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Société Internationale de Philologie, Sciences et Beaux-Arts


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This is possibly one of the most fascinating stories I've ever researched.

It starts with a man called William Henry Quilliam (10 April 1856 – 23 April 1932), who changed his name to Abdullah Quilliam and later Henri Marcel Leon or Haroun Mustapha Leon, and was a 19th-century convert from Christianity to Islam, noted for founding England's first mosque and Islamic centre.

Quilliam converted to Islam in 1887 after visiting Morocco to recover from an illness. Quilliam purchased numbers 8, 11 and 12 Brougham Terrace, Liverpool, following his conversion, through a donation from Nasrullah Khan, Crown Prince of Afghanistan. 8 Brougham Terrace became the Liverpool Muslim Institute, the first functioning mosque in Britain. He also opened a boarding school for boys and a day school for girls, as well as an orphanage, Medina House, for non-Muslim parents who could not look after their children but agreed for them to be brought up as Muslims. In addition, the Institute hosted educational classes covering a wide range of subjects, and included a museum and science laboratory. It opened on Christmas Day, 1889.

 

By june 1913 he was Secrétaire Général of the Société Internationale De Philologie Sciences Et Beaux-Arts which he claimed had been founded in 1875 for "the advancement and encouragement of all branches of philology, science,literature, music and fine arts" by means of non-sectarian and apolitical lectures and debates.

 

He was an odd character, but a pivotal figure in the history of Islam in Britain.

 

Which brings me to the medal, of which I can discover nothing. It is uniface and bears an heraldic Griffin/Gryphon below which the legend:

1875-1925 MÉDAILLE COMMÉMORATIVE

And around which:

SOCIÉTÉ INTERNATIONALE DE PHILOLOGIE SCIENCES ET BEAUX-ARTS

 

Nickel, 30 mm.

 

 

 

jpvc4p.jpg

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"Quilliam purchased numbers 8, 11 and 12 Brougham Terrace, Liverpool, following his conversion, through a donation from Nasrullah Khan, Crown Prince of Afghanistan. 8 Brougham Terrace became the Liverpool Muslim Institute, the first functioning mosque in Britain" so that would make sense.

 

Fascinating read, thanks for posting, I think you will enjoy this http://quilliamandleon.blogspot.ca/

 

“Read a curious letter I received from Miss Bertha Baily, Isle of Man, telling me of an extraordinary incident that happened in the Isle of Man, at a garden party, where Dr Leon ( secretary of La Society etc etc) was accosted as W H Quilliam (Abdullah Quilliam) an ex-solicitor of Liverpool, who had been struck off the rolls , outlawed and went to Turkey.I read this to all the house party as Quilliam was a cousin of Mrs Russell Rea’s, and an arrant scoundrel –Mrs RR tells me he kidnapped her grandfather (Dr Burrows) and got him to alter his will! All the Leon facts fit Quilliam, except the apparentcharacters of the two. Leon admitted he was Q, according to Miss B’s letter! This took till lunchtime !”

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