The organisation began in 2001, as the New Muslims Network (Wales) to provide information, advice and support for new Muslims living in Wales. The network was set up initially as a socialising platform for new Muslims and to enable them to gain a firm grounding in the fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam. By virtue of the fact it was initially formed by young men, the group only ever managed to support other males and didn’t come into contact with women who found themselves in similar circumstances.
In 2011, we were being approached by other male converts who were aware of our activities, but were put off by the name because they no-longer identified as ‘new’ Muslims because they had been Muslim for years. They had assumed that we were a group exclusively for those who had just embraced Islam. It also became apparent over time that some of the issues converts faced were experienced by individuals from heritage Muslim families, who also identified as Welsh by culture and Muslim by faith.
In 2008, another group was formed in Cardiff, also by male converts, and decided to search on the Internet for other groups who might be providing similar support. As a consequence of this, the Swansea and Cardiff groups met in 2009 and decided to combine resources and operate under a single banner.
That’s when we decided our remit needed to change and in 2012 we re-formed as the Welsh Muslim Cultural Association. New Muslims Network continued as a separate but complimentary organisation run by those members who were keen to ensure the original purpose of the group wasn’t lost. We had evolved into something that would give converts, and those born into the faith, an environment where they could be true to all their identities.
The final piece fell into place in 2013, when we were approached by an active group of convert ladies in Cardiff who were running similar activities and providing support for female converts to Islam. They wanted to see if we would work together or, better still, if we were open to the idea of merging our groups. So in a meeting above a restaurant in Cardiff in December 2013, whilst tucking into halal turkey wraps, we merged NMN into WMCA and created CWTSH as another initiative and consolidated various strands of work with converts that the different groups had been engaged with.
In 2017, the WMCA became a charity and changed its name to the Welsh Muslim Cultural Foundation (WMCF) and in the same year opened its first centre in Wales in order to consolidate all activities under one roof.
We aim to cultivate an indigenous expression of the Muslim faith, remaining faithful to the core beliefs and practices of Islam but also keeping in tune with the culture, traditions and history of the people of Wales. We hope that our distinctiveness as a people amongst the global family of nations can be celebrated and that we may share the best of our culture with Muslims from other parts of the world.
We aim to establish a culturally-sensitive and relevant environment for Welsh Muslims, especially those embracing the faith. WMCF is committed to providing initiatives which will support those who are interested in Islam, those who have recently accepted Islam, those who are reconnecting with their faith, as well as Muslims who wish to retain or embrace Welsh culture.
Our logo is an image of the Ka’ba representing our faith, formed from the flag of St David and containing Celtic knot work as an acknowledgement of our religious and cultural heritage.