Embracing Inter Faith Week at CLCH - Layla's Story

Published: 13th November 2023

From 12-19 November, CLCH joins the nation in celebrating Inter Faith Week, fostering understanding and unity among our diverse staff.

In last year’s Staff Survey, 72% of staff identified with a religion, ranging from Christianity to Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, as well as other varied faiths that may not be defined by a familiar label. When we use the words ‘faith’ and ‘belief’, we refer to belief in a religion and beyond, encompassing faith in ideas, philosophies, and spirituality.

Inter Faith Week is a unique opportunity for individuals to engage in interfaith encounters, breaking down barriers and creating connections. This celebration highlights the valuable contributions of different faith communities to our workplace and society at large. We also have a Faith and Belief (FAB) Network for staff, which is open for all to join and engage with faith year-round.

We are using this week to reflect, share stories, and celebrate the diversity that makes CLCH a rich blend of beliefs and perspectives.

Here's to a week of unity, understanding, and celebration.

Layla's Story

We sat down with Layla Begum, to talk about life, work and faith.

Layla has been a part of the Trust for over 10 years, starting as an Admin Team Lead in 2012. Layla's dedication led her to win the Emerging Leaders Award at the 2014 CLCH Staff Awards. Currently, Layla holds the role of Business Planning Manager.

Beyond CLCH, Layla is pursuing a Leadership Coaching course and has been a life coach and mentor outside of work. Recently, she co-authored a book featuring 22 women in leadership, set to release in 2024.

Speaking about her faith, Layla said: “Islam is about having belief in a Creator/God and worshiping through a spiritual connection. It guides me to achieve balance, peace, and kindness in both personal and professional life. My faith impacts my daily life by serving as a path of submission to the Creator (Allah), making me a Muslim believer who strives to be honest and self-aware in my actions.

“My faith is integrated into my character, accountability, and lifestyle approach. It motivates and empowers me to be kind, compassionate, and empathetic, aligning well with the service-oriented ethos of the NHS and CLCH.

“I use the wellness room at work as a space to pray, and during fasting times, my colleagues show respect by refraining from eating in front of me even though I never asked that of them; it’s nice they recognise that fasting is important to me. I also appreciate the flexible working arrangements during Ramadan, although I ensure that fasting doesn't impact my productivity at work. I like to stay productive, then come home looking forward to food and drink.

“One thing I'd like people to know about my faith is that a Muslim woman, after marriage, is not required to take her husband’s surname; she is known by her father’s lineage. Additionally, I want to emphasize that God answers the prayers of non-Muslims too, provided the request is made in good faith and with positive intention.

“For me, Islam is not just a set of beliefs but a lifestyle and a responsibility that guides me to be kind, compassionate, and empathetic in all aspects of life.”

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