Muslims in the North of England are being honoured for their pioneering contributions in a groundbreaking museum display at Leeds City Museum’s Voices of Asia Gallery.

Titled “Muslims of the North,” the exhibition, unveiled this week, delves into the remarkable achievements of leading Muslims in diverse fields such as commerce, healthcare, law, and research.

Curated by Maria Hussain, a lecturer in management and organisations at the University of Leeds Business School, the display showcases inspiring narratives of key figures, including Nazir Afzal, OBE, former chief crown prosecutor

of north-west England, and Professor Ghazala Mir, Chair in Health Equity and Inclusion at the University of Leeds. Dr Mumtaz Patel, consultant nephrologist, RCP VP education and training, associate dean PG with NHS England, and Mohsin and Zubair Issa, CBE, joint owners of Leeds-based supermarket Asda and co-founders of EG Group, are also featured.

Hussain stated, “The project’s primary goal is to highlight the value of cultural diversity and intercultural collaboration within the region.” She expressed her hope that the initiative would contribute to the decolonisation of civic spaces, fostering inclusivity and representation of diverse communities, ultimately inspiring the next generation.

The exhibition, officially launched on Wednesday (March 6), is part of the Cross-Disciplinary Innovation Fund awarded by the University’s Cultural Institute. Objects on display include an Islamic headscarf, necklace, and a 2022 Commonwealth Games mascot, loaned by Nazir Afzal, who served as a baton bearer during the Birmingham games.

Adam Jaffer, Leeds Museums and Galleries curator of world cultures commented, “This new display is an inspiring addition to the Voices of Asia Gallery, highlighting unique and positive contributions Muslims have made to life in the north of England.”

The Voices of Asia Gallery at Leeds City Museum explores Asian culture and Leeds’s connections with the continent, showcasing the sights, sounds, and diversity of Asian communities in the city. The gallery is home to some of the 6,000 Asian items in Leeds Museums and Galleries collection.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Diversity is one of the cornerstones of Leeds, with each culture and community playing its own unique role in enriching the city and its heritage.

“Celebrating some of the remarkable achievements and stories of the local Muslim community is a fantastic way to inspire visitors and encourage them to learn more about some of the many people who have helped make the city we love.”

Leeds City Museum is free to visit. For more details, please visit: Leeds City Museum – Leeds Museums & Galleries https://news.leeds.gov.uk/news/new-museum-display-celebrates-muslims-in-the-north#:~:text=The%20trailblazing%20contributions,Leeds%20Museums%20%26%20Galleries