Luton's strength in diversity as we hope for a more peaceful world

Political Opinion: This item has been submitted by Sarah Owen, MP for Luton North
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

March and April are special months for many of Luton’s faith communities. Muslims are observing Ramadan - a time of reflection and coming together; the Hindu community mark Holi, the festival of spring and colour; Jewish Lutonians commemorate Passover marking the freedom of the Hebrews from slavery; and our Christian communities prepare to commemorate Jesus’ death and resurrection over Easter.

For those of no faith, the longer days and brightening sky marks an emergence from winter and hope for the spring to come. I have been fortunate enough to share in many of these commemorations, from the solemn to the celebratory. Luton is a generous town, coming third in JustGiving’s 2023 list of highest donating areas, with the bulk of donations given during religious periods. In the past week I have shared in Iftars from the Mayor’s Big Iftar to the Turkish community, marked Naw Ruz, the Baha’i New Year, and the birth anniversary of Shri Guru Ravidass at the Gurdwara. Even as a person of no religion, I’ve always believed in the power of interfaith work.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Conservative Government’s decision to remove all funding for the Interfaith Network, and their threats to some faith organisations such as the excellent Muslim Council of Britain, are short sighted and ill judged.

Sarah Owen, Luton North MPSarah Owen, Luton North MP
Sarah Owen, Luton North MP

From events like Desi Fest in the park, the Luton Council of Faith’s Peace Walk, the Gurdwara’s feeding of anyone in need, Discover Islam’s Curry Kitchen and warm hubs in our churches, faith communities step up in times of need. It is sharing of occasions like these that marks our cultural cohesion as special, but it is also rooted in our everyday way of life. For many this time is also solemn, to reflect on those caught in conflict, famine or repression, and to pray for peace and healing. From across the Middle East to Myanmar, Sudan, Ukraine or Kashmir, millions of people of all faiths and none are enduring extreme hardship. Luton’s position is spurred on by our town’s compassion and hope for a safer and more peaceful world. I am always proud to support the work of our faith communities. If there is anything I can do to help, do get in touch via email: [email protected].