Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra has said he gleaned “hope and optimism” from Iranian Ayatollah Tehrani’s stand for coexistence with the Baha’i community in Iran, who are heavily persecuted.
Earlier this month, Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani, a prominent Iranian cleric and scholar, took a stand for coexistence with Iran’s Baha’i minority by presenting a gift of his calligraphy of the writings of Baha’u’llah – the Founder of the Baha’i Faith – to the Baha’is of the world.
“[Ayatollah Tehrani] has reminded us that Islam is a religion of peace that recognises diversity of every kind as part of God’s design for his creation. And it all came in the form of a gift – one which I am proud to endorse,” said Sheikh Ibrahim.
“I am proud, as a Muslim and as an imam, to celebrate this enlightened gift, which has such immense spiritual significance. The faiths of the world should be united in promoting coexistence to advance human civilisation.”
Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra is assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain and serves as an imam in Leicester. His is ardent defender of the values of tolerance and coexistence, and is at the forefront of deepening interfaith relations in the UK.
Click here to read his article in full (Guardian online).
The Rt Hon Don Foster MP, Minister for Integration, was welcomed on 2 July by a delegation of Bahá’ís, including individuals from Mr Foster’s Bath constituency, at the National Bahá’í Centre in London.
Minister for Integration Don Foster MP visits the National Bahá’í Centre in London
Mr Foster shared news of the impending launch of a government initiative, “Together in Service”, which will encourage interfaith social action. One of the aims of the initiative will be to consolidate the “A Year of Service” venture which was launched at the National Bahá’í Centre in February 2012 with Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
“The best way for a Hindu and a Muslim to understand each other better,” Mr Foster suggested, “is by sweeping the road or helping the homeless together.”
“You continue to distinguish yourselves in the professions, the arts and particularly in the vital areas of education and conflict resolution,” Mr. Foster told the Bahá’ís.
The Minister also discussed the need for the Government to assist UK faith communities in developing a “counter- narrative” regarding the role of religion in society – to challenge the often negative stereotypes of religion that appear in the media and demonstrate its potential for positive influence.
Mr Foster felt that the spontaneous response of all faith communities after the tragic murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, in Woolwich, in unequivocally condemning the attack and standing together in unity, was a watershed moment. The show of unity and support illustrated the cohesive and harmonising role that all faith communities can have. Mr Foster said he was “very proud” of this swift and united response.