Europe's narrative also makes it into
popular culture so that future generations of Muslims do not have issues of
Bangladesh, Tharik Hussain grew up in Tower Hamlets. His interest in exploring
European Muslim Heritage was sparked when he unexpectedly stumbled across a
tomb during a stopover in Cyprus, belonging to a companion of the prophet
he's been on a trail to uncover more Muslim connections to the continent. His
journey recently took him to the US where he unveiled in his debut radio
documentary "America's Mosques; a story of integration" that the
country’s oldest surviving mosque in New York City - The Brooklyn Moslem
Mosque, was built by Tatar Muslims from countries like Lithuania, Belarus and
Poland when they immigrated to the Big Apple at the turn of the last century.
the documentary, which aired on BBC World Service, won an award for the World's
Best Religious Program at the New York Festivals World's Best Radio Programs