Friday, 6 April 2012

Muslim-Christian Prayer at BMCC

A nice example of Inter-Faith understanding just after Friday prayers today at Bobbers Mill Community Centre/Mosque when a group representing a number of local churches stopped by on their traditional Good Friday walk. The Imam of the Mosque, Dr Musharraf Hussein, and one of the organisers of the walk, Rev Graham Burton jointly read out the following prayer outside the centre:

"Once again on this day called by Christians "Good Friday" we, Muslims and Christians of this local area meet to share prayer together.

We begin as we have done in previous years by affirming that we live as fellow human beings on this planet earth, but because of human greed this earth created and sustained by God is seriously under threat from Climate Change. We pray for governments, businesses and ourselves that together we might undergo a radical change of hearts and minds and live according to the will and guidance of our creator.

We also affirm our common humanity with all peoples of the earth, remembering especially people suffering in Pakistan, both Christian and Muslim, especially those still displaced and suffering because of the devastating floods and earthquakes of recent years. We pray for those oppressed because of poverty and religious persecution and all vulnerable young people.

We pray for those suffering innocently because of war in Afghanistan. We seek an end to religious persecution in Iraq. We remember the continent of Africa and desire peace between Muslim and Christian.

We affirm that we are neighbours who share this city and local community. We remember the children, the elderly, the disabled and the marginalised, the sick in body and mind, refugees and asylum seekers and all who are vulnerable among us.

We remember and pray for all those working with the Christian-Muslim Forum. We ask that this body might grow in maturity and that its leaders may find strength an courage, wisdon and understanding. We pray for all our country's religious leaders that they may be good examples to others.

In closing we affirm our common committment to care for God's earther and our desire to strengthen our relationships with each other and with all people of faith and goodwill"


UPDATE : 9th April 2012
One thing (some might say "one thing among many") that frustrates BFTF is that many organisations (certainly not just Muslim ones) put a lot of effort into organising events that may be attended by just a few dozen people and then put zero effort into writing even a short report of the key points and then posting it up on the Internet - this denying the possibly hundreds of people who might be interested in what went on any way of easily finding out the key message of the event. Indeed, it was in an effort to provide such a record that BFTF wrote the post you are now reading and then put links to it on various social media.

As if to prove BFTF's point, the following contacts resulted from this effort: i) Someone made the, very reasonable comment that they could not undersand how BMCC was a community centre when it was focussed on the Muslim community and not the other communities in the area. To this, BFTF was able to respond:
"Whilst I do not work at BMCC (and cannot speak on their behalf), I am a volunteer there, and can perhaps provide responses from my own perspective. . . The centre is not council funded. All core funding comes from donations from the Muslim community. So whilst you are correct that the centre does have a Muslim focus, that is perhaps not a surprise given who is paying for it.. . . I can assure you that you would be welcome there. . . and I am sure that the centre would be keen to have a greater involvement from the wider community. Indeed the centre has held a number of open days in recent years to this end. . . "
which seemed to be well received.

ii) A call was received from BBC Radio Nottingham asking if BFTF could talk about the event on the station. The resulting short item (Dhamaka Show with Kaval Vaseer. 8th April ~8.35pm) went as follows, more or less:
Kavil : On Friday a group of people representing local churches made a pit-stop at Bobbers Mill Community Centre on the traditional Good Friday walk. A local Imam and Christian Priest stood together and read a prayer as a sign of two faiths coming together. . . [Ash]was there and says more demonstrations of faith integration in Nottingham needs to be seen- a very good evening to you Ash, joining me now. Tell us Ash how things happened on Friday.

Ash: What happened essentially was that this is an annual event that churches have had for a few years now and after the Friday Prayers the Imam said “Whoever can, stay behind, and encouraged the congregation, several hundred people to step out after the prayers and join in this Prayer with the local churches. A small group of people had come bearing a cross and I think had stopped in a number of locations. The Imam and Rev Burton joined together, said a few lines each alternately in quite a moving prayer really.

Kavil: Now Easter, Ash, is a Christian celebration as we all know. What made you want to take part in this small prayer that took place on Friday?

Ash : You are quite right, of course, Easter is a Christian celebration but the prayer was worded in very much a common ground kinda way and anybody really with a heart and with some conscience could take part. It it always good, I think, to take any opportunity you can to build bridges with other organisations and other parts of the community.

Kavil : And this was very much a sign, isn’t it Ash of two faiths coming together. But does that really happen a lot in Nottingham or does it only happen around Easter and perhaps Christmas time?

