Faith Leaders urge the UK to embrace diversity ahead of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Maulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi and Ibrahim Mogra have joined forces with faith leaders across the UK to highlight the importance of celebrating our commonwealth links.


They join The Archbishop of Canterbury, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and President of the Hindu Forum, in supporting Commonwealth Big Lunches – an initiative aimed at bringing people together right across the Commonwealth.


In a message of support for the initiative, Maulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, representing the Muslim community said: “I find hospitality core to our common values. There is something deeply human in sharing a meal. The compassion which hospitality is rooted in can be a way of joining hearts together and this in turn develops friendships. Friendships create trust and trust leads to hope. The Commonwealth is in a unique position with its network of cultures, languages, religions and shared values for dialogue to begin. Therefore, Commonwealth Big Lunches are a wonderful opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to come together and partake in their common humanity.”


Echoing these sentiments, Ibrahim Mogra, adds: “I am delighted to support the Commonwealth Big Lunches that facilitates the coming together of neighbours near and far. I am very proud that there are communities from every country of the Commonwealth living in the UK. I myself migrated from Malawi. Sharing of food is something that comes naturally to all human beings. When the earliest Muslims became refugees and had to flee Makkah for the safety of Yathrib (modern day Madinah in Saudi Arabia), the Prophet Muhammad instructed them to: 1. Spread peace, 2. Feed others 3. Pray at night whilst the people are asleep.”


In a display of religious unity, 10 faith groups have sent messages in support of the initiative launched by the Prime Minister and created by educational charity the Eden Project, in partnership with the UK Government.


The religious backing follows royal support from TRH’s The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who all attended Commonwealth Big Lunch preparations last month.


Commonwealth Big Lunches of all shapes and sizes have been taking place since Commonwealth Day on 12 March, and are expected to continue until Sunday 22 April as part of the official celebrations ahead of and during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this month.


Faith groups have expressed their support ahead of leaders from across the 53 Commonwealth countries gathering in London to encourage more people to come together in celebration of our shared Commonwealth connections.


Messages of support have been received from:


  • The Archbishop of Canterbury, in a letter to all Diocesan Bishops
  • Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
  • Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
  • Maulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, representing the Muslim community
  • Ibrahim Mogra, representing the Muslim community
  • Trupti Patel, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain
  • The Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Head Monk, The London Buddhist Vihara
  • Dr Natubhai Shah, Chair and CEO of the Jain Network
  • Malcolm Deboo, the President of the Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe
  • Patrick O’Mara, Secretary – National Spiritual Assembly of The Baha’is of the United Kingdom


With 2.4 billion citizens across the Commonwealth spanning 53 countries and six continents, Commonwealth Big Lunches will provide a unique opportunity for people to unite over their shared Commonwealth links.


This initiative builds on the Eden Project’s annual Big Lunch, made possible by the National Lottery, which launched in 2009 as a way to connect people with their communities over a shared meal. The Big Lunch will take place later this year on Sunday 3 June.


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Tags: big lunch, eden project, jain network, Maulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, muslim community, ramadan

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