Local imams and clergy express hope of 'mutual understanding'

Date published: 12 December 2015

As Christians prepare to celebrate the birthday of Jesus, this year, at the same time, Muslims will be celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in a feast known as Milaad un Nabi.

On Christmas Eve there will be a huge procession to celebrate Milaad un Nabi, starting at Foxholes Road and ending at the Bilal Mosque on Bulwer street. All are welcome to take part.

On the same day, and on Christmas Day, Christians will gather to welcome the birth of Jesus Christ with services across the borough. Many churches will hold services on the evening of Christmas Eve, or at midnight to begin the celebration of Jesus’ birth and then on Christmas Day.

The spirit of care and compassion unites many Muslims and Christians. At St Chad's Church in Rochdale on Christmas Eve there will be a banquet for the homeless, with food provided by a Muslim family.

A group of Christian Ministers and Muslim Imams have been meeting recently in our borough with the aim of fostering greater understanding as well as trying to develop some joint action projects.

Imam Irfan Chishti and Imam Mohammed Shabbir Sialvi said: “At the same time as Christians are celebrating the birthday of Jesus (peace be upon him) we Muslims are celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him).

“Surely at this special time of year for all of us, we should all pray for peace in our world, in communities, in our families and our hearts.”

Rev Mark Coleman and Father Paul Daly said: “As we gather to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace we take heart that our Muslim brothers and sisters share in our joy, as we share in theirs.”

The Imams and Clergy jointly expressed the hope that ‘in 2016 the faith communities of our Borough may grow in mutual understanding, in common witness to the love and mercy of God, and in promoting peace and goodwill.’

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