Last year saw the first Islamic Arts and Heritage Festival take place, on the first London Borough of Culture Waltham Forest. Around 1,500 members of the public from diverse backgrounds attended across a range of amazing activites and the festival recieved a glowing review from the Chief Executive Martin Esom " “I was delighted to hear that last weekend saw our first Islamic Arts and Heritage Festival which took place at One Hoe Street over three days. Commissioned by London Borough of Culture 2019, working in partnership with Muslim History Tours and Halal Tourism Britain a new Islamic Arts and Heritage Festival, it was an extremely successful weekend and looks set to become a regular feature on our events calendar”




Get Ready to experience an amazing blend of creativity that will be engaging and captivating. Discover historical hidden gems, storytelling, sightseeing bus tours, spoken word, Muslim Human books, film, workshops, comedy and exhibitions including the launch of New Faces New Places - Converts to the Islamic Faith.


The Islamic Arts and Heritage Festival was celebrated on Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019. Friday 19th July - Sunday 21st July 2019 mostly at One Hoe Street (1 Hoe Street, London E17 4SD) ALL EVENTS AT ONE HOE STREET WERE FREE!


An experience for everyone!


The following programme took place


Friday 19th July 2019 Doors open 11:00 AM


  • Exhibitions
    • Launch: New Faces New Places - A celebration of converts to the Islamic Faith
    • Islamic Pop Art by Farah Soobhan
    • We weren't expecting to stay by Everyday Muslim
  • 6:00 PM Welcome, Networking, canapes and drinks 
  • Guided tours of exhibitions by artists
  • Spoken Word + Open Mic
  • Panel Discussion 1: Arts & Heritage



Saturday 20th July 2019 Doors open 10:00 AM

  • 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM  FREE Workshop: Islamic Calligraphy for Ages 11+ by Wahid Mohammed Miah. 




  • 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM Muslim Human Books: Have you wanted to ask a question to a Muslim? Meet your biases, Smash stereotypes
    • The Niqabi - Is she forced to wear it?
    • The Imam
    • The Cyclist
    • The Convert
    • The Aid Worker
    • The Homeschooler
    • The Imam's Wife
    • The Artist
    • and many more!

  • 6:00 PM Doors Open with film commencing 6:30 PM. Empire Cinema, Walthamstow: One day in the Haram followed by Q&A with director
    • Panel Discussion 2: Muslims in Film with Award Winners Abrar Hussain and Sheila Nortley. Finishes at approx 8:30 PM.

  • 10:00 PM Walthamstow Central returns approx 12:00 PM. London night sightseeing bus tour. Not Saturday Night Live but for sure the lights on sites on the night! See London with Muslim heritage connections with AbdulMaalik Tailor Britain's First professionally qualified Muslim tour guide.


Sunday 21st July 2019 10:00 AM Returns 1:00 PM Waltham Forest Sightseeing Muslim history bus tour


  • It's on the buses, this morning with a sightseeing bus tour of Muslim heritage in Waltham Forest including the site of the famous 1894 first publically known Eid prayers in London!



  • 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM FREE Family Workshop: Designing the Museum of Muslim Life by Halima Khanom.




  • 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM FREE African traditional & biographical storytelling from Islam with amazing Alim 


  • 4:30 PM - 5:00 PM FREE Comedy Show with Fatih El Ghorri a Muslim, female, Hijabi, stand-up comedian based in London!


  • 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM FREE Meet the Authors: Mohammad Mahmoud author of Somalia Sideways and Hanifa Ogunyemi author of Healthy Hijab Hair. 


  • 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM Ertugrul, Ottomans and Britain. Documentaries, presentations and Panel Discussion 3 with Dr. Stef Keris and Abu Musa of Ilmfilm. FREE

Throughout the weekend there was Henna and an opportunity to write your names in Islamic calligraphy! 


Waltham Forest is a diverse borough with 22% being Muslims compared to 5% nationally. Unknown to many people the northern part of the borough of Chingford in 1894 was amazingly the site of London’s first known public Eid prayers which will be marked with a plaque this year.


Our aim is to build upon the first event each year to the big 5 0. What is the big 5 0 one may be wondering? 2026 would be the 50th anniversary of the amazing international World of Islam Festival that took place in 1976 with the opening ceremony being opened by the present Queen Elizabeth II. The event featured museums and galleries taking part by exhibitions, lectures and films.


Britain has had a rich historical celebration of Islamic exhibitions, here are a few of them which may surprise you.






