Before we dive into the news that Britain’s oldest mosque is set to unveil a new cultural centre, let’s refresh you on the building’s story.
Located at 8 Brougham terrace in Liverpool, the mosque – which is also known as the Liverpool Muslim Institute – opened all the way back in 1887.
Abdullah Quilliam, the founder of the mosque, was a lawyer who converted to Islam after being sent to Morocco to recover from an illness. Upon his return to Liverpool, Quilliam, who was born William Quilliam in the Isle of Man, threw himself into studying the faith. Wanting an established location to continue his pursuit of Islamic knowledge, he purchased the house at 8 Brougham Terrace.
Over the years, the mosque would serve as a place of worship and a community space, not to mention a destination that would be visited by eminent Muslims from across the globe.
When Quilliam died in 1932, 8 Brougham Terrace was purchased by the council, who used it for civil wedding services. Then in 2009, the newly founded Quilliam Foundation, a think tank tackling extremist ideologies, set about restoring the original mosque. It reopened in 2014, reestablishing this crucial part of the community, not to mention an invaluable symbol of Muslim – and British – history.
Now after 12 years of refurbishments, a new museum, visitor centre and library is set to open at the Liverpool location. The Quilliam Foundation says the new centre will also offer training and enterprise support to the community.
Mr Galib Khan, chair of the charity’s trustees, told the Liverpool Echo why the centre is such a perfect fit for the city: “Because of the many things Abdullah Quilliam achieved in Liverpool, he was known throughout the Empire as a Muslim Leader and he deserves an important place in the story of this great city and all it stands for as a celebrated seat of tolerance, education and social justice.”
We love to hear that 8 Brougham Terrace is continuing to grow as a valued part of the community. The success of the mosque is a testament to the Islamic values that led to its creation; and its ongoing development reflects how those values have historically be shared by Liverpool, as well as Britain itself.
As Councillor Alice Bennett explained: “This new heritage centre will shine a light on an overlooked part of Victorian society, when Liverpool’s reputation for religious tolerance was a beacon to the world.”
We hope the centre will remind a new generation of people about the importance of these values.