15 November 2006

"One Friday" -- Muslims in Britain

In early November, the Guardian asked Muslims from around the country -- "from a rear admiral to an organic farmer, a rapper to a gay rights campaigner, an accountant to a niqab-wearing teacher" -- to talk about what they had done on a given Friday.

Part one can be found here.

Part two can be found here.

The BBC also has an archived set of interviews with young British Muslims that can be found here.

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, 40
Imam, Leicester

I began with early-morning prayers at the mosque. It was half-term so the kids were at home. I have four boys. The youngest two have chickenpox so I bought medicine for them. I fed the fish, made breakfast and filled the car up. I went to Mothercare with my wife. I went through my emails. I get lots - many from people I don't know - asking for guidance on all kinds of matters. I also dealt with media requests. I went to mosque for Friday prayer, where I had discussions with people about the veil and Iraq. I act as a point of contact in a community. Muslims are worried that their lives will become harder. Some have removed the visible signs of their faith, which is not good. It is important for me to be visible and accessible so people can approach me. I try to attend mosque five times a day. If I have engagements I plan it so I pray within the allocated time. A meeting in London took up nine hours, so I didn't get home until midnight.
Sima Ajam, 25
Solicitor, London

When the media make programmes about Muslims, they invariably go to socially deprived areas. A new generation came here in the mid-1980s and early 1990s to seek education and go into respected professions. However, we are portrayed solely as unemployed, working class poor. People need to see that a new generation of teachers, doctors and lawyers is contributing to British society.

Education is the most important thing. Our community leaders need to be more encouraging to Muslim youth. At the moment they just make them hard-hearted, when the imams should teach them to know about the importance of achieving.

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