The UK’s first dedicated festival to Muslim culture, literature and ideas will take place at the British Library in London in April, with the purpose of challenging stereotypes about Islam.
MFest will see Muslims and non-Muslims come together to explore the richness and plurality of Muslim culture through a series of talks, poetry readings, workshops and family events.
The line-up includes award-winning authors Elif Shafak and Kamila Shamsie, Akram Khan and literary podcast group Mostly Lit.
Social justice fighter Pilgrim Tucker will join politician Emma Dent Coad, who is MP for Kensington, and grime artist Saskilla in discussing the consequences of the Grenfell Tower fire for community activism.
The three-day event, which is sponsored by the Aziz Foundation and DeepMind, will also hold a panel discussion investigating “Sheikh Google” (the practice of studying Islam online) and how knowledge of Islam is shaped by algorithms.
Approximately three million Muslims call Britain home yet debate about those who follow the Islamic faith in government, media and cultural spaces is dominated by topics around terrorism and security.
The festival aims to disrupt the traditional narrative by showing the ethnic and cultural diversity of Muslims from numerous different backgrounds at a non denominational venue.
“We are delighted to launch a festival of books and ideas that recognises the diversity, differences and dynamics of Muslim cultures and lives,” said MFest Director Tufyal Choudhury.
“MFest challenges a fundamental feature of Islamophobia, which sees Islam and Muslims as a monolithic, static block.”
MFest will take place at the British Library in London from April 27-29. To book tickets go to mfest.org