The Last of the Lascars: Yemeni Muslims in Britain, 1836-2012 charts the fascinating and little-known history of Britain’s oldest Muslim community. Originally arriving as imperial oriental sailors and later as postcolonial labour migrants, Yemeni Muslims have lived in British ports and industrial cities from the mid-nineteenth century, marrying local British wives, and established a network of ‘Arab-only’ boarding houses and cafes. They also founded Britain’s first mosques and religious communities in the early twentieth century, encountering racism, discrimination and even deportation in the process. Based on original research, this book brings together the unique story of a British Muslim community that stretches across 170 years of history from empire to modern multicultural Britain. Dr. Seddon has contributed an important and fascinating chapter to the modern history of Britain. Based both upon a wide reading of available secondary sources and his own hands-on field research, the British Yemeni’s story begins with its origins in Arabia down to the moment when Aden was absorbed into the British Empire as a Protectorate (1839). The remaining narrative sensitively recounts the gradual increase and ongoing struggle of Yemen migrants to various cities across Britain confronted by economic deprivation and discrimination in both public and private spheres; and it traces, too, the role of a handful of dedicated religious leaders in tackling their externally imposed ‘invisibility’ to produce its present vibrant reality as Britain’s oldest integrated Muslim community. David Waines, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies, Lancaster University.
Mohammad Siddique Seddon