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Yorkshire restaurant chain backs Christian-Muslim water project

24 February 2017


AN ASIAN restaurant chain in Yorkshire is raising money for a clean-water project, set up by the diocese of Leeds, which seeks to bring Christians and Muslims together and ease tensions between faith communities.

The family-run Aagrah restaurant business specialises in Kashmiri cuisine, and has 22 restaurants across Yorkshire.

It has already funded one water-filter plant for a church in the Bihar colony, as part of the New Horizons project, chaired by the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Rob­inson, and founded by a Pakistani Christian from Huddersfield, Yaqub Masih.

The chairman of the Aagrah Group, Mohammed Haji Sabir, told a gathering of business people from across Bradford, Hud­dersfield, and Wakefield: “We want to stand with New Horizons for all the good work they are doing in Pakistan.”

The three water plants will pro­vide clean water for 9000 people a day.

The project was launched after nine Christians, including four women and a child, were burned alive in their homes in Gojra, in Punjab, in 2009, including four women and a child (News, 7 and 14 August 2009, and 14 March 2014). In an attempt to encourage reconcili­ation, the Foreign Office funded a peace mis­sion that brought imams, priests, police officers, and lawyers from Gojra on a fact-finding tour of the diocese of Wakefield, to learn from their English counterparts about interfaith rela­tions.

The peace mission led to the water-filtration project, with the hope of bringing the two faith com­munities together.

Bishop Robinson said: “The water-filtration plants will benefit Christians and Muslims, and they will know that it is their brothers and sisters in Britain, both Christian and Muslim, who have raised the funds. . . This is a good-news story, and one we need to keep telling in all the places where there is tension between different groups, different faiths, and different cultures.”

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