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His Own Man & Imagining Robert Reschid - books launch

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Manchester Central Library - Performance Space

St Peter's Square

Manchester

M2 5PD

United Kingdom

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You are invited to the launch of two books on a Victorian 'hidden' Muslim , Robert 'Reschid' Stanley. ‘His Own Man’ is the historical biography of Robert Stanley. The ‘sister’ book, ‘Imagining Robert Reschid’, is creative fiction using plays, scripts and monologues. Both were written by Robert's great x 3 grandaughter Christina Longden, who will be at the launch to talk about her work,

Robert Stanley was a respectable northern working-class Victorian man who converted to Islam. But his family managed to keep his Muslim identity a secret - for nearly a century.

Robert grew up in the cradle of Britain’s Industrial Revolution and was part of Ashton under Lyne’s Christian Israelite sect. Self-educated, this Stalybridge grocer and tea-trader made it his mission to help northern working men bribed by rich factory owners during elections. He rose to become one of Britain’s first working-class magistrates and mayors, witnessing first-hand some of the most violent riots, radicalism and progressive reforms of the Victorian era.

Robert was committed to justice for all, even when his public challenges to an unfair British foreign policy caused troubles for him. In 1898, at the age of 69, he sold his Ashton pub and took the astonishing decision to convert to Islam, moving to Manchester and becoming a close friend of famous convert Abdullah Quilliam, Sheikh of Islam of the British Isles, who had set up the country’s first mosque, in Liverpool.

After his death, his conversion was ‘hidden’ for nearly a century. But by a strange twist of fate, Robert’s own great x 3 grandson from Dukinfield had converted to Islam too – nine years before Robert’s life and decisions were discovered.

Always ‘His Own Man’, Robert ‘Reschid’ Stanley’s life and times are brought into the light for the first time thanks to the painstaking family history research of his own descendants and through the words of his great x 3 granddaughter, Christina Longden.


Rooted in the past, deeply personal and shaping our present, these books are a necessary and timely read in the debate about identity and belonging’.

BARONESS SAYEEDA WARSI

Essential reading for anyone interested in challenging preconceived ideas of Muslim and working-class community life. Chris Longden must be congratulated … Robert Reschid Stanley would be deeply proud of this work.

Compelling socio-political portraits of one of the leading Victorian Muslims, based upon extensive archival research, these books provide a much-needed contribution towards a growing field of research on early Muslim convert communities during Victorian Britain’.

DR SHAMIM MIAH, Senior Lecturer, University of Huddersfield.

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Date and Time

Location

Manchester Central Library - Performance Space

St Peter's Square

Manchester

M2 5PD

United Kingdom

View Map

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