Celebration of Eid-al-Adha
at the City Hall, London
Dr. Mozammel Haque
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, invited leading representatives from the London’s Muslim communities at an evening reception to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha. The event, which was held in association with the Muslim News, took place on Friday, the 26th of October, 2012 at the City Hall, London.
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Foreign Office Minister, spoke of sacrifice, her Hajj. She said I can make a speech about the sacrifices people made at the First World War, about the sacrifices of the early immigrants and how they shaped the economy; about the achievements of two million Muslims in the UK and also the challenges, the real challenge Islamophobia.
While welcoming the representatives of the Muslim community to the Eid-ul-Adha reception, The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, talked about ‘the spirit of forbearance, devotion and sacrifice of Hajj’. He said, “That story is familiar to all readers of the Bible. What Abraham had to do and we saw Muslims of all ages took part in the pilgrimage in this year.”
Mr. Johnson also mentioned about Muslims who took part in the team of ambassadors, game makers and volunteers who helped us in the greatest Olympics. “There was record number of Muslim athletics who brought their courage. The greatest moments of the Olympic games.”
This year in the Olympic Games 2012, a 29-year Briton Mo Farah joined the sporting greats and produced an unforgettable crescendo to London’s Olympics as he added 5,000m Gold to his 10,000m title.
Speaking about Mo Farah, Mr. Johnson said, “This is a guy who came to London when he was eight; he had terrible problem in the school barely speak a word in English and this is the guy who is now national hero. You will see in every advert in the Tube. He is the role model to the kids across this country and his name is not just Mo which is the short form of the Mohammad Farah and that guy has done this and he is a Muslim and it is a fantastic thing.”
Mr. Johnson also mentioned about the potentials of these people. “When you look at the achievements of the people I think the incredible potentials of those individuals who have to help us to continue to do which Sayeeda Warsi talked at which is the changed attitude, to continue to improve attitude in this country and fight Islamophobia and to get a wonderful legacy from the Olympic Games,” he said.
Mr. Johnson also mentioned about the participation of all those young Muslim boys and girls in the Olympics. “We saw in the games the first participation by young female athletics from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates. This is development; this is progress and we want to encourage it,” he said.
Mr. Johnson also talked about how this place has changed over a time period. “Whatever the differences we have; yes, we have differences; yes we have discrimination; yes we have Islamophobia; but this place has changed in our lifetime; have not it? It has changed and it has changed for the better. I will tell you I will keep it changing," he said.
While talking about Hajj and Muslim achievements, Mayor of London revealed about his Muslim background. He said, “I have not made Hajj myself but my great great grandfather did. He made Hajj indeed. He was called Haji Ahmed. He made Hajj. I will tell you he was very interesting man; he was a very devout Muslim, his son my great grandfather recite Qur’an by heart but Haji Ahmed was a merchant.”
In conclusion, the Mayor of London revealed that the next World Islamic Economic Forum will be held in London in 2013. “We have negotiated this year for the World Islamic Economic Forum to be coming to London next year, 2013 the first time it will ever be held outside” the Muslim world, he said and added, “That is the most dynamic diverse welcoming city of the world.”
In this connection, it may be mentioned that the Mayor of London, Mr. Boris Johnson, by organising this reception to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, has kept his promise which he made to the imams and leaders of Islamic organisations at the Islamic Cultural Centre, London on 26 April 2012 and also during the hosting before the Mayoral Election at Norton Rose House, London, next day, on 27 April.