For many years now Leicester has proudly been a place where people of different faiths live alongside one another in peace and harmony. Recently, our community and wider Leicestershire family came together to take that commitment a step further – with a declaration of unity called ‘One United Leicester’.
The statement affirms our collective stand against hatred, discrimination and any kind of action that promotes division. Every name on the declaration reminds us of the common values that bind us together as a human family.
We’re sending this powerful message at a time when some individuals and groups seek to use faith, ethnicity and people’s political views to create division. We are asking all people, no matter what religion or culture, to work towards the greater good.
The initiative was organised by Leicester Council of Faiths and brought over 40 community members from across cultures and faiths together to sign up to the declaration. I would like to offer my personal thanks to the council and Chair Fayyaz Suleman for their dedicated work.
I attended the launch of the declaration on 11 March at the Sacred Heart Church in Leicester, alongside 60 other members of the community. Like many there I particularly enjoyed the speech by Dev Sharma, a member of the Leicestershire Youth Parliament. It’s so positive to see the next generation of young leaders, like Dev, getting involved.
All of us at the Federation of Muslim Organisations support the declaration and it’s our hope that other towns and cities will replicate the ‘One United Leicester’ model.
If you or your organisation would like to sign up to the declaration, please contact The Leicester Council of Faiths at 0116 254 6868.
Full text of the declaration and all signatories below:
DECLARATION OF ‘ONE UNITED LEICESTERSHIRE’
Recently we experienced messages and actions of individuals and groups that used faith and ethnicity and political views of people as tools to sow seeds of division which impacts ordinary people, including children in schools. We also live in a world that has a lot of turmoil, hatred, racism and oppression against minorities, which sometimes cause tensions and anxiety among the diverse communities in Leicester and Leicestershire.
We the undersigned as faith representatives, organisations, community centres, elected representatives, institutions and groups make this declaration as members of the Leicester and Leicestershire family.
We oppose all forms of action that aims to promote division and pit one community against the other.
We stand united in opposition to all forms of hatred and discrimination. We oppose any statements or action that claims an area is exclusive to any one faith or ethnic or class of communities.
We respect the democratic will of people and acknowledge that whilst people have differences in political opinions we should remain united in our commitment to work and live alongside each other in harmony.
We support basic human rights for all and oppose the action and words of people in positions of power or influence here and abroad that denigrate, discriminate and oppress minorities.
We will build and support the building of friendships with diverse people.
We will double our efforts to work and live alongside each other in peace and harmony and support organisations, including educational institutions and individuals that actively work to do this.
All of us, be it individuals, families, leaders and representatives of faith centres and non-faith institutions and leaders of civic and public bodies have common human values that bond us together as one human family.
In supporting this declaration of unity we are taking collective responsibility and are committed to make Leicester and Leicestershire a more united and stronger family of diverse communities, a ‘ONE UNITED LEICESTERSHIRE’.
Rt Hon Jon Ashworth MP, Leicester South MP
Rt Hon Liz Kendall MP, Leicester West MP
Hon Claudia Webbe MP, Leicester East MP
Dev Sharma Leicestershire Youth MP, Member of Youth Parliament
Lord Willy Bach, Police & Crime Commissioner, Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland
Simon Cole, Chief Constable, Leicestershire Police
Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester
Fayyaz Suleman Chairman, Leicester Council of Faiths
Resham Singh Sandhu, Life Member of LCOF
Dr Atualla Siddiqui, Life Member of LCOF
Suleman Nagdi, Life Member of LCOF
