Sporting Equals and Shapla Sports host interfaith football day, with visit from special guest

Sporting Equals Regional Interfaith Activities are taking place in our key cities which help support provision for sports opportunities for young people, alongside promoting integration and cohesion. Through community brokerage, we are working with faith centres across the country using the faith centre model to help engage inactive and often disadvantaged communities at grassroots level. Below is a feature from Shapla Sports and their event success.

Shapla Sports are a community sport organisation based in inner Bradford we work with the Banagledeshi community, to increase sporting opportunities and sport activity within the community. With close links to the Bangladeshi Centre and Jamia Masjid which is directly opposite our centre, Shapla Sports aims to create a day where young people from Jamia Masjid and St Pauls Church in Bradford come together, to take part in football and tennis.

The Sport Day took place on the 19th November giving players a chance to express their competitive nature within the small tournament held throughout the day. Sporting Equals have brokered strong relationships with key partners to ensure the 'sport' aspect of this interfaith project is a success. The approach taken for this particular project has followed the Sporting Equals Making Equals Model. Regional Officer Umar Ahmed commented on the positive impact Shapla Sport has on their local community,

Umar Ahmed, Regional Officer for Sporting Equals said;

' Shapla are doing some fantastic work in engaging the diverse communities into sport and physical activity with the local area. The interfaith day will bring different faiths and communities together. We hope this will create a long lasting relationship and they continue to take part in sport together' 

To reflect on all participants from the various communities Shapla Sports have incorporated time within the day to hold talks delivered by a local imam and local priest. Young people will learn a basic understanding of each other's faith and learn about the similarities each hold. The talk delivered by Imam and the priest will focus around living together and working together to create a better environment for all. This will support young community members in Bradford to better understand the different religions.

The event was also attended by special guest and Tottenham Hotspur Coach Taff Rahman who provided an inspirational speech on the day. Rahman said,

'Modern day Britain is vastly cosmopolitan with so many people with different faiths and beliefs living side by side. To continue to connect and integrate such communities, it's fantastic to see football the social religion of the world playing a pivotal role. Events such as the interfaith football tournaments are a great way to bring people together and build united communities'

Humayun Islam from Shapla Sports said,

 'The interfaith day has been brilliant; it's given everyone a chance to meet new people and learn about different faiths. We are all passionate about sport and this is a great way to engage. We thank Sporting Equals and Inter Faith Youth Trust for the support towards this. We would like to thanks Taff Rahman and members of the Army who also attended'