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History of the Gujurati Muslim Community in Gloucester, UK

First Gujarati Muslim school children in Gloucester

Rashid and his sister Amina Kholwadid who were the first Gujarati Muslim children to enter the educational system in Gloucester.

The story below is part of the Gloucestershire County Council’s Untold Stories series.

Zawaj.com is a Muslim marriage website that also has many unique features, including a section on Muslim wedding photos, and another on Muslim wedding customs around the world. So what I mainly found interesting in this article was the historical photo of the first Gujarati Muslim wedding in Gloucester, UK, on April 21 1972.

And note that the schoolboy Rashid on the left, who (along with his sister) was the first Gujarati Muslim school child in Gloucester, is also the groom in the first Gujarati Muslim wedding in Gloucester! Cool, huh? Ma-sha-Allah.

I have reprinted the entire article for those who are interested:

The Gujurati Muslim Community

The bulk of the Gloucestershire Gujarati Muslim community arrived in England during the 1960’s, in response to a call from the Commonwealth leader for workers to meet the demands of the labour shortage. They came from towns, cities and even remote villages from Gujarat State in India.

What kind of obstacles did they encounter? Most émigrés remember the harsh, frigid winters with icy roads, and fridge-freezer air. They coped with very different working conditions. There was no siesta or break during the day – just one long 8-12 hour working shift. Most laboured at the mills and factories of Lancashire and Yorkshire and moved often, to find work elsewhere. They were wanted as factory hands and labourers. Those with professional qualifications were informed they were not wanted.

First Gujarati Muslim wedding in Gloucester

Rashid and Sarah with the city Mayor Harry Worral at the first Gujarati Muslim wedding in Gloucester on April 21 1972.

Gloucester boasted very little industry in the late 50’s and early 60’s and so many worked in hotels at first and transferred later to such companies as Williams and James Engineering, British Nylon (Du Pont, Brockworth) and Walls Ice Cream. Many private and commercial companies candidly told job interviewees that they ‘weren’t hiring blacks’. It was quite legal to do so before the Race Relations Act criminalized such practices.

In the absence of families and long-term friends, the men formed close friendships with their compatriots and joined together to purchase properties to use as flats and houses. Many landlords in the sixties would hang “No Blacks” signs in their windows. Thus the arrivals had no choice but to buy the properties outright to enjoy a roof over their heads.

Some of the earliest men to arrive became known for leasing out rooms as temporary accommodation for new arrivals. Some beds would actually never turn cold, as a daytime worker would vacate the bed for a nightshift worker in the morning.

It seems that there is a disproportional representation of Gujarati Muslims in Gloucester. But there seems to be a similar pattern of disproportional representation in most regions in Europe. For example, there is a Sikh majority in Hounslow, and mostly Hindus in Leicester. This could be the result of colonial ties and also the fact that first arrivals would become contact points for later arrivals. As a result, if several Gujarati Muslims had established themselves at an early stage in Gloucester, later arrivals would find the path ‘already beaten’ and reap the benefits.

A Muslim community has to abide by dietary protocols and Muslim butchers soon appeared. Similar to Jewish Kosher food, Muslim Halal meat is obligatory for all. Today there are five major grocery/butcher shops in central Gloucester that cater not just to Muslims but to any person who appreciates vegetables and spices not commonly found at regular shops and superstores.

Launch of the library Gujarati video service

Members of the community at the launch of the library Gujarati video service in 1994.

The men, at first, used empty rooms in their own homes as places of congregational worship, but soon banded together, raised funds and established mosques for their burgeoning communities. The two domed mosques in Gloucester today are difficult to miss but are quite recent additions. For decades, men prayed at non-descript buildings that had originally served as warehouses or TV Rental shops.

Later, the families joined the men and experienced the strange land of England from another viewpoint. Men experienced England from a working man’s perspective. Wives and mothers saw England through a female prism. The children entered schools and came to know England from another completely different standpoint.

As bilingual children, the youth quickly adopted the norms and culture of their host country and thus weaved between two foreign worlds, able at a moment’s notice to switch from the dialect of an English borough to the idioms of a state many thousands of miles hence. Always conscious of being the ‘outsider’, young people kept a low profile and were often perceived as diffident, shy individuals. Teachers would often report them as ‘model’ students, perhaps because they were least likely to cause incidents in the classroom and because they were disciplined by parents to work hard at school.

