15.02.12

Church Leaders in Pakistan Peace Mission

Church Leaders in Wakefield have secured Foreign Office funding to bring a Pakistan delegation of lawyers, police, imams and priests on a peace mission to Britain to share good practice and help heal rifts between Muslims and Christians.

Three imams, three priests, three police officers and three lawyers from Pakistan - close to the village where Christians were burned to death in 2009 - will arrive in London on Sunday (Feb 18) for a five day fact-finding tour here in Yorkshire to learn more about how crimes are investigated, our judicial system, share good practice of interfaith work and how to build bridges between faiths. 

After meetings with the Foreign Office and Lambeth Palace, they will travel up to West Yorkshire to meet judges, magistrates, police officers, imams and lawyers first hand. They will visit faith centres, law courts, police stations and hope to meet Baroness Warsi at a final reception on Friday at the Al Hikma Centre in Batley.  

A team from Britain is expected to return to Pakistan later this year to continue the link, share intelligence and work together to promote a better understanding and working together between the faiths.

The project, called New Horizons, has been initiated by Yaqub Masih, chair of the Pakistan Christian Concern and a lay canon at Wakefield Cathedral and the Suffragan Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Rev Tony Robinson. The group will be accompanied by Fakhara Rehman of Kirklees Faith Forum and Barry South, of West Yorkshire Police. The Diocese of Wakefield has a strong international link with Faisalabad in Pakistan and Yaqub regularly travels between the two countries, raising funds and promoting peace and religious diversity.

Bishop Tony Robinson said: “This is an incredibly important project which brings together Christians and Muslims across the world.

“It is an opportunity to show what we can do together when we are determined to work together for the good of our local communities,” he said.

Bishop Tony will be talking to Ed Stourton about the Pakistan peace initiative this Sunday around 7.20am on Sunday, Radio 4's main religious news and current affairs programme.

Read all about the mission in the next edition of AWAKE

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