Every year, Muslims in London wear the best of their traditional outfits on the day of Eid. This year, the community showed resilience and their ability to express joy even in these troubling times.
Eid al Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims are encouraged by the Sunnah (the practice of the Prophet) to wear their best and finest clothes on this most special of celebratory days.
This Eid my dear friend Zakaria Sharif Nur and I, as we have been doing since 2016, went to capture an international flavour of Eid, as we photographed Muslims from all corners of the world in their traditional, cultural outfits at London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park.
The UK despite not being a Muslim country, has had a vibrant, settled Muslim community since the 18th century. London moreover, is one of the world’s most multicultural cities in which over 300 languages are spoken. Naturally, the city is a melting pot of different Muslim-majority diaspora communities like Somalis, Pakistanis, Turks and others. In fact, the UK’s capital has the vast majority of the nation’s Muslim community of over 3 million, they constitute between 10-14 percent of London’s population.
London Central Mosque is the city’s most iconic Islamic landmark and naturally the best place to get a snapshot of the cultural diversity of the Muslim world through cultural fashion. I would go as far as saying my city is evolving to become one of the world’s key Muslim capitals.
Last year we were unable to celebrate Eid at our mosques due to Covid-19 restrictions in the UK. Ethnic minority communities, of which Muslims in the UK are mostly represented, faced a disproportionate death toll and impact of the pandemic.
Two elders both within my family and community, Dr. Fuad Nahdi, a high-profile Muslim community figure and Waqar Khan passed away due to the virus.
Moreover, the unfolding carnage in Gaza and injustices in Sheikh Jarrah and the violations of the sanctity of Islam’s 3rd holiest site (Al Aqsa Mosque) in the last days of Ramadan and during Eid al Fitr have added to the pain of our community.
The images of families that came out from the Al Aqsa Mosque compound on Eid showed the resilience of the Palestinian people. With this photo series, I wanted to show the same spirit Muslims in London were able to express in these troubling times.