By S.M. Irfan Tahir
BIRMINGHAM: Importance of community cohesion in a multi-cultural society like Great Britain was highlighted at a m multi-faith Iftar event was held at the Zia ul Ummah Centre on 9th June. The event was highly successful in promoting the values of harmony, unity and community cohesion.
The objective of the Multi-faith Iftar held at the Zia Ul Ummah Centre was to elucidate to people of other faiths on the purpose of fasting in the month of Ramadan. The Centre also aimed to demonstrate that Islam is not a religion of terror rather it is a beautiful religion of peace.
We, as Muslims, are peaceful people who are keen to integrate into society and build resilient community relations. Among the special distinguished guest speakers were the Lord Mayor of Birmingham Yvonne Mosquito, Vice Lord Lieutenant Dr Beverley Lindsey and MEP Sion Simon. In addition faith leaders Rev Lorraine Shorten, Moravian Minister (representing Hall Green United Community Church and Leominster Moravian Church, Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi (reprenting Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, Dr Pyara Singh Bhogal (Faith leader of the Sikh Community and Former Chair of the Birmingham council of faith), Mrs Swaran Tallwar (Faith leader representing the Hindu community, writer, poet, executive member of Gitanjali Liiterary Circle of Birmingham), Pastor Ajmal Chugtai and Arvinder Jain (Faith leader of the Jain Community , former Chair of Birmingham Council of Faiths, member of SACRE and retired Science teacher). Other guest speakers included Lt. Cmdr. Suzanne Lynch representing the Royal Navy, councillor Robert Alden Leader of Conservative Party Birmingham City Council and Opposition Leader and Councillor Ch Rashid former Lord Mayor of Birmingham. The speakers shared their views on community cohesion, peace, unity and the purpose of fasting from the perspective of different faiths.
A beautiful analogy using a rich tapestry was given by Rev. Lorraine Shorten and the speakers delivered a strong message about mutual respect for other faiths, peace and harmony. Cllr Mahmood Hussain Former Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Zaker Ch, Insp Mohammed Hanif British Police, Insp Yousaf Khan CID Police, Razia Tariq Hadait, Dr Farooq Khan, Riffat Mughal, Rana Shama Nazir, Doris Jones,Abdulla Rehman MBE, Kaleem Hussain, Ravinder Kumar, Dr Martine, Patricia Earle, Ch Khaliq, Saima Haroon, Imran Munawar, Syed Mansoor Hussain Shah, Qamar Khalil, Raj Manak, Ajay Kumar, Mohan Jassi and many other guests from a diverse range of backgrounds. The event was organised by Imam Shahed Tameez (Head of the Zia ul Ummah Centre) and Jaafar Hussain.
By S.M. Irfan Tahir