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Thursday 30th June 2022

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

10 days. 200 events. 300 authors.

The Bradford Literature Festival, only in its second year, has proven to be a huge success attracting thousands of people from across the district and beyond showcasing Bradford’s rich cultural heritage. With a little something for everyone. From the Bronte sisters to Shakespeare to Islamic Science-Fiction, the festival covered it all.

The festival runs an annual strand on Mysticism and Philosophy which includes Muslim authors to represent the diversity of the faith make up of Bradford’s diverse and multi-cultural population.

Panel discussions included titles such ‘Muslim Women and Political Life’ with Bradford MP Naz Shah and Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and ‘The Hijab: Politics vs Fashion’ with British journalist Remona Aly and Egyptian author Mona Eltahawy.

Attendees were mesmerised by the magic of master calligrapher Haji Noor Deen, an internationally acclaimed master of Arabic and Chinese calligraphy, who demonstrated his astonishing technique of fusing Arabic and Chinese calligraphic styles and ran a workshop teaching his breathtaking calligraphic strokes. Sufi whirling dervish workshops, a beautiful performance by qasidah singers al-Musafirun of the famous Qasida al Burda, children’s story telling session of the 99 Names of Allah and Polishing the Heart were amongst some of the wonderful events on offer.

An exclusive video message by Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi of the launch of the second edition of his book ‘Refuting ISIS: Shattering the Religious Reputation of Islamic State’ offered the opportunity for a Muslim Scholar to respond with a counter-narrative that elucidates the reality of Islam’s commitment to tolerance. Islamic scholar Dr Umar Faruq Abdallah, along with British Library curator Dr Muhammad Isa Waley and publisher Aftab Malik, launched Amal Press’ latest  work, a translation,  ‘The Devotion of Imam al-Nawawi’  providing an overview of the life of Imam Nawawi and the significance of this publication in today’s world.

American Muslim Aisha Gray Henry, founder of non-profit interfaith publishing house Fons Vitae,  launched the monumental Ghazali Children’s Project which has been created to impart the beauty of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Ihya to children through storytelling, guided reflection and instruction to teach them how to preserve the pure hearts they were born with. Each of the 40 books of the Ihya will come in a set of three, an adult book in normative English, a workbook for children as well as parent and teacher manuals. Book sets 1 & 2 were launched at the festival.

Fast becoming national icon, Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain was at hand talking about life before, during and after her rise to fame. Yasir Mirza former head of diversity and inclusion at the Guardian, ran a Citizen Journalism workshop offering in-depth training and tips on how to write an opinion and feature piece and how to approach major publications.

Attendees were left spoiled for choice with the multifarious activities at the festival.

Other guests included Islamic scholar Shaykh Idris Watts, broadcaster and journalist Abdul Rahman Malik, Clinical Psychologist Professor Rasjid Skinner, academic Professor Akbar Ahmed, artist Medina Whiteman, arts, culture and heritage consultant Sarah Pickthall, author Elif Shafak, artist Ayisha Malik, writer Ziauddin Sardar to name but a few.


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