Film Premiere 21 September #LondonIsOpen Places of Worship

Film Premiere 21 September #LondonIsOpen Places of Worship

londonisopen-21-septJoin the London Peace Network, artists, film-makers and religious leaders at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square for the premiere of a new short film, followed by a peace breakfast to mark the UN International Day of Peace.

Register here by 20 September to join us on Wednesday 21 September 8am – 9am.  Download the flyer.

The film shows London places of worship open and welcoming and is the first in a series of short films and events.

The film will be shown at Southwark Cathedral on 1 October in the presence of the Mayor of London, who initiated the #LondonIsOpen campaign.

We look forward to seeing you!

Lord Bates completes Walk for Truce from Buenos Aires to Rio

Lord Bates completes Walk for Truce from Buenos Aires to Rio

Our Patron, Lord Bates, has completed his Walk for Peace.  With the support of Lady Xuelin, he has walked 3,000 km from Buenos Aires to Rio, arriving in time for the opening of Rio2016.

The Walks for Peace raise awareness of the Olympic Truce, a UN-mandated break in war and conflict from 7 days before the Olympic Games until 7 days after the Paralympic Games.  Lord and Lady Bates have also raised £250,000 in sponsorship for UNICEF.

Read Lord Bates’ blog.  Here is an excerpt from his last post:

“I think that’s it for this year except to say that our walk was of course to draw attention to the Olympic truce through which signatories seek to set aside differences and work for reconciliation for the period seven days before the Olympic Games until seven days after the closing of the Paralympic Games. The Rio Olympic truce was signed by 180 countries at the United Nations General Assembly in October last year. Looking at our tv screens and events in Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Thailand, North Korea and France we might wonder what that means in reality.

It is a fair point but just because some people choose not to live up to their international obligations or rise above their tribal differences is not a reason to lower the bar but rather to encourage those who fall short to reach higher. That the world is a better place for the Olympics & Paralympics and the truce that transcends them. That peace and reconciliation was not just part of the ancient Olympic Games of 3000 years ago, it was their entire purpose and point. That ultimately peace is possible it just requires much more courage than war on the part of participants to achieve it. The type of courage, desire, single-minded purpose and ambition we witness everyday through the lives of our Olympians and Paralympians.”

Congratulations – and on behalf of the London Peace Network, thank you for keeping the Olympic Truce ideal alive!

Queen’s Speech: reconciliation & truce

Queen’s Speech: reconciliation & truce

In her Christmas broadcast today, the Queen mentioned not only the Christmas Truce during WWI, but also the ancient Olympic Truce, which was the inspiration for the London Peace Network.

She spoke of reconciliation and peace, and of how the example of Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated at Christmas, has led her to respect and value “all people of whatever faith or none.”

“Sometimes it seems that reconciliation stands little chance in the face of war and discord. But, as the Christmas truce a century ago reminds us, peace and goodwill have lasting power in the hearts of men and women.”

Watch the broadcast here and find the full text here.

Lord Bates’ Walk for Peace 2014

Lord Bates’ Walk for Peace 2014

Lord Michael Bates sets off on his Walk for Peace on 4 August.  He is walking 1,000 miles from London to Berlin to raise funds for medical care for child victims of war.

Walk for Peace

A patron of the London Peace Network and a vigorous promoter of the Olympic Truce and non-violence, he walked from London to Olympia in 2011-12 and in aid of the children of Syria last year.

This year, his route reminds us of the horrific C20th conflicts which started in Europe and what happens when we are unable to resolve our differences without resorting to violence.

anything war can doThe walk is also raising awareness of the innocent victims of current conflict – children.

Sponsorship for the walk is going to Peace Village International, a German charity which helps children in areas of war and crisis.

Follow Lord Bates on twitter @BatesLord, keep him going with messages of goodwill and encouragement, sponsor the walk and follow his progress on his Walk for Peace blog as he starts out from Westminster Abbey on 4th August after the “lights out” ceremony – a solemn commemoration of Britain declaring war in 1914.