Discipline for youth was uncompromising. English schools then also used corporal punishment and it was certainly practiced at the ‘Madressah’; a school attended by Muslim children every evening after regular school. Nowadays, this form of discipline is outmoded, partly because of recent laws regarding child rights but primarily because second and third generation parents are less tolerant of excessive smacking and caning today.

At the Madressah School, usually based in a room at the local mosque, children learnt to recite the Holy Koran (the Koran is to Muslims as the Bible is to Christians), to practice different forms of worship and to understand laws and scripture from books written by scholars and teachers. The Koran is written in Arabic but children aren’t taught Arabic grammar or even the meanings of words. Children are taught the sounds of letters and words which they learn to recite. Imagine reading this paragraph aloud but without understanding any of the words or the sense of the sentences? Recitation of the Koran is an important form of worship but some parents are addressing the Arabic language gap and attending Arabic classes with their children. A few Indian families in Gloucester speak Arabic exclusively to their young infants. After all, the language of the afterlife will be Arabic, so a ‘headstart’ is prudent.

Fathers and grandparents didn’t always come to England direct but often lived a generation in a third country as guest workers. Perhaps passage to England could prove to be too expensive. One source claimed Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister prevented Indian citizens travelling to England because he feared they were being exploited by the colonial ‘mother’ which was making professional migrants undertake unskilled, low paid manual work. To avoid the barriers many men first obtained visas to a third country and then moved onto England. The author has found no data to confirm this but it’s certainly how one person remembers it.

Indian Muslims are a minority in England and a minority in India. Other nationals, such as Pakistanis are gifted with a genuine homeland. Indians are conscious of being in the fringe, even in their parents’ country of origin. Their parents and grandparents establish their roots during childhood through everyday memories of family and a sense of belonging to their homeland. Younger community members, born in Europe, may visit the ‘mother’ country briefly and may identify a few faces from family photograph albums. But the connection to the ‘extended’ family is tenuous and there can often be a language barrier.

Two Gujarati girls clapping at the annual Gloucester festival

Watching events at the Asian community event held in the city park as a part of the annual Gloucester festival.

The young generation occupies a larger footprint in this country’s industrial and commercial sectors than their forebears. Fathers and grandparents, confined to manual labour, dreamt of higher ambitions for future generations. Today, sons and daughters are employed as factory hands, IT Professionals, lawyers, doctors, architects and also self-employed as business-owners. More recently, adults and teenagers joined the British Army, marking an enormous cultural leap. Would the Army allow the observance of prayers and sensitivity to dietary restrictions? The MOD has relaxed a number of regulations to encourage ethnic minority participation. The Muslim Territorial recruits enjoyed the Army experience without jettisoning their Muslim observances. One Muslim recruit is considering a full professional career with the Forces. Invisible ceilings denying access to many job sectors have become porous.

Sometimes the barriers are within. Young people have rarely participated as members of Gyms or other leisure clubs. Membership costs can be prohibitive and even today there is an untapped fund of talent for certain sports. There has admittedly been an insular attitude stemming from the elderly generation and infecting the young men and women. However, the spirit of youth often dares to step outside the box.

The elderly Asian population, though small, is increasing. Those who migrated during the 60’s were relatively young and are now facing old age in Great Britain; something for which they did not plan. The current elders did not envisage remaining in Britain permanently. Their objective was always to earn some money, and to try and improve the standing, conditions and circumstances of the extended family back ‘home’ in India. The emotional roots remained in India and still do, to this day.

Growing old in a foreign country can raise the spectre of isolation and depression. National research has highlighted the low uptake of mainstream services, especially community care services. There are specific needs relating to language, culture, religion and tradition. The Asian Elders Drop-in Centre at Hatherly Day Centre and the Mainstream Day Care Provision at Great Western Court (managed by Social Services) respond to these specific needs.

These elderly men and women left all that was familiar in their youth and embarked on a voyage to ameliorate the economic standing of their families. They cabled monies to fund buildings, amenities and to succor the general well being of relatives. At the same time they raised their own immediate families and established a quality of life for their sons and daughters unknown to themselves in their youth.

They sacrificed with a purpose, and people on two different continents have reaped the benefits. The present generation and generations to come owe a debt of gratitude to the courageous spirit of their elderly parents and one day, perhaps with the help of this history project, will recall the love and labour expended on their behalf.

