Kent Equality Cohesion Council organised an Inter Faith community event on Thursday 17th November 2022 which saw local partners, faith leaders and community members attend. The event took place at the Kent Adult Education Centre in Gravesham and marked National Inter Faith Week.
The event was also an opportunity to commemorate the life of Mr Mohammed Aslam, one of the founders of the Gravesend and Dartford Muslim Association, a local community champion and avid interfaith supporter who passed away in June this year.
Mr Aslam was a key figure in fostering long standing and fruitful partnerships with Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara and multiple local Churches, working to promote interfaith connections. As such, KECC, supported by Mr Aslam’s family felt that Interfaith Week served as the ideal time to reflect and commemorate the life of an individual of saw faith as a means of connecting people rather than separating them.
Dignitaries and faith leaders alike spoke at the event around themes of unity and solidarity, celebrating Mr Aslam and Inter Faith Work in Gravesham. These included Deputy Lieutenant of Kent Dr Bagawara Vasudaven, Mayor of Gravesham Cllr Peter Scollard, Adam Holloway MP, Bishop Greg Kitsell Chair of the North Kent Interfaith Network, Reverend Michael Payne from St Aidan’s Church, Bilal Farooq Chair of the Gravesham and Dartford Muslim Association, Bal Cheema and Jagdev Virdee MBE from the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara.
Community partners who also spoke at the event included former Headteacher Rosemary Dymond DL, Michelle Bramble Chair of the North Kent Caribbean Network, Farook Girach long-time friend of Mr Aslam as well as Carol Gosal of Rethink Mental Health. They were joined by former Kent Police District Commander for Gravesend and Dartford Phillip Painter and Akeel Kedoo former treasurer of the Gravesend and Dartford Muslim Association.
At the end of the proceedings, Mr Aslam’s son Cllr Ejaz Aslam spoke to everyone gathered and expressed his deep thanks for commemorating his father in such a way, a way that reflects the diverse communities of the area and the message of interfaith that his father always promoted.
Gurvinder Sandher MBE DL the CEO of Kent Equality Cohesion Council who hosted the event commented, “I believe that National Interfaith Week was the perfect setting to not only remember a local pillar of the community but also talk about religious tolerance and everything that brings us together through faith. Mr Aslam for one, was an individual who stood for everyone, he championed their right practice their faith freely and see the tenants in each religion that brought us together. He supported the local Gurdwara and Churches and fundraised for various relief campaigns and causes regardless of faith. He was truly selfless and generous and I am proud that we were able to honour him in such a manner.”