He arrives in Berlin on 2nd October, the UN International Day of Non-Violence.

Invitation | UK-Pakistan Minority-Majority gathering

Min-Maj invitation pic

Please join us at our last Olympic Truce event – a wonderful gathering of people who are interested in the future of Pakistan and of this country and how we can work well together.

Tuesday 12th March, 3.45pm – 6.30pm, followed by a buffet of Pakistani cuisine.

Memon Centre, 13 Weir Road, Balham, SW12 0LT

Download the invitation and sign up here.

Please pass the invitation on to those with links to Pakistan.  Look forward to seeing you there.

Olympic Truce | Pakistan links | minority-majority project

mmproject picThe last of our Olympic Truce projects kicks off this week.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is supporting a series of events in Pakistan (in Islamabad and Lahore), followed by a gathering in London on 12th March.  London Boroughs Faiths Network has been part of the FCO’s Olympic Truce Stakeholders’ Group since 2011 and we are delighted that this project is coming to fruition.

The project explores the potential for making the most of the UK’s close historical and cultural ties with Pakistan and to see how local communities can work together in practical and positive ways to support civil society, human rights and prosperity in both countries.

It recognises the strong links with Pakistan maintained by the diaspora living in London and other parts of the UK,  who experience being part of a minority group in the UK and who also experience being in the majority when they travel to Pakistan.

How can we learn from each other?

What can government, civil society and religious organisations do together to enable greater awareness of minority-majority issues in the UK and in Pakistan?  This project builds on the extensive experience of London Boroughs Faiths Network members in working with the statutory sector at local level and of bringing majority and minority groups together for the benefit of the wider community.

A small group from the UK is travelling to Pakistan this week and a return visit will bring two or three visitors from Pakistan to attend the London gathering.  The events will be filmed so that many more people can benefit from the story-telling, discussions and the new ideas which emerge.  In Pakistan, we will be meeting the Minister for National Harmony, Dr Paul Bhatti, and minority-majority events have kindly been organised by the Bishop of Lahore, the Rt Rev Irfan Jamil Coadjutor, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Punjab, Dr Mujahid Kamran and the General Secretary of Wafaq-ul Madaris Al-Arabia, Moulana Muhammad Hanif Jalandhry.  We’re very pleased that the Revd Rana Khan, who has been working with the Archbishop of Canterbury on inter faith matters, will be with us for both the Pakistan and the London events.

The London Boroughs Faiths Network is working with Stockwell Green Community Services and Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network to implement this initiative.  The Department for International Development is following our progress.

If you would like to register your interest for the London event, please let us know.  Lord Bates has kindly agreed to become a patron of the London Peace Network.  We are hoping he will be with us, along with the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Minister for International Development.

If you would like to send your (or your network’s) greetings to Pakistan, use the comment box or email us, but let us know quickly!

Occasional Papers published

Occasional Papers published

Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future - picThis booklet was published on the International Day of Peace in 2012 by the Cordoba Foundation.  It was distributed internationally through Islamic Centres, religious networks and online.

The lead article by Dr Mustafa Ceric was read to congregations in mosques across Bosnia on 21st September.

Messages of support from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Jeremy Gilley and others are included.

Hard copies are available from the Cordoba Foundation.

It is estimated that over 320 Islamic centres in the UK participated in the International Day of Peace initiative, over 500 overseas in at least 25 countries and over one million people participated worldwide.

Picture of Peace – competition for young people

Peace is precious and beautiful. 

What brings you peace or makes you think of peace? 

Produce a piece of artwork or write a poem that expresses your idea of peace.

Great new competition from the Islamic Society of Britain – thank you Julie!  Circulate the flyer to your local schools and youth groups – closing date for the competition is 7th December!  Download the flyer and find the competition rules and all the details here.

