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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Cathedral's 'ground-breaking' job
Anjum Anwar and Canon Chris Chivers
Anjum Anwar's and Canon Chivers' work is seen as ground-breaking
A woman who was awarded an MBE for community service in Lancashire is the first Muslim to be appointed to the Church of England's staff.

Anjum Anwar has joined Blackburn Cathedral as a dialogue development officer to work with local communities on multi-faith issues.

The chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques said the Muslim community was very happy with the news.

Ms Anwar will work closely with Canon Chris Chivers over the next two years.

Canon Guy Wilkinson, national adviser on inter-faith relations, said: "Blackburn Cathedral is demonstrating what it is to be present at the heart of the community, and to engage in positive and constructive ways."

Her post will be funded by the North West Development Agency (NWDA) which emphasised that "faith communities are major custodians of the cultural and architectural heritage of this region".

Community benefits

The NWDA also added that it saw the work of Anjum Anwar and Canon Chivers at Blackburn Cathedral as "genuinely groundbreaking".

Ms Anwar said that the cathedral was taking a very brave and unique step.

"It shows that working together has real benefits for both communities, and for wider communities as well", she added.

She was born in Karachi, Pakistan and has been living in the UK for the past 40 years. She and her 13-year-old son live in Accrington.

Ms Anwar has spent the last five years running a partnership project between Lancashire Council of Mosques (LCM) and Lancashire County Council's LEA called Understanding Islam.


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