Watford Bridge of Peace

Interfaith Dialogue at Riaz’ House

After the event in London of the 7th July bombing in 2005, there was a real need to answer questions and clarify the relationship between these terrorist attacks and Islam. We met Mr Riaz Hussain from Muslim Action Forum, an educational organisation which gives talks in schools and organise exhibitions in order to give the opportunity for people to understand about the Islamic faith.

Riaz pointed out that those callous attacks on trains and buses in London on July 7th affected people of all faiths and walks of life and this sort of action cannot succeed in alienating and dividing our communities. Riaz emphasized the importance of interfaith dialogue, reaching out, meeting each other and realising our common humanity.

Riaz offered to meet us and answer our questions. The ladies of the Watford Bridge of Peace, some of their husbands and members from different churches around Watford joined us in those open group discussions. We started to meet at Riaz’ house basically every 3 months on Sunday afternoon. Our first meetings were more focused on trying to understand why young people were attracted to join terrorist groups and commit such atrocities? What are the connection between terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism and the Islamic faith? With time, we came to consider more the situation in the Middle East with the Palestinian and Israeli situation. Riaz suggested we get involved in a multifaith project to support the farmers in Palestine by selling Zayton olive oil.

Concerned about keeping the meeting as impartial as possible, we made all effort to invite Jewish representatives to join our group discussion. Eventually some Rabbis and Jewish people joined us in the conversation. We then focused our meetings on topics such as: Prophets, Prayer, benefits of Fasting, Pilgrimage, Charity, the role of women and more, each time looking at the perspectives of the 3 Abrahamic faith on those topics. We find out what a great amount of similarities there was between the 3 faiths, so much more than differences!

We met regularly for approximately 4 years. It was a very fruitful and eye-opening meetings for all of us.

2005 to 2009

To go to "The Role and Perception of Women in the 3 Abrahamic Faiths" page: Click here.

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