Hate Crime Awareness | Act of Remembrance and Renewal at St Paul’s Cathedral 13 October

Vigil on Saturday 13th October at 6.30pm to remember people who have died as a result of hate crime at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Hate Crime Awareness Week launches on Saturday 13th October with a vigil and lighting of candles at St Paul’s Cathedral, EC4M 8AD at 6.30pm.  Everyone is welcome.  Download the details here.

17-24-30 is part of the London Peace Network and was started up in order to raise awareness about all forms of hate crime.  Each year events are organised to remember all victims of hate crime, including those who died and suffered as a result of the nail bomb attacks in three parts of London in 1999.  Asian, gay and Black people were targeted in the attacks on Brick Lane, Soho and Brixton.  Three people died and many more were injured.

Contact Mark Sealey and 17-24-30 at if you’d like any further information.

You may also be interested in Nothing Holy About Hatred which is encouraging people from all religious traditions to sign this pledge,

“I believe there’s Nothing Holy About Hatred. I am against homophobia, and the bullying, violence and damage it causes have no place in my community.”

22 September | Imperial War Museum

Zahra and Catriona in the huge atrium of the Imperial War Museum.

Zahra Imame of the Christian Muslim Forum, Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi of Majlis-e-Ulama Europe and Catriona Robertson (LBFN) took part in the Imperial War Museum‘s events to mark the UN International Day of Peace on Saturday 22nd September.

The supporting film for the London Peace Network’s activities was shown and we took part in a discussion later in the day, Starting in Neutral: What does neutrality matter in 21st century humanitarian conflict response?   

This brought together speakers from Conciliation Resources, Médecins Sans Frontières,  the International Committee of the Red Cross and International Alert in a discussion covering the meaning, problems and perceptions around neutrality in conflict and post-conflict zones.

The Museum is interested in including alternative narratives and stories about its displays, particularly those relating to recent armed conflict, and we hope to be working with them on this in the future.

Prayers for Peace in Tooting

Prayers and messages of peace were said outside Tooting Broadway tube station at dusk on 24th September, a ceremony which has been organised for six consecutive years by Balham and Tooting Community Association.

Local religious leaders (above) joined Sadiq Khan MP and local councillors to address the gathered crowd.  After the ceremony, participants and passers-by were invited to light candles.


21 September | Westminster gathering of London Peace Network

A few photos from our gathering at Westminster on Friday, ahead of the many peace-building events led by Islamic centres across the capital, the UK and overseas.  Lord Bates kindly welcomed us to Westminster Hall.

The Cordoba Foundation’s Occasional Paper, “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future” was published to coincide with the UN International Day of Peace, with a lead article by the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and a message of support from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thank you Umar Qureshi (Forum for International Relations Development) for taking the photographs.

Dr Shaffi (Muslim Council of Britain), Sayed Yousif Al-Khoei (MINAB & Al-Khoei Foundation) and Baroness Uddin.

Abdullah Faliq (The Cordoba Foundation), Sayed Ali Abbas Rasawi (Majlis-e-Ulama Europe), Revd Esme Beswick MBE (Christian Muslim Forum), Toufik Kacimi (Muslim Welfare House & Islington Faiths Forum), seated at end of rows.

Anas Altikriti, Chief Executive of The Cordoba Foundation.

Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi (Majlis-e-Ulama Europe) and Revd Nadim Nassar (Awareness Foundation).

Catriona Robertson (Convener, London Peace Network and London Boroughs Faiths Network) and Lord Michael Bates.

Baroness Uddin.

Dr Shaffi, Muslim Council of Britain.

Sayed Yousif Al-Khoei, Al-Khoei Foundation and MINAB.

Shaynul Khan, East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre.

Julian Bond, Christian Muslim Forum.

Abdullah Faliq, Dr Shuja Shaffi, Umar Qureshi, Lord Bates, Julian Bond and Anas Altikriti.

Baroness Uddin and Catriona Robertson

21 September | Lords of the Blog – Lord Bates

Lord Bates, champion of the Olympic Truce, writes about our gathering on Friday on Lords of the Blog.

