New Tea Blend, Reviving Cross-Cultural Dialogue

Muslim-mayor-tea-merchantOne hundred and fifteen years after his death, the great-great-great granddaughter of Manchester tea merchant and Muslim revert, Robert Reschid Stanley, is using tea to promote conversations to bring different cultures together. Inspired by the work of her ancestor, the LYF’s own Christina Longden and the LYF team,aim to launch a new tea blend, promoting cross-cultural dialogue in UK communities.

Extract from article in The Muslim March 2014

Born in 1828, Robert Reschid, a renowned tea merchant, Mayor of Stalybridge, and prominent local Christian reverted to Islam aged 70. As one of four reverts in a Manchester-based community of 40 Muslims, Robert Reschid became a well-known and vocal advocate promoting a greater understanding of Islam across the UK and Vice-President of the Liverpool Muslim Institute.

Prior to his reversion, Robert Reschid had avidly followed the problems taking place further east, particularly in Turkey with the Russo-Turkish war. Letters that he wrote on the subject were even raised at parliamentary level in Westminster.

Later, Robert Reschid wrote to the Ottoman Government recommending that they could rebuild manufacturing and trade in the country if they were to send young men to England to study cotton and wool manufacturing techniques in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Robert Stanley in fez crop - CopyRobert Reschid also wrote to the Ottoman Caliph suggesting that it would be wise to have an authentic and fresh translation of the Qur’an so that English people could better understand the teachings of Islam – the only translations available at that time being made by Christians who had placed their own interpretation on the text.

Robert Reschid’s life and exploits were documented in ‘The Crescent’, a weekly record of Islam in England. The publication included Robert Reschid’s hosting of colleague revert, founder of one of the UK’s first Masjids, and author of this weekly publication, Abdullah William Quilliam Bey, on several occasions during his visits to Manchester.

Amazingly Christina’s brother Steven, Robert Reschid’s great-great-great grandson also reverted to Islam – before he was even aware of this amazing story and his familial connection to it!

Now, 115 years on, Robert Reschid’s great-great-great granddaughter Christina, co-director of the Lorna Young Foundation and Not Just a Trading Company that help young people and communities come together and learn business skills as well as setting up their own community enterprises.

Through Not Just a Trading Company (NJaTC), Christina, the team, and the youth enterprise groups, are importing direct from the growers a range of Fair Trade tea, coffee, chocolate and other ethical products that the youth enterprise groups market to learn business skills and generate income.

NJaTC is about to launch a new product – the Robert Reschid tea blend, with the aim of sending this tea out to various faith and community organisations for them to invite each other for tea and conversation.

Christina said: “Robert Reschid was a tea merchant and worked hard in the community to improve an understanding of Islam within Victorian England. I hope that, by creating the Robert Reschid tea blend we can encourage different faith and cultural groups to come together over a cup of tea, and get to know each other better.

We hope to raise £3,000 to make and send out 1,000 packs of tea to communities all over the UK, to promote cross-cultural dialogue.” You can support this project by donating here.

If you would like to know more about this initiative, the Robert Reschid tea product or the wider work of the LYF and Not Just a Trading Company CIC, please get in touch.

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