A caring Lutonian and pillar of the town’s community has been named as one of ‘21 Faith Leaders for the 21st Century’.
Ryad Khodabocus was one of the seven Muslim winners of the accolade, which is part of a UK project by the Jewish News, British Muslim TV, The Church Times, and Coexist House that aims to champion communication between different faith communities.
Ryad is a community relations development officer for Luton Council of Faiths in partnership with Luton Council and Grassroots Programme, and was chosen along with the other candidates, for his work to “increase dialogue and break down barriers.”
Ryad said: “It was a surprise that crowns my ten years with Luton Communities.
“I feel humbled to be able to be called a leader of reconciliation and represent the town.
“Luton has produced many positive role models. It’s about cooperation and mutual aid.
“Many candidates had political engagements in the field or had met with high profile people; though I have met with Their Royal Highnesses Kate and William and many more people, it has always been kept fairly low key.
“It’s quite something to be chosen purely on community work in Luton which is seen as pioneering.”
Ryad, who is knownfor helping to organise the town’s Peace Walk, and has a regular faith column in this newspaper, was pleased to receive congratulations from community and faith leaders, the police, council, public, and even his old lecturer.
He is currently working on a book called ‘Discover Your Peace Genius - The Secret Blueprint’, whilst also teaching Key Stage 3 pupils about different faith communities.
The other winning candidates, from the Abrahamic faiths, included seven Jewish and seven Christian leaders.