Moslems in Britain - Cardiff (1961)

Moslems in Britain was commissioned by the UK’s Central Office of Information in 1961 and sponsored by the Foreign Office. In this short film, the presenter (Gamal Kinay, speaking in Arabic) interviews Muslim men and women about their lives in Cardiff.

This is a longer video than others in the course but we think it’s a very special piece of archive footage and encourage you to watch it all if possible!

If you do not have the time for a full viewing, it is suggested that you skip to these interview segments:

1:31 - 3:08 Sheikh Saeed Ismail, who was at that time an imam in the Cardiff Muslim community. He would go on to be possibly the longest serving imam in the UK. He is commemorated here by Prof Sophie Gilliat-Ray: An iconic Welsh figure in the history of Islam

4:44 - 6:38 An interview with two factory workers

9:15 - 11:31 The Mayor of Cardiff

13:20 - 14:27 Olive Salaman, owner of the Cairo Cafe in Cardiff. You may also be interested in an additional look at Olive’s story! See this clip from the BBC’s Mixed Britannia series for an interview (in English) with Olive in which she describes how she met her husband, along with some reflections from her son, Dauod. (Unfortunately, videos on the BBC video player are only available to view within the UK)

Questions for discussion:

  • What does this film tell you about the settlement of Muslims in Cardiff?

  • What do you think might have been the UK Foreign Office’s motivation for producing the film? How does that contrast to the present debates on immigration?

  • How do you feel the experiences of the Muslims in this film might differ from their descendants?

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This video is from the free online course:

Muslims in Britain: Changes and Challenges

Cardiff University