Syria and Turkey commentary

Islamophobia in Britain – then and now

Islamic art image of Jesus on donkey and Muhammad on camel

Early Islamic manuscript illustration showing Jesus Christ riding a donkey side by side with the Prophet Muhammad riding a camel, both on their way to visit the Monk Bahira at Bosra, southern Syria

In the current climate of Islamophobia, I wonder how many British people are aware of a series of films made in the early 1960s, which were expressly designed to encourage people from Arab countries to come to Britain to work or study. The four films, all in Arabic, were made on behalf of the Foreign Office, and all begin with a mosque skyline and melodic chants of “Allahu Akbar”, the start of the Muslim call to prayer. They were recruitment films, each about 20 minutes long, in Arabic, expressly designed to encourage Arabs to come to Britain and to work in British industries or to study in British universities.

Muslims in Britain 1


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3 thoughts on “Islamophobia in Britain – then and now

  1. are you suggesting that Islam is compatible with the western values? Have you been to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Marocco, Somalia? Do you think muslim man (from different muslim countries) treat woman in appropriate way? This is the first problem women face with this cultural enrichment. Unfortunately my “openness” toward the other human completely changed after studying, working with muslim man. It’s experience, which made me to think that Islam values are not compatible with western society. And it’s definitely not my lack of good intentions, but their misunderstanding of women and western culture.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you bad experiences. I lived in Egypt for four years and my children were born there, and I never had any problems, there or in Syria or in Jordan or in Lebanon or in Turkey. I did in Morocco though, and as I result I have no desire to go back there. I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia and never would, and agree that most Gulf countries have very traditional, patriarchal views viz Shaikh Muhammad in Dubai, where I also lived for three years. So yes, there are some black spots, but overall, I’ve had nothing but good experiences and been treated with respect in the Middle East.

  2. Thank you very much for this insightful and interesting post. I have just published an article on my blog about the danger of Islamophobia and its impact on society. If you have time, I would be really intrigued to hear your thoughts and opinions on my post! Thanks 🙂

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