Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched the country's first ever mosque archives recently by opening East London Mosque's new strong room.
At the country's first-ever mosque archives, Britain's most powerful Muslim remarked, familiarity with our history frees us from false narratives. Britain's Muslim heritage, he said, proves that being Muslim as well as British is not a problem.
For 110 years now, there have been Muslims in East London, and this demonstrates that you can be Muslim and you can be British, you can be a Westerner, and you can follow the faith of Islam, said the Mayor speaking exclusively to My Salaam News.
He then added that Britain wouldn't be the free nation it is today was it not for Muslims. One of the reasons that World War I and World War II ended with the allies as victors were because of the contribution made by Muslims around the world.
As the guest of honor at the launch in the city's East End, the Mayor was asked to unveil a plaque before going on a brief tour of the new fire- and the flood-resistant strong room where the archives are held.
I'm hoping the East London Mosque shares some of their knowledge with other mosques and cascades down that knowledge of how they did this, Khan told My Salaam.
In total, the archive collection contains about 250,000 documents linked to the Muslim heritage of Britain, with the earliest ones dating as far back as 1911. These include documents that detail functions and activities at the Mosque and London Muslim Centre through photos, minutes and annual reports. There are marriage and conversion records, press cuttings and architectural plans.
The project, which was completed over a period of five years in partnership with The National Archives, has already benefitted some Muslim Londoners. We used the archives to establish our Muslim heritage tours for the London borough of Ealing, Acton and our Central London tours, said Abdul Maalik Tailor of Muslim History Tours, which offers guided tours across London highlighting the capital's Muslim history. We found several letters in the archives with addresses of numerous people from all over the city. This indicated there was an early Muslim community in different locations, not just in East London.
Source: International Islamic News Agency