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Monty Panesar Joins Unity of Faiths Foundation

Anokhi DIY Anokhi Today Breaking News & Sports World Oct 07, 2013


London stood united last weekend when a series of events brought individuals from different backgrounds together. World sport, religious and political leaders joined hands to pledge their support for the launch of The Unity of Faiths Foundation (TUFF), a UK based non-profit, secular organization that recognizes the importance of inter-community communication and acknowledgement to being the community together.

A response to the increased conflict, cultural and religious divide that has estranged communities, nationally and globally, TUFF, acknowledged by President Barack Obama and HRH The Queen, was launched with the mission to unite people and communities through the common factor of faith, irrespective of religious belief, cultural or social backgrounds, and to subsequently create a more stable, tolerant and cooperative future for all.

In attendance were dignitaries and public figures, including the equivalent of the Sikh Pope who was in Britain for his first public visit, Akal Takth Jathedaar ji, Giani Gurbachan Singh ji Golden Temple Amritsar, India, Mr. M N Khrisnamani, President of the Bar Association – Supreme Court of India, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel Salam Mraish Former Grand Mufti, Palestine, and Master Venerable Ji Xiu, Senior Master Buddhist Monk from China.

A unique ‘Torch of Unity’ procession featured 100 young adults from London schools, travelling in open-top unity buses through Southall.The event was a reflected on TUFF’s 2013 focus on the Youth. The core belief being that in order to sow the seeds of respect and mutual understanding for each other early on, it is vital to connect with the younger generation – the ‘voices of tomorrow’.

Six weeks later London riots began and Southall, which was one of the areas considered to have been a target was not affected. 

The festival has grown from 8,000 to 25,000 which is testament to the fact that communities have endorsed the principles of TUFF.”

Commenting on the issue, Akal Takth Jathedaar ji, Giani Gurbachan Singh Ii, said, “We may have advanced in the world in all ways of life but we are still far away from being united as humans. To achieve unity of faiths we need to first have an understanding of each other, and then we must allow each other the freedom to practice our own religions in peace.”

Speaking on the occasion, the Mayor of Ealing Councilor Dhindsa, commented, “Southall is known as a very multicultural town, we have mosques, temples and churches all within 100 meters of each other. The organisers couldn’t have chosen a better location to celebrate unity between different cultures.”

Speaking via Skype from New Delhi, India, the event featured a surprise interaction between the young adults and Vikas Swarup, diplomat and author of international bestseller Q & A, adapted into the multi-BAFTA and Academy Award winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Vikas Swarup said, “This is an incredible initiative bringing us all together for the common celebration of our shared humanity”.

The poignant video promoting the work of TUFF was unveiled to the audience exclusively, featuring the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, recent war crimes, extracts of petitions towards the Delhi gang rape case and the London riots, reinforcing the necessity of TUFF’s vision.

The landmark event concluded the third annual Unity of Faith Festival on Sunday 29th September 2013, with tens of thousands present. The festival provided London's multi-cultural community from all backgrounds and age groups, an opportunity to connect, break the barriers of misunderstanding and prejudice against a backdrop of free entertainment, food, drinks and social engagement. The festival built up a groundswell of support to the message of UNITY, creating ‘Awareness’ to the concept of having FAITH in each other.

Youth icon and England bowler Monty Panesar joined hands with the unity team, interacting with groups of people who had congregated to see the cricketer. Commenting on the atmosphere at the Festival, Monty Panesar said, “Thank you for your positive energy and kind words. I hope to inspire the youth of the next generation”

Feature Image: AFP/ Getty Images
Other images: bhangara.org
Source:PR, SterlingCommunications  

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