Time4God explores Islam

 The roots, philosophy and practice of Islam were under discussion yesterday at Holy Apostles, Pimlico. Muslim community leaders Saleem Manjera and Saleem Patel met the monthly 'Time4God' group to explore the fundamentals of the Islamic faith, and its relationship to other religions. Saleem Patel, a full-time Imam (teacher) from East London and expert on Koranic law explained the faith's basic tenets, emphasising the central message of peace in the Koran, a text unchanged 'since first written down 1400 years ago'. Fellow speaker Saleem Manjera from the Faith Communities Project in Leyton, East London, which brings together representatives from Muslim, Christian and other religions in dialogue, pointed to a recent survey which suggested that 85% of the UK population derives its knowledge of Islam solely from the media. But in the wake of 11 September, he added, interest in and conversions to Islam had greatly increased. Messages of respect and peace were 'currently being emphasised in mosques much more than before.' Questioned about controversial punishments such as stoning for adultery and amputation, Saleem Patel said that these were acceptable, but only in countries applying sharia law, although stressing that the Koran laid down very high standards of evidence. After the talk, Mass was celebrated in the church with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. Yesterday was the last Time4God session for 2002. The Young Adults group (18-35) which includes music, prayer, teaching, and Mass each month, followed by visits to the local pub, has had a wide variety of speakers in the past year - including a theatre company, a hospital consultant and MP Anne Widdecombe. For details of the first Time4God gathering of 2003 check our listings or contact tel: 0207 834 6965 or e-mail: pimlico@rcdow.org.uk

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