Archbishop and priests attend interfaith study day at Birmingham Central Mosque

 History was made in the Archdiocese of Birmingham last Thursday when more than 30 Catholic priests attended the annual Inter-Faith study day held at Birmingham Central Mosque, writes Peter Jennings. Dr Mohammad Naseem, Chairman of the Central Mosque suggested this idea at a meeting of the Birmingham Faith Leaders Group and Archbishop Vincent Nichols readily accepted the invitation. In his introductory remarks, the Archbishop of Birmingham said: "I am delighted that our study day is taking place here at the Central Mosque for the very first time. This is an important sign of our growing mutual esteem and respect." Dr Naseem then welcomed Archbishop Nichols, Mgr Patrick McKinney, Episcopal Vicar for Staffordshire and Chairman of the Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue, and the clergy to the Central Mosque. The guest speaker, Mgr John Devine, Secretary to North West Forum of Faiths and Churches Officer for Northwest Regional Development Agency, gave an insight into Inter-Faith relations in Britain today. The group were then led by Mr Abdul Rashid, Treasurer and Trustee of the Central Mosque, to the Women,s Gallery of the main prayer hall, to be observers, while over 90 men stood shoulder to shoulder for midday prayers. Following lunch, provided by the Mosque, Mr Rashid took an hour of questions about Islam and the working of the Mosque. Afterwards, Mr Bill Ozanne, Secretary of the Archdiocese of Birmingham Commission for Inter-Religious Dialogue said: "For many of the Catholic clergy present this was a threshold-crossing experience and much appreciated."

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