United Kingdom

The Centre for Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (CSCA)

HRH Prince Charles with WORDE Specialist Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

The Centre for Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (CSCA), a community-based project of WORDE in the UK, celebrated its launch with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at a gala event entitled “Spirituality in Action” at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England.

Distinguished leaders from British, Pakistani, Somali, Kosovar, and Western European Muslim communities welcomed HRH Prince Charles. Speakers discussed how Sufism (traditional practices of Islamic spirituality) have flourished in the UK and have brought diverse communities together to promote social cohesion and tolerance.

Shaykh Zimmer Salihi, a Kosovan Imam explained how the British Sufi community helped hundreds of Kosovan refugees settle, and find a welcoming place to pray during the war. It is estimated that approximately 50% of Britain’s 1.5 million Muslim population are from Sufi traditions.  Several British converts narrated how traditional Islamic cultural practices – particularly Sufi music, arts and sacred movement- helped them find a deeper meaning in life and turned them away from a life of crime or drugs. The Somali community members explained how Sufi principles of social harmony and its emphasis on traditional Islamic principles of forgiveness and compassion helped them build community resilience against terrorism recruiters. Similarly, a delegation of senior Pakistani-British scholars discussed how local community building initiatives deterred their youth from terrorist recruiters. Global dignitaries including Baron Lorn Thyssen- Bornemisza of Switzerland and the Lord Charles Pelham – Earl of Yarborough, spoke about the impact principles of Sufism have had in their personal lives.

The Rt Hon. The Baroness Warsi PC (now a Minister without portfolio) and Chairman of the Conservative Party

The 500+ audience included senior guests from civic institutions such as the Mayor and Mayoress of Manchester, and the Lord Lieutenant of Manchester. Members of the interfaith community also participated in the event including the Bishop of Middleton, the Rt Reverend Mark Davies, Reverend Hugh Griffiths, and the Christian Chaplain at Stockport College. Senior Members of Parliament attending the event included Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a Minister of State in the Conservative  government, who said she wanted to understand more about the Sufi approach. Hazel Blears, former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was also in attendance.

The event also featured traditional musical performances from the Moroccan Burdah Ensemble, the Naqshbandi Ensemble, and the popular British group, Aashiq ul-Rasul. Semazen, or traditional Sufi whirlers joined in the celebration as well. WORDE Specialist, Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani delivered the keynote address, and thanked HRH Prince Charles for his support of mainstream, moderate Muslims.

 

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