It is Eid day. The smartly dressed congregation are flocking to morning prayers at the large Nur E Islam Mosque, in Farouk Avenue, that serves the Muslims of San Juan (pronounced saa-waa), a suburb of Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad.

A study of migration, Padel’s interest ranges from the cells of the body to the flight patterns of wild geese, from dispelling the myth of mass lemming suicide to chatting to her daughter on Skype.

From a sequence of poems that excavate the missing history of Samboo – renamed Bilal – an African who died within days of his arrival in eighteenth-century Lancaster, and is presumed buried at Sunderland Point.

The trip to Whitechapel took much longer than we had anticipated, even though it was a Sunday. Our dear friends in the English Defence League had chosen that of all days to mount an anti-Muslim demonstration close to East London Mosque. A large police contingent was deployed to prevent clashes with angry Muslim youths, and traffic around the centre almost came to a standstill.

I was born and raised in Blackburn. Though set in deepest Lancashire, growing up in the city felt like a mini-India or Pakistan at times, divorced from the rest of Britain by place, race and time.

Qatar does not have a rich football history, and I must admit, I did not think it had a chance. But when Qatar won the bid, I jumped for joy. At last, I thought, a Gulf state is going to do something that will be seen around the world as good. But moments later, my delight evaporated as some disturbing thoughts came to the fore.

The story of the revolt of the Zanj slaves in southern Iraq has always been seen as a striking exception among the political and social movements of the Abbasid period. Rather than being based on religious differences and struggles for authority in the Muslim community, it seems to be based on secular concerns and class warfare.