Issues and Articles
The International Day of Peace – 21st September
The International Day of Peace is marked in September and every year and since 2012, Islamic centres in the UK and overseas have led the local communities in observing the day.
This year’s international day is particularly important as the threat of war and increase hostilities looms over the Middle East. Last Friday, a number of Muslim establishments asked people to celebrate peace-building activities and to exchange a message of peace during or after Friday prayers.
The event is an opportunity for all faith to express solidarity and to move towards achieving peaceful solutions to the world’s problems. At a recent peace conference, Lord Michael Bates was appointed Parliamentary-under secretary of State for the home office in August 2014 and currently on his walk for peace to Berlin sent a special message.
”It is all too easy to look around the world and get depressed about the cause of peace, but it is said it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. That is exactly what the London peace network is seeking to do and I applaud them for it and would encourage all those care about peace to join in.”
The various groups all demonstrated a solid commitment towards working together and a statement of practical intent and commitment to peace building was issued.
”We recognise that peace is not just an absence of conflict but is about building a world where all can flourish without fear.”
The main theme of this year’s activities will take place on Sunday, 21st September and will mark the 30th anniversary of the General Assembly Declaration on the Rights to People to Peace. This anniversary offers a unique opportunity to reaffirm that commitment to the purposes and principles upon which the organisation was founded.
The International Day of peace was established in 1981 and is held annually on the third Tuesday of every September. The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.
In a statement leading up to the celebration of the International Day of peace, the United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon appealed for efforts to douse the fires of extremism and tackle the root causes of conflict. He said, “Peace is a long road and we must travel together step-by-step beginning today.”
A minute of silence will be observed at 12 o'clock on Sunday when the world is to reflect on peace issues.
Speaking on BBC Radio Two, Marigold Bentley from the Quaker organisation, who was the closing keynote speaker at London’s peace conference, said, “100 years ago millions of young people were promised that the Great War would be the war that ended all wars, however since that time we have waged war on others in an attempt to bomb an idea.”
The President of the Muslim Association of Britain, Dr. Omer El-Hamdoon, echoed the calls for peace around the world, “We should support peace in every aspect of our own lives as well as encouraging dialogue between adversaries. All wars end when the two sides begin to talk and listen to each other. We need more dialogue and less war.”
World Car Free Day 2014
A Day of Clean Air, Reduced Noise Levels and Birdsong!
By Khalil Charles
How often have you had to make a short journey to the shops – perhaps no more than five minutes walk away and for some reason you were compelled to use the car? Dependency on those four wheels attached to a combustion engine is now so ingrained that it is hard to imagine a world without the motor vehicle.
However for just one day in the year, 22nd September, the world celebrates Car Free day where everyone is encouraged to take other modes of transport including walking, cycling and using forms of transport such as river boats.
It is not just the fact that we have gotten so used to travelling by car, but by giving up the car for a day it is also a way of reducing the pollution in the environment. Surprisingly, air pollution from exhaust fumes kills more than twice as many people as road accidents. In a report published by the Daily Telegraph, it was claimed that around 1850 people die annually in traffic accident while 5,000 people die every year as a result of heart attacks, lung cancer caused by exhaust fumes and other pollutants. Whilst these figures are only estimates and includes the combustion emissions of power stations, aircraft, manufacturing and burning fuel in the home, the research seems to indicate that road transport motor vehicles were by far the greatest contributor to premature deaths.
Another added bonus of leaving your car at home is the peace and serenity that we would all experience with the reduction in noise levels. It may not come as a surprise that there are no legal limits to noise levels on the roads, apart from considerations made when houses are build near or adjoin roads. Engine and tyre noise over standard tarmac roads can easily reach 90dB which disrupt the singing of the birds for several hundred metres, tyre noise is the main source of noise when vehicle speed exceed 20 to 30 mph.  The average quiet suburban road has a noise level up to 54.9 dB.
World Car free day was first organised back during the 1970s oil crisis and more days were organized in 1990s in cities in Europe. The problem is that most people take part in the day at all or they take part for one day but then revert back to the old ways.
Organisers of the day believe that when people get out of their cars they should stay out of their cars. They argue that as the climate heats up World Car Free day is a perfect time to take the heat off the planet and put it on the city planners and politicians to give priority to cycling walking and public transport instead of motor vehicles.
Why not try for one day to walk to the station, walk or cycle to the shops and make September 22nd a Car Free day? Let us know how you got on!