A London Borough Faiths Network event held at London Central Mosque on 16th January promoted unity in the wake of the attacks in Paris. Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, and Vivian Wineman, President, Board of Deputies of British Jews, were among the attendees.
Cate Tuitt, from Westminster Justice & Peace, reflects on the event:
Expressions of unity and hope were delivered in a meeting called by Dr Shafi & attended by Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies.
Commitments and dedications were expressed by all faith leaders and community advocates. A calling to be more motivated and engaged following the tragedy in Paris were made by the assembled dignitaries.
Shalom Salaam was the offered greeting to reflect the Jewish and Muslim days of worship, united in their grief for the loss of life of Jewish, Muslim and secular brothers and sisters.
Catriona of LBFN recalled visiting the Jewish Museum in Brussels after the shootings last summer, saying how important it is for Jews to be able to be Jews, for Muslims to be Muslims and for everyone to be who they are. She reflected on the passage from the Qur’an chosen by Sheikh Khalifa (49:13) on living well together while remaining different. She welcomed strong leadership as well as essential grassroots work.
Sorrow was balanced with the courage and dignity to continue to work tirelessly in support of one another, our faith communities and beyond to overcome those who try to divide our unity and peace.
Dr Shafi said this was a time for unity and engagement. He expressed sadness at the recent backlashes against Muslims.
Vivian Wineman reminded us of the wonderful religions of peace and love, the common bonds they hold and of the need to protect both Islam and Judaism as minorities in Europe.
The overall consensus was that we must not fall prey to what terrorism wants by reacting in a hostile manner to those of different traditions.
We must reinvigorate our efforts, build confidence and raise trust in renewed covenants for peace.
More information can be found on the LBFN website.