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A lecture by Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa

The Embracing Diversity in Multi-faith Society lecture was organised by a Nottingham-based community organisation, Karimia Institute in conjunction with Nottingham Trent University (NTU).

The Institute’s Human Kind program aims to “build trust between the British Muslim community, the wider British public and vice-versa”.

Karimia Institute was established in 1990 and thirty years down the line, the Institute was decorated with the “British Muslim Awards 2020 Charity of The Year”. 

The institute’s mission statement reads, “to help individuals and families learn life skills, develop moral and spiritual values through education, worship and recreation”.

The Human Kind program explores common bonds, creation of a world where we can all live in harmony no matter colour, ethnicity, religion and/or gender. 

According to their website, the Human Kind program has four main objectives:

  • Raising awareness and busting myths on Islam.
  • Creating opportunities for interaction and dialogue.
  • Train a network of ambassadors from various ethnic and religious backgrounds with the skills to promote mutual understanding and build relationships.
  • Have ambassadors engage and visit various audiences to deliver presentations geared towards myth-busting.

Dr Musharraf Hussain, CEO of the Karimia Institute, told the gathering that the Human Kind program is a trust building project because where trust exists, people live in an inclusive, connected, harmonious society and peace while where trust is absent, there would be suspicion, distrust, and doubt. 

In more recent years, Muslims have appeared in a less favourable light, the media paint a negative picture.

Over the years, about a quarter of the UK population are suspicious or have negative thoughts about Muslims leading to an increase in hate crime targeting Muslims. 

This Program was launched to recruit ambassadors, to train Muslims and non-Muslims to engage with others and provide an opportunity for people to talk to Muslims and experience the commonality between them and non-Muslims. 

The question is “is it working?”  It would seem it is since trust has been found to be built in three main ways:

  • Workshops – offering an open and safe forum.
  • Personal stories, providing deeper connections, familiarity and understanding.
  • Commonalities and shared values – we are all human.

If you would like to know more about the Human Kind program or find out more about becoming an ambassador, you can contact Saima Afzal at saima.afzal@karimia.com

The keynote speaker was Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa from Bahrain. Who serves as the Executive Director of Isa Cultural Centre and the Chairman of the board of Trustees of King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Dr Shaikh Khalid said, “tolerance, diversity and peace are vices worth aiming for”. He said acknowledged Britain’s position as role model for other countries comparing it with Bahrain saying it is a predominantly Muslim country which nurtures diversity.

Dr Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa – Photo Credit: Karimia Institute

He said the type of political system does not matter, because freedom of minorities as human beings is what matters most.

In the 200 years history of Bahrain being a Muslim country, a Hindu Temple was built which continues to serve the Hindu population.

He reiterates Bahrain’s respect for a muti-faith society referring to 1992 when Christians were allowed to build a church in the country. 

He noted that in the 1800s there was no oil, no superpower, but Bahrain had a busy port, accessed by India, Africa, and Middle Eastern countries which brought about the interaction of different faiths and cultures, getting together for trade and profit.

On a personal note, I would like to say, that the evening was a Muslim experience, with Prayers before starting, reading of the Quran in Arabic with English translation, a few passages, and a great deal of respect and consideration by our hosts. 

The Holy Quran – Photo Credit: Karimia Institute

I talked with others at the lecture, and met Yazeed Hasan, a student of NTU, and visitor from Jordan.

I came away with a copy of the Quran in English and translated for ease of reading, bought for me by a colleague who is Muslim. 

We were later invited to join the Institute and speakers at a networking meal afterwards and engaged with Muslims and non-Muslims to get to know one another.

If anyone would like a copy of the Quran, it is £5 for a paperback. 

It is in English and intended as a translation for ease of reading.  Contact for this is musharraf.hussain@karimia.com, Musharraf Hussain being the translator.

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