UK Remembers Islamic Heritage

To prove that UK has a century-old Islamic heritage, Muslims are championing a drive to renovate Britain's first and oldest mosque.

UK Remembers Islamic Heritage

To prove that the European country has a century-old Islamic heritage, British Muslims are championing a drive to renovate Britain's first and oldest mosque, finding help from the local church.

"Repairing…(the) mosque with British money, either from the government or the Muslim community, would act as a powerful symbol of British Islam," Mohammad Akbar Ali, chairman of the Abdullah Quilliam Society, told The Independent on Thursday, August 2.

"It is a religious heritage that all British Muslims can be proud of."

Founded by British revert William Quilliam (later Abdullah), the mosque was officially opened on Christmas Day in 1889 on Number 8 Brougham Terrace in Liverpool.

"Quilliam is proof that Britain has its own Islamic heritage," said Ali.

Years of neglect have left its toll on the Muslim place of worship.

The mosque's whitewashed façade is grimy, front door scratched and swollen and rear gates covered in graffiti.

Dry-rot fungus are also clinging to the walls and pieces of roof are scattered across the floor.

The dilapidated condition of the historic mosque has triggered calls by both Muslims and Church leaders for refurbishing it to highlight the Muslim heritage in Britain.

"Part of the problem faced by young British Muslims now is that they have no Islamic heritage they can truly call their own," said Ali.

"When Muslims born and bred in the UK want to revisit their Islamic roots, they go back to the countries of their ancestors like India, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia."

Britain is now home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2 million, mostly from the South Asian countries of Indian, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Champion

The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Rev James Jones, is the patron of the fundraising campaign.

"One of the challenges in today's world is concentrating on the best examples of each other's religions and finding common ground," he said.

"Quilliam was a man who did a huge amount of good work that all religious leaders should appreciate and the campaign to restore his institute is worth supporting, both nationally and locally."

Born in 1856, Quilliam was the son of a wealthy watchmaker.

His fascination with Islam began during a trip to Morocco and Algeria, embracing Islam at the age of 31.

Quilliam, who graduated as a solicitor, began the tough task of preaching his acquaintances with the teachings of his new faith.

He held lectures on the Islamic teachings and founded the Liverpool Mosque in 1889.

Quilliam also produced two journals, The Crescent and The Islamic Review, on a printing press in the mosque's cellar. Both were circulated internationally.

He also set up the Muslim College, a weekly debating society.

Quilliam published a book about the Muslim faith, The Faith of Islam, in 1899 which was translated into 13 languages.

He strived to clear misconceptions about Islam, derived from myths dating back to the Crusades.

"Although other English people had converted, they tended to keep a low profile," said Pro. Humayun Ansari, an expert in British Islamic history from the Royal Holloway College, London.

"Quilliam on the other hand was much more forthright and challenging, making him a high-profile public figure in the process."



Source: AJP

Last Mod: 04 Ağustos 2007, 11:48
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