Muslim History of Oxford
A History of Muslims in Oxford’ is a collaborative research project between the History Faculty and Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative (EMHAI).
The aim of the project is to document and preserve the history, heritage and culture of the Muslims living, working and studying throughout Oxford and Oxfordshire – contributing to the creation of a digital archive collection.
The project team is led by Sadiya Ahmed (EMHAI’s Project Director) and Dr Faridah Zaman (Associate Professor, Somerville College). They are working with four student interns from the History Faculty: Janita Hussain, Zuhaira Islam, Katerina Zagurova and Mohammed Alam Begi – supported by a grant from the University’s John Fell Fund. The team is conducting oral history interviews, archival research and collecting other material, with a view to developing a Muslim heritage trail of Oxford and Oxfordshire. This exciting project will go some way towards highlighting the Muslim community’s established presence in the region, and its long-standing links to the University.
Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative (EMHAI) was established in 2013 to create an archive collection, to document and preserve the UK's lived Muslim experiences. The initiative was founded to address the noticeable absence of the historical and contemporary Muslim narrative in Britain’s archives, museums and history books.
The EMHAI archive collection is an ever-expanding collection of video and audio recordings and oral history interviews from Muslims of diverse ethnic backgrounds across the UK. Alongside a wide-ranging depository of approximately 2000 digitised documents and photographs, it provides both a historical and contemporary narrative of the everyday lives and diversity of Muslim communities living in Britain. The collections are available online, partially catalogued and archived at archival institutions across the UK; an intrinsic aim of the initiative is to place Muslim history and heritage directly within the context of broader British history. Archive partners to date include Bishopsgate Institute, Vestry House Museum, George Padmore Institute, Surrey History Centre, Brent Museums and Archives. At present, we are working to provide digital access to all collections on our website. We also share extracts from interviews, events and performances on our YouTube channel.
EMHAI also works closely with community groups, schools, academics, researchers, mosques, madrassas, museums and archives to produce educational teaching resources that inform a broader perspective of British history. To encourage sustainability and provide a context from a Muslim perspective, we are also working towards forging partnerships with universities to provide guidance, research opportunities and encouragement for more people from a Muslim background to enter the heritage sector and become trained archivists, researchers and historians.