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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Queen celebrates different faiths
The Queen meets Hindu worshippers
The Jubilee tour has incorporated different religions
The Queen hosted a Golden Jubilee reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the different faiths practised in the UK.

Eight hundred guests from Britain's nine historic faiths attended on Monday evening, including 80 young people, aged between 16 and 24.

The youngsters who earlier attended a faith forum at St James's Palace, represent the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian faiths.

The reception is being seen as a signal of the Queen's respect for all religions in Britain, not just the Church of England, of which she is head.


Peace and love is a goal for all faiths

Sophie Wasim, Muslim student
Last week the Queen visited a Hindu temple for the first time in Britain as part of her Golden Jubilee tour.

In a message of support to the faith forum, she said: "I am pleased that you are exploring the practical dimensions of faith and service to the community, which is one of the central themes of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

"Through this kind of dialogue, respect and understanding between different faiths can continue to grow."

The Prince of Wales, who is a strong supporter of Britain's multi-faith society, dropped in to meet youngsters at the forum.

Anuja Shah, 16, from Wembley, north-west London, a pupil at Watford Grammar School, is a Jain.

Unifying initiative

She said: "The forum is an opportunity to find out how many things we have in common. It gives us a sense of unity."

Ruth Cohen, 23, from Islington, north London, works for the Association of Jewish Sixth Forms.

She said: "It's been quite an eye-opener.

"I feel quite proud. It's made me realise how multi-cultural Britain is."

Hattie Tullet, 16, from Newcastle upon Tyne, a pupil at Gosforth High School, represented Christians.

She said: "This is about looking for similarities in the different faiths and ways we can work together.

"I was wondering how much the Royal Family is into it or whether this forum was just a publicity stunt.

"But whatever the case, it's a positive move and is doing good."

Muslim Sophie Wasim, 17, from Glasgow, a pupil at William Wood High School, said: "We do not compromise our faith but before I am a Muslim I am a human being.

"Peace and love is a goal for all faiths.

"What happened on 11 September in America was a turning point in my life.

"Before that I did not wear a head scarf, now I do and I go out into society to counterbalance what happened - Islam means peace, not terror."

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The BBC's Jennie Bond
"The Queen accepted prayers for a long and happy future"

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06 Jun 02 | England
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