MP for Ealing Central and Acton Dr Rupa Huq organised the first inter-faith meeting for faith leaders in the constituency at Parliament. The meeting was well-attended by members of various faith groups and aimed to strengthen community links and facilitate networking and cohesion between religious groups facing similar challenges.
Rabbi Burden from Ealing liberal Synagogue began discussions on the evening with thoughts on the controversy between religion and politics. Other panellists included Rev Henderson from St Martin’s Church who spoke about faith in a secular society, Ayesha Ahmed from the West London Islamic Centre and Mosque provided a youth perspective on the importance of inter-faith work in a post-Brexit Britain and Mr Joganathan from Ealing Hindu Temple concluding with the message of social cohesion amongst faiths.
Rupa reflected on the event saying “Ealing has always been celebrated for its multicultural diversity but this is the first time an event like this has taken place. We invited over 30 religious groups and there was a surprising degree of unanimity. Let’s hope this is not the final full stop but the beginning of a process, holding events regularly in different places of worship. I’m reminded of my late friend and colleague Jo Cox who said ‘We have far more in common than that which divides us’”.
Rabbi Janet Burden welcomed the first inter-faith event “It was wonderful to visit the Houses of Parliament with Dr. Rupa Huq MP and to meet people from across the religious spectrum in our area. I very much welcome this initiative, as I believe that creating a centralised forum for the local faith communities would increase community cohesion without erasing our differences, enabling us to meet on terms of mutual respect and shared goals.”
A sentiment echoed by of Rev'd Dr Nicholas Handerson of West Acton's St Martin's Church "The event event held on Monday 29th January in one of the committee rooms in the Houses of Parliament was remarkable. A gathering of faith leaders and groups from the Borough of Ealing and surrounding areas met to discuss their common concerns in a post-Brexit world. The degree of unanimity expressed about the need for a collective response in a much troubled environment that has seen an unprecedented rise in hate crime and unrest demands a faith response. The sharing of stories and experience was a highlight of the meeting as was the determination to meet again as a group. Faith groups themselves are often targets and it is essential that we reach out to the wider community as a way of reconciliation. I was greatly encouraged that there is so much good will in a common purpose across so many traditional boundaries and groups."