Celebrating Muslims in the North


Trailblazing contributions of Muslims living and working in the North of England are being celebrated in a new museum display, based on University of Leeds research.

‘Muslims in the North’ shares Leeds academic Maria Hussain’s research, carried out at the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence, which seeks to enhance the perceived value of cultural diversity, from the campus to the workplace. 

Launched this week at Leeds City Museum’s Voices of Asia Gallery, the display highlights the inspiring stories of prominent Muslims in the fields of commerce, healthcare, law and research including Professor Ghazala Mir, Chair in Health Equity and Inclusion at the University’s School of Medicine

Maria Hussain, Lecturer in Management and Organisations at Leeds University Business School and ‘Muslims in the North’ Project Leader, said: “The project’s main aim is to showcase the value of cultural diversity and intercultural working within the region.  

“I hope to contribute to work towards decolonising civic spaces to become more inclusive and representative of our diverse communities and most importantly, to inspire the next generation in continuing to nurture diverse cultural perspectives required to navigate an increasingly complex world.” 

Objects on display at 'Muslims in the North' including a lab coat, Islamic headscarf, Commonwealth Games mascot and family photos

Objects on display include an Islamic headscarf, necklace and a 2022 Commonwealth Games mascot. Credit: Connor Bainbridge.

Also included is Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief Crown Prosecutor of North West England; Dr Mumtaz Patel, consultant nephrologist, RCP Vice President for Education and Training and Associate Dean PG with NHS England; and Mohsin and Zubair Issa CBE, the joint owners of Leeds-based supermarket Asda and co-founders of EG Group. 

Remarkable achievements

The display was officially launched at an event on 6 March, sponsored by Leeds University Business School. The exhibition is part of the Cross-Disciplinary Innovation Fund, awarded by the University’s Cultural Institute, which brings together academics with Leeds Museums and Galleries to collaborate and apply novel research methods to museum collections. 

Group photo of contributors to the Muslims in the North exhibition

Contributors to the new ‘Muslims in the North’ display at Leeds City Museum along with Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Al Garthwaite (centre). Credit: Connor Bainbridge.

Adam Jaffer, Leeds Museums and Galleries’ Curator of World Cultures, said: “This new display is an inspiring addition to the Voices of Asia Gallery and highlights just some of the unique and positive contributions Muslims have made to life in the North of England. 

“It’s fascinating to learn more about the stories and accomplishments of some of those who feature in the display, and I hope visitors will enjoy finding out about the part Muslims have played in life in the north.” 

I hope to inspire the next generation in continuing to nurture diverse cultural perspectives required to navigate an increasingly complex world.

Maria Hussain, Leeds University Business School

The museum’s Voices of Asia Gallery explores Asian culture and Leeds’ links with the world’s largest continent, celebrating the sights, sounds and diversity of the Asian communities in the city. 

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education, said: “Diversity is one of the cornerstones of Leeds, with each culture and community playing its own unique role in enriching the city and its heritage. 

“Celebrating some of the remarkable achievements and stories of the local Muslim community is a fantastic way to inspire visitors and encourage them to learn more about some of the many people who have helped make the city we love.”

Further information

Top image: Professor Ghazala Mir, Chair in Health Equity and Inclusion at the University of Leeds, who is featured in the exhibition. Credit: Connor Bainbridge. 

Leeds City Museum is free to visit. For more details, please visit: Leeds City Museum - Leeds Museums & Galleries 

Read Maria Hussain’s Cultural Institute blog post to learn more about the research underpinning ‘Muslims in the North.’ 

Email Mia Saunders in the University of Leeds Press Office on m.saunders@leeds.ac.uk with media enquiries.