Happy Ramadan to our Muslim Friends


Happy Ramadan to our Muslim Friends :-) Wishing you four weeks of blessings.

Scottish Muslims have a long history to celebrate.

Scotland has been closely connected with Muslim countries as far back as the Middle Ages. In the 8th and 9th centuries pilgrims travelled to the Holy land and Scottish traders visited the Muslim countries of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa.

The geographer and mapmaker Muhammad al-Idrisi in the 12th century, depicted Scotland on one of his maps which helped to inspire Christopher Columbus and Vasco Da Gama. Apparently his travels took him to many parts of Europe including Jórvík or York, in England. Scottish knights, some of them Knights Templar, joined crusades to Jerusalem, among them Alan FitzWalter, High Steward of Scotland, who joined Richard the Lionheart on the Third Crusade. Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland had directed that his heart should be taken and buried in the Holy Land. It only got as far as Muslim Spain, from where it was eventually retrieved and returned to Scotland.

With the British Empire relationships developed. Scots travelled as merchants, military men and civil servants to India, Malaya, Nigeria and many other countries with Muslim populations.

The first Muslims came to Scotland in the 18th century mostly because of the Indian subcontinent (largely from the Bengal region) to work for the British East India Company. Working mainly as sailors. This is why many muslim communities in Britain are still found in Port Towns. In Scotland with we have large Muslim communities in the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Originally they came from mainly India, Pakistan, Yemen and Malaysia. The next wave of emigration brought students, professionals, merchants and servants. Scotland benefited greatly from this influence.

The first named Muslim known in Scotland was Wazir Beg from Bombay (now “Mumbai”). He is recorded as being a medical student who studied at the University of Edinburgh in 1858 and 1859.

Now there is estimated to be around 75,000 Muslims in Scotland, who show great pride in their duel heritage.

About Amanda Moffet

I run www.scotclans.com with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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