REGIONAL NEWS: Christians, Jews and Muslims in Leeds to Stand Together against violence

Jonathan Clark, Rector at St George's Church

In the first event of its kind in Leeds, Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders will share a public platform not only to condemn violence in the name of their own religion but also, in an act of positive solidarity, to present such prejudice, bigotry and persecution through the eyes of one of the other faiths.

At a time when both Christians and Muslims are being attacked by members of the so-called Islamic State (IS or Daesh), Jews are being threatened and discriminated against in Europe and Israel, and Muslims are experiencing continual Islamophobia, members of these three religions in Leeds have jointly decided that enough is enough; it is time to say ‘no’ to violence in the name of religion and ‘yes’ to supporting one another as people of faith.

The Standing Together event will be held on 29 May at St. George’s Church and in a symbolic gesture around a hundred members of the three faith groups, together with their leaders, will stand shoulder to shoulder in an act of solidarity. They will discuss together what it means to be people of faith and will also examine why there is anti-religious sentiment in different parts of the world, including in Europe.

Commenting on the innovative aspect of the initiative, Canon Jonathan Clark, Rector of St George’s, said, “The event will be unusual because it will be a Christian who presents how members of the Jewish community see things, a rabbi who explains how Muslims feel and a Muslim who describes how Christians are being persecuted.

The organisers are very keen that there will be plenty of opportunity for people to talk and to listen to one another, to hear how each faith group feels under threat and how each is saying no to the violence that is seen in the news.”

Imam Qari Asim, Chief Imam at Makkah Mosque, said, “Now more than ever it is important that members of all faiths stand together, in particular members of the Abrahamic faiths who share the same forefather, to show their commitment to peace and co-existence.

In the interests of improving mutual relations and understanding, members of the Abrahamic faiths are coming together to demonstrate their shared passion against all forms of hatred towards one another.”

Rabbi Jason Kleiman of the Beth Hamidrash Hagadol synagogue commented on the discussions that will take place between members of the three faiths: “One of the things I’m looking forward to is chairing a small table discussion where members of the three faiths talk to one another about their beliefs and about their concerns. Listening to how others see things is vital if we are to develop greater understanding.”

If you would like to join in and Stand Together, please register your attendance at: http://www.stgs.org.uk/standingtogether 

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