Festival of Islamic culture could return

Sufi festival 2

The Sufi Festival took place in Glasgow earlier this summer with around 2,500 people attending

4th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A festival which celebrates Islamic culture could return to Glasgow next year after a successful debut.

The Sufi Festival took place at the Tramway on 28 July, with around 2,500 Glaswegians from a range of different backgrounds attending.

Sufism is an ancient mystical tradition with an emphasis on universal love and peace, with a rich heritage of creative arts that are internationally appreciated as among the most prepossessing and majestic in history.

Guests enjoyed a variety of performances, from music and poetry to ceremonial rituals of devotion, and much more.

Organiser Tariq Mahmood said the inaugural event had been an overwhelming success.

“It was amazing,” he said. “When you hold events for the first time you have no idea what the response is going to be. On the day it was really busy and the reaction we have had from people has been tremendous.”

A long term aim of the festival is to build a Sufi movement in Scotland. Those who attended said they were keen for the festival to return, and to see similar cultural events take place on a more regular basis.

Mahmood added: “We spent two years working on this. One of the things that kept on coming out on the day, and in feedback from the survey we carried out, was whether or not we are going to hold the event next year.

“In the third sector, it generally comes down to funding and support that needs to be in place, but we definitely hope to return next year.

“There is also a desire for us to do something on a more regular basis too, perhaps on a smaller basis, so that is something we will look at too.”

At the heart of the festival is a drive to bring communities together, and to tackle negative stereotypes of Islam often portrayed in the media.

Mahmood said it is vital that positive cultural events are held to help bring communities together, particularly at a time when divisions in society are continually highlighted.

“It’s absolutely necessary to hold these type of events,” he said. “There’s far more good things going on in the community than bad, and positive events can also help people through the bad times as well.”

The festival was funded by Creative Scotland, Amal (a Saïd Foundation programme), Safera Foundation, and the University of Edinburgh Al Waleed Centre. Its lead partner was Glasgow Life, through the Tramway; and charity partner was the Human Appeal.