LBFN helped to organise an event at London Central Mosque last Friday to demonstrate unity in the wake of the Paris attacks.
Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain took the initiative, inviting senior figures including Vivian Wineman (President, Board of Deputies of British Jews), Rabbi Laura(Senior Rabbi, Movement for Reform Judaism), Commander Mak Chishty (MPS), Jehangir Sarosh (Religions for Peace), Dr Harriet Crabtree (Inter Faith Network for the UK) and Mehri Niknam (Joseph Interfaith Foundation).
Several LBFN members attended, including Bessie White (Hounslow Friends of Faith), John Woodhouse (Westminster Cathedral Interfaith Group) & Cate Tuitt, Justice & Peace Commissioner for the RC Archdiocese of Westminster, who shares her reflections here.
“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.”
The Home Secretary spoke today on government measures to end anti-Semitism.
The Metropolitan Police will be holding a joint meeting with LBFN’s crime and security social lab soon. Mosques, synagogues and others wanting to work together to improve safety are welcome – please get in touch if you are interested.
The next LBFN meeting on Tuesday 20 January will include local reflections on the Paris attacks.