Interfaith study day held at the Harrogate Army Foundation College

1 November 2016

More than 60 soldiers from Yorkshire and the North East attended an interfaith study day at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

The event featured talks by faith leaders and soldiers who answered questions on how they practice their faith while serving their country.

The Army Foundation College in Harrogate
The Army Foundation College in Harrogate


There were discussions on Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh faiths, Afro-Caribbean culture and the historical contribution of ethnic minorities to the armed forces.

Welfare and recruitment teams from across the British Army gained a better understanding of how they can engage with different religious communities.


Event organiser, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Hunter, said:

We are increasing understanding of different faiths across the Army because we would like an Army which is more reflective of society.

This event is about putting people of different faiths next to one another so they can learn more about each other – at the end of the day all faiths have got a lot in common.

Lt Col Hunter, is a community engagement officer with 4th Infantry Brigade, based in Catterick, and the event was attended by representatives of a dozen different units from across Yorkshire and the North East.


Chaplaincy at Army Foundation College, Harrogate
Chaplaincy at Army Foundation College, Harrogate


Speakers included Armed Forces Chaplains and serving soldiers from around the country including Craftsman Ranvir Singh, who works with The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment.


Cfn Singh, from Huddersfield
Cfn Singh, from Huddersfield


Cfn Singh, from Huddersfield, said:

It’s been really great to have the opportunity to come in and increase the understanding of Sikhism across the brigade.

I want to show that the British Army is massively compatible with our faith – I’m a father and I am adamant that my son is going to join the armed forces.


Attendees had the chance to “ask difficult questions in a safe environment,” during the event in the Chaplaincy at the Army Foundation College.

Bombardier Adil Arif, of 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, based in Newcastle, shared his experience of practicing Islam.


WO2, Mark Hill MBE, Cfn Ranvir Singh, Pte Mughal, Emma-Jayne, Spr Chutto, Gnr Adil Afif



Bdr Arif, from Nottingham, said:

I’ve done Islamic studies so I’ve got a good knowledge of my faith and I’m comfortable answering questions.

A small minority give Muslims a bad name, but the religion itself is similar to Christianity, it’s about showing that we are not that different.


Those in attendance will use what they have learnt to improve the experience of soldiers who are currently serving in the Army as well as those who join in the future.


Guest speaker, ex-soldier Lutha Magloire MBE, shared his views on how the Army can better reach African-Caribbean communities: 

There can be a lot of negative influences in the black community but the Army offers a way out of that.


It is the first time 4th Infantry Brigade have held an interfaith day, although they plan to make it a more regular occurrence.


Shahda Khan MBE, Community Cohesion Lead at Middlesbrough Council visited the event, she said:

I’m really pleased to see so many different faiths represented here today. It’s been really fascinating listening to the presentations and all the questions that have been asked.

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