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An Iraqi Wedding in Syria

An Iraqi wedding in Syria

Newly wed Iraqis Hind Al-Rubawawi and Sami Al-Tameemi celebrate with guests at their wedding in Damascus. Photograph: Peter Garmusch

A marriage of inconvenience

Violence and political instability have made weddings in Baghdad virtually impossible. Caitlin Fitzsimmons joins one family who crossed the border to celebrate

Caitlin Fitzsimmons, The Guardian

Hind Al-Rubawawi twirls on the dance floor with her groom. Dressed in white, including the obligatory hijab, the 22-year-old university student from Baghdad beams as she gazes at her new husband, Sami Al-Tameemi, and the 50 or 60 guests gathered to celebrate her wedding. Instead of confetti, her new mother-in-law throws sweets, while her young brothers run about with a spray can sending fake snow flakes into the air. It is a joyful occasion, but this wedding, at a dance hall in Damascus, Syria, nearly didn’t happen.

These days it is almost impossible to have a wedding in Baghdad. Some couples, like Hind and Sami, are choosing to marry abroad at great expense, while others forgo the wedding in favour of perfunctory legal and religious formalities. “Often fundamentalists come to break up parties and set off bombs, or fight with the military or the family to make instability,” explains Hind.

Before 2003, it was common to have up to 1,000 people at a wedding, and when Hind’s parents got married in the 1980s, their guest list numbered well into the hundreds. They had a big party at a hotel in Baghdad with a singer and a band, and went on honeymoon for a week in the Iraqi countryside. Yet for many of Hind’s friends, getting married has been a much quieter affair. “Since the war everyone has been afraid and they’ve reduced the weddings, so it’s only at home, it’s not so big, and it’s without music because the fundamentalists and military don’t allow it,” she says. “Some people only go to get the bride from her father’s home and take her away without any celebration.”

Another reason why Hind and Sami came to Damascus is that 42-year-old Sami is a refugee, legally resident in Norway. The expense and difficulty of organising a wedding and obtaining visas for both families meant that a Norwegian wedding was impossible, so Damascus was chosen as the next best option to Baghdad.

Downtown Damascus traffic jam

A downtown Damascus traffic jam. Many Iraqis are choosing to get married in Syria in order to avoid political problems back home.

Sami left Iraq in 2006 because, having been a member of the Ba’ath party as a student, the situation had become dangerous. “I was not in a high position – it was normal within the university,” Sami says. “But with the US invasion, they were starting to kill many Ba’athists and were making troubles for me so I decided to leave.”

Sami was accepted as a humanitarian rather than political refugee after al-Qaida seized his father’s house and burned his papers.

The couple had not met in person until a week before the wedding, but the courtship started seven months ago. In December, Sami told his friend Hashim, Hind’s uncle, that he wanted to marry. Hashim played matchmaker by contacting Hind’s family and securing permission to pass on her telephone number and email address. The courtship was carried out by phone and on Yahoo! Messenger, with a webcam.

Though the couple’s first meeting was at the airport in Damascus, both say it was their own decision to marry and that they are very much in love.

Once Sami had proposed to Hind, his family paid a visit to her family. On the second occasion they brought her the engagement ring, a gold necklace and another ring as an engagement present. Sami is also expected to provide Hind with £2,600 as security in the event of divorce.

“The internet helps many young couples connect with each other and make a family,” Sami says. “It was, of course, my dream to get married in Baghdad, but the particular situation was too difficult to arrange a marriage there, and for me to go to Iraq.”

Marrying in Damascus might be practical for security reasons, but it is an expensive exercise. Hashim, a businessman with interests in Damascus, played an instrumental role in securing passports, visas and car hire, and renting apartments in the Sayedah Zeinab area, 10km from central Damascus, where many Iraqis live.

Sami is one of 10 children and his mother, father and three siblings travelled to the wedding from Baghdad, while a fourth came from his home in Vienna. Hind’s mother, grandmother and two brothers travelled to the wedding, but her father and another brother and sister remained behind because of the expense.

For the Baghdad contingent, costs ran to £180 each for a passport and visa, £50 each for the businessman’s card that the Syrian government require for every visitor, even Hind’s 78-year-old grandmother, and £20 each for car hire. Hind’s family faced a 14-hour drive from Baghdad to Damascus, but the 10-hour stopover at the border made the journey much longer.

