Book of Travels

“In partnership with the British Council Maslaha has built an online exhibition about the constant mix of conversations that have occurred between Islamic people, cultures, societies and Europe. Maslaha is a new web-based organisation closely linked to the Young Foundation in London which aims to provide a greater understanding of Islam and its practices for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In mid-June 2010, the online version has been launched at www.thebookoftravels.org.

To make things even more interesting, Maslaha also built a physical exhibition which was on display in mid-May 2010 at Bethnal Green Library in East London.

The theme of this exhibition is travel – both of individuals and also ideas across time and geographical boundaries. In particular, the project focuses on a 17th century Turkish traveller, Evliya Çelebi, who wrote extensively of his travels to Europe and North Africa in his book, Seyahatnâme: Book of Travels. This exhibition aims to capture the sense of curiousity that drives exploration, and the human desire to investigate and learn more about different cultures and experiences.

Read Book of Travels: How the Ottomans shaped London, Raheel Mohammed’s introduction to the exhibition at the BBC London website.”

For more information, go to the British Council’s description of the project.

Literature Seminar

“The “Our Shared Europe” literature seminar is the British Council’s first event specifically aimed at exploring Muslim European interaction through contemporary literature, as part of the wider project of the same name. Adopting the well-established concept and format of the “Walberberg Seminar on Contemporary Literature from the UK”, colleagues from the British Council Berlin office have organised this exciting three-days seminar entitled “Faultlines, Fictions and Futures”. Chaired by writer Ahdaf Soueif and gathering writers Inaam Kachachi, Jamal Mahjoub and Robin Yassin-Kassab, the seminar will explore the writers’ work, their people, their times and their hometowns, and give the opportunity to a wide range of participants coming from the UK, Germany, Malta, the Netherlands, Serbia, Slovenia, Portugal, Turkey, France, Greece and Belgium, to interact and share ideas.”

For details and interviews with these authors, held Nov 12-14, 2010 in Berlin, see the original blog.

Our Shared Europe

“The Our Shared Europe project is the British Council’s response to one of the major cultural challenges facing our continent today – the growing mutual mistrust between Muslim communities and wider European society.

Our Shared Europe seeks to find common ground, and build shared values, perspectives and behaviours that are based on mutual respect and trust. In particular, it is about how to acknowledge the contribution of Islamic communities and cultures – both in the past but also in the present – to the shaping of contemporary European civilisation and society. This means recognising the rich and diverse roots of our culture and society and using this recognition to build a more inclusive view of the continent that we all share.”

For further information, see the British Council’s site for Our Shared Europe.