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Abdullah Quilliam: Britain’s First ‘Islamist’?

William Henry Quilliam (April 10, 1856 – 1932), who changed his name to Abdullah Quilliam, was a 19th century convert from Christianity to Islam, noted for founding England’s first mosque and Islamic centre.

He wrote,

“Among Muslims none should be known as Turks, Arabs, Kurds, Ajem, Afghans, Indians or English. They are all Muslims, and verily the True-Believers are brethren. Islam is erected on the Unity of God, the unity of His religion, and the unity of the Muslims. History demonstrates that the True-Believers were never defeated while they remained united, but only when disunion crept into their ranks.

At the present time, union is more than ever necessary among Muslims. The Christian powers are preparing a new crusade in order to shatter the Muslim powers, under the pretext that they desire to civilise the world.

This is nothing but hypocrisy, but armed as they are with the resources of Western civilisation it will be impossible to resist them unless the Muslims stand united in one solid phalanx.

O Muslims, do not be deceived by this hypocrisy. Unite yourselves as one man. Let us no longer be separated. The rendevous of Islam is under the shadow of the Khalifate. The Khebla of the True-Believer who desires happiness for himself and prosperity to Islam is the holy seat of the Khalifate.”

Somehow not much seems to have changed since he wrote these words in 1896!  

Abdullah Quilliam was ennobled as the Sheikh of Islam of the British Isles in 1894 by the Ottoman caliph and by the Emir of Afghanistan; he remains a symbolic flag-bearer for British Muslims.

This book is the first full biography of Abdullah Quilliam by Ron Geaves, Professor of the Comparative Study of Religion at Liverpool Hope University. Highly recommended! Click the pic for more details.

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