‘One United Leicester’: Making a declaration of unity

Signatories to the 'One United Leicester' declaration at the launch event.

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.

Suleman Nagdi

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’.

NAME ORGANISATION/FAITH/INTEREST

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

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