Dr. Bashir Fazel and the first Muslim burials in Bristol

Dr. Bashir Fazel (born 1885) came to Bristol in 1925, from the undivided Punjab region of what is now split between Pakistan and India.

It was then part of the British Raj (Empire); Doctors and medical professionals were required to help the British in their war efforts. Some of those who served in World War One settled in Britain during the inter-war period.

Dr. Fazel was a qualified eye specialist, and he opened a private opticians on Cheltenham Road.

In 1927, he married Gladys Amelia Fazel (née Cox, born 1891), a local Bristolian woman.

After 1950, he campaigned for a Muslim section at Avonview Cemetery, St. George. This was successful and it is where he was buried after his death in 1965. His wife, a devout Christian, was buried at Arnos Vale Cametery in 1974.

In 2019, Dr Fazel’s maternal great grandson, Umar Ali Khokhar (born 1987), reported to Bristol City Council finding the Muslim section of the Avonview Cemetery to be overgrown. He says Dr. Fazel’s grave was in a state of disrepair. In 2022, he set up a fundraiser to restore the tomb stone and install a plaque highlighting Dr Fazel’s prominent role in the first Muslim burials in Bristol.

illustration of a map of avonview cemetery
Map showing Muslim graves in Avonview Cemetery