Faith leaders and organizations in the UK have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II after her death at the age of 96.
The Queen, who was a devout Christian, found comfort in her faith and was known for the seriousness with which she took on her role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
But the outpouring of condolences from leading Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh organizations highlighted the profound impact it had on religious minorities.
Tributes were paid by the Muslim Council of Britain, the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, the Network of Sikh Organizations and the Hindu Council UK.
Zara Mohammed, MCB Secretary General: “We of the Muslim Council of Great Britain remember how the Queen devoted her life to public service and sought unity among British communities.
“Her Majesty’s reign saw extraordinary changes in our country. Over seven decades, the United Kingdom has seen itself transform into a multicultural and multi-religious society.
“Her Majesty was the first monarch to come into contact with newly established Muslim communities here in the UK. Although the first British mosque to be seen in the Victorian era, the Queen was the first monarch to visit a British mosque during her Jubilee celebration in 2002.”
Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, who heads the United Hebrew Congregations, expressed his “deep condolences.”
He said: “Every week we have prayed in the synagogue for her well-being, well-being and wisdom, and she has never failed us. We fondly remember the warm relationship she had with the Jewish community, with a special dedication to interfaith relations and Holocaust remembrance.
“I remember on one occasion showing me and my wife objects of Jewish importance and value in her private collection at Windsor Castle, including a Torah scroll rescued from Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust.
“Her affection for the Jewish people ran deep and her respect for our values was palpable. In life, she was rightly admired and loved all over the world; in death, may her memory and legacy be an everlasting blessing.”
The College of Deputies of British Jews said: “No words can fully describe the magnitude of our nation’s loss. Her Majesty’s wisdom, benevolence and devotion to duty have inspired generations of British citizens, including our community.”
The East London Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the UK, said: “The Queen spoke about the value of all religions and the healing power of faith to bring communities together and unite. She will be most remembered for her devotion to duty and dedication to a life of service.”
Lord Singh of Wimbledon, the director of the Network of Sikh Organizations, said in a tribute on behalf of the Sikh community that the Queen’s death “marks a moment of great sadness and reflection for all of us”.
He added: “I have been fortunate to have met the Queen several times and been invited to lunch at Buckingham Palace. I remember the privilege of accompanying Her Majesty on her first visit to a Gurdwara in Leicester in 2002.
“It was during her Golden Jubilee celebrations that she made it clear that she was sovereign for all her people, and that our different religions show that God’s love extends equally to all mankind. A resonant echo of the Sikh teachings showing the important similarities between our different religions.”
The UK Hindu Council described the Queen as a “remarkable woman who served her country and the Commonwealth with loyalty and humility”.
It read: “She left a legacy that will live on and be remembered forever. During the period of national mourning, the British Hindu community and Hindu institutions will host special gatherings and prayers.”