Cranbrook is a state grammar school (13-18, mixed, day and boarding) in Kent and as part of their enrichment programme they regularly invite speakers to come and speak with their Sixth Form students on different issues concerning the society. They very kindly invited someone recently from the Muslim Council of Britain, the largest Muslim voluntary umbrella organisation in the UK.
Mr. Rashid Ali Ismail Laher, who is an active member of the MCB, kindly accepted the offer and visited the school on Friday 22nd October 2010. Mr. Laher retired from the British Army after serving for over 33 years and now spends his time serving the community. He was the chairman of the Kingston Mosque for over 5 years and also actively involved Local Authorities, Police / Prisons / Hospitals / Hospices / Schools /Higher Educational Establishments and many other Institutions.
Mr Rashid Laher said: `As a person of Faith, I see an increasingly urgent need within my society to build awareness, understanding and tolerance: across and within cultures, traditions and socio economic groups ~ to bring about citizenship and social cohesion. Nationhood is important to me and, in my time looking after Kingston Masjid (mosque), we have welcomed several thousand visitors: and we continue to make friends locally and with other local Places of Worship'.
The head of sixth form, Robbie Ferguson, said: `Mr Laher's talk was superb and he really captured the interest of the audience. Technology failed us and we couldn't show the MCB introduction video, which allowed a larger space for questions. The students felt incredibly relaxed with him and really connected with his humorous anecdotes, which encouraged them to ask some really worthwhile questions. These ranged from dispelling myths about the faith and eventually asking some challenging questions about media perceptions and current wars. I watch a lot of these talks and you could see they enjoyed every second. It was a warming, friendly talk, which touched a lot of them at the end of a very busy first term in the sixth form. It was greatly appreciated and won't be forgotten'.