When the bride and groom arrived in Damascus, their first step was to be married by a mullah. Since Sami and Hind are practising Shia Muslims, they could not be together in public until they were married, so the mullah came directly to the family home.

During the ceremony, as is customary, Hind was asked three times, in private, if she was being forced into the marriage, to which her answer was no. A few days later came the civil wedding in the courts in Damascus. Sami and Hind repeated their vows before the court officials, and Sami and Hashim shook hands – symbolising the contract between both families. Sami then spent the rest of the day getting papers signed and stamped by various officials.

Finally it is time for the party. It might not be on the scale of pre-2003 Baghdad weddings, but the number of family and friends present is an indication of how many Iraqis are now living in Damascus. There is a band with a singer – though many people cover their ears to the Arab pop music as the sound system is so loud. There is a western-style cake, which Sami and Hind cut with a sword. The guests drink Fanta – although a few sip beer secretly under the tables so as not to offend the more religious family members – and eat roast chicken, pita, tabbouleh and hummus.

Ordinarily in Iraqi culture, there is a breakfast for family the day after the wedding – so they can check the sheets for the signs of blood they believe prove the bride is a virgin. The custom is waived in this case, not because of any modern sensibility, but because it is deemed sensible to preserve Hind’s virginity until she has the visa to join Sami in Norway.

Mustansiriya University in Baghdad

Hind studies French at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad

Hind studies French at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and only has one more year to go, so the couple have decided that she should finish her studies before she moves to Norway. “I would like to get married to a woman who has education so I can have a discussion with her,” Sami says. He is also keen that she study English and Norwegian when she arrives in Norway, so that she can mix with the community.

Sami works at a gas company in Molde and he says that while there are a few other Iraqi families there, he has been making an effort to integrate, participating in a government programme that twins refugees with local families, and joining a political party. “The Norwegians have given me peace and stability and this is what I hope to give to Hind so that she does not sit at home and feel lonely,” Sami says. “I love her and she loves me, and everything will be OK. This is most important. But also she should learn the language so we can introduce [her to] the culture and the people and she will feel at home.”

This trip to Damascus has been Hind’s first glimpse of life outside Iraq. Living in Baghdad has, she says, become increasingly constrained. “Now, when the sun sets we should be at home. Before 2003, we could go to the theatre, make excursions. Now it’s impossible, it’s all closed,” she says. “We live in a Shia area so it’s not so bad as the mixed areas, which is where they have the most problems, but I still can’t go with my friends on the streets.”

Hind is not nervous about her impending move to Norway. “I think it will be not such a big problem because they have a few Iraqi families there,” she says. “My dream is to make a happy family and I will give 100% to fulfil that vision”.

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Marriage in Egypt: a Mass Wedding in Idku

Abeer Adel, 19, and her fiancé, Amgad Muhammad, 21, looked at engagement rings and other jewelry at a shop in Cairo. The two, who are cousins, said they planned to be engaged for four years.

In Egypt and across the Middle East, many young people are being forced to put off marriage, the gateway to independence, sexual activity and societal respect. Marriage plays an important financial role for families and the community. Often the only savings families acquire over a lifetime is the money for their children to marry, and handing it over amounts to an intergenerational transfer of wealth.

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Cambodian Muslim Wedding of the Cham People

Cambodian Muslim bride and groom

This is the bride and groom. She was in a very resplendent red gown while he was dressed rather simply.

SS Quah, author of a blog titled “Anything Goes”, writes:

My wife was in Cambodia for a holiday. I let her use my camera even though she had never seriously used it before. Even though I had primed her on how to use it and how to frame the subjects, I was prepared for some hilarious results.

Surprisingly, almost all the photos she took came out fine. Gee…. over the next few days, I hope to show some of the nicer and more memorable shots here.

The first picture was taken along the Mekong River. It’s such an idyllic life. People resting by the river bank and a very picturesque boat waiting to take passengers on a sunset cruise for USD4 per person. I suppose the sleeping fellow is the boat’s pilot.

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Chinese Muslim Wedding Traditions, Old and New

Chinese Muslim wedding

A Chinese Muslim bride at her wedding. Red is a traditional wedding color in many Asian countries.

