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Councillor Chauhdry Shafique praises Queen for promoting 'decency and tolerance'
3:20pm Sunday 29th July 2012 in News
THE mayor of High Wycombe has paid tribute to the Queen in a speech about British-Pakistani relations.
Councillor Chauhdry Shafique MBE, who is also chairman of the Council for Christian Muslim Relations, addressed various dignitaries at the Bellhouse Hotel in Beaconsfield last week as part of the British Pakistani Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
This is his speech in full:
It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of British Pakistanis, to extend a very warm welcome to this illustrious gathering in this very special year when the whole country is celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.
I am particularly delighted that you have chosen this place near my ancient town of High Wycombe to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. High Wycombe has had a Mayor since Medieval times and I am proud to stand in a long line of Mayors stretching back to the 13th Century.
This gathering is indeed a very special one as it has not only drawn British Pakistanis from all over the country [including Wales, Scotland, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol] it is also graced by His Excellency the Nawab of Kalabagh, Malik Ata Mohd Khan, a number of former Mayors of Pakistani origin and many distinguished representatives from the business world.
Before I go onto paying our tribute to Her Majesty, perhaps we should like to remind ourselves of how British Pakistanis have helped to make Britain a great country.
1.7 million Muslim men and women of the Commonwealth forces died during the two world wars. There are 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where those men and women are commemorated.
When you search the name Mohammed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, it states “There are too many results and only the top one thousand and one are displayed”.
Today there are some 600 serving members of the British Forces who are Muslim by faith and the post of Vice-Admiral, which is the second highest rank in the Royal Navy, is held by a Muslim.
Equally importantly, British Pakistanis have been playing a major role in rebuilding Britain’s post-war economy since the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.
And today it is hard to imagine how the vital organs of our economy, such as healthcare, IT, transportation, finance, retailing industry, education and indeed, many aspects of public life, would function adequately without the contribution being made by British Pakistanis on a daily basis.
And, we in High Wycombe, are also proud to be in the fore front of fighting religious extremism and tackling radicalisation through the work of our Council for Christian and Muslim Relations which I chair.
This work has made an immense contribution to promoting community cohesion and mutual respect between Muslim and non-Muslim communities. It is great and fitting therefore that we have gathered here today to pay our collective tribute to Her Majesty.
I know from attending quite a few events in the last couple of months that British Muslims up and down the country are deeply grateful for Her Majesty’s long interest in Muslim subjects.
Her Majesty has given us decades of inspirational service and, I believe, I speak for all of us if I say that we are both uplifted and blessed by the generosity of spirit in which she has done so.
There are rare individuals whose greatness speaks across all ethnic and religious divides. Her Majesty is such an individual and we are truly blessed by her.
She has often spoken of her faith, of the Church of England, of which she is the Head. But she has spoken equally of the contribution all other faith communities have made to the life of this nation.
During her reign Muslims from all corners of the world have prospered here in Britain, thanks to the values of decency, tolerance and equality which Her Majesty helps to promote.
Her continued interest and involvement in many areas of the Commonwealth, from which most of her British Muslim subjects have come, is also something for which we are very grateful.
The Jubilee is a perfect time for Mosques and Muslims to open their doors and extend the hand of friendship to our neighbours and surrounding communities and I congratulate Shazada Hayaat for organising this celebratory event with great passion, charm and professionalism.
We are all very, very proud to be part of this great nation and we could not and do not let it pass without paying a special tribute to Her Majesty the Queen. As patriotic Muslims we salute her for everything she has done and continues to do for this country.
Finally, as Mayor of the Town of High Wycombe, I know that the people of High Wycombe, would like me to express their best wishes and gratitude to Her Majesty the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year.
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