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MFest 2021: The Muslim Cultural Festival of the Year Launching This Weekend

by in Culture & Lifestyle on 19th May, 2021

Anti-racism struggles, Young Adult literature, the future of cinema…if any of these topics sparked your interest, then we have the perfect event for you!

MFest is a multi-arts festival of Muslim knowledge and creativity that brings together artists, activists, thinkers, organisations and collectives to celebrate the power of diverse Muslim communities, connect with our roots and imagine thriving futures. In a context where Muslim communities face the continued challenges of structural inequalities in health, housing, education and criminal justice, and in a continued climate of Islamophobia and racism and entrenched state surveillance, MFest draws connections between organisations, people and places in order to create new possibilities for communities to not only survive, but also to thrive.

3 people sitting down on a stage speaking

Picture of the ‘Mostly Lit Live’ panel talk from the first MFest festival in 2018

Amaliah attended the festival back in 2018 and we were spoilt for choice when it came to the insightful talks and workshops on offer. MFest, which stands for the festival of Muslim cultures and Ideas Festival, is building on the success of their 2018 event and are back this year, with more fantastic events, a range of speakers and an exciting competition. MFest will be launching virtually on the weekend of May 21st – 23rd 2021 and will be running events throughout May and June in partnership with the British Library and under the direction of Maslaha. This is THE event of the year and below, we’ve put together a guide to help you navigate the festival and highlight events which you won’t want to miss!

woman in a brown hijab, orange jumper and glasses laughing with a pen and notebook and sitting in a lecture theatre surrounded by other people.

Picture of the ‘Women and Power’ event from the first MFest festival in 2018


MFest’s events and workshops are community-generated. They recognise the discriminations that occur within Muslim communities which is why their programming prioritises the experiences of marginalised Muslims and they strive to ensure that the environment at Mfest is inclusive to Muslims of all identities and backgrounds.

There’s an event for everyone and you’re sure to find an event that will speak to your interests and passions. Here are our top event picks for this year:

Sat, 22 May 18:30 – 19:30 | Online Event

Connecting Anti-Racist Struggles

In the UK, US and France, Black and brown communities face the ongoing hostilities of state violence, precarious citizenship, surveillance, racism and Islamophobia. MFest will bring together Paris-based journalist and activist Rokhaya Diallo, with MP Zarah Sultana and Chicago-based writer and organiser Hoda Katebi to discuss what we can learn and exchange from different national contexts and historical campaigns and movements, and how we can work towards less harmful and more nourishing societies. Chaired by Aamna Mohdin of The Guardian.

Amaliah will be covering this event live on our Twitter.

Click here to register for the event 

Sun, 23 May 13:30 – 14:30 | Online Event

Fantasy and World-building for Young Adults

Authors Nafiza Azad (The Candle and the Flame), Reni K. Amayo (Daughters of Nri), Intisar Khanani (Thorn) and Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me series) discuss the process of world building, and fantasy novels as an exploration of political violence and persecution, as well as the rich traditions, religions and histories we belong to. Chaired by award winning storyteller and actor Alia Alzougbi.

Click here to register for the event

Sun, 23 May 17:00 – 18:00 | Online Event

The Future of Cinema

The landscape of the film industry is changing but there are still significant issues of access and sustainability at all levels of the industry. MFest will bring together stars of BAFTA nominated film RocksKosar Ali and Tawheda Begum, with Jessica Straker and Axa Hynes from Bridge, a collective that safeguards the legacy of emerging talent and award-winning film director Sheila Nortley, to discuss the barriers they are working to combat, and what the future of cinema could look like.

Click here to register for the event

MFest will be releasing details of more events to take place in June. For more details and to stay updated, keep an eye on the MFest website.


As part of the festival this year, MFest has partnered with Hajar Press to launch a short story competition with the aim of nurturing and encouraging the voices of writers from marginalised communities. They are looking for stories from unpublished, un-agented Muslim writers of colour from all around the world to submit their stories to the competition.

6 shortlisted writers will have the opportunity to develop book proposals, and the winner will get their very own publishing contract and place on a writers retreat!  If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at short story writing, have an idea that you would like to develop into a book or have entered short story competitions before, then this opportunity is perfect for you!

The deadline to apply is the 30th June.

Click here to find out more about competition and to apply

Amaliah Team

Amaliah Team

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