Superficially not a lot has changed since September 11 2001 in the predominantly Muslim district on the east side of Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city. The wares of the mini-markets – exotic fruit and vegetables, pots and pans and racks of clothes – still spill out on to the pavements along with the bhangra music. The men dress as they always did, in suits, sportswear or long shirts. The real difference is the proliferation among the women of hijabs, and beyond that niqabs (veils) and burqas (the all-enveloping black garment with mesh over the eyes).
Welcome to “Birminghamabad”, as the locally raised comedian and writer Shazia Mirza calls it…..