On 15 June 2010, AKU-ISMC was pleased to host renowned scholar Professor Humayun Ansari, who delivered a public lecture on the topic of Place, Identity and Islam.
Professor Ansari focused in particular on the history of mosque building in London from 1910 to 1944, noting the importance of the mosque as a religious, social and community institution in the formation and building of identities of Muslim immigrants.
The potent symbolic importance of the mosque in the current socio-political climate of the UK and Europe was examined, and recent negative public responses to the establishment of mosques were also discussed.
Professor Ansari provided a methodical overview of several attempts to establish mosques in London, from 1910 to 1944. He explored the connections between efforts at ‘place-making’ and identity formation of Muslims in Britain, foreign policy and the wider social and political climate of the period. The dynamics of power between British society and the Muslim community, and within the Muslim community itself, were further analysed.
An audio recording of the lecture can be accessed here .
Dr Ansari is Professor of the History of Islam and Cultural Diversity, Department of History, and Director of the Centre for Minority Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research looks at issues of ethnicity, identity, migration, multiculturalism and Islamophobia.
He has written extensively on the subject of Muslims in Western society, cultural diversity and cross-cultural issues. He is author of The Infidel Within, Muslims in Britain Since 1800 and The Emergence of Socialist Thought among North Indian Muslims (1917-1947).