First military Sikh and Muslim chaplains for British Royal Air Force

Flight Lieutenant Mandeep Kaur graduated as Sikh Chaplain Reverend after completing basic training at the RAF College Cranwell

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GRADUATES: (L-R) Reverend Flight Lieutenants J Mbayo BA, C J Harrison BSc, Mandeep Kaur MEng BEng, A D Omar BA Shariah MA PGCE, and P A Johnson MA BA FIBMS graduated as RAF Chaplains this week following basic training at the RAF College Cranwell – Photo: RAF

In a first for the Royal Air Force and the British military, a Sikh Chaplain and Muslim Padre graduated as RAF Chaplains this week following basic training at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.

Sikh Chaplain Reverend (Flight Lieutenant) Mandeep Kaur and Muslim Padre Chaplain (Flight Lieutenant) Ali Omar were two out of a total five chaplains to graduate alongside one hundred and forty other Officer Cadets commissioning into a variety of branches following Regular and Reserve Officer training, reports RAF News.

“My role in the RAF as a flagbearer of the Muslim Chaplaincy will see me work with the RAF Chaplaincy branch to negotiate and establish the place of World Faith Chaplaincy within the RAF. An overdue and exciting venture that will see me work side by side as a commissioned Muslim chaplain along colleagues from different faith. I am not sure of my posting at this stage,” said Ali.

In the report, The RAF Chaplain-In-Chief Venerable (Air-Vice Marshal) John Ellis said: “It has been a wonderful joy to welcome five new Chaplains today, representing the diversity of British society into the Royal Air Force Chaplains’ Branch and to celebrate with them and their families. It has been an absolute privilege to welcome our first Sikh and Muslim commissioned Chaplains into the Royal Air Force and I look forward immensely to working with them into the future.”

The Chaplains were marched onto the parade square in front of VIP guests, including the Chaplain-In-Chief, the Venerable (Air-Vice Marshal) John Ellis, as well as their families and friends. They stood on parade alongside their fellow Officer Cadets to be inspected by the two-star rank Reviewing Officer, Air-Vice Marshal Bruce Hedley.

Following the graduation from RAF College Cranwell, the report added that they will assume the pastoral role and duties of an RAF Chaplain and a commissioned Officer.

This will lead them onto providing spiritual, pastoral and ethical support to RAF personnel wherever they go, including deployed Operations.

See original report, entitled ‘First Military Sikh Chaplain and Muslim Padre Graduate from Officer Training’, here.

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