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Former Al Saqi staffer raises money for new Arabic book centre/

A Palestinian bookseller who worked at London’s Al Saqi bookshop which closed in December is hoping to raise £90,000 to open a new bookshop and community space that will become a new home in the capital for Arabic readers and Arabic culture.

Mohammad Masoud has launched a crowdfunding scheme for the new centre which will be called Maqam, which means ‘sacred space’.  His vision for Maqam is to create “a locally owned independent youth led bookshop and community space offering a quality selection of affordable Arabic language books across most genres, as well as a variety of gifts and educational items for customers of all ages and backgrounds.  Maqam’s key mission is to create a new space for the wealth of books, knowledge and experiences the capital’s Arabic readership hold dear.”

He adds that Maqam will be a space for sharing ideas and stories, enjoying literature, calligraphy and even embroidery.  “It will be a haven where you can sit down with your favourite book and a hot drink. A home away from home, for the students, writers, professionals, and readers from all walks of life, hoping to engage the wealth of the cultural heritage Maqam has to offer.”

Saqi Books closed after 44 years during which time it became an important meeting place and hub of Arabic culture.  Masoud hopes to re-light the candle for Arabic culture in London and has an initial target of £25,000 which will allow it to purchase stock, develop its website and pay for storage.  As Nasher went to press the crowdfunding scheme had already raised nearly £6,000.