Muslim Lifestyle Show attracts celebrities
London - The recent Muslim Lifestyle Show in London saw celebrities, comedians, global stars and super chefs join more than 19,000 visitors to celebrate Muslim culture, food, business and lifestyle. It was supported by businesses showcasing products and services to the Muslim community.
The show included two days of comedy introduced by Abdullah Afzal, from the BBC’s Citizen Khan; cooking demonstrations from Great British Bake Off contestant Ali Imdad; 2012 MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo; global singing sensation Sami Yusuf; a discreet fashion show; and a children’s learning zone and theatre production for the more than 5,000 children who visited.
“We’ve had an amazing response to the show with over 19,000 visitors over the weekend,” said show Event Director Waleed Jahangir. “It underlines the importance of the halal economy and a genuine hunger from people looking to learn more about this colourful culture. We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back next year.”
Farhan Rehman exhibited a range of cosmetics from Arix that focuses on health and wellness both within people’s bodies and in the atmosphere around them. They have supplements that optimise nutrition, air and water filtration systems and all-natural, non-toxic skincare products. All products are halal.
Halal Exotic Meats sells meat, including venison, llama, camel and Japanese wagyu beef.
“We make sure our meats are organic because many meats in the market use fertilizers,” said Halal Exotic Meats Director Ebrahim Adam. “Regarding the halal industry, there is too much focus on the slaughtering aspect. People debate whether it is stunned or not. We want to educate people on how we rear the animals in our own farm. How we treat the animals well. How they are slaughtered and how hygienic we are.
“Our biggest problem is people are still brainwashed into thinking halal slaughtering is unethical. However, the halal economy is rapidly growing because supermarkets understand it is in fact not against animal rights.”
The Healthy Hijab is a fitness and health service provided to women worldwide online through Skype. Fitness trainer Zahra Pederson gives one-to-one fitness sessions and talks. Her recent project is the Burkini Body, which is an online workout programme.
“As a Muslim, I saw a huge gap in the market,” she said. “Even though I do not wear hijab, I have many friends who do. Many of them feel uncomfortable going to the gym so I thought there needs to be a fitness programme just for women.
“Obesity is a problem for both the East and West. It’s an epidemic. Heart disease and diabetes are on the rise. Many people take their health for granted. In the East, gyms are a relatively new concept. It is not part of the culture or tradition. Even in the UK, the gym and aerobics had their big increase in the ‘80s, so it is even relatively new in the West.
“We are telling people in the East they are used to workouts in their daily jobs so the gym is not very different. I encourage Muslims to look after their bodies because I believe they will be held accountable to it by God.”
British Muslim TV, which can be found on Sky, Freeview and online, has the tagline “Typically Muslim and typically British”. Presenter Nadia Hussein said the concept “is about celebrating the culture and religion and making it acceptable and enjoyable instead of a battle that is faced by Muslims wondering how they can be both”.
She said: “We show many positive stories from the Muslim community that we don’t see in mainstream media. We focus on a level of integration that is good for everyone.”
Arabi PR provides a channel for people and businesses in the Middle East and North Africa to gain contacts in London.
“In the summer, a lot of Arabs travel to London and I realised there is such a massive market,” said Arabi PR Director Onsse Hassan. “Many Arab companies are trying to establish themselves in the UK and there is no real platform to make the connection for them.
“A lot of the companies I approached didn’t know what (public relations) is and they don’t know how to get into the market so I want to show them the way. Right now we are working with fashion brands based in Dubai.”
Islamic GPS is an app that allows people to find mosques and landmarks. “We intend to introduce restaurants that serve halal meat and local events for the Muslim community,” Chief Product Officer Mujahid Ali said. “Websites are usually designated to specific areas whereas the app has a more user-friendly experience, which is easy to update.”
My Muslim Wedding is a platform for Muslims to plan weddings to make sure catering is halal and there is no alcohol in food or drink.
‘The scale of weddings is much smaller than they used to be,” company founder Rooful Ali said. “People used to have 500-1,000 people at a wedding. Now people prefer a much more small and personal wedding with much more attention to detail.
“If they are from two different cultures, they can celebrate the two cultures through decor or outfits. We can give them ideas on how to make that fusion.”