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Britain’s faith leaders pay tribute to Queen’s devoted life of service

Faith leaders and organisations across the UK have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II after her death at the age of 96.

The Queen, who was a devout Christian, found comfort in her faith and was noted for the seriousness with which she took her role as the supreme governor of the Church of England.

But the outpouring of condolences from leading Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh organisations highlighted the profound impact she had on minority religious communities.

Tributes were paid by the Muslim Council of Britain, the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, the Network of Sikh Organisations and the Hindu Council UK.

Zara Mohammed, the secretary general of the MCB: “We at the Muslim Council of Britain remember how the Queen devoted her life to public service and sought unity among British communities.

“Her Majesty’s reign saw extraordinary change in our country. Over seven decades, the United Kingdom has seen itself transformed into a multicultural and multi-faith society.

“Her Majesty was the first monarch to engage with newly established Muslim communities here in the UK. Though the first British mosque was seen in the Victorian era, the Queen was the first monarch to visit a UK mosque during her jubilee celebrations in 2002.”

The chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, who leads the United Hebrew Congregations, offered his “profound condolences”.

He said: “Every week in synagogue, we have prayed for her welfare, wellbeing and wisdom, and she never let us down. We recall with much appreciation the warm relationship she had with the Jewish community, with a particular commitment to interfaith relations and Holocaust memorial.

“I recall how on one occasion, she showed me and my wife items of Jewish interest and value in her private collection in Windsor Castle, including a Torah scroll rescued from Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust.

“Her affection for the Jewish people ran deep and her respect for our values was palpable. In life, she was rightly admired and loved the world over; in death, may her memory and legacy be an everlasting blessing.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “N​o words can fully describe the extent of our nation’s loss. Her Majesty’s wisdom, benevolence and dedication to duty served as an inspiration to generations of British citizens, including our community.”

East London Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the UK, said: “The Queen spoke of the value of all faiths, and the healing power of faith to bring together and unite communities. She will be most remembered for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service.”

Lord Singh of Wimbledon, the director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, said in a tribute sent on behalf of the Sikh community that the Queen’s death “marks a moment of great sorrow and reflection for us all”.

He added: “I have had the good fortune of meeting the Queen on several occasions and being invited for lunch at Buckingham Palace. I recall the privilege of accompanying Her Majesty during her first visit to a gurdwara in Leicester in 2002.

“It was during her golden jubilee celebrations that she made clear that she was the sovereign for all her people, and that our different religions show that God’s love extends in equal measure to the whole of humanity. A resonant echo of Sikh teachings that shows the important commonalities between our different faiths.”

The Hindu Council UK described the Queen as a “remarkable woman who served her country and the Commonwealth with loyalty and humility”.

It said: “She left a legacy that will live on long after and will always be remembered. During the period of national mourning, the British Hindu community and Hindu institutions will be arranging special meetings and prayers.”

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