Not In Our Name

Not In Our Name – Enfield Safer and Stronger Communities Programme

Faith Matters played a role in the Enfield Bengla Mela festivities in Ponders End and we provided added value acts in two specific areas. These are listed in more detail below suffice as to say that the two acts were specific and in line with the proposals that we had lodged for 09/10. The following acts were therefore sponsored by Faith Matters:

  • Silk Roads Interfaith Band: The band comprised of a Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist musician and they played Sufi Muslim and Ladino Spanish Jewish music. The music was also a fusion of the two and had strong Turkic themes intertwined with the music. The Group promoted the fact that the heritages of these various faiths and cultures were intertwined and it also provided attendees with a chance to celebrate the importance of interfaith and intercultural fusions. It fits into the theme of promoting pride within faith and more specifically for Muslim communities and also provided a unique perspective to the day.
  • Imam Abduljalil Sajid and Rabbi Herschel Gluck: Imam Sajid was previously the Founder of 11 mosques in the South East region and was also previously the Imam of the East London mosque. One of the leading lights of interfaith work which he started in the 1970’s, he spoke about the need for Muslims to understand that the faith is based on principles of social justice, the need to protect and support life and the need to feel a part of the country and society in which they find themselves.

    Imam Sajid also spoke in Bengali since he studied at the University of Dhaka even though he is Pakistani by birth. He also underscored the need for Muslims to reach out and be ambassadors of Islam. Within that ambassadorial role he stressed the need to listen and to use dialogue to get people to understand and overcome potential stereotypes and barriers that they may have against Islam and Muslims. Finally, he underscored the history of Islam through the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), whereupon he talked about how the Prophet made alliances and forgave the many transgressions that took place against him. Forgiveness and engagement were therefore themes that he underscored.

    Rabbi Herschel Gluck spoke about the work that he does at the Chair of the Muslim and Jewish Forum covering the North and East London regions. Rabbi Gluck spoke about the commonality of Islam and Judaism and that the history of both faiths have been linked whether through worship of the same prophets or whether through similar forms of worship or through the history of Spain, Bosnia and Turkey for example, where Muslims and Jews lived, interacted and worshipped in the same geographical space. Rabbi Gluck also spoke about how Jews took sanctuary in Turkey when they were expelled from Spain in 1492 and this is why Turkey still has about 25,000 Jews living within the country. He underscored the need for dialogue, for combating mutual stereotyping and ensuring that we all move beyond our personal comfort zones to understand the narrative ‘of the other.’

    Both acts therefore provided a wider perspective to the day and fitted the themes of both Prevent and cohesion.

    Faith Matters will now be looking to organise a major conference with a senior Muslim cleric for November 2009. This conference will also involve other faith communities and is set to attract key speakers from other regions within the UK.