Usmaan has grown up in Balsall Heath and is now responsible for teaching children at the Jamia Masjid Bilal Mosque. We met him gardening with his father and his friend in the triangular pocket of land outside the Mosque on Willows Road.
I’ve been living here for the last 21 years, born and bred. I think it’s a fantastic area, I could never move out of my area, unless it’s abroad. Balsall Heath has got a real soft spot for me. Whenever someone talks bad about Balsall Heath I always have to tell them otherwise. Like, ‘no, you don’t know the area that well’. I sometimes take them round. We’ve got Cannon Hill Park, we’ve got Edgbaston Cricket Ground, we’ve got the City Centre five minutes up the road. It’s a convenient and one of the best areas you could live in or visit.
I attend this Mosque every Friday for Jumu’ah prayers. From a young age, from five years old, I’ve been learning in this Mosque from the teachers. This Mosque has got a soft spot for me as well. Me and my father and his friends have decided to clean this whole area up and make it look nice. It’s a wonderful site to see.