Interfaith dialogue is essentialfor a peaceful society

Speakers talks on the occasion of Iftar dinner organised by “Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust” and “Hounslow Friends of Faith”

Report / Shamama Latif

Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust, while performing other humanitarian duties, is also continuing its efforts to create an atmosphere of mutual brotherhood and harmony among people of different religions, beliefs and viewpoints. In this regard, this organization organized an interfaith gathering as Iftar dinner together with “Hounslow Friend of Faith” in London, where people of all walks of life participated in full.
Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust believes that the inter-faith dialogue is vital both globally and in a multicultural society like the UK. It is more important because, Interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions (i.e., “faiths”) and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels. It is distinct from syncretism or alternative religion, in that dialogue often involves promoting understanding between different religions or beliefs to increase acceptance of others, rather than to synthesize new beliefs. According to chairman Al Mustafa welfare trust Abdulrazaq Sajid “Interreligious dialogue is a meeting of people of differing religions, in an atmosphere of freedom and openness, in order to listen to the other, to try to understand that person’s religion, and hopefully to seek possibilities of collaboration.

“Hounslow Friends of Faith” has also said in one of its declarations that, A Joint Interfaith Iftar was held at West Thames College organised by “Hounslow Friends of Faith” and the “Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust” Despite heavy rainfall about 45 people attended this event in Spring Grove House. This beautiful venue had been generously made available for the Iftar by West Thames College. Five Student Ambassadors from the college attended and assisted in welcoming and showing guests the way to the Music Room where the meeting took place. There was a strong media presence taking photos and filming the event.
Zubair Awan, Joint Secretary of Hounslow Jamia Masjid and the evening host welcomed each speaker and shared some of his reflections on the Ramadan fast month.
Charanjit Ajit Singh, Chair of Hounslow Friends of Faith, welcomed everyone on behalf of HFOF and spoke about HFOF. She joked that the Iftar meal to be served was probably unique being the vegan one in the country.

The dignitaries present: The Mayor, Cllr Raghwinder Siddhu, the Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Shantanu Rajawat and MP Seema Malhotra each shared greetings and words of support for interfaith activities and reflections on the diversity of Hounslow and the Ramadan fast month.
Michael Michaelides, Executive Director of Resources and Student Experience at West Thames College spoke about the benefits of the college being such a diverse community with over 100 languages spoken. A short film was shown which had been produced by students from West Thames. In the film, three local places of worship: St John the Baptist Church of England, Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha and the Hounslow Jamia Masjid were visited, and leaders and members were interviewed. Charanjit Ajit Singh, a governor of the college, facilitated the making of this film.
Rizwan Latif, Islamic Scholar and Founder Trustee of Al-Mustafa Welfare Trust spoke about Ramadan and reflected among other things that the Ramadan lights in Oxford Street give a sense of inclusive community. She shared a story about St Yunus which demonstrated God the Creator’s love, care and respect for all humans whether they had faith or not. Sadaf Javed, Managing Director gave a brief outline of the extensive work of the Trust in 22 countries. There is eye screening and eye surgery, support for the homeless, and Care Homes, prisons and hospitals. Aid is given to people in disaster areas for example after the recent earthquake in Turkey. A short but comprehensive film was shown about the Trust. Those present were reminded that the Trust is locally based in Hounslow High Street. Those who are donors have the possibility of visiting projects. At the of the ceremony, Shamama Lateef, Trustee and Director of Al-Mustafa Trust, gave a vote of thanks to all the speakers and those attending.

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