British “Peace Ambassador” to visit turbulent Pakistan

British "Peace Ambassador" to visit turbulent Pakistan

A recently-appointed “Ambassador for Peace” from the UK is to make an official visit to Pakistan this week. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Abdul Rashid, will be visiting the troubled Asian Republic at a time of heightened political tensions. The official tour will include visits to the Punjab and Azad Kashmir provinces, where the Lord Mayor will meet high-ranking dignitaries and speak at events promoting greater understanding of British culture and commerce.

The Lord Mayor has been heavily involved in recent international efforts by the Foreign Office to promote a better understanding of Muslim life in Britain. The “I am British, I am Muslim” campaign is currently advertising on Pakistani TV, radio, print media and billboards in order to demonstrate the breadth of success that has been achieved by Muslims in the UK. Cllr. Rashid is one of ten British Muslims profiled by the campaign, which also includes contributions from government minister Sadiq Khan MP and professional cricketer Moeen Ali

The Lord Mayor, who was born in Azad Kashmir, explained his enthusiasm for the journey to his motherland: “My visit will promote trade links between two nations which have so much shared history. I will also be working hard to overcome commonly-held misconceptions about what it means to be a British Muslim. Showing that Muslims make an invaluable contribution to the social, cultural and economic well-being of the UK – and are recognised for this – will go a long way towards countering the disinformation peddled by extremists to recruit young people to their immoral cause.”

The nine-week “I am Muslim. I am British” campaign is the brainchild of Midlands-based community cohesion campaigner Dr. Kurshid Ahmed, who added: “There is a belief in some parts of the Muslim world that the West is ‘anti-Muslim, anti-Islam’, but this could not be further from the truth. This project is about confronting these misconceptions, by communication through TV, radio, in the press and, most importantly, face-to-face.”

The Lord Mayor’s official visit begins on the 19th of March 2009, and will last for two weeks. The globe-trotting Civic Head of the UK’s largest local authority recently visited China, as part of an effort to raise Chinese awareness of the trade opportunities offered by his home-town. His visit also served to highlight the social and economic contribution that Chinese immigrants have made to the UK as a whole, and within Birmingham in particular.

Birmingham is the UK’s most culturally-diverse city, and more than 300,000 of its citizens can trace their roots back to the Indian sub-continent. The Lord Mayor was recently appointed as an “Ambassador for Peace” by The Universal Peace Federation – a UN-associated humanitarian organisation. During his tenure, he has also made a particular effort to recognise and publicise the valuable service of Britain’s armed forces personnel.

About The Lord Mayor

Councillor Chauhdry Abdul Rashid hails from the Pakistani province of Azad Kashmir. He moved to Birmingham in 1963, and has been active in the City’s social, cultural and educational development for more than 45 years. As Birmingham’s First Citizen, the Lord Mayor represents the most ethnically-diverse city in Britain, including the largest Muslim community outside London.

About Birmingham

Birmingham is the UK’s second largest city, with a population of more than 1.5 million people. Due in part to its central location, Birmingham is a major transport hub on the UK’s motorway, rail, and canal networks. The city is often referred to as “The Heart of England”.

Birmingham’s Conservative-led City Council is the largest local authority in the UK, and the largest government council in Europe. The city has made a valuable contribution to Britain’s political, economic and cultural history. Famous residents have included Neville Chamberlain (former Prime Minister), JRR Tolkien (author of Lord of The Rings), WH Auden (poet), Barbara Cartland (novelist), Tony Hancock (comedian) and Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes).

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