Al Jazeera World – Britain’s First Yemenis

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Yemen has been in turmoil since the revolution of 2011, the overthrow of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in May 2012 and the Houthi-led rebellion beginning in September 2014.
Half a world away in the UK, British Yemenis view events in their home country with concern – and feel a responsibility to offer help to the country and its people at a difficult time.
But their own story is also worth hearing.
Yemenis are among the longest-established Muslim communities in Britain. They have put down firm roots in several coastal towns and industrial cities across the country.
Yemeni sailors worked in the British merchant navy in the engine rooms of steam ships leaving the old colonial port of Aden in the mid-19th century.
When British sailors were called to fight in World War One, their places were taken by Yemeni men who then started to settle in the UK. Their lives were tough, working first as seamen and then as cheap labour in heavy industry in England and Wales.
Some of the immigrant men who arrived in the 1950s are still alive and tell their stories, providing a unique insight into life in the British Yemeni community – but also touching on race riots, unionisation, integration, inter-marriage and cultural identity.
Second, third and fourth generation Yemenis in Cardiff, Sheffield and the West Midlands also talk about what it means to be British Arabs today, about maintaining tradition, the survival of their language and community, about Yemen itself and what they can do now that a major conflict has broken out.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Most came from Aden, which speak English already, British colonized Aden for 125 years. And when the British left, they left Aden in political battle between the tribes and city folks. British took resources from Aden 125yrs, now it's time pay back. But, Aden people do have a lot of good memories when the Brits were in Aden. Pray for Aden! Aden is beautiful everyone wants a piece of Aden, but, not everyone deserves Aden. And we are Adenies, we are Aden nationalist forever, south Arabian.

  2. The Yemenis came to the UK because the British INVADED Aden and employed Yemenis to work on their ships and fight for them in THEIR warS. Britain is lucky to have these communities and if it didnt want them, they should have stayed home instead of colonising half the planet and then crying about 'immigration; LOL.

  3. iam a British muslim and british people say to muslims go back to ur country now u are coming in our country and that's okay we are not like America and England they don't want muslims every one is welcome to our country but not like kill us this is awful

  4. iam a British muslim and british people say to muslims go back to ur country now u are coming in our country and that's okay we are not like America and England they don't want muslims every one is welcome to our country but not like kill us this is awful

  5. They really don't want to be part of our society but of course it's our fault The fact that they insist on only their culture being the dominant one They are as  racist and intolerant as all muzlims. They are up to 3rd and 4th generation but still insist they are yemeni first They call themselves British but they are not they just want all the benefits the UK has to offer but will never want to be part of the rest of us

  6. How many of these yemenis bother to speak English in this doco and how many regard themselves as British with British values ? The women they marry have to convert to their dogma They are just another part of the disease that is izlam

  7. Considering every hijab clad woman there is gonna produce upwards of five to six babies each; Britain is in for occupition and destruction, ironically by by the very people who protest Israeli 'occupation' of Gaza.

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