Father John Lally, Vice Chairman, LCOF & Sacred Heart (Roman Catholic) Parish & Our Lady of Good Counsel Church
Narendra Waghela, Treasurer, LCOF & BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir Member
Minou Courtazzi, Assist Sec, LCOF & The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of Leicester
Father Paskal Clement, Leicester Anglican Diocese Representative
Cllr Ashiedu Joel, The Redeemed Christian Church of God Representative
Manjula Sood, Member of the Hindu Faith Community & Board
Harminder Singh Jagdev, Ramgharia Sikh Gurdwara Representative
Leon Charikar, Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation Representative
Yasmin Surti, Federation of Muslim Organisations Leicestershire Representative
Sulakhan Singh Dard, Sikh Faith Chaplain & Member of Sikh Faith Community
Ramanbhai Barber, Member of the Hindu Faith Community & Board
Smita Shah, The Jain Centre Representative
Harsharan Kaur Mann, Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara Representative
Julie Harrald, LCOF Member (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
Ian Vernon, The Pagan Federation, East Midlands Representative
Nikunj Bhai Shah, Oshwal (Jain) Association of the UK, Leicester Representative
Tony Nelson, Leicester Hebrew Congregation Representative
Sunil Budheou, Shree Jalaram Mandir Representative
Rabbi Shmuli Pink, Member of the Jewish Faith Community
Cllr Rashimkant Joshi, Member of the Hindu Faith Community
Reverend Levy Gono, Member of the Christian Faith Community
Ramesh Bellur, Member of the Buddhist Faith Community
Janette Macdonald, Member of the Bahai Faith Community
Gajendra Chhatrisha, Member of the Jain Centre
Ramesh Mashru, Member of the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir
Dr. Angela Jagger, Member of the LCOF (Anglican Faith)
David Young, Member of the LCOF (Roman Catholic Faith)
Marcus Solanki, Member of the LCOF (Anglican Faith)
Rosemarie Fitton, Member of the LCOF (Multi-faith Harmony Interest)
Elizabeth Wayne, Member of the LCOF (Anglican Faith)
Dr.Gurpreet Parmar, Member of the LCOF (Sikh Faith)
Pradip Gajjar, Member of the LCOF (Hindu Faith)
Abdul Karim Gheewala, Chair, Federation of Muslim Organisations Leicestershire & Chair of Masjid Al Falah
Rt Rev Joachim Kreusel, Moravian Church
Yusuf Seedat, Indian Muslim Association Leicester
Zuber Hassam, Oadby Wigston Muslim Association
Kartar Singh Bring, Chair, UK Sikh Healthcare Chaplaincy Group
Mohammed Fozdar, Secretary, Usmani Mosque
Sanjiv Patel, Head of Outreach, BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir
Farooq Murad, Islamic Foundation
Dr. Manazir Hasan, Markfield Institute
Monsignor John Hadley Dean, (Roman Catholic) for Leicester and surrounding parishes
Shockat Adam Patel, MEND (Muslim Engagement & Development)
Cllr Vijay Ryatt, LCC Councillor
Cllr Sue Waddington, LCC Councillor
Cllr Mohammed Dawood, LCC Councillor
Mussa Saleh Dedza, Welfare Trust & Chasa Muslim Welfare Society of UK
Vibhooti Acharya President, Shree Sanatan Mandir Leicester
Cllr Ross Willmot, LCC Councillor & Labour Police Crime Commissioner Candidate
Jaffer Kapasi, Dawoodi Bohra Jamat
Bernard Glick, Member of the Jewish Faith
Razak Ghumran, Chairperson, Muslim Khatri Association
Molana Abdurrahim, Diwan Lajpuri Founder, Community Radio Seerah 1575AM/MW
Reverend David Clarke, Member of the Christian Faith
Cllr Lindsay Broadwell, LCC Councillor & Member of the Quaker Community
Lesley Vann, Chair, Beltane Spring Fayre Group
Tony Modinos, Secretary, Beltane Spring Fayre Group
Ushaben Rajnibhai Mehta, President, The Jain Centre
Cllr Deepak Bajaj, LCC Councillor
Cllr Mustafa Malik, LCC Councillor
Cllr Melisa March, LCC Councillor
Cllr Patrick Kitterick, LCC Councillor
Abdul Razak Osman, Iqra Aid Trust
Sylvia Thomas, Member of Brahma Kumaris Leicester
Ali Master, Masjid Al-Hussain, MKSI Leicester
Prof. Surinder Sharma, Leicester Race Equality Centre
Hajra Makda, Global Poverty Relief
Ismail Makda, Global Poverty Relief
Bharti Acharya, Hon Secretary, Shree Sanatan Mandir, Leicester
Sanjay Samani, Member of the Sathya Sai Centre of Leicester
Zubeda Gangat, FMO
Pravinbhai Jagjivan, Treasurer, Shree Sanatan Mandir, Leicester
Bhavin Jivraj, Member of Sathya Sai International Organisation UK
Mohammed Jamil, Masjid E Bilal
Dr Shahi Mehta, Member of Jain Faith Community (Faith Practitioner)
Pramod Thakkar, Chairman, Jalaram Charitable Trust
Cllr Geoff Whittle, LCC Councillor