Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities

I’m proud to live in a country with some of the most diverse faith communities in the world. Faith enriches Britain; it inspires people to want to do good for their neighbours. Each church, mosque, synagogue or temple I have ever visited is rooted in this and seeking to do good for the wider local community. Whatever their differences there’s far more that unites people of different faiths than divides them, commitment to public good, compassion, justice, respect. It was inspiring this summer to see the way faith groups came together to clear up after the riots, sweeping the streets side by side. In Southall while Muslims prayed in the mosques, members of the Sikh community watched guard outside. This gives me great optimism for the future.

I want to live in a country where everyone is at ease with faith, where people of all faiths and those of none are proud to play their part in making their community and their country a better place. That is why this conference today is so important.

I commend Dr. Qadri’s hard work to built trust and mutual respect between people. I’m sorry I can’t be with you but I have huge admiration for what you are trying to do and I wish you every success

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