“At lunchtime today I attended a short and moving service in the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster where representatives from many faith groups were brought together under the auspices of London Peace Network to mark the International Day of Peace.  

In turn we simply shared our united desire for peace not in a superficial way which denied our own sincerely held religious convictions and traditions but through drawing on our our traditions we found the common elements of peace and forgiveness to share with each other.

I was particularly impressed by the representatives of  London’s Islamic centres and mosques who the media might lead us to believe stirring up riots against the latest provocative anti-Islamic video and burning flags, but they were instead embracing the UN International Day of Peace by inviting those from all faiths and none to join them at Friday Prayers (Salaatul-Jumu’a) for prayers for peace, to exchange messages of peace, to celebrate local peace building efforts and to enjoy hospitality and friendship with one another.”

The London Peace Network is delighted that Lord Bates, who promoted the Olympic Truce by walking 3,000 miles from Olympia – through the Balkans and many other historic battlefields – to London, joined us on the International Day of Peace.  Read the full text of his blog here.


Over fifty Islamic Centres marking International Day of Peace

The UN International Day of Peace is on Friday and already we are aware of over 50 Islamic centres and mosques which will be participating.

If you know of others, please let us know so we can add them below.

Visit by scholars in Najaf to Baghdad, Iraq

Careva Džamija, The Emperor’s Mosque, Sarajevo, Bosnia

Gazi Husrevbegova Džamija, Gazi Husrevbey Mosque (Central Mosque), Sarajevo, Bosnia

Džamija Kralj Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, King Fahd Mosque and Islamic Centre, Sarajevo, Bosnia

Istiklal Džamija, Istiqlal Mosque, Sarajevo, Bosnia

Imam Haroon Mosque, Bangkok, Thailand

Ghandi Centre / North East Interfaith Forum, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) – Islamic Religious Council of Singapore

Nima Central Mosque, Accra, Ghana

Madrassah Maa’had al Quran al Kareem, Peshawar, Pakistan

Jamia Khair-ul-Madaris,Multan – Pakistan

Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore, Pakistan

Ibadan Mosque, Nigeria

Finsbury Park Mosque, Islington, London

Al-Khoei Foundation School & visit to Mosque, Brent, London

East London Mosque, Tower Hamlets, London

The London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, Camden, London

Tooting Islamic Centre, Wandsworth, London

Balham Mosque, Wandsworth, London

Hyderi Islamic Centre, Lambeth, London

Stockwell Mosque, Lambeth, London

As-Shifa (Bobbers Mill), Nottingham

Karimia Masjid, Nottingham

Wollaton Masjid, Nottingham

Westferry Community Masjid, Tower Hamlets, London

South London Islamic Centre, Lambeth, London

Leicester Central Mosque

Al Asr Education and Community Centre, Woking

Al Noor Institute, Lambeth, London

Idara-e-Jafferiya, Tooting, London

Markaz-e-Ahlul Bayt, Clapham, London

Sakina Trust, Walthamstow, London

Al Hussain Mosque, Cheatham Hill, Manchester

Islamic Thought, Peterborough

Anjuman Mohibban e Ahlebait, Burnley, Lancashire

Alanwar Alnajafia, Newport, Wales

Hussaini Islamic Mission, Twickenham, Middlesex

Hosseinieh Foundation, Bristol

Old Kent Road Mosque, Southwark, London

Abubakr Mosque, Ealing, London

Dar Al Islam Foundation, London

London Fatwa Council

Central Jamia Mosque Ghamkol Sharif

Leeds Makkah Masjid

Qadria Jilani Islamic Centre, Manchester

Goodge Street Mosque, Camden, London

Southampton Medina Mosque, Southampton, Hampshire

Shia Ithna’Askari Community of Middlesex, Harrow

Harlesden Ummah, Brent, London

Brent Muslim Cultural Centre, Brent, London

Leeds Dar Ahlulbayt, Leeds

Edinburgh Ahlul Bayt Society, University of Edinburgh



Peace on Friday – LPN’s film at Imperial War Museum

Come along to a screening of the London Peace Network’s short film Peace on Friday at the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ.

