Faith communities from across East London joined Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Hackney, at Whitechapel Gallery on Wednesday evening, for the opening night of Interfaith Week.
The event celebrated local creative talent, with short films and a photo exhibition by the Interfaith Youth Committee exploring issues of faith and identity. Work by young people from different faith groups was chosen for its ability to ‘challenge, enlighten and inspire’, with photos capturing an essence of shared identity.
Local filmmakers showcased their work, including a short film about young Jews and Muslims uniting over a shared interest in boxing. There was also a piece by Sonya Sier about faith issues in Bosnia called ‘Fragile Peace’, and a film by the Springboard Education Trust called ‘In Good Faith’, which challenges faith hate.
The aim of the event, organised by Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum, was to build bridges between faith groups, celebrate diversity and challenge faith-based discrimination. The young artists were also formally presented as the youth branch of the forum.
Mr Rahman said: “It’s a privilege to serve the different groups that make up our diverse community. Many of the positive changes in the borough have been driven through people of different faiths working together.
“People of all faiths have many shared interests, to see our communities thrive, to get the best education we can for our children and to see the borough flourish. Through working together, people of all faiths can help to overcome many of the serious challenges facing this borough.”
Chair of the Forum, Rev. Alan Green, of St John on Bethnal Green, added: “Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum has worked for the last seven years to present a positive view of faith and encourage faith communities to participate in building a healthy, safe and diverse Tower Hamlets. Interfaith week is a great opportunity to showcase the work of the forum and to learn what other faith groups are doing at this time.”
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