A formerly homeless man who co-founded an interfaith group creating bonds between Jews and Muslims is among London’s “unsung heroes” up for a Faith & Belief Community Award this evening.
Lewisham resident Mfa Zaman, 30, who was a London Ambassador at the Olympics in 2012, was homeless himself before setting up a charity to feed those in the capital like him. He later co-founded Community of Jews and Muslims.
His is one of 40 projects up for an award at the ceremony being held at the Royal Society of Medicine, with each winner bagging £500.
Other nominated projects include Abraham’s Tent at South London Liberal Synagogue, the Muslim Jewish Forum of Stamford Hill, and Camden-based Mitzvah Day, which this month celebrates its tenth anniversary.
“The Awards are a wonderful demonstration of what people motivated by their faith or belief can achieve for this city,” said Jewish philanthropist David Dangoor, who chairs of the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London’s Council on Faith.
“By shining a light on their work, this event promotes and connects the unsung heroes of London’s faith and belief communities. This event also gives them access to further support which may enhance their work and inspire others to take action.”
The Awards recognise Londoners serving their communities and bringing people of different faith together, and are the initiative of the Faith & Belief Forum, whose director Phil Champain said nominees were those quietly working behind the scenes on London’s socio-economic challenges.
“If we are to truly extend the benefits of our city to all, then we need to ensure that all Londoners get fair access to services, we need to alleviate deprivation, reduce social tension and promote inclusion,” he said.
“The fact that so many relatively small and modest organisations made up of people of different faiths and non-religious beliefs collaborate to achieve these aims gives hope and inspiration.”