It will be shown on Saturday 22nd September at 12 noon, followed by a Q & A session with some of those involved in the Islamic Centres initiative.

Download the programme or find details of all the events on the IWM’s Build The Truce blog.

Pointers for International Day of Peace 21 September

A growing number of mosques and Islamic centres are planning to open their doors to visitors on 21st September.

The Cordoba Foundation has put together some Pointers for Mosques and Islamic Centres who are participating on Friday 21st September.

There is also a template poster to download and use to invite visitors.

New Facebook page | Islamic Centres opening on 21 September

Share the Facebook page with your friends and networks

The beautiful graphic on our flyer (thanks to The Cordoba Foundation) for 21st September is now on the brand new Facebook page (thanks to MINAB).

A growing number of Islamic centres here in the UK and overseas are inviting visitors to exhange messages of peace on Friday 21st September.

The two key actions for each Islamic centre are

1) to invite visitors (faith leaders, community organisations, schools) to observe Salaatul-Jumu’a on Friday 21st September and

2) to exchange messages of peace with the visitors (suggested texts are on the flyer)

They may also choose peace as the topic for the khutbah/sermon, offer simple hospitality to the guests and celebrate local peace-building activities.

Every Islamic centre will be participating in its own way – some will welcome one or two people, others will invite many more.  Those who register will receive a special certificate, so be sure to let the London Peace Network or one of the contacts on the flyer know you are planning to mark the Day!

Diplomatic community affirm support for Olympic Truce in London

If you are in London tomorrow afternoon, please join us at Westminster Central Hall, Westminster, SW1 9NH, at 4pm for an unusual event.

The Russian and Brazilian ambassadors will be speaking (the next countries to host the Olympic Games) and the Kuwaiti ambassador, HE Mr Khaled Al-Dawaisan GCVO, Dean of the Court of St James, will present letters from the diplomatic community in support of the Olympic Truce.

The London Peace Network will be speaking.  We will be inviting the diplomatic community and others to take part in our 21st September initiative.

Join us if you can!

London smiles as the Olympic Truce flag flies in Westminster

The Olympic Truce flag flies from St Margaret’s Church, Westminster, during London’s Olympic Games.

The Olympic Truce flag has been flying in the heart of London, between the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

A surge of goodwill during London 2012 and the forging of a renewed British identity has been recognised: more relaxed, at ease with its pluralism and “where people were full of ideas and worked for the common good” (Sarah Crompton, Daily Telegraph).

British gold medalists have come from a wide range of backgrounds.  After stunning performances from Mo Farah, Jess Ennis and Greg Rutherford last weekend, the Twitter joke ran, “A Muslim, a mixed race lass & a ginger bloke walk into a bar.  Everyone gets them a drink.”  Sneering and bullying suddenly dropped right out of fashion.

The prominence of female athletes has been noted.  Commentators have been surprised to recognise, in non-Olympic times, women’s relative absence from public life as hard-working and successful members of society.

Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian,

We got a glimpse of another kind of Britain.

A place which succeeds brilliantly, not least by drawing equally on all its talents, black and white, male and female.

A place where money and profit are not the only values, exemplified by the 70,000 volunteers who made the Games work and showed the world a smiling face while they were at it.

A place that reveres not achievement-free celebrity, but astonishing skill, granite determination and good grace.

Religious and community groups have been working together before and during the Games – offering hospitality, training on non-violent responses to conflict, inter faith walks, breaking the Ramadan fast with visitors, creating City Safe Havens, ringing bells for the Olympic Truce, arts festivals, fighting hate crime, questioning the narratives surrounding armed conflict, twinned projects exploring  minorities and majorities in Pakistan and in the UK – and more.  Much of this has been seen on the pages of the London Peace Network blog.

