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Calls for Hindu and Muslim bank holidays given mixed reaction in Redbridge

19:26 10 June 2014

Harmander Singh of Redbridge Faith Forum

Harmander Singh of Redbridge Faith Forum

Archant

Parliament has been urged to consider introducing Hindu and Muslim bank holidays, after an e-petition signed by thousands was brought to the attention of MPs – but the suggestion has provoked a mixed reaction in Redbridge.

Bashir Chaudhry. Photo credit: Paul BennettBashir Chaudhry. Photo credit: Paul Bennett

An e-petition was set up in August last year for the Hindu festival of Diwali and the Muslim celebration of Eid to become national bank holidays, and has already been signed by more than 120,000 people.

Chairman of the League of British Muslims, Bashir Chaudhry, said: “I think it is fair that all religions get a bank holiday. I think more people would be more understanding if it was an official, then there would be no disputes with employees and with schools. Everyone would just accept that it is a holiday for those of that faith to recognise and celebrate.”

The Hindu celebration of Diwali is also known as the “Festival of lights” which commemorates the victory of good over evil, while the Muslim holiday of Eid is the time when Muslims end their fast.

But not everyone agrees with introducing two more bank holidays, despite their meaning.

Former president of the National Hindu Students Forum, Pranav Bhanot, from South Woodford, said: “If Hindus get a bank holiday, this could open a floodgate of applications by the major religions requesting their festival too becomes a bank holiday. This will come at an even bigger cost to our economy.”

Redbridge Faith Forum’s strategic and projects manager, Harmander Singh, said: “The Redbridge Faith forum will support those religious groups who wish to celebrate their celebrations in this way, but overall we do recognise this is a Christian country and we should establish this first.” The forum will discuss the suggestion along with other faith issues at its next meeting next Thursday (June 19).

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