A NEW tartan has been created to celebrate Scotland’s historic ties with Islam and help “weave the Muslim identity” into the fabric of the nation.
Businessman Azeem Ibrahim consulted with tartan designers and Islamic scholars to produce the design after being unable to find an appropriate tartan for his own kilt.
The official design incorporates five colours to reflect the saltire and elements of the Muslim faith, including five white lines representing the pillars of Islam.
The tartan was launched in Glasgow City Chambers yesterday at an event attended by SNP MSP Humza Yousaf and deputy Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar MP.
Dr Ibrahim said: “My motivation was simply that I wanted to buy a kilt for myself, but didn’t know which tartan to get. First of all, I thought I would create one for my own family, but then I decided to come up with something celebrating the links between Scotland and Islam.
“I consulted Islamic scholars and went about trying to get it produced.
“It’s about bringing to great civilisations together – Scotland and Islam. Scotland has made a huge contribution to the world – you only have to look at the impact of the Scottish Enlightenment – and so has Islam.”
The tartan incorporates blue for the saltire, green for the colour of Islam, white lines for the five pillars, six gold lines for the articles of faith and a black square pattern representing the Holy Kaaba at Mecca, the most sacred site in Islam.
The tartan was milled at DC Dalgleish, of Selkirk, using original production methods on traditional shuttle looms.
Dr Ibrahim, who recently launched a new think tank, the Scotland Institute, to look at social issues and the impact of constitutional change, said the tartan would be available to buy through DC Dalgleish.
Yesterday the Muslim Council of Scotland welcomed the new design. A spokesman said: “Interaction between Scotland and the Muslim world stretches to over 500 years, with notable individuals including Michael Scot of Melrose whose translations of the philosophical works of Ibn Rushd were instrumental towards inspiring the Renaissance, John Yahya Parkinson of Kilwinning whose poetry honoured the Prophet Muhammad and Lady Evelyn Cobbold, the first British woman to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.
“With such a rich history, Muslims are today recognised as one of the most diverse and vibrant communities, representing an integral part of the tartan fabric of Scotland.
“The Muslim Council of Scotland is delighted to support the Scottish Islamic Tartan which celebrates the diverse Muslim identities by weaving them together into the tartan of Scotland.”
In 2007, Dr Ibrahim, who was born in Glasgow, became the youngest person on both the Sunday Times Scottish Rich List and Carter Anderson’s UK Power 100 list.