SHAFAQNA – If Britain has so far remained true to its culture of multiculturalism, this is not to say that tensions between communities have not surfaced over the years – the products of unaddressed misconceptions, bigotry, and misunderstanding.
It is to combat such social prejudices and offer a bridge back to harmony thatThe 10th Day – a Muslim youth organization based in Bradford, decided to launch a brand new campaign, one which would attempt to emphasize commonalities, and celebrate differences.
While the UK would still to think itself tolerant, and respectful of others, many efforts need still to be spent towards combating xenophobia, and sectarian-based bigotry, so that various communities could truly experience solidarity. It is towards such goals, in keeping with Islam’s most central principles which The 10th Day envision its work within Britain social construct.
The youth organization kicked off its exciting new program with flair as it hosted its second Gala Dinner in Bradford on June 4th – an event which was attended by media personalities, clerics, and community leaders from across the country.
Hosted by Rebecca Masterton, a prominent British Islamic scholar, and media personality, the Gala Dinner saw appearances by two renowned Quran reciters: Ali Safdar Rizvi, and Abu Thar al-Halawaji, as well as well-known Islamic lecturer and public speaker Hassanain Rajabali from the United States.
Dr. Riaz Karim, Director of The Mona Relief Organization, and former UN official said in exclusive comments that The 10th Day’s new social outreach program would help tremendously toward social integration, and social cohesion, in that it would foster positive exchanges among religious groups while remaining all-inclusive of people’s cultural backgrounds.
“Britain remains a secular society, and it is important for Muslims to promote their own identity, while being tolerant and respectful of others’. The 10th Day has quite cleverly reclaimed Islam through history and thus made it accessible to all. What a better way to mark Ramadan?” he noted.
Sofia Theodopoulos, and Sam English, both Christian volunteers said that their whole outlook on Islam and Muslims changed after they attended The 10th Day Gala Dinner in Bradford. “I used to envision Islam as a religious oddity … an anomaly almost. I never realise just how much we all have in common … just how many prophets and beliefs we share,” said Ms. Theodopoulos.
“As a resident of Bradford and a Christian, I am very grateful that groups such as The 10th Day exist. I must say that volunteers’ passion for Islam and their positive attitude have been an eye opener. For the first time I do understand where Muslims are coming from, and what Ramadan truly means for over 1.6 billion people across the world.,” stressed Mr. English.
If The 10th Day has still a long road to travel on before its members can claim victory, the group has already made great strides.
To present Islam, The 10th Day has chosen to stand behind one of its greatest martyrs: Imam al-Hussain, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad – a man whose name has echoed across the centuries, a man whose valour and unparalleled courage in the face of adversity inspired historians, scholars and politicians to reflect upon the meaning of leadership and legitimacy.
It was Edward Gibbon, a prominent English historian and member of parliament who wrote in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: “In a distant age and climate the tragic scene of the death of Hussain will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.”
And Antoine Bara, in his book Hussain in Christian Ideology: “No battle in the modern and past history of mankind has earned more sympathy and admiration as well as provided more lessons than the martyrdom of Hussain in the battle of Karbala.”
A revered Islamic figure, Imam Hussain’s name has always commanded respect, and admiration. More importantly, his legacy has echoed of unity, truth, and profound devotion to the Word of God, and Islam.
It is behind his banner, and through his deeds that The 10th Day felt it could best introduce Islamic values to the British public.
The 10th Day has focused so far its energy on enacting Islam’s message, by positively impacting the British community, and thus promote better understanding – demonstrating to all people, and all manners of faith that Islam stands testament to those very values they hold dear: human rights, social justice, freedom, compassion …
MP Imran Hussain in Bradford, who attended on June 18th an event promoted by The 10th Day noted how important such efforts were for Britain. “Imam Hussain’s message to humanity, and the events of over 1000 years ago should never be forgotten,” he said.
This Ramadan 2016 The 10th Day presented a loving and caring image of Islam – as it was meant to be all along.
By Catherine Shakdam – This article appeared first in The American Herald Tribune