Some people say sport is religion and religion is sport.
The latest addition to Headingley Cricket Ground certainly reinforces this idea, as Yorkshire opened their first multi-faith room this past week.
The area will be available for visitors to use with immediate effect and builds further on the club’s commitment to work with all communities.
At the official opening on Friday 26th August, dignitaries gathered for a ribbon cutting event and to cut a celebratory cake.
Qari Asim, Imam of the Makkah Masjid, was one of those in attendance on the day and praised the ‘inclusivity’ that the room promotes.
“It’s an honour to be sharing these few moments with everyone here today,” he said. “I’ve been on a journey with Yorkshire County Cricket Club for quite some time and talks have been held about launching this multi-faith room.
“Having this space here today, in this iconic stadium, symbolises the relationship that exists between faith and sports. Yorkshire has really shown its commitment to honour inclusivity and diversity in this area and they should be commended on this fantastic work.”
The multifaith room will provide a quiet space for prayer or reflection and is open to people of all and no faith.
It is sponsored by Regal Bakery and was launched with the support of the White Ribbon Campaign – which works to end violence against women.
Mohammed Younis, from Regal, said: “As soon as I was contacted regarding this initiative I was eager to get involved.
“We, as a business, believe that we need to be giving something back to all the communities that we serve and this room does just that.”
Baroness Scotland of Asthal, who was amongst the guest speakers, said the room represented a strengthening of the relationship between sports and religion.
As a leading international advocate for the end to violence against women, she added her thanks to the White Ribbon campaign.
Meanwhile, Hanif Malik, who became the first Asian person to sit on the board at Yorkshire earlier this year, added: “Since taking up this position, people have been asking me ‘why have you done it?’
“I have done it because I share this club’s vision in terms of not only trying to make Yorkshire the greatest county cricket club in the country, but also a club which is a lot more reflective of the wonderful vibrant and diverse communities we have here in Yorkshire.”
Yorkshire County Cricket Club worked with several faith organisations and communities to setup the multifaith room.