Since 2004 we have visited a variety of faith places such as St Paul’s Cathedral, a Buddhist Vihara, Gurdwara’s, a Greek Orthodox Church, the West End Synagogue and Canterbury Cathedral as part of our culture and diversity celebrations. The aim of the Multifaith visits is to enhance people’s understanding of different cultures, faith and promoting better relationships of people of all faiths and no faiths. Throughout this blog I have added feedback that was collected from attendees at the end of the day.
I would respect people around me as we are all many bodies but one soul because we all belong to one true god no matter about religions, cultures or colour of our skin. We can avoid racism and other hate crimes if we put the basement right as spending more money on giving more basic rules and values for our children from a very young age.
On the 6th September this year we went to Shri Swaminarayan Mandir more popularly known as the Neasden Temple, we also visited the London Central Mosque next to Regents Park. We had a delegation of 30 people including the Deputy Mayor of Richmond Kate Howard, councillors, Police, council officers and key personnel from other voluntary organisations.
Increased my understanding of what genuine Islam is – will help me become more sensitive around hate crime to have non-Islamic views changed
Our first stop was Neasden Temple where we were welcomed by Mr Prakash Bhai and his team. They showed us a presentation on how the Temple was built and how the founder Pramukh Swami Maharaj the spiritual head of the Hindu Swaminarayan sect first had a vision of building it. This vision became a reality when he inaugurated the Temple on 20 August 1995.
My new knowledge of both faiths will help when dealing with constituents
We were given a tour of the Temple and also a walkthrough of their ongoing Hindu exhibition. We also had a wonderful experience of sitting with the congregation at worship. Afterwards all 30 members of our delegation enjoyed an excellent vegetarian lunch curtesy of the temple.
I have a better understanding about the fundamental commonalities of the different faiths and about common humanity. I will try to counter bigotry and prejudice where and when I find it – one person at a time
At 2.15 we arrived at the London Central Mosque where we were greeted by Saddique Teluqdar and Dr Al Haj Mata Darmmeh and other members of the Mosque.
They explained that Islam was a Religion of Peace and a way of life. They also explained it showed how to live all aspects of day to day living in the best possible way and what the 5 pillars of Islam were. This was followed by enjoyable refreshments, a tour of the Mosque, Prayer Area and Library.
Excellent day out, improved my understanding of alternative faiths
Our multifaith visits are really interesting as they are informative but they are primarily about helping others to understand and appreciate other cultures. The United Kingdom has a very diverse mix of people so understanding its inhabitants helps us to be tolerant about other people’s ways of worshiping and living. From an architectural point of view both sites are magnificent as you will see from the photos and worth a visit for this alone. You will, however, benefit from learning about some of the religious customs of Hinduism and Islam. For more information please visit their websites.