Monday, May 19, 2008

From Mayfair to Mecca

Mayfair socialite, aristocrat, owner of an estate in the Scottish highlands, accomplished deerstalker and angler, not to mention mother and gardener, Lady Evelyn Cobbold (1867-1963) was probably unique in being also a Muslim and Arabic-speaker. Unusually, she claimed to have been a Muslim all her life and there is no evidence of a moment of conversion.

In 1933, at the age of 65, this redoubtable Anglo-Scot became the first British-born Muslim woman to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Yet the story of her life and her contribution to the literature of the hajj have been inexplicably overlooked until now. Nor has she been studied from the point of view of what her life has to say about Islam among the British.
Read the rest of the article by William Facey at the Guardian Online.

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