Community cohesion a bulwark against terrorism, extremism
Minhaj ul Quran London hosted the Finale of one of the most ground breaking programmes in its centre on Saturday 25h March 2017. Since its Grand Opening of the on 11th February 2017, the mosque has welcomed hundreds of visitors from all walks of life to the Exhibition.
This Exhibition project is managed by the Council of Asian People, in conjunction with the Pakistan Cultural Society, Gurkha Veterans Foundation and Collage Arts, and is the result of a London-wide research project that was started in response to a need for more awareness about the role played by South Asians in the First World War. For more than a year, members of the Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese and British communities across London have worked together to research and curate this exhibition for all, exploring the untold stories of South Asians in the First World War.
The event was attended by several dignitaries including Colonel Michael Dudding former representative Deputy Lieutenant for Newham to her Majesty the Queen, The Right Honourable Stephen Timms MP for East Ham, Neelam Shaida South Asian Television personality and philanthropist, Councillor Mas Patel, Arnold Ridout Trustee the Renewal Programme, Keith Fernett Chief Executive Caritas Anchor House, Miriam Scharf Care4Calais and human rights campaigner, Saif Osmani prominent local artist, Dr Zahid Iqbal from Minhaj ul Quran, Advocate Sajid Hussain Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Sister Tanzila Peace and Education (PEP) and Shahid Mahmood Community Development Executive for Minhaj ul Quran and Founder of Come Incorporated, Ian Martin Community Neighbourhood Manager Forest Gate Strategic Commissioning and Community Directorate London Borough of Newham, Andrew Fearn Community Engagement Coordinator Community Neighbourhoods London Borough of Newham, Robin Marsh Secretary General Universal Peace Federation, Simon Shaw Care4Calais and human rights campaigner, Councillor Salim Patel, Councillor Firoza Ahmed, Jon King Newham Recorder, community leaders and philanthropists Dr Roma Tahir and Tanveer Chaudhury, plus many others.
Robin Marsh said the forgotten contribution of the South Asian contribution to Britain need to be brought to the fore in order for people to understand and respects each other’s contributions. He looked forward to more occasions of bringing people together.
Cllr Mas Patel talked about the wonderful work of bringing people together that Minhaj ul Quran was doing to foster long lasting community development.
Andrew Fearn who has started his role recently was very keen to work with Minhaj ul Quran in its community building initiatives and praised the wonderful exhibition
Stephen Timms congratulated the Asian centre for their tremendous work in creating the exhibition and for Minhaj ul Quran to facilitate and host it. He expressed the need to for more projects of this nature to increase awareness amongst people of the great contributions of the diverse communities to Britain. He talked about his families’ contribution to the second World War efforts and how he would welcome an initiative on that great part of History.
Simon Shaw talked about the life of the refugees who were caught up in the 'Jungle' in Calais and how the way they were treated was deplorable. He talked about the work Care4Calais were doing and how we all need to work together to support the refugees.
Colonel Mike Dudding explained about how much Britain owes to the great sacrifices of the South Asian people to its position today. Having served the British Army, he had the opportunity to visit several countries and meet people from all cultures and backgrounds and he was grateful for their commitment to Britain. The Colonel expressed his wish for a World War two exhibition to be organised by Minhaj ul Quran.
Neelam Shaida congratulated the Asian Centre for its work in creating the exhibition. She thanked Minhaj ul Quran for facilitating the event She talked about how people of faiths had to work together to support each other.
Arnold Ridout talked of the wonderful exhibition and how it was great to see it in a mosque and such a richly diverse area as Newham.
Keith Fernett Congratulated Minhaj ul Quran for hosting the Exhibition. He stressed the need of 'Communities' despite their differences to come together to support one another.
Dr Zahid Iqbal welcomed the speakers and participants to Minhaj ul Quran and congratulated the organisers of the Exhibition in bringing it to Minhaj ul Quran. He also talked about the Peace and Education project run by Minhaj ul Quran to tackle radicalisation.
Rafiq Patel thanked all those in attendance and talked about future heritage projects that Minhaj ul Quran would work to deliver to the community.
Shahid Mahmood welcomed everybody and talked about the need for communities to come together to support each other in difficulties. He informed the audience that there would be several heritage projects which would be launched at the Minhaj ul Quran centre to raise awareness and provide education. He explained how the exhibition delivered in the heart of what often is described as 'hard to reach community' had motivated people to find out more about their heritage and visit other places of historical significance. By bringing the exhibition to the people who perhaps would have never gone to an exhibition or museum, Minhaj ul Quran had lit up a small spark to inspire people to find out, and research more.
We would like to stress that any terrorist activity, no matter who does it and for what purpose, is the greatest blow to peace, democracy, humanity, and all religious values. For this reason, no one—and certainly no Muslims – can approve of any terrorist activity. Terror has no place in one’s quest to achieve independence or salvation. It costs the lives of innocent people.
The terrorist activity, which is a most bloody and condemnable one, is far more than an attack on Britain – it is an assault against world peace as well as universal democratic, humanistic, and religious values. Those who perpetrated this atrocity can only be considered the most brutal people in the world.
We stand side by side with the victims and assure everybody that we pray to God Almighty for the victims, and that He may equip their sorrowful beloved ones and all other British people with patience. We stand united people of different faiths, and ideologies together, as our unity is our strength to combat evil and hatred.
With love, harmony, tolerance, understanding, mutual respect, loving and appreciating our differences, celebrating diversity, bringing social cohesion we will defeat any obstacle. Only through Love and Unity will we defeat hatred intolerance and Terrorism.
This was followed by a one minutes silence in remembrance of those who died, those whom were injured and their families.