  • 1745 Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens - Turkish Tent erected decorated with rococo art, this was the first time in UK Rocco art has been introduced in UK
  • 1849 Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens – An Algerian family were showcased with what was said to be the first Muslim woman in public in UK
  • 1850 Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens – A Grand View of Constantinople
  • 1851 The Great Exhibition – Halls from different Muslim countries were present with gems of their country on display. Persia, Turkey, India halls existed.
  • 1853 The Oriental and Turkish Museum opened at Hyde Park Corner, which featured wax works of people in different settings. The museum opened before the present Madam Tussauds attraction did.
  • 1860s Dr Leitner (who established UK’s first purpose built Mosque in Woking) sought to sell his large collection of Oriental antiquates to the Britain Museum for the sum of £5,000. The Museum trustees declined the offer.
  • 1865s Dr Leitner whilst teaching at King’s College wished to hold an exhibition displaying his “Oriental” collection. Trustees discuss the possibility of this being in a cupboard in the hallway outside the library with Dr Leitner insuring the items himself. After extensive research, it is still not known if it went ahead.
  • 1890s Dr Leitner having established the Woking Mosque has an enjoining Oriental Museum where his large collection is displayed. It is not totally clear how long the museum lasted but after Dr Leitner died some of the antiquates went to Surrey Heritage Centre.
  • 1895 Empire of Indian Exhibition at Earls Court built in a Mughal Indian style. A 300 feet high Ferris wheel with 40 carriages was a highlight of the exhibition.
  • 1904 Bradford Exhibition contains a Somalia Village. One of the Somalian females who took part in the display dies and is buried in Bradford with Quran verses on her headstone.
  • 1908 Whitechapel Gallery, East London holds the Muhammadun Art and Life exhibition. The opening day to the public incredibly fell on 27th Ramadan. 2018, attempts were made with the gallery for a revisit evening event of this amazing event however the gallery did not even wish to have a meeting and themselves decided not to entertain conversations via email until after a month after the initial enquiry and then decide to break off communication when asked specific questions around diversity.
  • 1961 Islamic art in India of the 16th and 17th centuries exhibition on display at British Museum
  • 1970 Arab costumes of Palestine exhibition done at the British Museum.
  • 1976 The World of Islam Festival – international event, 600 lectures, Queen Elizabeth II opening ceremony, BBC produced 6 30 minute documentaries. The documentaries may be viewed by clicking on the links:

1976 World of Islam Festival Film Series: The Traditional World of Islam (1) Unity


1976 World of Islam Festival Film Series: The Traditional World of Islam (2) Nomad & City


1976 World of Islam Festival Film Series: The Traditional World of Islam (3)Man and Nature


1976 World of Islam Festival Film Series: The Traditional World of Islam (4) The Pattern of Beauty


1976 World of Islam Festival Film Series: The Traditional World of Islam (5) Knowledge of the world


1976 World of Islam Festival Film Series: The Traditional World of Islam (6) The Inner Life


  • 1976 The Message film has its world premiere in Apollo cinema in Haymarket.
  • 1978 Myth and ceremony in Islamic painting exhibition displayed in the British Museum.
  • 1983 Group set-up to establish an Islamic Museum in London and Cultural Centre
  • 1984 Arts of Islam in the 16th and 17th century exhibited at British Museum
  • 1988 Suleyman the Magnificent and the splendour of the Ottoman court exhibition at British Muslim. Some of the exhibits on display had for the first time travelled outside of Istanbul.
  • 2006 East-West: Objects between cultures exhibition held at Tate Britain, featuring Christian and Muslim encounters and exchanges over 500 years
  • 2009 Milton Keynes Islamic Art, heritage and Cultural is launched after 9/11 connecting communities and celebrating art. Since then it has become an annual event with their main event of the year “Art in the Park”.
  • 2010 1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim heritage in our world at the Science Museum saw the launch of the global tour
  • 2012 Hajj journey to the heart of Islam exhibition at The British Museum
  • 2014 Everyday Muslim's 'We Weren't Expecting to Stay' was exhibition was exhibited at Bishopsgate Institute and Vestry House Museum between Spetember 2014 to May 2015, Watford Museum, March 2016 -April 2016.  The exhibition at Vestry House Museum contained extra panels which related to stories specific to the area of Walthamstow in London where the Vestry House Museum is located.
  • 2015 The Birmingham Quran Manuscript is exhibited at Birmingham University. The Quran is believed to have been written by someone who may have met the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
  • 2016 The Quran Manuscript is exhibited at the Faith gallery, Birmingham
  • 2018 An Eid celebration at Tate Britain included an Islamic tour of its artwork. The tour breaks the record for the greatest number of attendees on a tour. 4 new additions are made to Tate Britain archives and labels to paintings are subsequently changed.
  • 2019 Muslim Human Books launched