(AhlulBayt News Agency) - A mosque in Romford Road, Forest Gate, England hosted a Jewish student exchange in an attempt to establish an interfaith dialogue.
Minhaj-ul-Qur’an Mosque welcomed Jews from Wimbledon and District Synagogue in what Muslims hailed as a “historic interaction” for worshippers.
The mosque’s community liaison officer Asif Shakoor said the exploration of similarities in the traditions made for a fantastic step toward community cohesion.
“The visit was fantastic and potentially interesting for members of the mosque and the synagogue to come together in unity and peace,” he said. “It is unprecedented in the mosque’s interfaith work and history for members of our Jewish community to visit the mosque in such a vast number.
“It is potentially the first time the mosque has hosted students of a synagogue for a visit.”
Visitors from the synagogue in west London compared the writings of the Jewish Talmud and Muslim Qur’an. Young worshippers from the mosque welcomed Jewish students to join them in a “meal for peace.”
They were also invited to examine the Arabic writing on the wall and discussed the meaning of the Qur’anic quotation “verily God and his angels send salutations upon his Prophet”.
The visit also emphasized similarities in worship practice, such as the fact that both the mosque and synagogue prohibit pictures on the walls.
The mosque’s interfaith and communities’ secretary Rafiq Patel was keen to stress that the visit on Sunday, should serve as an example that the mosque was open to all faiths and communities.
He said the most important thing about the visit was its promotion of peace. “Anyone of any denomination can come into the mosque,” he said. “Muslims and the Qur’an speak about integral peace for humanity and the connection between Jewish, Sikh, Hindu and Christian leaders.
“We hope to build on this and take similar steps to exchange thoughts and ideas when students from the mosque will visit the Wimbledon and District Synagogue.
“We thank them for visiting us and greatly look forward to visiting the synagogue.”
Before the visitors left, Muslims and Jews exchanged gifts, with Minhaj-ul-Qur’an members handing out copies of the Qur’an as well as other books on Islamic theology.