Islamic life in the East End: Catch the last few days of exhibition

Take a peak into Islamic life in the East End. Pic: Rehan Jamil

The East End’s biggest mosque has been criticised for harbouring extremists but has also been praised by Boris Johnson and the Prince of Wales.

Now a new exhibition documents the daily life of the mosque and the community it has served over a decade in which Britain’s view of Islam was changed dramatically by events such as 9/11 and 7/7 and the rise of radicalism.

The East End of Islam, a 10-year photographic exploration centring on the East London Mosque on Whitechapel Road and the Muslim community of Tower Hamlets is on at the Bethnal Green Road’s Rich Mix Mezzanine Gallery and runs until Sunday.

The exhibition offers a unique insight into the lives of ordinary families going about their daily lives through photographer Rehan Jamil’s unprecedented access to the mosque and its members.


The black and white exhibition charts a decade fraught with controversy for the East London Mosque. It covers between 1997 – 2007, including the incensed reaction to the council’s plans to sell the adjacent site to commercial developers and the reaction of the world’s media as it turned focus on the mosque following the 7/7 bombings, alongside a range of more intimate portraits of the Muslim community at home, in prayer and in study.

Jamil began his photographic career taking photographs for a local newspaper, The East End Enterprise. No stranger to documentary photography, in 2008 he undertook a project by Southwark Council to show the sight and sounds of Islam in the borough. He has published several books primarily focusing on identity and religious identity including Common Ground: Portraits of Tower Hamlets, Ocean Views, Common Ground: Aspects of Contemporary British Muslim Experience and Peace by Piece. Jamil describes himself as a documentary photographer who is primarily concerned with communities in transition.

Catch the last few days of this evocatively lit photographic series at Rich Mix’s Mezzanine Galley, 10am – 11pm daily until Sunday July 29.

The exhibition is part of Snapshots – a showcase of the flavours, feelings and fashions that make East London the place it is and Part 13, a bite-sized festival in 13 parts celebrating East London in its Olympic year.

The Snapshots festival encompasses free exhibitions, workshops, performances and film in various venues over the month of July.

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