The 70,000 volunteer Gamesmakers have won plaudits from the President of the International Olympic Committee who praised “the kindness of the volunteers“.  The Telegraph writes, “For the duration of the Olympics, London has put a smile on its face.”

For many local communities – which are often at the sharp end of violence both here in the UK and overseas – generosity of spirit, fair play, understanding and negotiating difference, living peacefully together and a smile are all highly valued.  This is what the members of the London Peace Network are engaged in, day in, day out, and what they will be promoting as part of the Olympic Truce all summer.  Watch this space for news of a significant burst of activities on 21 September.

A legacy fitting of the Olympics: call from Syria-Lebanon border

Lord Michael Bates is with local communities from Syria who are now refugees in Lebanon.

He has posted an urgent appeal on YouTube from central Bekaa on the Lebanon/Syrian border.

He calls for a 24 hour ceasefire under the Olympic Truce on 12th August, 2012 to coincide with the Closing Ceremony of the XXX Olympiad in London.

This would allow humanitarian aid in and injured women and children out of Syria to safe havens in neighbouring countries.

It would also allow a pause in the fighting and an opportunity for political processes to begin to take shape – a glimmer of hope for an end to the violence.

Faith, sport and diversity – visitors welcome at Hyderi Islamic Centre

People of all faiths and of none are welcome to join members of the Hyderi Islamic Centre, London SW16, on Saturday 18 August at 7.15pm to break the fast of Ramadan and to hear from

Rabbi Janet Darley, South London Liberal Synagogue

Brian Pearce, Inter Faith Network for the UK

Sheikh Ali Al Najjar, Detroit, USA

The Hyderi Islamic Centre invites visitors to an open iftar event each year and you will be assured of a warm welcome.  All the details are on the flyer above.

Lord Bates calls for 24hr ceasefire in Syria to be declared at Olympics Closing Ceremony

Young Syrian refugees in Bekka Valley make the Olympic rings and call for a 24hr truce on “Peace Sunday” 12th August.

Lord Bates, who walked the length of Europe to promote the Olympic Truce, and who has blogged recently on who is responsible for keeping the Truce, is currently on the Lebanon-Syria border.

He writes on the 12,000-strong Olympic Truce Facebook page this evening

Call for 24 hour truce in Syria during the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics on Sunday 12th August made by Syrian refugees I met in Bekka Valley today but too frightened to show their faces.

It’s time for UN, IOC and LOCOG to hear their call and act….

Local communities are often the ones at the sharp end of conflict.  Join the Olympic Truce Facebook page here.

The World in London | Mo Farah inspires HOPE not Hate | Post for Peace

The World in London – beautiful photos, voice clips and short interviews with Londoners from 204 countries.

You can view the exhibition at

  • Park House, 453 – 497 Oxford Street, London W1C 2AU

until 30 August 2012.

This is our country – Olympian Mo Farah has inspired Hope not Hate to invite everyone to celebrate the moment when the UK as a nation found peace within itself.

Moments after Mo Farah’s fantastic 10,000m win at the Olympics, Mo was asked by a journalist if he’d have preferred to run as a Somali. He replied: “Look mate, this is my country.

“This is where I grew up, this is where I started life. This is my country and when I put on my Great Britain vest I’m proud. I’m very proud.”

And Mo is right. It is as much his country as it is mine or yours.

This last week has been amazing. From Danny Boyle’s wonderful Opening Ceremony to the medal haul we are now raking in.  This is a moment that we as a nation found a peace with itself. There are many problems facing us but we are a modern, diverse and confident country.

Let’s join Mo in saying proudly that “this is my country”

Over 3,000 people have already signed the This Is Our Country wall, which you can do here.

The Olympic Truce wall in the Athlete’s Village has run out of space!  But there is a virtual wall on the International Olympic Truce Centre’s website which is collecting contributions and uploads from around the world (last day will be 9 September, when the Paralympic Games end).