Burnley and Pendle Friends League hold multi-faith Christmas event and prayer for peace in Gaza

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Burnley and Pendle Friends League held a multi-faith Christmas get together with prayers for peace.

Held at the Ambulance Hall, Oak Street, the gathering assembled people of different races, religions and denominations – Muslims and Christian, both of Asian and English heritage.

Mozaquir Ali, general secretary, said: “It was paramount for community cohesion in the light of the violent conflict in the Holy Land which is both heartbreaking and disturbing for all. A minute’s silence was observed for the dead and injured.

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“Speakers spoke passionately about the situation where destruction is taking place on a daily basis. Seeing the horrific destruction and loss of innocent lives is making people full of grief, sorrow and sadness and anger too for not being able to do anything to stop it. The psychological and emotional damage is impacting heavily on people.

Burnley and Pendle Friends League held a multi-faith Christmas eventBurnley and Pendle Friends League held a multi-faith Christmas event
Burnley and Pendle Friends League held a multi-faith Christmas event

“Inter faith groups like Building Bridges Burnley and Pendle as well as other organisations, together with mosques and churches, are working hard to maintain peace, stability and harmony in our communities in these difficult times.”

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Closing prayers were led Moulana Fazal, chaplain at East Lancashire NHS Trust, and Bishop Philip North with an excellent summation bring the gathering to a close with a prayer.

The Bishop of Blackburn the Rt Rev. Philip North said: “We were deeply united for peace and a shared commitment for peace and keeping the people of Gaza very much in our prayers. There’s something about the warmth of the evening and quality of relationship and friendship is something for the world about how people of different backgrounds and faiths can hold together in love.”

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Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “It was a brilliant event which brought Muslims and Christian communities together in order to pray for peace.”

Mr Ali added: “It was a pleasure to invite everyone and preside over such an exceptional gathering of people of faiths, and with the deaths and destruction in the Holy Land, there is no peace in our heart, our mind, our home, our community, our country and our world.

“Hence it is peace that is much desired and needed in the current state of affairs. We at BPFL felt it was important and more appropriate to assemble together as people of faiths in empathy, unity, solidarity and friendship to demonstrate publicly that we are all united against all forms of violence, oppression, extremism and all forms of evil.

“We shared our views, had conversations with one another and prayed together for peace in our hearts, our homes, our families, our communities, our countries and our world.”

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Guest speakers included the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev. Philip North, Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, deputy Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Pratt, Mayor of Burnley Coun. Mohammed Arif Khan, Deputy Mayor of Pendle Coun. Mohammed Aslam, Moulana Hafiz Arshad, Imam Ibrahim Masjid Burnley, Coun. Syed Misbah Kazmi, Bea Foster, Women for Peace, Moulana Javad Nasrullah, Imam Masjid Ibrahim Burnley, Father Andrew Holmes St Peter’s Church Burnley, Father Tony Graff Methodist Church Circuit Burnley, Ted Bearup, The Mission Nelson, former Burnley MP Coun. Gordon Birttwistle, and the Rev. Munawar Din.