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Watching "Blessed are the strangers" was truly a pleasure, witnessing a deep insight on the story of how Muslims came to Britain manifesting into one of the oldest and greatest Muslim convert communities, seeing the obstacles they endured and their own personal journeys to Islam was truly inspiring.

Yusra Belattar , Glasgow
Thank you for the insight into the lives of some pioneering Muslims. Amazing stories

Zarina Ahmad , Glasgow
A wonderful experience. Thank you so much. Blessings to all!

Linda Haggerstone , Glasgow
Blessed are the Strangers
Andalus Building, 211 New City Road, Glasgow, G4 9PA - Details
15:00 - 17:00
29th Oct 2016
Event Ended

Andalus have the pleasure of screening the film, Blessed are the Strangers, with an after film discussion with special guests. 

London in the late 1960s. A steady stream of hippies get switched on to the teachings of Sufism through Ian Dallas, a Scottish playwright and actor who had encountered Islam on a trip to Morocco in 1967. Dallas takes the group to Morocco and introduces them to his spiritual master, Shakyh Muhammad ibn al-Habib. The shaykh gifts them his diwan — a book of devotional poetry — with which he tells them to return to England and 'call the people to Islam' 

They set up a Sufi community in Maida Vale, the first of its kind in Britain. The community grows rapidly, and the decision is taken to leave London and construct a self-sufficient ‘Muslim village’ on the grounds of a country estate in Norfolk. The experiment fails however, due to an odd combination of extreme asceticism and communalism. Eventually, the community trickles into the nearby city of Norwich, where they establish a mosque. 

Meanwhile, in 1980s Brixton, a group of West Indians searching for a new spiritual, cultural and political direction find themselves unexpectedly drawn to Islam. This nascent black Muslim community purchases their own mosque at Gresham Road amid a surge of interest in the faith. 

Self-exploration and empowerment take a back seat, however, when a few extremist preachers peddling a puritanical ideology gain a foothold in the mosque. The rigid intensity of this brand of puritanical Islam alienates the new Muslims and, when invited to take over the Mosque in Norwich and join the community there, they immediately accept. 

Blessed are the Strangers tells the story of how these two very different groups of people came together to form one of Britain’s oldest and most diverse Muslim convert communities. 


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