The Centre for Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (CSCA), an important 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.
Sufi Muslims consist of approximately fifty percent of Britain’s 1.5 million Muslim population, and come from various ethnic backgrounds across the world. Distinguished leaders from British, Pakistani, Somali, Kosovar, and Western European Muslim communities welcomed HRH and explained how Sufi communities practiced tolerance, celebrated diversity, and helped immigrants integrate into broader British society.
Shaykh Zimmer Salihi, a Kosovan Imam said that it was the Sufi community that helped hundreds of Kosovan refugees settle, and find a welcoming place to pray during the war. Several British converts narrated how Sufism – 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. HRH expressed profound concern that the saddest consequence of Al Shabab in Somalia was the cultural genocide of their traditions. Similarly, a delegation of very senior Pakistani scholars discussed how grassroots community building initiatives deterred their youth from recruiters. A group of global dignitaries including Baron Lorn Thyssen- Bornemisza of Switzerland and the Lord Charles Pelham – Earl of Yarborough, spoke about the impact their education in the Sufi way has had in their personal lives.
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 joined 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, currently a Minister of State in the Conservative party 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 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. Shaykh Hisham Kabbani delivered the keynote address, and thanked HRH Prince Charles for his support of mainstream, moderate Muslims.
Recent CSCA events: UK Community Building Lectures