London: Camden's faith leaders celebrate shared values

 More than 70 faith leaders from across Camden joined civic leaders to celebrate their shared values and the unity through entertainment, dance and discussion. The event at the British Museum saw the launch of Camden Faith Communities' Partnership's Statement of Common Public Values. The group brought together by Camden Council in July 2003 aims to spread greater understanding between the different faiths and also raise the profile of the role of faith and religion for people in Camden. Their joint statement highlights how the borough's many different faiths and values provide great strength to Camden's communities. It also calls for mutual respect and equality to be at the heart of civic and public life. The event was opened with a display of Kathak dance from South Asia. Performed by Quincy Charles from Camden based dance group Akademi, it is an extremely energetic and vibrant example of faith inspired art. Father Dermot Morrin OP, of Saint Dominic's Priory who led the event, said: "Camden is one of the most remarkably diverse places in the country. The mix of people is one of its great strengths. We need to build on that. I want to thank everyone who came here to share their faiths and beliefs, to support our goal of developing understanding and respect across our communities." Farther Morrin then introduced key speakers from Camden's many faith communities, and Cllr (Dame) Jane Roberts in one of her last roles as Camden Council Leader. Cllr Roberts said: "Faith if one of the strongest expressions of our identity. And I believe it is a local authority's role to bring people of all faiths and those of none together. To help them talk openly about what is important to them and to help celebrate the common values that all faiths hold dear, such as respect for others and the desire for fairness and equality for all." The other key speakers at the event were Dr Rishi Agarwal of the Hindu Centre Ms Ayeshah Sayyidd of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, Maggie Hindley from the United Reformed Church who spoke on behalf of Rabbi Janet Burden of the West Central Liberal Synagogue, Mr Lu Llewellyn of lay Buddhist organisation SGI-UK and Revd. Nicholas Wheeler of Saint Michael's Anglican Church, Camden Town. There was also a performance by world-class guitarist, Hugh Burns. Involved in many major feature films as well as classical, jazz and pop music, including Faith by George Michael on which he originally performed the guitar music. Finally, guests got the chance to learn more about each other's faiths by following a trail at the British Museum that shows off many of the religious exhibits at the museum. Source: LB Camden

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