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Church Leaders Bring Pakistan Peace Mission To Bishopthorpe

Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu

Monday 20th February 2012

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 - arrived in London on Sunday for a five day fact-finding tour there and 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 York for a reception with the Archbishop of York and the next fews days will be spent in meetings and observing judges, magistrates, police officers, imams and lawyers first hand.


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.


Itinerary at a glance:

 The group – nine Muslims, three Christians - will arrive in London on Sun 19 Feb for a rest day which is expected to include a visit to Westminster Abbey and a Christian Conference Centre.

Monday 20 – Meet Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Alistair Burt at 10.45am . Plus visits to Home Office,  Parliament and Lambeth Palace.

Tues 21 - Travel to West Yorkshire visit a Muslim relief agency in Nottingham on the way before they meet the Archbishop of York at Bishopthorpe Palace (6pm) .

Wed 22 – 09.15am Meet judges and magistrates at the law courts in Bradford, find out more about policing with visits to West Yorkshire police centres in Bradford and Wakefield and spend time exploring interfaith issues with leaders of Kirklees Council, Huddersfield.

Thurs 23 - Intensive group work split into separate groups plus Clerics Tea at Mirfield Centre, Stocks Bank Road, Mirfield, 10.30am to 12 noon.

Fri 24 – what have we learned - plenary work at two faith centres in Batley and Dewsbury – Dewsbury Minster and Al Hikma Centre, Batley. Evening reception with Baroness Warsi (to be confirmed) at Al Hikma Centre, Track Road, Batley

Sat 25 – fly home.

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