Oxford

Oxford imam recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

Monowar Hussain
Image caption Imam Monawar Hussain said being made an MBE came as a "big shock"

An imam from Oxford credited with improving relations between different faiths has been included in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Monawar Hussain, founder of the Oxford Foundation, was made an MBE for his services to interfaith relations and the community.

He said: "It came as a big shock. I never expected anything like this."

Elsewhere in Oxfordshire, singer Sandie Shaw and actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw were appointed MBEs.

The Puppet On A String singer was made an MBE for services to music, while the Doctor Who and Belle actress, who starred opposite Jude Law in Hamlet, was appointed an MBE for services to drama.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Oxford's Gugu Mbatha-Raw was made an MBE for services to drama
Image copyright PA
Image caption Sandie Shaw, who lives in Oxfordshire, was honoured for her services to music

Talking of his work, Mr Hussain said: "I love doing what I do. I want to live to bring people together.

"We live in an amazing country and I feel a sense of debt. I owe so much.

"In Oxford we've gone through difficult times... although I'm getting the MBE I feel all my interfaith friends are part of the story as well."

Speaking of Mr Hussain's honour, the Bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, said: "He is a person of gentleness and grace, widely respected across the region among the leaders of different faith communities and with a distinguished record of building bridges and encouraging understanding."

The Very Reverend, Bob Wilkes, city rector, said: "I value his work a great deal.

"There have been a lot of challenges in recent years… a lot of pressure on him... he handled it very well."

He said Mr Hussain had "won a lot of respect" and built relationships so faith leaders could speak out together after tragic events that affected communities.

Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council, described him as a "key figure in promoting interfaith links".

He added: "His contribution to community cohesion has been significant."

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