East London Mosque launches first ever British Muslim archives

ELMEast London Mosque formally inaugurated its on-line archive catalogue and reading room service on 15 January. The event was attended by over 70 well wishers of the project, interfaith leaders and researchers. Chief guests included the Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP, Minister of State at the Ministry of Justice; Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper of the National Archives; the Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP, Shadow Lord Chancellor; Professor Humayun Ansari, Royal Holloway, University of London. Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the East London Mosque Trust Fund, welcomed the attendees in the Visitors Gallery of the new Maryam Centre within the mosque complex.
The event celebrated the completion of an ambitious archiving cataloguing project, including the launch of an online catalogue, dating back across the mosque’s 115-year history (it began life in the Ritz Hotel in London).
A joint project with The National Archives, the new online archive catalogue details the mosque’s private collection, which will be made accessible to researchers. The newly restored Minutes Book of the London Mosque Fund (which later became the East London Mosque Trust) was also on display for guests to see last night.
Simon Hughes praised the “wonderful collaboration” on show between The National Archives and the mosque, whilst Sadiq Khan said that archives proved what Muslim communities had done to regenerate “economically, socially and spiritually this part of London”.
Jeff James of The National Archives added that the new archives were “absolutely tremendous”. Prof Humayun Ansari congratulated the mosque and said that it was of “immense value”.
The archival project was made possible by support from the National Archives Cataloguing Grant Programme, and expert guidance from staff at the National Archives’ Religious Archives Private Archives Team and Tower Hamlets Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives.

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