Hear the poetry of Abdullah Quilliam, the courageous pioneer who laid the foundations of Islam in the UK, at this event to mark his secular and religious works of poetry being published in a single volume for the first time.

Born William Henry Quilliam, he embraced Islam in 1887, claiming to be the first Englishman to do so. A charismatic preacher, he created a remarkable community of 600 Muslims in Victorian Liverpool, while writing poetry that captured the essence of his journey.

Join preeminent Quilliam scholar Ron Geaves and community historian of British Muslim life Yahya Birt as they present this exceptional and historic collection.

About The Speakers

Headshot of professor of religion Ron Greaves

Ron Geaves

Ron Geaves is an Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of History, Archaeology, and Religion at Cardiff University. He held a Chair in Religious Studies at the University of Chester (2001-2007) and a Chair in the Comparative Study of Religion at Liverpool Hope University (2007-2013). An author of nineteen books on religion, his research interests focus upon the transmigration of Islam into the UK. In recent works he has been arguing for the revival of Sufism globally and, also, the history of the Muslim presence in the UK, culminating in his ground-breaking book Islam in Victorian Britain: The Life and Times of Abdullah Quilliam. He was Chair of the Muslims in Britain Research Network (2007-2010) and instrumental in the creation of BRAIS (British Association of Islamic Studies), and still remains on their advisory board.  

Headshot of historian Yahya Birt

Yahya Birt

Yahya Birt is a community historian who has taught at the University of Leeds. He has an M.Phil. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford. He has published over a dozen peer-reviewed articles on Islam in Britain and co-edited British Secularism and Religion: Islam, Society and State (Markfield: Kube, 2016) and Islam in Victorian Liverpool: An Ottoman Account of Britain’s First Mosque Community (Swansea: Claritas Books, 2021). He lives in West Yorkshire with his family and two cats. He likes walking and being grumpy about the state of the world.