It is probably surprising to many that the first convert to Islam in Britain was William Abdullah Quilliam, born William Henry, the son of a Methodist preacher. Converting after a trip to Morocco, William went on to open Britain’s first working Mosque and was just one of many Christians to convert to Islam during the Victorian period. These early British Muslims suffered persistent allegations of ‘divided’ loyalties and were considered to be torn between the British Crown and the Ottoman Empire.
Join acclaimed historians, Jamie Gilham and Ron Geaves, and writer, Myriam Francois-Cerrah, as they delve into the past to reveal the fascinating story of Muslims in Victorian Britain. The panel will consider how these early converts shared many of the same anxieties and faced much of the same hostility, experienced by modern Muslims in Britain today.
This event, chaired by journalist, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, will consider the experiences of Muslim converts in Victorian Britain and in doing so provide much needed context and a unique insight into the past, present and future of British Islam.