MUST DO: MFest, the UK’s first festival of Muslim culture

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A celebration of Britain’s diverse community takes place in Euston all weekend


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The British Library and P21 Gallery are hosting the UK’s inaugural celebration of Muslim culture this weekend (27th-29th April).

With over 25 events led by established writers, performers, academics and artists the festival looks to celebrate the plurality and diversity of voices within Britain’s Muslim population.

Through a series of talks, workshops and performances, MFest explores contemporary Muslim thought on heritage, community, politics and culture.

To kick things off, Sayeeda Warsi will discuss the notion of the “right” kind of Muslim and her book ‘The Enemy Within: A Tale of Muslim Britain,’ which looks to bust the widespread inclination that Muslims speak with a single voice.

The authors of Cut From The Same Cloth take to the stage to discuss the different types of feminism evolving with Muslim communities and the shifts in power dynamics between men and women.

Meanwhile, In Conversation With… Kamila Shamsie sees the award-winning novelist discusses her latest book with acclaimed BBC journalist Razia Iqbal.

Sunday launches with a look back at the representation of non-binary identities in Muslim art, followed by an exploration of Palestinian Nakba’s impact on artistic expression with singer Reem Kelani, writer Selma Dabbagh and poet Mustafa Abu Sneineh. They’ll look at the subtle and explicit references to the Nakba within their own work and as the 70th anniversary approaches, they’ll discuss its continued relevance to Palestinian artists. There’s also a talk on the Bangladeshi War of Independence, exploring the competing narratives surround the 1971 war.

Want a little less conversation, a little more performance? Don’t miss My Side of It, a poetry night with viral sensation Souhaiyma Manzoor-Khan aka the Brown Hijabi, Momtaza Mehri, Aliyah Hasinah, Hodan Yusuf and the Sabrina Mahfouz, editor of ‘Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write.’

There’s also an after party on Saturday night, with comedy and music from Imran Yusuf and Safe Adam amongst others.

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MFest runs Fri 27th – Sun 29th at British Library and P21 Gallery. More info here.

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