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Peace, Understanding, Fairness, Development and MDGs

East London Community Cohesion Event, 4th May 2008

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on May 4, 2008

UPF - logo

Universal Peace Federation – UK

Community Cohesion Working Group


East London Community Cohesion Event

Minhaj-Ul-Quran Mosque, Forest Gate, London

Sunday 4th May 2008 (2-6pm)


Partners for this event include: Minhaj-Ul-Quran, WFWP S-London, SABRANG ladies, IMF Newham, FAITHLINK, WAIT East – London, Service for Peace, UPF-EAST

On a bank holiday weekend on a Sunday, Mayor of Waltham Forest,  Mayor of Havering, speaker of London Borough of Hackney and most appropriately  the civic ambassador of Newham gathered in Minhaj-Ul-Quran Mosque in Rumford Road,  Forest Gate, Newham, to address a room full of over a hundred activists and professionals, Youth , and women  regarding Community Cohesion projects in the region of East London area and to congratulate those in the audience who brought models of good practice from the community in specific areas of women, youth and civic/faith-leader groups.  Mrs Saleha Jaffer and Cllr Margaret Ali joint chairs of Community Cohesion working group- welcomed all and invited The Civic Ambassador of Newham , Cllr Omana Gangadharan to give the opening  speech. The speech was a wonderful testimony to her life coming to this point – she  said that Newham is one of great Boroughs  championing  diversity and building community cohesion.

Mayor Ali was very encouraged to see so many people here for this Community Cohesion Event. He was greatly honoured to host the first of the Community Cohesion events in Waltham Forest back in February, and is very pleased to be in this follow up event here in Newham and encourages a cohesive community as it is a happy community.

Cllr. Faizullah Khan, Speaker of London Borough of Hackney, was very passionate about Community Cohesion and how Faith leaders and our Sacred Texts from all Faiths, just as much as Quran, can help so much in bringing better understanding and respect for the “other”.

Mayor Georgina  Gulpin of Havering, born in Newham said “My Borough misses out so much compared to Newham because there is  so much diversity here…we must all strive to make good effort to better community relations wherever we are..”

The incoming Civic Mayor of Newham, Cllr Akbar Chaudhary, praised the people and policies of Britain to make Britain one of the most tolerant countries in the world, he said we should all work together to keep it that way!

As Mr Carl Wonfor of National Community Tension Team (NCTT) of Metropolitan Police said during the speech he delivered: “I’ve never seen so many Mayors in one room together at one time. I am particularly impressed as this is a Bank Holiday weekend and the event is on a Sunday! I want to congratulate the Mayors for their  commitment to Community Cohesion and the organisers for bringing you all together” . Mr Wonfor also emphasised the importance of highlighting   and documenting all the good reports of the amazing activities  he heard about,  particularly the projects he listened to  in the Youth group workshop.  (He was suggesting we put these on a website perhaps that of GPF). He wanted to bring these positive models to the attention of the Police Chiefs. We need to give young people a voice. He added that “All the good works already exist and the government does not need to invent new projects but support those in existence. We need to give young people a voice, people like those in the audience doing good have at least one aim to make everyone in the community feel safe! If we have a cohesive community where there are support structures, people can be helped before they get into trouble

There were Models of good practice presented  by women, (from WFWP and Sabrang  Ladies Friendship and  Co-operation in South London)  also sister  Khadija from Minhaj Ul Quran shared about her work with women. ,Youth work from Minhaj Ul Quran, was shared by Rafiq Patel who guides the youth work. and Youth from Service for Peace,(with Wait –East) and  FAITHLINK, Faith connection for Youth- spoke of great models of good practice. Wait East had earlier in April in collaboration with London Wildlife Trust-   done a great project in Dagenham  involving youth of all races, backgrounds and faiths working alongside each other clearing the smaller trees to give way for larger trees to develop.

Models from Faith Leaders, included speakers from  Church of England and from the Catholic Church in Manor Park, Mr Patrick Hanley,  who spoke of the great work they are doing in Muslim Christian dialogue forum, together with Imam Qureshi.  The  2 Christian ministers were working closely in cultural and religious celebration projects with an Interfaith group in NEWHAM as well as with Minhaj Ul Quran particularly. The chief Imam of the Mosque spoke passionately about their work and expressed deep appreciation for spiritual aspect of the UPF presentation by Tim Miller.

Imam Qureshi said “this is a fantastic event – all different people together makes good community -thanks for coming to our Mosque . I enjoyed all the speeches, particularly Mr Miller’s  speech, which had such a good spiritual input.. .”.

We later had  3 concurrent  workshop sessions 1. With women and women leaders    2. Youth and Youth leaders doing  projects and 3. Faith and  Civic leaders. All 3 groups  had animated exchange of idea s and information sharing. We had reports from all three groups which were quite illuminating.  People   who did not have opportunities to share, were given a chance to speak briefly .

The meeting was brought to a close with a good feeling of having sewn the seeds for good works to follow.

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