In Bradford, England, Ambassador Ahmed participated in the 2016 Bradford Literature Festival, which ran from May 20-29. On May 28, Ambassador Ahmed presented the Journey into Europe film and discussed the film following the screening and held a Q and A with the audience. The screening was in the National Media Museum’s Cubby Broccoli theater, which is named after the producer of the James Bond films. The film received a very enthusiastic response. Earlier that day, Ambassador Ahmed spoke on a panel entitled “Mainstreaming Hate Speech: The Rise of the Far Right.”
The Literature Festival is in its second year, and it was an incredible event with some 200 sessions including poetry recitals, performances, lectures, panels, and films. The festival is co-directed by two dynamic Bradford Muslim women, Irna Qureshi and Syima Aslam. The festival was distinctly multicultural with numerous Muslim-themed events such as the evenings devoted to giants of South Asian Muslim literature like Ghalib, as well as English authors like the Bronte sisters, who were from Bradford.
Also participating in the festival was Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, one of the UK’s most prominent Muslim political figures. Warsi escalated to fame when she was made a member of the House of Lords and also served as chairman of the Conservative Party. Warsi generously took Professor Ahmed and his family for a magnificent Pakistani breakfast to Zoya, a well-known restaurant in Bradford.
Frankie Martin, Zeenat Ahmed, and Mina Hoti joined Ambassador Ahmed in thanking the organizers for their warmth and hospitality and for providing such a wonderful venue for intercultural and interreligious communication.