Interfaith visit brings all beliefs together at college

IT WAS a privilege to visit Fareham College as part of an interfaith seminar on faith and beliefs.

Monday, 16th May 2016, 6:00 am
The Rev Bruce Deans, right, and Sheikh Fazle Abbas at Fareham College

I had been invited together with my friend and colleague Sheikh Fazle Abbas, the Resident Alim and Minister of Religion for the Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat, to lead a session for college students on faith and beliefs.

We put together what we hoped were fun and interactive seminars designed to give the students an insight into different belief systems.

They included talks about different aspects of what Christians and Muslims believe and activities for the students to participate in.

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Sheikh Fazle Abbas and I have been closely involved in joint projects before, including the annual Muslim-Christian Gathering, in an effort to bring the religious community of Fareham together to join hands in friendship.

Some of the subjects we discussed were controversial but the atmosphere remained respectful and we encouraged students to express their opinions and ask questions to help broaden their understanding.

The keen attention of the students together with the numerous questions posed by them indicated their enthusiasm to participate. We appreciated this response and are looking forward to attending such events together in the future.

Sheikh Fazle Abbas and I were very conscious that simply by working together in this seminar we conveyed a powerful message and that message is this: people of different faiths may not agree with each other – but they can nonetheless respect and care for one another.

In a world where there is so much that divides, it was a privilege to stand with my Muslim friend, Sheikh Fazle Abbas, not because we agree with each other – but because we love each other.

n St John’s Church, 1A Upper St Michael’s Grove, Fareham.

Sunday services: 9am: Communion with hymns, 10.30am: Messy Church (first Sunday of the month); 10.30am: Together in Worship. Contact: parish office (01329 280762 or [email protected]) Website: