British Muslim Archives offer ‘hope,’ says London mayor

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaking at the event. (AN photo)
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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the event. (AN photo)
Updated 24 November 2017

British Muslim Archives offer ‘hope,’ says London mayor

LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan inaugurated a new strong room at the East London Mosque on Thursday which will house Britain’s first Muslim archives.

Addressing a crowd of hundreds at the London Muslim Centre, Khan said: “At a time when there are people trying to divide us, our shared history can be a source of hope, because by looking back we can also look forward to a brighter future.”

The mayor, who was invited to unveil a plaque and officially open the new flood- and fire-proof strong room, quoted wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his speech.

He also reminded the audience that the study of archives has recently highlighted the valuable contribution that Muslims made to Britain and Europe’s freedom.

“We now know 2.5 million Muslims fought for us — the Allies — during World War I,” he said. “At a time when Islamophobia is on the rise, it is important to recall that Muslims were among those who sacrificed their lives for a free Europe.”

The East London Mosque is Britain’s largest, and one of the most influential in Europe. It was the first mosque in the UK to develop a professional archiving system, and it now holds 250,000 documents dating back to 1911.

The project was supported by The National Archives and has taken five years to complete. The collection has an online catalogue and is available for viewing by appointment in the mosque’s reading room.

The collection — which tells the story of the mosque and of East London’s early Muslim community — includes photos, minutes, newspaper cuttings and annual reports of functions and activities that have taken place at the mosque and the London Muslim Centre, as well as more personal documents, including marriage and conversion records.

There is also a collection of letters written by one of the mosque’s early supporters, the famous Qur’an translator, Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall.

“The archives are important because they allow the Muslim experience to be woven into the tapestry of British social history,” said Dr. Jamil Sherif, the chair of the East London Mosque Archives Project’s Steering Committee. “Without that narrative, Muslims are always going to be considered as the ‘other’ and their contribution will never be appreciated.”

As well as the mosque’s records, the archives contain documents of the Indigent Moslems Burial Fund, set up to aid early British Muslims who were unable to meet the cost of burying their dead.

Those who attended the launch included Abdul Maalik Tailor, founder of Muslim History Tours, which take visitors around London revealing the city’s hidden Muslim past.

Tailor believes more mosques need to be supported to follow the example set by the East London Mosque.

“There are people within other mosques across the country that have an interest in archiving the history of their institute, but they need support and funds to do this,” he said. “The history of mosques are the history of the Muslim community and we need to help them to preserve it.”

One dead, police arrest shooting suspect who was barricaded inside US supermarket

Police officers and members of the Los Angeles Fire Department escort a woman on a stretcher after a suspect barricaded inside a Trader Joe's supermarket in Silverlake, Los Angeles, on July 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 36 min 48 sec ago

One dead, police arrest shooting suspect who was barricaded inside US supermarket

  • The suspect eventually crashed his car outside of the Trader Joe's supermarket and then ran into the store
  • Investigators believe the suspect, whose name hasn't been released, had shot his grandmother and girlfriend

LOS ANGELES: An armed suspect who allegedly shot his grandmother and another person barricaded himself in a supermarket and then shot a woman dead in the US city of Los Angeles before being taken into custody on Saturday, police said.
“A male suspect ... become involved in a family dispute which resulted in him shooting his grandmother and a female at the scene,” police Sergeant Barry Montgomery told journalists.
“That suspect fled the location in his grandmother’s vehicle, taking that female victim with him,” and eventually entered a Trader Joe’s supermarket following an “officer involved shooting,” he said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said one woman was shot in the store and later declared dead at the site.
“I regret to inform you that there is one fatality that occurred inside, of a woman,” Garcetti said, without further identifying the woman.
The suspect barricaded himself inside the supermarket with an unknown number of people, but was taken into custody “without incident,” according to police.
“We have successfully taken the suspect into custody without incident. The situation remains fluid as officers move forward clearing the location,” the Los Angeles Police Department wrote on its official Twitter account
US President Donald Trump had earlier tweeted that he was “watching Los Angeles possible hostage situation very closely.”
Devin Field, a man who said he was walking into the store when the incident unfolded, described his experience in a series of tweets.
“I was walking in when a car crashed running from the police crashed into street lamp in front of the entrance. Gunman got out and started shooting at the cops. I hid behind a retaining wall with three cops until they had me crawl out,” wrote Field, whose Twitter account identifies him as a writer for the Jimmy Kimmel Live TV show.
“Gunman walked in shooting. He went into the back and took hostages. Employees snuck out through back emergency exits. Employee says blood was all over the floor, unclear from where,” he wrote.