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24 September 2014

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Eid celebrations in Rusholme
Eid, cars and Wilmslow Road

Hot wheels of Wimmy Road

Young men in flash cars have become as much part of the Eid celebrations on Wilmslow Road as family meals and henna tattoos. But what's it all about? We spoke to Faisal Qureshi, who wrote Radio 4’s docu-drama 'Wimmy Road.'

How did you come to write Wimmy Road?

Faisal Qureshi
Faisal Qureshi

"The producer Nadia Molinari was interested in having me write to radio and I'd been recommended to her by the BBC Northern Exposure scheme. I pitched several ideas, one of them was Wimmy Road, which came out of a short documentary I worked on ten years ago."

What do you think of the festivities that take place there at Eid-Ul-Fitr?

"I have no problem with them. It’s a chance for people to come out and celebrate, though some of the ways they choose to do this is questioned by some Muslims. Driving and showing off your car is one thing, but getting drunk on vodka and getting into fights is something else. To be fair, it’s only a minority who behave in this manner. Otherwise, it’s a great place to mix and meet people from other areas of the UK. For some reason, Wilmslow Road has become a kind of focal point for the rest of the young British Muslim community when it comes to celebrating Eid."

Why has the end of Ramadan become such a car show on Wilmslow Road?

"Driving and showing off your car is one thing, but getting drunk on vodka and getting into fights is something else."
Faisal Qureshi on some of the more questionable Eid celebrations

"We never could get a single answer to this. We chatted to people who gave quite different reasons for how and when it started. People of about my age (30) claimed it began in the mid-eighties and was a response to some racial discrimination of the period. The teenagers that were interviewed now claimed it began in the late-nineties and is quite a recent phenomenon."

Have you ever taken your car down there?

"No, I hate being stuck in traffic jams. That’s what Wilmslow Road can become during Eid, a long queue of cars that can stretch all the way into the city centre."

What do you think of the young men that go rallying up into the Peak District?

Young Muslims celebrating Eid
Asians celebrating Eid in Manchester

"Well, they're certainly risking their lives to what outsiders would view as reckless behaviour but I can understand the thrill that comes from doing it."

Do you think it's an acceptable way to celebrate Eid?

"I think the most interesting response to this question is from a Sheffield youth worker interviewed for the programme. I can't do justice to his response and any summary I come up with would be quite inadequate.

'Wimmy Road' was broadcast on Fri 16 Sept on Radio 4 (92-95FM)


last updated: 04/11/05
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