Monday, 19 June 2017

Breaking bread together

Thirty Uniting Church and Muslim community members came together in friendship at the first Iftar dinner hosted by the Queensland Synod.

Held at the Uniting Church Centre in Auchenflower on Sunday 18 June, the Iftar Dinner provided an opportunity for religious leaders from both communities to share stories and get to know one another.

The Iftar meal is the daily breaking of the fast for Muslims during Ramadan.

Queensland Synod Moderator Rev. David Baker fasted for the day in solidarity with his Muslim guests. He said personal encounters between people of different faiths opened the way to a more harmonious community.

“We all need to sit down and have a cup of tea together and hear each other’s stories and understand each other’s lives,” said Rev. Baker.

“When we do that we will have a richer, deeper community and life together in Australia.”

David Baker

Imam Uzair Akbar from Holland Park Mosque said he was warmly welcomed by Uniting Church members at the dinner.

“I felt like I was at home. There was a sense of being one big family,” he said.

“This will not be the first and last Iftar dinner together but one of many more to come.”

Rev. Heather Griffin from the QLD Synod Interfaith Relationships Committee said the gathering provided an opportunity for Uniting Church members to build relationships with Muslim leaders in their local communities.

“It was wonderful to see religious leaders coming together to share in the commonality of our journey.  The conversations were deep and fruitful and the mutual love of God so evident,” said Heather.

After a recitation of the Qu’ran, the call to prayer broke the fast and guests shared a meal of Afghan food.

Rev. Baker spoke about some of the Christian practices observed during Lent and Easter and there was a Question and Answer time with Imam Uzair Akbar and Ali Kadri from Holland Park Mosque.

Imam Akbar said he received many interesting questions and welcomed the opportunity to offer an insight into his religion.

This was the third Iftar Dinner hosted or co-hosted by the Uniting Church in 2017 with meals also taking place in Sydney and Melbourne. 

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