LONDON: The second Sufi Festival of Islamic Arts and Mysticism will take place in Glasgow on July 23-24, returning after a hugely successful inaugural event in 2019.
The festival, which will be held at the prestigious arts venue Tramway and the adjoining Hidden Gardens, will welcome senior representatives of all major faith groups at a special reception event. These will include the Archbishop of Glasgow William Nolan and Senior Rabbi of Scotland Moshe Rubin, the city’s lord provost, elected members of local government and a senior representative of the Scottish government, as well as leading international Islamic scholars, two of whom can trace their lineage back to the Prophet Muhammad.
The Sufi Festival is dedicated to showcasing the art, culture and mysticism of Sufism and is a major event for the Muslim community in Scotland.
This year, its organizers announced a new charity partnership with UK-based Penny Appeal, which provides relief support in over 52 countries as well as essential aid and welfare to people in the UK. Other partners include Tramway Theatre/Glasgow Life, Artzi-i, which is the UK’s largest dedicated Islamic art gallery, the University of Edinburgh Al-Waleed Center, Awaz FM and British Muslim TV.
The main program will be delivered on Sunday, while on Saturday there will be a new feature, the Sufi Conference, with talks by two preeminent scholars in Islamic religious sciences: Egyptian-British Sheikh Ahmed Saad Al-Azhari, director of the Ihsan Institute, and Syrian-American author Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ninowy, director of the Madina Institute and professor of theology at the University of Atlanta, Georgia.
Funded by Creative Scotland, Arts and Business Scotland and the Glasgow Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, the festival is a highlight of Scotland’s post-COVID cultural recovery.
Sufi Festivals (SCIO) is Scotland’s only dedicated Muslim arts organization, and the festival is by far the most significant arts and culture event in the calendar of the Muslim community in Scotland this summer.
Its organizers have strived to make this year’s event as inclusive as possible, creating an opportunity for interfaith exchange and celebration that will bring all sections of society together. In 2019, they achieved a 60:40 Muslim to non-Muslim audience split and hope to repeat that this year.
Tariq Mahmood, the chair of SCIO and lead organizer, said: “The festival will showcase Sufism with celebrated Muslim artistic talent from across the UK and abroad, while delving even further into the philosophical and spiritual depths of one of the world’s oldest spiritual traditions.
“This fabulous weekend for all the family will be a crucial intervention in the cultural recovery of our city this summer, and once again an invaluable space to enable exchange and dialogue between people of all backgrounds as we reconnect in our communities.”
Ridwana Wallace-Laher, senior director of growth at Penny Appeal, said the charity would be raising funds to support the education of vulnerable children around the world.
“Education does not only provide freedom, but encourages a society where communities unite and show compassion for one another,” she said. “This is the ultimate goal, to build a civilization that has the means to support and uplift future generations.”
Tramway’s former arts manager Janie Hopkins said: “The Sufi Festival clearly has the potential to become a significant and critical part of the Scottish cultural and festival offering as well as having a social focus that brings communities together and widens audiences.”