Faith leaders in Leicester greet members of the British Armed Forces to mark UN World Interfaith Harmony Week….reports Asian Lite News
Members of the the British Armed Forces were welcomed to Leicester by the internationally recognised St Philip’s Centre, to take part in a day of events designed to promote community understanding during the United Nations’ World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Many of the Armed Forces personnel in attendance are originally from Leicester and belong to Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and other major faith communities. Other personnel were from Leicester’s local Army Reserve unit, the 158 Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps.
The personnel were accompanied by Rt Hon Earl Howe, the Deputy Leader of the House of Lords and Minister of State for Defence, Imam Asim Hafiz, the Islamic Advisor to the Armed Forces and members of the Armed Forces Muslim Association.
The Armed Forces delegation began their day at Crown Hills Community College, with an Army vehicle on site for pupils as they started their school day. Earl Howe, the Minister for Defence at the House of Lords, welcomed the students:
“I’m delighted to be here at your college, a place that considers inter-faith harmony as not just as another subject on the curriculum but as the essence of your ethos, extending beyond the school gate into the wider community.
Together we can help tackle divisive forces that spread misunderstanding and mistrust, especially among peoples of different religions. Despite the troubles going on around the globe, I feel that universal harmony is within our grasp.’’
Commenting on the visit, Doug Keast, the Assistant Principal at Crown Hills Community College, said:
“It is important for our students to understand more about the Armed Forces because it will help them realise the wide range of roles and careers that exist, as well as appreciate the changing profile of the workforce.”
The delegation then visited the Federation of Muslim Organisations, Masjid Al Falah, where they met members of the Federation of Muslim Organisations. Abdulkarim Gheewala, the chair of the Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO), said:
“This visit has helped raise Leicester Muslim communities’ awareness of the historic contribution of Muslims to the British Armed Forces and demonstrate to the Armed Forces personnel that the FMO fully supports the Armed Forces’ work.”
Next the group met members of the Hindu community at Shree Hindu Temple – one of the oldest temples in the UK – and took part in the traditional Sikh langar at Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara. The evening concluded with an interfaith reception at St Phpilp’s Centre where they were joined by HM Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Lady Gretton.
Riaz Ravat, Deputy Director of St Philip’s Centre, said: “I was proud to have been part of a day where our armed services were able to connect with the very communities which are the heart and soul of diverse Leicester. It is vital for the well-being of society that our faith communities and our armed services understand and work together to benefit us all. This day of engagement opened up many opportunities for our places of worship and particularly for young people who could gain from further collaboration with the armed services”.
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