Archbishop of Canterbury sends message to Muslim communities for end of Ramadan

August 30, 2011

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has sent his annual greetings to Muslim communities for the festival of 'Id Al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.

In his message, Williams praises the dignity of Tariq Jahan, the father of Haroon Jahan, who died during the recent riots in Birmingham. "His call for peace and unity was one of the decisive moments during those days and was a gift in Ramadan that gave hope to many not just in Birmingham but all over the United Kingdom and beyond. He was able to give voice to the conscience of Britain in a way that people of all faiths and none could recognize."

The full text of the greeting is below.


To Muslim friends and fellow workers on the occasion of 'Id Al-Fitr 2011

It is a great pleasure to send once again my warm greetings to Muslim colleagues and communities on the occasion of 'Id Al-Fitr and to wish you peace and joy.

Over the last few weeks of prayer, fasting and reflection it must have been very difficult to watch the growing unrest and rioting in many of the major cities in the United Kingdom. The tragic deaths of Haroon Jahan, Shahzad Ali and Abdul Muzavir in Birmingham occurred at the darkest moment of those days. Their families and friends suffered horrific bereavement and shock, but somehow in the midst of this chaos, they brought about a change. On the day after their murder, Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the boys who died, showed immense dignity in calling for restraint in his local community. His call for peace and unity was one of the decisive moments during those days and was a gift in Ramadan that gave hope to many not just in Birmingham but all over the United Kingdom and beyond. He was able to give voice to the conscience of Britain in a way that people of all faiths and none could recognize.

The Prophet Jeremiah in the Bible called God's people to pray for the peace and well being of the city in which they lived. Those words are a reminder to us that our own peace and security are bound up with the peace and security of our neighbours and that God is concerned for the peace of all. Earlier this year, in May, I had the privilege of hosting a 4 day conference in the Middle East on prayer with 30 Christian and Muslim scholars. We learned with and from each other about what it means to act in a world of often frightening conflict on the basis of an attitude of prayer and confidence in God's will for peace and justice.

May I wish you a joyful celebration of 'Id Al-Fitr and assure you of my prayers, as I am confident of yours, for a peaceful year ahead.