If you are going to organise a major event and call it the Festival of Global Peace and Unity then you had better have the vision and talent to make sure it lives up to that grand title. Well, the Islam Channel and all others involved certainly did, and we have just enjoyed once more a superb festival at the magnificent Excel Exhibition Centre in the heart of East London, next to the beautiful Victoria Docks.
This is the third time we have been thrilled to bring attractions to this celebration of Islam and Islamic Art and without doubt this was the best so far. We are sure that 2011 will be even better. For those of you who have never visited the event, it is a magnificent mix of intellectual debate on the Muslim religion and other religions too, plus Islamic music, for young and old, pop and classical, Islamic Art, participation for children and adults too in workshops and entertainment, stalls, refreshments and of course George Irvin’s family funfair with a roller coaster, twist ride, scary Miami Trip plus children’s rides and games too. This gives two days out for visitors and leaves them short of time to see and try everything even if they arrive first thing and leave only when the doors are closing.
Irvin Leisure celebrates the multi cultural side of Britain today in Global Peace and Unity, Eid Festivals, Diwali, Easter and Christmas Events and of course bonfire night when we celebrate the burning of Catholics, and we look with disbelief across to Germany when the Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said multi culturalism does not work. Of course it does, if we treat everyone with respect for their beliefs and their clothing. We are surely as a nation big enough and courageous enough to recognise that new ideas and thoughts from those with different religions, or no religion, enrich our lives and do not threaten us. Our language after all reflects multi culturalism, with a bit of Celt (now in Wales), Saxon from Germany, Viking from Norway, Norman from France and of course Latin from the Romans in Italy. We are all therefore made up of multi cultural bits and pieces, and to those who suggest that we have to stop immigration or get swamped we ask, why? How many people is too many? Enjoy the mix we share. After all, add ignorance to intolerance and you get prejudice. We all waved the English Flag for a few days during the world cup and everyone celebrated our team’s triumph in holding mighty Moldova to a magnificent 0 0 draw. Have confidence, share and learn, and may events like Global Peace and Unity help us all to admire different traditions, learn from them and add them to our own life experiences.
Any may we continue to be there, sharing in this event and, to be honest, taking a few bob from the visitors too!