BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha hosted an online discussion with leaders of various community faith groups on Sunday 15 November 2020 as part of its ongoing commitment to interfaith harmony and its participation in the annual National Inter Faith Week in the UK.
The event was attended by Cllr Muhammed Butt (Leader of the Brent Council), Iman Abdullah Salloo (Chairman of the Brent Multi Faith Forum), Manhar Mehta (Chairman of the Vanik Council), Narinder Singh Mudhar (Secretary of the Brent Sikh Centre), Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith (Mosaic Liberal Synagogue and Member of the International Advisory Committee of EcoPeace-Middle East), Sister Ann Stirzaker (Chesterfield Centre of the Brahma Kumaris), Reverend Ali Taylor (The Parish of St James, Alperton), Nitin Palan and Smita Oza (BAPS interfaith volunteers and hosts for the event) and Kirit Wadia (Deputy Chair of the Brent Multi Faith Forum).
The open discussion focused on the value of kindness and its universality across various faiths and cultures. Speakers shared experiences from their work during the current Covid-19 pandemic and its basis in their respective scriptures. The inspiring exchanges revealed a common goodness among all faiths in serving fellow humans, especially in times of need.
Cllr Muhammed Butt appreciated how well “faith groups are helping and serving the community in their times of need”. Kirit Wadia added, “The dialogue with leaders of various faiths was energising and a valuable learning experience. By having these discussions, we can share best practices to improve the way in which we can help our communities and further our shared goal and collective responsibility of serving society.”
Interfaith events are an integral component of BAPS’s activities in the UK and Europe. In 2019, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as Neasden Temple – hosted a Multi-Faith Dementia Awareness Conference
and an Interfaith Community Workshop
. Other recent events include the Interfaith Armistice Day Remembrance Ceremony
held at the Mandir in November 2018, while volunteers and worshippers from the Mandir joined community leaders and residents of various faiths to participate in a Peace Walk
in September 2018. Children from the Mandir were also invited to perform at the Interfaith Music Festival
at The British Museum in March 2018.