Ash: There is actually quite a lot of events that happen. I know that Bobbers Mill is part of an organisation in that area that includes a Sikh Gurdwara and a church or two that holds a number of events throughout the year, some of them very, very interesting. One they had with Initiatives of Change and Rob Corcoran talking about community cohesion, so there is a lot going on but perhaps what doesn’t happen is that it doesn’t get the publicity outside of the people who attend the events.

Kavil : And what more can be done to integrate communities from different faiths in the city?

Ash: I’m not sure I dare comment on what needs to be done to integrate different communities, but what I can say is that it is always good to stick to specific things that are easily achievable and targeted. Certainly what a lot of communities need to think about is how they can make sure that the good work they put into hosting events and building bridges with the leaders, the “top end” of communities, how they can really make sure that message gets out to the rank and file because that is really where the pay-off comes, I guess, when you get the message out to the thousands of people who are the core of the communities.

Kavil : Do you think that an Inter-Faith Website perhaps comes to mind is required for the people of Nottingham?

Ash : Nottingham has, of course, the Inter Faith Council, who do a lot of good work an they try very hard. But communities, of course, are sometimes focussed on what they perceive as the need in terms of their own community - and are unable, sometimes to give as much time to the wider view, the wider common ground. But I have to say again, we have the Nottingham Inter Faith Council who do a lot of good work. In particular, they do a lot of training with organisations like the Fire Brigade, the Council, just giving people an introduction to the different faiths so people can become aware really, in a sensible way, not being dogmatic or overly politically correct but really being quite sensible about it.

Kavil, Ash. . . very many thanks for coming and talking with us about the events that took place on Friday here in Nottingham. Thank you very much indeed Ash.

Ash : Ok Byebye
To give a bit of perspective, the above item lasted 4min24sec so you can see what can be fit into this relatively short time slot. This radio interview was a really interesting learning experience for BFTF, with the following "lessons learned" being points that people in a similar positiion may wish to bear in mind:

i) Make notes of key points, names etc BEFORE you go on air.
ii) Relax, speak slowly and clearly.(BFTF always seems to fail at this one)
iii) If you don't like the question (or feel it is unfair) say so or put caveats in at the beginning of your answer. Don't feel you need to have words put in your mouth.
iv) If you are going to make a point, make sure that it would stand up to argument.

Muslim-Christian Good Friday prayer at BMCC 18th April 2014
This year the inter-faith prayer was led by Dr Musharraf Hussein (from BMCC) as well as Rev Clive Burrows and Rev Graham Burton (both from St Stephens Church .

The text of the prayer they collectively read to the impropmtu "congregation" of church goers and people coming out from Friday prayers at BMCC was as follows:

Once again on this day called by Christains "Good Friday" we, Muslim and Christians of the local area, meet to share prayer together.

We begin as we have done in previous years by affirming that we live as fellow human beings on this palnet earth, but because of human greed this earth created and sustained by God is seriously under threat from climate change.

We pray for governments, businesses and ourselves that together we might undergo a radical change of heart and mind and live according to the will and guidance of our creator.

We also affirm our common humanity with all peoples of the earth, remembering especially people suffering in Pakistan, both Christain and Muslim, especially those who were killed and injured in the recent bombing on the outskirts of Islamabad. We pray for those oppressed because of poverty and religious persecution and all vulnerable people.

We pray for those suffering innocently because of conflict in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Nigeria. We seek an end to religious persecution and desire peace between Muslims and Christian.

We affirm that we are neighbours who share this city and local community. We remember the children, older people, the disabled and the marginalised, the sick in body and mind, refugees and asylum seekers and all who are vulnerable amongst us.

We remember and pray for all those working with the national Christian/Muslim Forum. We ask that this body might grow in maturity and that its leaders may find strength and courage, wisdom and understanding.

In closing we affirm our common committment to care for God's earth and our desire to strengthen our relationship with each other and with all people of faith and goodwill.

Ameen / Amen


Related link at the MuslimChristianForum here.

Dr Musharraf Hussein, Rev Clive Burrows and Rev Graham Burton (centre three, l-r)
reading the inter-faith prayer on Good Friday 2014

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2 comments:

  1. Very happy to read about the progress this has made mashaa Allah; best thing about social media is that it is a lot easier now to re-post to spread the word. I was impressed to see the event mentioned on the Christian Muslim Forum FB site, and I know that A LOT of people subscribe to this, it being a national organisation. Well done!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. astagfarullah

    ReplyDelete