Arts & Culture

Introduction to Arts & Culture Section

This is to give a short introduction into the Arts & Culture section. We often tend to focus on the political sphere when it comes to the Islam-Europe debate. Also, even when we look at society we seem to politicise things-we talk about Muslims in the context of identity politics, political debates as well as political claims and rights.

Yet there is a relevant field that is often left untouched. It is the sphere of Arts & Culture. It is a sphere that is full of creativity, imagination and emotions. It instigates our senses to experience messages in different ways and it reaches very deep levels of our inner selves. It is often not merely about usual language. It goes beyond that. Within the Muslim community in the West (UK) one can observe several grassroots initiatives where Muslims engage in Arts & Culture to build trust, to break down stereotypes, to represent themselves in their own ways and to contribute to interreligious and intercultural understanding. Thereby various tools are used. We can see, for example, Muslims involved in music, rap, poetry, theatre and arts exhibitions. The aim of MTCD’s Arts & Culture section is to explore exactly this development and to examine how these activities help to create trust between Muslims and non-Muslims in the West.

How about Electric Shadows: the art of the story

Professor Aamer Hussein (Research Associate, SOAS, University of London)

Date: 11 December 2014Time: 5:30 PM
Finishes: 11 December 2014Time: 8:30 PM
Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: G51
Type of Event: Seminar
Series: Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue


On the occasion of the publication of a retrospective selection of his stories, acclaimed author Aamer Hussein will speak about, and read from, the stories he has written over three decades.


Aamer Hussein was born and brought up in Karachi, and moved to England in 1970 at the age of 15. A graduate of SOAS, where he studied Farsi with Professor Lambton, he later studied languages and philosophy. He is the author of six volumes of short stories, a novel, and a novella. He writes in
both English and Urdu. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a Professorial Fellow at the University of Southampton.

The Art of Integration

‘Islam in England's green and pleasant land'

Photographs by Peter Sanders

21st April – 20th June 2015


'The Art of Integration, Islam in England's green and pleasant land', shows an alternative picture of Muslims integrated completely within British society and is a graceful and visually poetic reminder that Muslims have been part of British life for well over a century, have made and continue to make an important contribution to the United Kingdom’s rich cultural diversity. Contrary to the headlines and editorializing, the vast majority of Muslims live peacefully and productively in Britain and many have significantly enriched the intellectual and cultural landscape of this great island nation.

Peter Sanders captures a few of these wonderful people: physicians, scholars, writers, teachers, calligraphers, rock and folk-rock icons, a city councilor, award-winning architect, publisher, sculptor, graffiti artist, cosmetician, police constable, fashion designer, driver, Etonians, Oxbridgians, and many others. The architectural influences from the Muslim world expressed in Leighton House, the Shah Jehan Mosque in Woking and a Turkish bath in the shadow of the Gherkin contribute to the pageant of images in this beautiful and vibrant photographic essay.

The book 'The Art of Integration, Islam in England's green and pleasant land' will be available from the SOAS Bookshop and more information on the project can be found at: for more information about Peter Sanders and his work, please visit:

The exhibition has been made possible with the support of the Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue research project in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Pakistan, SOAS and Mosaic Associates.

There will be an accompanying panel discussion ‘You've seen the bad news, now see the good’ on the 5th May with speakers: Peter Sanders, Farah Pandith, Navid Akhtar, Imam Monawar and Shaykh Babakir. Further details will be available here:


BRUNEI GALLERY, SOAS OPEN: Tuesday – Saturday 10.30 – 17.00 (Thurs late night opening until 20.00)


RUSSELL SQUARE T. 020 7898 4046 (recorded information)

LONDON, WC1H 0XG E. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information visit:

Or follow us on Facebook



Spring Literature Festival: Cultural Confluences

Spring Literature Festival: Cultural Confluences

Various Speakers

Date: 7 March 2015Time: 10:00 AM

Finishes: 7 March 2015Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Brunei GalleryRoom: B102

Type of Event: Festival

Series: Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue



Culture is one of the most complex and contested words in the dictionary. With meanings encompassing both artistic endeavour and the broader fabric of everyday life, culture has recently been a site of conflict; it has been elevated to a definitive marker of  identity by some, while cultural difference has been cited by others as the main source of dissension and conflict in the world today.This one-day literary festival brings together writers from a number of cultural background, all of whom have interrogated in their work the nature of culture and intercultural experience. As well as forming their subject matter, culture envelops the processes by which their work is circulated and consumed. Their experience as creators of culture also gives them a unique insight into the processes and pitfalls of producing literary art in the modern world.

Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora: Secularism, Religion, Representations

Claire Chambers discusses her new co-edited book, Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora: Secularism, Religion, Representation (Routledge 2014). Topics in the discussion include: the impact of Islamophobia as reflected in literature; questions of ‘authenticity’ and the right to speak; the longer history of the South Asian Muslim presence in Britain and the emergence of distinctive cultures; the rise of Muslim-themed film and television comedy; the recent flowering of Pakistani writing in English and the relationship between variants of practice and belief, from devout to ‘cultural’ or ‘secular’ Muslims. Claire also gives an outline of the themes covered in the book’s essays, such as: women’s fiction; the representation of young Muslims; the legacy of Al Andalus; the Kashmir controversy; Islamophobia and stereotypes; and queer Muslim identities.

You are here: Home ARTS