Ison Harrison’s head of employment, Yunus Lunat, was involved in a quite unique occasion last week at his local Madina Mosque, part of the Mount Pleasant Islamic Trust in Batley.

Yunus was part of a welcoming delegation for the visit of a cricket team from the Vatican, who were in the UK for nine days undertaking a pioneering series of inter-faith cricket matches, titled the ‘Light of Faith’ tour.

Officially known as the St.Peter’s XI of the Pontifical Council for Culture, the team from the Vatican were guests of the Mount Cricket Club following a reciprocal visit by the Mount CC to Rome for a game last Autumn.

The welcoming event took place on Friday 16 September and included a memorable and moving speech by Father Eammon O’Higgins followed by food being served after Friday prayers had been observed. The Vatican team is made up of catholic priests and the tour was designed to cut religious divides and build bridges.

At the welcoming event Yunus explained

It’s a huge privilege for us and we’re looking forward to having the Vatican team at the mosque, obviously with the faith perspective the request was made with them being in the locality that they wanted to observe Friday prayers, and what better opportunity than what we have today to showcase the positive side of community relations in Batley and in Yorkshire.

The Vatican Xl were in the UK to play two cricket games, one of which was a T20 match at the famous Headingley ground in Leeds, home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

This took place on Monday 19 September, and speaking before the game, Yunus explained the value of the tour:

Sport is a great leveller because you’ve got that competition aspect, but at the end of the day it teaches that mutual respect for your opponent and ‘may the best man win’, but you shake hands afterwards and shake hands before and you compete and then you’re friends again, and that’s an example we have to take into wider society and filter down.

Mount Cricket Club won a hard-fought game played in great sporting spirit, with the winning run coming off the penultimate ball of the game, and overall the match, visit and tour was deemed a great success and will be repeated.

Yunus was interviewed by BBC Radio Leeds on the day of the event – you can listen to the full interview here:

BBC Interview – Yunus Lunat

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