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Could You Help to Reclaim the History of Malcolm X’s Time With Muslims in Britain?

by in Identity on 6th March, 2020

Malcolm X eating at a Bangladeshi owned restaurant called Chamon in Birmingham. Images via Nijjormanush, Photo credits News UK Archives and ‪@aerosolali

As the fifty-fifth anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination passes, Everyday Muslim has made an appeal to Muslims in Britain and worldwide to help document Malcolm X’s visits to the UK. There are images of Malcolm X in at a Bangladeshi owned curry-house called “Chamon” in Selly Oak alongside peers, this visit was days before his assassination.

Malcolm X eating at a Bangladeshi owned restaurant called Chamon in Birmingham. Images via Nijjormanush, Photo credits News UK Archives and ‪@aliaerosol

There is also a newspaper clipping from University of Birmingham’s student newspaper Redbrick, tweeted by Mohammed Ali Aerosol @aerosolali, originally published on 17th Feb 1965 about his lecture during this visit.

Newspaper clipping tweeted by Mohammed Ali Aerosol @aerosolali

The nationalists have claimed Malcolm. The socialists have claimed Malcolm. It’s time for you Muslims to claim Malcolm, because he was a believer. — Dr Betty Shabazz to Imam Zaid Shakir

The appeal asks anyone who met Malcolm on his UK visits, or whose parents or grandparents met him, to share their memories, their photographs, and any other documents to help Everyday Muslim preserve this precious history so as to inspire us and future generations.

Malcolm X eating at a Bangladeshi owned restaurant called Chamon in Birmingham.
Images via Nijjormanush, Photo credits News UK Archives and ‪@aliaerosol

Malcolm X addressing students at the University of Manchester, 4 December 1964. Sat behind him from left to right are Hoossain Rajah, FOSIS Treasurer, Salim al-Hassani and Ebrahimsa Mohamed, FOSIS General Secretary.
Image via Everyday Muslim

Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative is a long-term project to create a central archive of Muslim lives, arts, education and cultures from across the UK. Their work has included collecting and documenting the presence and contribution of Muslim life in Britain through images, interviews and documents; to provide a comprehensive and unmediated portrayal of Muslim life in Britain.

Malcolm X eating at a Bangladeshi owned restaurant called Chamon in Birmingham.
Images via Nijjormanush, Photo credits News UK Archives and ‪@aliaerosol

As well as, creating physical collections of archives, the objective of the project is to educate and empower the Muslim community in the importance of creating tangible connections between their Muslim heritage and the representation of their identity in the wider society.

Malcolm in Sheffield, 4 December 1964, (left to right:) Hoossain Rajah (FOSIS Treasurer), Ahmed El-Kally, Ghayasuddin Siddiqui (Secretary, Sheffield Islamic Society), Malcolm X, Neil Rackham, the Sheffield Students Union Secretary, and Salah Shaheen, later elected FOSIS President in 1968, Sheffield, 4 December 1964.
Images via Everyday Muslim, Photo credits Ghayasuddin Siddiqui

“We know that Malcolm X met frequently and extensively with Muslims in Britain on all four occasions that he came here. He visited and prayed at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Regents Park three times, spoke at Malaysia Hall twice, and offered Friday prayers at the Manchester Central Mosque. Malcolm stayed in our homes, he attended our mosques, he ate in our halal restaurants and he worked with our community builders and activists.” – Everyday Muslim

Last year Amaliah was honoured to join Everyday Muslim as they launched the UK’s first Muslim cemetery trail to highlight the Islamic legacy that that began with the establishment of Britain’s first Muslim Burial grounds at Brookwood Cemetery in 1884, pre-dating the wave of Muslim migration to the UK. The graves of Meccan Princesses, Lords and Ladies are amongst hundreds of Muslim dead at Britain’s first Muslim burial site in Brookwood Cemetery, which holds, and they’re finally being put on the map by the amazing Everyday Muslim Heritage initiative, who’ve organised the UK’s first Muslim cemetery trail to commemorate the legacy some of these notables have left for the Muslims of Britain.

The information appeal asks for gaps to be filled around particular moments to gain knowledge about Malcolm’s interactions with Muslims in Britain. These include:

  1. His first visit to the Islamic Culture Centre in Regents Park on 10 July 1964
  2. His first speech at Malaysia Hall near Marble Arch in London on 22 November 1964
  3. The formal reception given to him by FOSIS in London on 1 December 1964
  4. His visits to Manchester and Sheffield on 4 December 1964
  5. His second visit to the Islamic Cultural Centre in Regents Park and second speech at Malaysia Hall near Marble Arch in London on 5 December 1964
  6. His third visit to the Islamic Cultural Centre in Regents Park on 11 February 1965
  7. His visit to Birmingham on 12 February 1965
  8. Memories of Michael de Freitas/Michael X
  9. Memories of the FOSIS officials and Muslim diplomatic officials, students and community activists and members who met and interacted with Malcolm on these visits

More details of these timelines can be found here. If you have any information to share please email [email protected]

Amaliah Team

Amaliah Team

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