Amal provides opportunities for people in Britain, regardless of their faith or beliefs, to come together and explore the rich diversity of Muslim cultures and arts including storytelling, visual arts, theatre, poetry, music, dance and film.
Amal champions imagination and the values of compassion, conviviality and social justice.
It believes that culture and the arts broaden horizons and forge common ground within and between communities.
Amal facilitates experiences, encounters and discoveries that help to address the complex and critical issues facing our communities today in an inclusive atmosphere of creative expression and mutual respect. Through its varied activities, it hopes to achieve a deeper and broader understanding of Muslim cultures, thereby adding to the strength and vitality of contemporary British society.
Amal began its work in November 2016 as a Programming Fund making grants in support of Muslim cultural production over a pilot phase of around one year.
Aims & Objectives
- To celebrate the diversity of Muslim cultures through art, education and intellectual inquiry.
- To enable enlightening interactions within Muslim communities and between those communities and wider society.
- To promote marginalised voices that are not adequately represented in the mainstream.
- To cast a contemporary lens on issues of cultural heritage, identity and belonging.
- To support British Muslim talent and creativity.
- To encourage other donors and funders to support these objectives.
How Amal Began
Wafic Rida Said, a Syrian Muslim businessman and philanthropist, has long been driven by a belief that we are all brothers and sisters in humanity. Having left Syria as a young man, he experienced first-hand the feeling of being welcomed in another country after leaving the place he called home. His international life and career started in the UK, where he came to greatly admire the openness and diversity he encountered. Many years later he chose to base the Said Foundation in London, from where it has supported young people in the Middle East and UK for over 30 years, allowing many of them to build profound cross-cultural connections.
The Said Foundation believes in the power of education to transform lives, communities and societies for the better. Initiatives include the Foundation’s prestigious Scholarship Programme which has brought hundreds of exceptional students from its target countries in the Middle East to study at British universities and act as ambassadors for their communities. In 1997, Wafic Said founded Oxford University’s Said Business School, now one of the world’s leading business schools. Since 2011, the Foundation has responded to the humanitarian catastrophe that has afflicted Syria’s people by focusing on providing assistance to displaced and refugee children and young people in and from this country, in particular in partnership with Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.
Recent negative developments - ranging from extremism to Islamophobia - left Wafic Said, like many others, greatly concerned about the future of community relations in Britain. He recognised that a response was needed through which conversation, creativity and exposure to different viewpoints could be encouraged. While exploring options for such a project, examples kept appearing of the power of arts and culture to bring people together. And so, with the help of trusted advisors and a committed team, Amal was born.