London Interfaith Iftar with London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Sheik Ghassan Manasra of the Abrahamic Reunion at the Catholic Archbishop’s House in London.
This was one of the rare early summer evenings in London that seem to last forever. I could not think of a better way to spend it than to go with Sheik Ghassan Manasra to an event that was in its own way as brilliant as the evening. We had been invited as special guests to an interfaith Iftar event hosted by His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols at the Catholic Archbishop’s House. The evening was sponsored by the Naz Legacy Foundation and attended by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan and Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.
We arrived just in time for the introduction of Sadiq Khan, whose remarks were funny, topical and inspiring. They were particularly aimed at the 100 young people (aged 18-30 years old, the average age was 23!), representing all 32 boroughs of London, from all faiths and none. After the remarks, the young people broke up into groups to discuss ‘how they best thought they could bring faith and non-faith communities together in London for the betterment of all our communities.’ This was a great chance for us to mingle and listen to the many yet harmonious voices of young Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Bahias, Buddhists, Sikhs, and those of no particular faith.
Sheik Ghassan gently introduced the Abrahamic Reunion to everyone he met, and the reception was always enthusiastic. I also went from table to table to listen and talk about the AR. My favourite reaction was from a young woman who said:
“What a wonderful idea. Too often religion is blamed for conflict, and here is an example of true religion bringing peace.”
The setting was beautiful, the throne room of the Edwardian residence of the Catholic Archdiocese. Being in that setting reminded me of my Catholic upbringing. I remembered the excitement of the first interfaith events, which in Wisconsin were between the Catholics and the Lutherans. Listening to the young people of so many different faiths explore ways to bring people together was a great lesson in how far we’ve come and how bright the future looks.
Michael Macy. Abrahamic Reunion England
“If we live in our oneness-heart, we will feel the essence of all religions which is the love of God. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion.”
– Sri Chinmoy