Dear beloved brothers, sisters and respected guests, welcome to Living Islam Festival 2016. I know many of you have waited two years for this festival to come around and I pray you will be over the moon with what we have to offer.
Some of you may have been before and know exactly what to expect. For others this may be your first time. Believe me there will be something special for you all here. Two years may seem like a long time but actually it passes incredibly quickly!
Our volunteers have been working away tirelessly to make this an extra special celebration! As a British Muslim community, we are often under the spotlight and on the back-foot.
Living Islam Festival 2016 is a chance to relax and celebrate who we are and what we stand for. My brothers and sisters, we know exactly what our beautiful faith teaches in terms of the unity of God and his creation, equality, justice and peace.
This is our opportunity to live it and breathe it, together! This is our chance to showcase what being Muslims in Britain is all about; with pride, confidence and joy! So please relax and enjoy just being yourselves in this idyllic countryside with a fantastic array of speakers, sheikhs and entertainment.
We have catered for our beautiful young ones in the vibrant scouts program, our precious teenagers in the creative Young Muslims program and our young adults in the interactive campus program along with sports, entertainment, spiritual reminders, the Artist tent and the market souk!
Our volunteers have worked for months and months to prepare and we hope that you enjoy every moment of your stay. Please remember we are all volunteers working for the sake of Allah alone and hope that you can forgive any faults and oversights on our part and consider joining our team of volunteers for next time.
There are so many amazing projects going on in community centres, mosques, Interfaith groups and social centres up and down the country. I want to take this opportunity to celebrate these ventures. As British Muslims we have found new, more creative and innovative ways to enjoin good and celebrate what we stand for.
Believe me, I have searched for conferences that celebrate a British Islam that is deeply spiritual, forward thinking and sits beautifully in our cities and towns bringing cohesion and compassion. Such programmes are few and far between. LIFe is about redressing this balance.
Here, we celebrate our diversity, we build bridges and not walls and we value compassionate action not angry rhetoric. The time for a new narrative is now! And who are we? We are individuals and families coming together with our faith as the glue, with our commonality as a binding and with love as our gel.
Let us enjoy the fruits of these at LIfe 2016.
Your brother, Khalid Anis.