The Most Rev Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church attended a meeting of the Interfaith Scotland Faith Leaders group at the Glasgow Central Mosque on 1 May.
Bishop Mark says “I felt compelled to attend this meeting, though I had other important items in my diary, compelled by the need to do all we can to end the cycle of hatred that increases every time another terrorist attack lays claim to a faith justification for their actions.
“I was very aware of the possible impact of Christians and Muslims standing together especially if that was also in the company of Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and Bahai – the many representatives of Faith throughout Scotland. The impact of this solidarity, following the horror in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday and the terror in Christchurch was something we simply needed to do.
So I walked across the Clyde, to the Mosque and was greeted by Imam Habib Rauf. Our meeting took place in the Mosque’s library. During the opening session the Imam spoke of the horror felt by the Muslim community here and in Sri Lanka, of the rejection of the terrorists by that community. He offered the prayers and love of his people. I, along with other Christian leaders, responded to his words, thanked him for them and for the way that many of the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka and at home here in Scotland had responded. The leaders of the other faiths in the room also added their own words of peace, love, and hope.
We were then invited to sit in the Mosque itself while the afternoon prayers were recited and words of faith shared by the Imam, those of us who joined the congregation were aware of the delight of many of the worshippers as they saw us: smiles, thumbs up, words of welcome. I felt privileged to be there and to witness the prayers and fellowship of that Community.
I left with words of prayer and hospitality following me. I pray that we continue to talk and to share in the concerns of this world while allowing our prayers and companionship to be a sign to the terrorists that none of their terror can ever be in the name of God.