Essentially the most intimate encounter that Junayd ul Islam had with the British royal household was when the late Queen Elizabeth II visited the hospital the place he had simply been born.
“I’m typically reminded of this by my mom,” Junayd, who’s now an undergraduate scholar in Pure Sciences at College School London, informed Al Jazeera.
“Nothing may have ready my somewhat-confused mom for this go to by the queen to commemorate the monarch’s golden jubilee,” he stated.
The royal household has been an everyday fixture of British society, and the nation’s 2.5 million Muslims should not proof against their affect.
“Irrespective of who you might be or what you do, you’ll discover the British monarchy coming into your consciousness,” Junayd added whereas considering the latest passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
The demise of the nation’s longest-reigning sovereign has elicited widespread curiosity however blended reactions from the inhabitants.
Elizabeth inherited the crown in 1952 after the demise of her father, King George VI, and oversaw the accelerated unravelling of the British empire abroad.
Throughout her time period as nominal head of state, 15 prime ministers took cost of the UK, and he or she is usually described within the standard media as “the rock round which trendy Britain was constructed”.
Whereas some see the royal household as an important anchor round which the nation coalesces by means of affluent in addition to robust instances, others discover it to be an outdated relic of vainness and a reminder of Britain’s horrific colonial previous.
“The colonial legacy that the (late queen) represented has had a permanent influence whereas she straight benefitted from that very same legacy,” Aqsa Ahmed, who research historical past at London’s Faculty of Oriental and African Research and works within the training sector, informed Al Jazeera.
Aqsa believes that the “queen lived an especially privileged life compared to many of the nation and even the world”.
Shaahid Ashraff, who research medication at College School London and traces his household’s origins to the previously colonised Sri Lanka, finds an ambivalence within the angle of his household in direction of the British empire.
“There isn’t a vital ardour for or towards the British empire,” Shaahid informed Al Jazeera.
Though he provides that there’s a sentiment of pleasure connected to Sri Lanka gaining independence from Britain.
On a extra private stage, Shaahid finds the occasion of the queen’s demise to be emotionally inconsequential.
“Emotionally, this doesn’t have an effect on me an excessive amount of. Nonetheless, I perceive the historic significance of the occasion,” Aqsa mirrored Shaahid’s sentiment.
“From a social perspective, whereas the occasion is intriguing, I by no means idolised the queen,” Aqsa added. “To me, personally, she by no means actually represented something.”
For Zara Mohammed, the secretary normal of the Muslim Council of Britain, one of many nation’s largest and strongest organisations for Muslims, the late queen was consultant of devotion to public service and interfaith unity.
“Her Majesty’s reign noticed extraordinary change in our nation. Over seven many years (of her reign), the UK has seen itself remodeled right into a multicultural and multi-faith society,” Zara stated in an announcement.
Nonetheless, the anti-Muslim prejudice in Britain has seen a surge, with a latest survey by the College of Birmingham describing the nation’s giant Muslim inhabitants as one of many “least appreciated” inhabitants teams.
“About 25.9 % of the British public really feel destructive in direction of Muslims (with 9.9 % feeling ‘very destructive’),” the survey, carried out final yr, revealed.
For a lot of British Muslims, together with Shaahid Ashraff, the nation stays a haven for freely practising Islam.
“In comparison with my experiences in different Western nations, together with nearly all of mainland Europe and Australia, I’ve discovered Britain to be most secure to follow my faith,” Shaahid stated. “I might not hesitate to tug out a prayer mat in a public park.”
When requested in regards to the new King Charles III affirming the vitality of the Christian religion throughout his reign, Shaahid and Junayd agree that it’s going to not dent Britain’s dedication in direction of embracing spiritual range.
“The brand new king has proven a formidable curiosity in Islam and openness to study,” Junaid stated. “The accountability additionally falls upon us to open the drawbridge and embrace him with open arms.”
Whereas describing Queen Elizabeth II’s late husband Philip as explicitly “racist”, Aqsa Ahmed, nonetheless, stated that the controversy surrounding Megan Markle, a non-white lady who married one of many queen’s grandchildren, Prince Harry, was an instance of the outdated nature of the British monarchy.
“The hysteria surrounding the wedding of a non-white lady into the royal household is itself an announcement on the establishment’s outdated nature,” he stated.
Throughout the British Muslim neighborhood, there appears to be a widespread consensus of admiration on the problem of the late Princess Diana, the previous spouse of the present king.
“The one approach that the monarchy did function in our residence was in adoration for Princess Diana,” Karim Shah, an Emmy-award-winning filmmaker, informed Al Jazeera.
Diana is usually seen as a tragic determine who tried to problem the strict norms of the royal household.
Each Aqsa Ahmed and Shaahid Ashraf recall their households’ optimistic impressions of the late princess, who died in a automotive accident in 1997.
“Inside my household, I keep in mind a number of critique directed in direction of the late queen for a way she dealt with [the events surrounding Diana]”, Aqsa recalled.
Because the nation entered a sustained interval of mourning, the Muslim communities additionally remained delicate and conscious of the overall emotions surrounding the occasion.
“Now’s the time to supply condolences and search for what unites us quite than divides us,” Junayd stated.