"Creating safe spaces for Muslim young people to explore personal,
social, spiritual and political choices"

<< back

Faces and Places Mapping Project

Normanton, Derby


1. JET (Jobs Education & Training), Normanton Road

Mohammad Sharief

For me this place is something that I live and breathe everyday as its me who started this over 8 years ago, but I think its more relevant to say that its really become a hub of this community, and Inshallah we’ll carry on to greater success in the future. But Mashallah for the people who use it,  the benefits they derive from it are so wide and so significant. That’s what makes it so important. It’s the only Predominantly Muslim run organisation here in Derby that caters mostly for our Muslims of all ages.


Beofre this there was no local organisation that offered such an array of training and personal development.


Faizan Ahmed – age 20, Mujtubar Latif – age 19, Shazad Janjua – age 20

We know Jet to be really active especially with the females in our community and its always been a place for our sisters to go and increase their skills as well as just get together. We’ve not personally used the centre but like we say its got a lot of support from everyone in Normanton because its always developing.



2. Pak food store

Mohammad Sharief

Before Paks, there were lots of little food stores on Normanton who used ot charge an arm and a leg for things like Mangos and other fruit and veg. But its Paks that really served to drive down the prices of all our traditional food, changing all the eating habits of the community.


Faizan Ahmed – age 20, Mujtubar Latif – age 19, Shazad Janjua – age 20

When they first opened, it was a great sigh of relief for the whole Muslim community because our folks were really getting tired of shopping in stores where alcohol was being sold. Its in the heart of Normanton and Normanton is practically the ‘capital of Pakistan!’



3. Normanton Mosque

Mohammad Sharief

Over 30 years ago before we had the main mosque, we had to read Eid prayers in Normanton Park! There was no facility big enough for the community back then, because the only mosque was just two houses stuck together and the very first mosque on Dairyhouse Road. So this main mosque with its recent refurb is a credit to the whole community.


Faizan Ahmed – age 20, Mujtubar Latif – age 19, Shazad Janjua – age 20

We remember coming to this place as kids because its one of the first places where we began to learn about Islam and the Qur’an. When we were kids they were still using sticks to sort the naughty kids out – smacking them on the hands, backs and arms if they didn’t behave. But a lot of the time we’d get hit just because the teacher thought we’d done something. From time to time we all know that all of our dads have been to the mosque to sort the teacher out for being a bit heavy handed with us


Faizan Ahmed – age 20, Mujtubar Latif – age 19, Shazad Janjua – age 20

This used to be No.5 and No.6. No.6 is for the ladies and 5 for the men. Its where we spent a lot of time learning about our faith and then it became too small which is when they built the big Jamia Mosque next to it. At the back of the new mosque they’ve built a nursery and classrooms, but upstairs they’d like to create a college.


Last year on the first night of Ramadan, we saw a news report on National TV that this Mosque was officially the first mosque to become full of worshippers.


This mosque still unfortunately lies in the stronghold of the older generations in the community. We really feel that there needs to be more young blood in the running of the mosque, but they’re still doing a lot of good work.



4. Pakistani Community Centre

Mohammad Sharief

Before this place was opened, there was nowhere for us to hold our weddings of funerals. My wedding took place in a youth centre at the time for this reason.


Faizan Ahmed – age 20, Mujtubar Latif – age 19, Shazad Janjua – age 20

This place has become the most used place for our community. So much so that there’s a wedding here practically every weekend. You might think that weddings usually only happen in the summer but even in the winter this place has a wedding happening weekly with the exception of Eid and Ramadan.

One of my fondest memories of being there daily is of the ice-cream van that used to park outside and me wandering when I was going to get the chance to get to it for my ice-cream cone!

Practically all our family members have been married here from our parents down to our uncles and aunties.


The main thing we’ve always liked about this place is that people in our community feel a lot more comfortable here than the mosque, because this place has a much more welcoming, informal atmosphere as apposed to the mosque which has a more formal and religious code of rules and regulations.


It’s a place that’s waiting for some competition in Derby because its still the only main Community Centre for Pakistanis in Derby.


5. Dairyhouse Road Mosque, Derby

Faizan Ahmed – age 20, Mujtubar Latif – age 19, Shazad Janjua – age 20

This place began way before we were around in the late sixties early seventies. It really was the very 1st mosque in Derby. We all still know this mosque to be the spiritual centre of the city. Even now with the big Jamia Mosque, we still feel that Dairyhouse is the most active in involving the community, whereas the Jamia Mosque seems to expect the community to come to them. Dairyhouse just has an aura that no other mosque holds for us.


We even know of many people who studied at Dairyhouse who then went on to study at Al-Azhar University in Egypt. They now teach here in Derby.


Its also in Dairyhouse that we first experienced ‘Zhikr’ (the remembrance of Allah, where an individual or a group either quietly or audibly recite certain words or prayers attributed to Allah – a form of meditation a little like Buddhist chants.)


The other key thing about Dairyhouse is that whenever there are any demonstrations or marches to be organised in the Muslim community, they always start at Dairyhouse and end there too. To be honest we feel a bit sorry for what the Jamia mosque has to contend with, but just imagine if the people running the Jamia mosque took a few lessons from Dairyhouse I reckon Derby would be a much better place.


6. Littleover School & Derby Moor School

When we first started coming to these schools, Littleover was a predominantly white area as it was just outside the city centre, away from Normanton and quite middle-class. The whole traditional cultural thing can be found in Normanton but when it comes to giving their kids a better education, a lot of the Muslims have been moving out to here away from Normanton. This is also why there’s a lot of talk now about creating mosques in Littleover and neighbouring Mickleover. It’s all about supply and demand. But this is also why at the Jamia mosque they’re trying to set up a school, nursery and college and it all seems to feel like they’d just like to stay in their own little world.


Its  funny that the head teacher of this school used to let us pray in his office even before they set up a prayer room but in Derby Moor, they hadn’t  bothered to set one up at all, and the really funny thing is that in Derby Moor there were probably 90% Muslims!


Its also safe to say that Derby Moor had a much lower standard of discipline and achievement than Littleover and it was really noticeable.


7. Westfield Shopping Centre

Faizan Ahmed – age 20, Mujtubar Latif – age 19, Shazad Janjua – age 20

We’ve got this place down as one of our chosen places of heritage because firstly we know that it isn’t going anywhere any time soon whether we like it or not, but secondly because they’ve provided the Muslims with a prayer room and ablution facilities. We think this is pretty cool for an American owned shopping mall to provide this. So whenever we’re all here we really enjoy going up to the security guards to get the key for the room. We reckon this is a really positive step by the corporates to serve the community that’s pouring money into their coffers every day of the week!



What does the word ‘Heritage’ mean to you?


Mohammad Sharief

Heritage is what’s been passed down from one generation to the other – it doesn’t matter what that is as long as its something that people have taken some sort of pride in keeping and looking after.

The thing about heritage though and the question of who should decide which places are given heritage status is that in an ideal world it’s the community that should decide but local authorities have members who have been elected by the community. So as long as the elected members are listening to their community, there shouldn’t be much difference in the community being asked or the local council being asked to decide.


Faizan Ahmed – age 20, Mujtubar Latif – age 19, Shazad Janjua – age 20

Well its what you inherit from your parents both culturally and religiously. So its about intangible things as well as tangible things like buildings.


Heritage to me means both the heritage of my religion which seems limitless as well as the cultural heritage which has so many constraints – for example the cast system in our community says that if a person that’s spent his or her whole life here, is from a different cast back home, then they are treated according to the level of that cast. Its really depressing and its still going strong. We’ve even got groups from different schools of thought