New museum display celebrates Muslims in the North: Muslims in the North group picture 6March24

08 Mar 2024

New museum display celebrates Muslims in the North

Museums and galleries Leeds City Museum Arts

The trailblazing contributions of Muslims living and working in the north of England are being celebrated in a new museum display in Leeds.

Leeds City Museum’s spectacular Voices of Asia Gallery is hosting Muslims in the North, which was launched this week, and which explores the pioneering work of prominent Muslims in fields including commerce, healthcare, law and research.

Underpinned by research conducted and led by Maria Hussain, lecturer in management and organisations at the University of Leeds Business School, the display explores the inspiring stories of figures including Nazir Afzal, OBE, former chief crown prosecutor of north west England and Professor Ghazala Mir, who is chair in Health Equity and Inclusion at the University of Leeds.

Also included is Dr Mumtaz Patel, consultant nephrologist, RCP VP education and training, associate dean PG with NHS England and Mohsin and Zubair Issa, CBE, the joint owners of Leeds-based supermarket Asda and co-founders of EG Group.

Maria Hussain said: “The project’s main aim is to showcase the value of cultural diversity and intercultural working within the region.

“I hope to contribute to work towards decolonising civic spaces to become more inclusive and representative of our diverse communities and most importantly, to inspire the next generation in continuing to nurture diverse cultural perspectives required to navigate an increasingly complex world.”

The display was officially launched at an event on Wednesday (March 6) which was sponsored by Leeds University Business School. The exhibition is part of the Cross-Disciplinary Innovation Fund, awarded by the University’s Cultural Institute, which brings together academics with Leeds Museums and Galleries to collaborate and apply novel research methods to museum collections.

Objects on display include an Islamic headscarf, necklace and a 2022 Commonwealth Games mascot loaned by Nazir Afzal who was a baton bearer when the games were held in Birmingham.

Adam Jaffer, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ curator of world cultures, said: “This new display is an inspiring addition to the Voices of Asia Gallery and highlights just some of the unique and positive contributions Muslims have made to life in the north of England.

“It’s fascinating to learn more about the stories and accomplishments of some of those who feature in the display, and I hope visitors will enjoy finding out about the part Muslims have played in life in the north.”

The museum’s Voices of Asia Gallery takes visitors on a journey through Asian culture and Leeds’s links with the world’s largest continent, celebrating the sights, sounds and diversity of the Asian communities in the city.

The gallery contains some of the 6,000 Asian items in Leeds Museums and Galleries collection.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Diversity is one of the cornerstones of Leeds, with each culture and community playing its own unique role in enriching the city and its heritage.

“Celebrating some of the remarkable achievements and stories of the local Muslim community is a fantastic way to inspire visitors and encourage them to learn more about some of the many people who have helped make the city we love.”

Leeds City Museum is free to visit. For more details, please visit: Leeds City Museum - Leeds Museums & Galleries


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Leeds City Council Communications team