Reprinted from IslamInChina.com, an excellent blog written by brother Wang Daiyu

Chinese Muslim Wedding Traditions

Since China is a very diverse country and the Muslims of China are equally diverse there is no one way to describe the wedding tradition of Chinese Muslims. It is however safe to say that just like other Muslim communities they are a blend of local cultures and Islamic religious requirements just as Arab Muslim wedding traditions are a blend of Arab culture and Islamic requirements, Malaysian wedding traditions are a blend of Malaysian culture and Islamic requirements etc.

Contacts between Muslims and Chinese began very early. Arab merchants traded in silk even before the advent of Islam, and tradition has it that the new religion was brought to their port-city trading colonies by Muslim missionaries in the seventh century.

In 755, a contingent of 4000 soldiers, mostly Muslim Turks, was sent by the Abbasid caliph Abu Jafar al-Mansur to help the Chinese emperor Su Tsung quell a revolt by one of his military commanders, An LuShan. Following the recapture of the imperial capital, Ch’angan (today’s Xian), these soldiers settled in China, married Chinese wives and founded inland Muslim colonies similar to those established by the traders on the coast.

Since then Islam has continued to flourish in China. There are several different communities and ethnicities of Chinese Muslims.

A Hui Chinese Muslim Woman in Jianshui

A Chinese Muslim wedding is very complex, but it avoids all superstitions such as the reading of the horoscopes of the betrothed persons. Some ask the Ahund to read the Arabic wedding rite on the wedding day or the day before. If one of the parties is not a Muslim, the Ahund admits that one into Islam one or two days before the wedding so both may be of the same faith.

In the past, betrothal money was not taken seriously since it looked like a business transaction. Nowadays it is customary to give clothing or jewelry, or a small amount of money is given and looked upon as only a symbol. Marriage is based on love. This change should be introduced to other Islamic countries as a means of solving the problem of the decrease in marriage due to the heavy betrothal price.

The old type of Chinese wedding ceremony is now out of date except among poor people in the country. According to the old custom the parents of the concerned parties monopolized the whole affair.

The new type follows the teaching of Islam and gains the consent of both parties. Islamic wedding customs are rational and at the same time are timeless, for they follow rules laid down more than thirteen hundred years ago. Emphasis on agreement between both parties, especially the consent of the girl, shows the Islamic stress on the rights of men and the protection of the rights of womanhood.

The ceremonies of engagement and marriage are quite similar for Chinese Muslims and non-Muslims except that the Muslims celebrate the event with a religious and a general ceremony, and they do not use old Chinese music or gongs or fire crackers since they consider them to be superstitious.

The religious ceremony is held a day before or just preceding the general ceremony. At present Muslims hold the marriage ceremony in the mosque. In modern times Western music has been adopted for marriages since it is not associated with the worship of other gods.

Chinese Muslims obey the Civil Law of China by practicing monogamy almost everywhere except in the frontier provinces. There is no Muslim court to take care of divorce, adoption, and inheritance, as in other Muslim countries; all these matters are now handled in the general courts.

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Mass Dawoodi Bohra Wedding in Mumbai

Dawoodi Bohra wedding

Many of the brides couldn’t hide their happiness – Fatima, 20, was one.

I just came across these photos that the BBC news online published back in 2003 when this wedding took place. The photos depict a mass wedding held in Mumbai, in which 500 Bohra Muslim couples were married all at once.

The Dawoodi Bohras (Arabic: داؤدی بوہرہ, Hindi: दवूदि बोह्रा) are a subsect of the Isma’ili Shi’ahs. They are based in India, although the Dawoodi Bohra school of thought originates from Yemen. Today, there are close to 1 million Dawoodi Bohras worldwide. Dawoodi Bohras have a unique blend of cultures, including Yemeni, Egyptian, African, and Indian.

As Isma’ilis, the beliefs of Dawoodi Bohras differ from those of mainstream Islam, in some cases drastically.

It cannot be argued, however, that the Dawoodi Bohras have a unique sense of style. The men wear a traditional white three-piece outfit, plus a white and gold cap (called a topi), and women wear the rida, a distinctive form of the burqa which is distinguished from other types of hijab by often being in colour and decorated with patterns and lace. Young girls wear a simple two-piece suit with a collar and shalwaar called a Jabloo Izaar. They wear this with a girl’s topi, decorated with sequins and sometimes lace.

