4 June 2021
A magical, eye-opening account of a journey into a Europe that rarely makes the news and is in danger of being erased altogether. Another Europe. A Europe few people believe exists and many wish didn't. Muslim Europe. Writer Tharik Hussain sets off with his wife and young daughters around the Western Balkans, home to the largest indigenous Muslim population in Europe, and explores a region where Islam has shaped places and people for more than half a millennium.
Encountering blonde-haired, blue-eyed Muslims, visiting mystical Islamic lodges clinging to the side of mountains, and praying in mosques older than the Sistine Chapel, he paints a picture of a hidden Muslim Europe, a vibrant place with a breathtaking history, spellbinding culture and unique identity. Minarets in The Mountains, the first non-fiction account by a Muslim writer on this subject, also explores the historical roots of the current tide of Islamophobia. Tharik and his family learn lessons about themselves and their own identity as Britons, Europeans, and Muslims. Following in the footsteps of renowned Ottoman traveller Evliya Celebi, they remind us that Europe is as Muslim as it is Christian, Jewish or pagan. Like William Dalrymple's In Xanadu, this is a vivid reimagining of a region's cultural heritage, unveiling forgotten Muslim communities, empires and their rulers; and like Kapka Kassabova's Border, it is a quest that forces us to consider what makes up our own identities, and more importantly, who decides?
Publishing date TBC due to pandemic
Tharik travelled through southern Thailand exploring the mainland and the Thai Gulf islands of Ko Samui, Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Tao for Lonely Planet.
Southern Thailand is home to the country's largest concentration of Muslims and Tharik was able to add a considerable body of content about this little-known indigenously Thai Muslim culture. This included developing walking trails and identifying points of interest linked to the 17th century Thai-Muslim Sultanate of Singhora.
The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human;
Tales from Many Muslim Lands
Relating his encounter with an indigenous Muslim of Romania in the minaret of a mosque in the coastal town of Constanta, Tharik's chapter reminds readers that Romania, like many parts of modern day Europe has a hidden and long Muslim heritage; one often lying in plain sight.
Tharik's story is one of several in this delightful anthology of writing by Muslims from across the globe.
Tharik's pioneering guide to Saudi Arabia in this guidebook was shortlisted for the category of Best Guide Book, Online and App in the 2020 Travel Media Awards
Dubbed the 'final frontier of tourism' Tharik traversed the length and breadth of Saudi Arabia when it was still 'closed' for tourism, to produce the most comprehensive guide to the country yet. This included introducing the Asir region, the Farasan Islands, Hail and much of the Red Sea coast. Tharik also wrote the guide to Bahrain in this publication.
Tharik was the editor of this special one off (FREE to download) 'resurrection' of the historic British Muslim journal and magazine, The Islamic Review, originally published from the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking.
In this special edition academics, historians, activists and locals wrote articles about Britain's Muslim heritage with a special focus on the local Woking heritage.