One of the UK's most senior imams has praised the UK's Queen Elizabeth II as a "beacon of hope” ahead of her platinum jubilee this weekend.
Imam Qari Asim, chair of the Mosque and Imams National Advisory Board, was one of many religious leaders who congratulated the monarch as she reaches her 70-year reign milestone on Sunday.
He said: “Throughout her 70-year-long reign, the queen has shown deep commitment, affection and admiration for her country, the Commonwealth and the people across the world, as well as the ability to adapt and evolve with the changing world around her.
“Her Majesty the Queen has been a wonderful beacon of hope, integrity, stability and unity for our country and beyond. May the Lord allow this momentous occasion of the platinum jubilee to provide unity, peace and hope across our wonderful nation.”
A series of events will be held from Sunday to mark the occasion which will culminate this summer.
More than 1,500 platinum jubilee beacons will be lit across the UK and Commonwealth on the first evening of the extended four-day jubilee bank holiday weekend in June.
Senior clerics from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian and Bahai faiths voiced strong support for the beacons and urged their communities to take part.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the most senior bishop in the Church of England, said the fires — which will light up the night sky across the UK and Commonwealth on June 2 — will see people joining together in celebration and remind everyone of “our common bond under the Crown”.
Mr Welby encouraged people to sing the newly written Song for the Commonwealth as the beacons are lit.
He said: “This will be a moment of remarkable celebration, as we join together across different generations, denominations, faiths and communities all over the world in proper tribute to Her Majesty the Queen.
Chief Rabbi Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, said: “The kindling of the Queen’s jubilee beacons throughout the United Kingdom and the capital cities of the Commonwealth will be a most powerful symbol as we celebrate her majesty’s 70 remarkable years on the throne.
“In Jewish tradition, the lighting of a flame accompanies many of our most important religious observances, representing the point at which the material and sacred meet.
“The fragile flame conveys the profound lesson that spirituality cannot manifest in the world if we do not cultivate and protect it.”