Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page


Book Title

Victorian Muslim: Abdullah Quilliam and Islam in the West


Hurst Publishers




Jamie Gilham and Ron Geaves


Muslim Coverts, Liverpool Muslim Institute, Abdullah Quilliam, Mohammed Alexander Russell Webb, Islam in the West


In the late 19th century, news concerning Abdullah Quilliam and the establishment of a community of British Muslim converts in Liverpool spread across the world, particularly among Muslims. As a well-placed Victorian convert to Islam in the heart of British Empire, Quilliam symbolized many things to Muslim communities worldwide, each group perceiving him in whatever light they needed to see him. For some Muslim converts in America he was a model, a mentor, and a mediator. For many Muslims in the British Empire, particularly West Africa, Quilliam provided a morale boost, a legitimatization for holding on to their religion and culture in the face of colonialism as well as a supporter—materially, emotionally, and spiritually. This chapter will discuss the relationship between Quilliam and the American converts; West African Muslims; and case studies of two Muslims from the wider British Empire who joined the Liverpool band of converts.