Manchester based Muslim Arts and Culture Festival goes global this year

This year’s MACFEST kicks off online tomorrow for five months of arts and cultural events from the Islamic world.

The festival was set up in 2017 with the aim of building a more cohesive society after fears of an increase in Islamophobia following the Manchester Arena attack.

The current national lockdown may have meant the festival could not go ahead as before, but organisers turned this into something positive.

MACFEST, founder Qaisra Shahraz  said: “MACFEST was envisaged to be an international festival from the start.

“For 2021 we were planning for a weekend New York MACFEST festival.

“Covid-19 and digital platform changed all that.

“Being able to host people speakers, artists and writers from across the world was an excellent opportunity, handed to us on a plate and I grabbed it!”

Covering everything from food, fashion, literature, debates, comedy and education from places as far as Morocco, Turkey, UAE, and South Africa, it is a space to discover parts of the Islamic culture that are not often in the mainstream media.

This year’s festival is also hosting special events titled ‘Black Queens of Islam’ ‘Racism in Photography’ and ‘Literature and Racism’ to honour the Black Lives Matter movement.

However, the international theme does not neglect Manchester’s own community.

A number of schools and colleges are planning to join in by hosting mini MACFEST arts and cultural activities of their own. 

With over 70 events over five months Ms Shahraz said there will be something for everyone: “We are going to be busy for a long time, but the audience is guaranteed that there is something to look forward to for weeks and months.”

Tickets are available now from: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/macfest-muslim-arts-and-culture-festival-27374899249  

Photo credit: Hajra Mubashar

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