The East Midlands Region Pre Charity Walk for Peace reception was held at Baitul Hafeez Mosque in Nottingham on the evening of Saturday 20th April. At 6pm the proceedings started with recitation of the Holy Quran in Arabic, followed by English translation. A welcome address was given and a ten minute power point presentation on the Charity Walk for Peace was delivered by the Regional coordinator East Midlands, Dr Irfan Malik.
The next segment included speeches by eight charity members:
- Vanessa Osborne, Bakersfield and Neighbourhood Community Association (BANCA)
Vanessa highlighted the strong links between the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association and BANCA, where our community was based for 16 years prior to moving into our Mosque nearby. Vanessa joined us for last year’s Charity Walk in Windsor Great Park and her charity was a recipient for match funding in 2018.
- Andrea Kelly, Footprints
Andrea spoke about Footprints, which is a charity providing conductive education and other services to help children with mobility and communication problems develop the skills they need to thrive and achieve their potential.
- David Harris, Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre
David informed us his charity which for over 125 years has provided children in Derbyshire with a week long holiday at a specialist residential centre on the seafront in Skegness.
- Lewis Anderson, Burton Hope
Burton Hope is a volunteer group set up in 2017 to tackle rough sleeping and poverty. Every week they give 100 food parcels each week for the homeless.
- Megan Kelleher, Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
Megan informed us about the CWGC which commemorates 1.7 million service men and women of the two world wars, in more than 150 countries in 23000 locations.
- Louise Holland, Sherwood Playgroup
This playgroup is based in Sherwood Community centre and had provided an early years education since 1964.
- Asha Masih, International Asian Christian Front
Asha and her team attended from Coventry, has described the role of her charity highlighting persecution of minorities around the world.
Rosey Donovan and Annette Molyneux, Community Engagement Equalities Project Officers, for the Nottingham City Council. Rosey and Annette spoke about their roles in the City Council and about the South Asian Heritage Festival, which is in its third year.
Cllr Deneice Florence-Jukes, of East Staffordshire Borough Council, mentioned her extensive work for the community over the years.
Paul Smithurst, Community Cohesion Development Officer, Nottingham City Council, highlighted his team’s important role in the local community.
Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, who is a good friend and neighbour of our community spoke about the area’s rich diversity and culture.
His Honour Jonathan Teare, the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire said:
Many people ask: “What is the role of the High Sheriff in the modern age?” And the answer is that he or she is the Queen’s representative in the County for law and order. I am here to support the judiciary, the police, the prisons, the probation service and the emergency services to the best of my ability.
My background is law and order, having spent 27 years as a barrister and 16 years as a local judge, almost exclusively involved in criminal law. And I have come to the conclusion that the most common cause of crime is selfishness. A person who takes drugs is only doing it out for himself. A person who steals, who commits a sexual offence, who assaults another person, is doing it because he is ignoring the wishes of others and acting only for himself or somebody close to him.
So I start from the basis that if we can avoid selfishness and promote unity and love, then we are working towards a more lawful and orderly society, in other words to achieve the same objective of your Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, to promote love and harmony. It means breaking down barriers between different faiths, different races and different viewpoints, and your motto “Love for All, Hatred for None” encapsulates all of that.
Sadly, that wonderful objective does not come free of charge, and like almost everything else in our world, it needs money to build the bridges and to break down the barriers that we see all around us. Government might be full of pious hopes but very rarely coughs up the cash. Your Charity Walk for Peace last year raised £1 Million for charity, and every penny went to charitable causes, with all administration costs met by your community.
It is a sad fact that we see increasing tensions between faiths, for example the faith based discrimination that has recently divided political parties. It is vital for all faiths to try and work together, and I am delighted to be invited here this evening, having also been invited to the Sikhs in the Square event last Sunday and to the Jewish Synagogue in June. But my visits are nothing compared with the positive work that you are doing, with your interfaith room here, and your “Visit My Mosque” Day which is becoming increasingly popular. Your work is both important and brilliant, and I wish you every good fortune with it.
The concluding address was conducted by the Vice Chair CWFP Rafi Ahmad Bhatti, who spoke about the guidance of true Khilafat. He said that the word caliph is sometimes linked to evil however in the case of the Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community there is always guidance to help those in need. He added that it was the Caliph who drew our attention to the motto “Love for All, Hatred for None“.
Charities attended the event:
- Bakersfield Community Centre (BANCA)
- Burton Hope/ Fairtrade/ One World Week
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Community Cohesion Development Officer, Nottingham City Council
- Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre
- East Staffordshire Borough Council
- East Staffs Fairtrade Group
- Footprints CEC
- Miller Knight
- Nottingham City Council
- Nottingham City Homes
- Poppy Appeal
- Radcliffe On Trent WW1 Group
- Royal British Legion