I like this idea of a mass wedding. I think that more Muslim communities should try it; rather than burdening themselves with lavish weddings in hotel ballrooms for a single couple. And it’s a way of creating bonds within the community.

I’m sure it was a fun and exciting day for the couples involved.

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Pakistani Weddings: Marriage Customs and Traditions (Part 1) -Maniyaan & Dholki

A couple at a Pakistani wedding

A couple at a Pakistani wedding

Reprinted from Inner Reflections Transcribed, the personal blog of a UK-based Muslim female in her mid-20’s

The lovely Organica asked me to explain the various customs and practises involved in Pakistani weddings. So I shall try to explain them as fully as I can.

For those knowledgeable about these customs, please impart your fountain onto me should I err or inadequately explain anything.

A typical Pakistani wedding occurs over 5-7 main events which can take place over 7 days in a row, but usually are spread over a few months/weeks.

Post Acceptance of Proposal

Event 1: Maniyaan (Engagement)

Pre-Wedding Days

Event 2: Dholki

Event 3: Mendhi (girls side)

Event 4: Mendhi (boys side)

Wedding Day

Event 5: Nikkah

Event 6: Baraat

Event 7: Rukhsati

Post Wedding

Event 8: Waleemah

Event 9: Makhlawa

This entry will detail the Maniyaan and & Dholki events.

Event 1: Maniyaan/Maiyaan

This is basically the engagement and occurs after the bride’s parents approve of the groom and accept the wedding proposal. This can either be a lavish affair, or a small family only gathering. It involves exchange of rings which solemnize bethrotal and acceptance of the proposal and impending marriage.

Typically the boys mother will choose the ring for the girl and put the ring on her and on the other side, the girls father will put the ring (chosen by the brides mother) on the groom-to-be due to conservative practise of no physical touching to occur prior to marriage amongst some families. After this there may be cake cutting, but if not will always involve a feast. The engagement is thrown by the brides family and expenses are incurred by them for the event, in terms of food and hall hire (if applicable).

Dholki ladies playing the drum

Dholki ladies playing the drum

Some families may not undergo a formal engagement party. Other methods after verbal acceptance of proposal can include gifting the girl with clothes, jewelry or any other items from the family. The boy may also gift her with an item of his choosing. This marks the beginning of the waiting period, which could be a few weeks, or months or even years for the wedding day and events to come.

Event 2: Dholki

Dholki nights = dholki taken from dhol=drum, dholok = drumming.

This occurs in the week leading up to the henna night and is a women’s only event. Women, old and young gather together, with one being the drummer and one sitting opposite her with a spoon or other metal cutlery, tapping away on the dhol according to the rythym of the beats. Sometimes a duff is also used.

A wooden duff, commonly played at weddings

They sing wedding songs, usually those relating to the bride to be and her groom, about their relationship with each other and of course the dreaded mother in law! Most of these songs are Punjabi folk in origin and are also sung at Sikh weddings:

Punjabi dholak geet – The evening will start with female relatives and friends of the bride playing the Dholki and singing Suhaag, which are traditional Punjabi folk songs. Songs include ‘jokes’ about the in-laws, and would be husband, how to have a successful marriage and songs about the bride leaving her parents home.

There is much merriment, laughter and teasing which takes place. The dholki is kept by both the bride and the groom’s family respectively, however they do not attend each others dholki nights. The only time when each family attend one anothers event begins from the henna/mendhi night.

Next entry will detail the Event 3 and Event4: Mendhi Night

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Muslim Wedding in Conakry, Capital of Guinea, West Africa

 

Conakry, capital of Guinea in West Africa

Conakry, capital of Guinea in West Africa

Conakry or Konakry (Malinké: Kɔnakiri) is the capital and largest city of Guinea. The city is a port on the Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of about two million. Guinea used to be part of the Songhai Empire until 1591, and then a subsequent Islamic state in the 18th century that brought stability and prosperity to the region. Around the same time Fulani Muslims immigrated to Guinea. The capital city, Conakry, was founded under French rule in 1890. Today Guinea has 24 ethnic groups, of which the Fulani form 40%. The population is 85% Muslim.

 

Grand Mosque in Conakry, Guinea

Grand Mosque in Conakry, Guinea

Here we see a wedding in the city of Conakry. These photos were posted on Picasa by Chantal:

[nggallery id=2]

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