The Historical Roots of British Islam

British Muslims today have a rightful sense of familiarity with their surroundings. The encounter of Islam and the British Isles goes back a long way. Just as under the surface of Britain’s handsome landscape there is a complex geological interplay, similarly our cultural topology has been fashioned by diverse forces and interminglings, including the Muslim encounter for over millennium. What better indication then the English language itself. The philologist Richard Derveux has uncovered 600 loan words from Arabic. Far from being an alien deposition in the topsoil, Islam in Britain has deep historical roots.