Bishop of Burnley shares Christmas tea with local Muslim leaders
The Rt Rev. Philip North invited around 50 Imams and community leaders but due to two funerals taking place simultaneously in the community many sent their apologies.
The Bishop said: "Throughout the year I get invited to wonderful gatherings by my Muslim friends in the community and am always amazed by their hospitality, especially during Ramadan when I hardly cook as I got invited almost every night, when they break fasts, for me they were rather fabulous feasts.
"Therefore, it's only right and lovely to share Christmas hospitality with my friends in the Muslim community in Burnley in my house. There is much more that unites Christian and Muslims than divides us.
"In Christmas we see many of the similarities, shared love of the Book, texts, revelations and many of the aspects that hold us together that are common between us. It's also a time of hospitality for Christians to throw the doors open and invite friends. I am pleased they came and we shared company and food together."
Imam Hashmi said: "It was an honour for us to have been invited by the Bishop in his house. We share religions of peace and humanity and believe in the message of peace. Our creator is merciful to those who are merciful to mankind."
Coun. Charlie Briggs, the leader of Burnley Borough Council, said: "It's fantastic to be here together, we are one human family and we must keep it that way."
Community leader and Director of Building Bridges in Burnley, Mozaquir Ali said: "The joy the Christmas celebration brings connects us all in ways that no other festival does. As always it's so nice to have been invited by the Bishop and for me an honour to be of service to get everyone together.
"We had a fantastic time with the Bishop and his family. Our thanks to the Bishop for the hospitality and wish him, his family and every Christian a very happy Christmas."