SHAFAQNA – London is one of the world’s top Islamic tourist spots, and visitors now have the chance to view the capital’s historic Muslim sites by open-top bus.
Billed as “London’s first halal bus sightseeing tour”, the four-hour experience is led by AbdulMaalik Tailor, founder and CEO of Muslim History Tours, a UK-inbound halal travel specialist.
Tailor, a Muslim convert himself, says that his company has combined 20 years of experience in the industry to put together the bus tour, which currently runs once a month. The sightseeing experience includes hop-off and hop-on locations and the opportunity to experience live commentary celebrating the long history between Britain and Islam. The tour itself is varied and presents some surprising and fascinating historical links.
Tailor believes that the sightseeing bus tour will add to current growing trend of Muslims visiting the UK in search of a culturally resonant tour. Client bookings have come from countries such as the US, Pakistan and Malaysia as well as domestic British tourists. International private and corporate groups have also reserved the bus tour, he added.
THE TOUR STOPS
The departure point is flexible around London and depends on whether it’s a public or private booking from a hotel, residential address, or mosque. However, there is a general circular route that takes in some of the capital’s top Muslim sites of interest. Here are some of the tour’s most popular stops:
Introduction to East London Mosque: This stop presents an explanation about how the UK has traditionally been a haven in Europe for Muslims.
Cornhill: Listen to an introduction to London’s oldest coffee shop, which was founded in 1652 by a Turkish entrepreneur.
Whitehall: Learn about the Moroccan ambassador who came to watch the Horse Guards Parade in the 1600s. At Whitehall, you can also take the opportunity to view the unique Turkish cannon, which was captured by the British Army while in Egypt in 1801.
Big Ben: Hear about how Lord AbdulRahman, reputed to be the first white Muslim convert, presented in Parliament in 1869.
Photo: Tourists aboard the Muslim History Tour bus driving by Big Ben.
Trafalgar Square: The Imperial Order of the Crescent was presented by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to Admiral Nelson, the first non-Muslim to be awarded such a medal. He was awarded the medal for his services to Muslims in Egypt.
Bloomsbury: The British Museum represents the oldest Muslim connection to Britain through its possession of the King Offa gold coin, which was embossed with the Shahadah and is dated to AD 773-74.
Abdullah Quilliam’s last houses: Quilliam was a white convert who established England’s first mosque in Liverpool in 1887. It was a prayer room and then a house, and it has now turned back into a mosque.
Regent’s Park Mosque: Explore and learn about one of Europe’s largest mosques.
Camden Town/Albert Street: This was the site of London’s first mosque, back in 1895. Hadjie Mohammad Dollie, who was half-Scottish and half-Malay, owned the house-mosque.
Photo: Group of tourists following the Muslim History Tour listening to tour guide at one of the stops.
The rates for the tour are £20 per adult and £12.50 per child. For more information on the tours and timings, visit Muslim History Tours.