CAIRO – For Nottingham Muslims and Christians, a 16-year-old annual walk for members of both faiths in their city is still bearing interfaith fruits of unity and cohesion.
"We have been doing this every Good Friday for 16 years,” Dr Musharraf Hussain, chief executive and chief imam at the Karimia Institute, told Nottingham Post on Saturday, April 19.
"We believe it is good to build a relationship with our neighbours and to show people that Muslims are friendly people."
The walk started on Friday, April 18, when about 30 members of St Stephen's with St Paul's Church, in Bobbers Mill Road, took to the streets in a "walk of witness" on Good Friday.
Holding prayers in the neighborhood, the walkers reached their final destination at Karimia Institute in Berridge Road West where Christians were joined by dozens of Muslims for one last prayer.
Outside the institute, Dr Hussain read out a joint prayer with the Rev Clive Burrows of St Stephen's with St Paul's.
After the prayer, members of both faiths shook hands and got to know each other.
"We know there are differences but there are also things which we have in common and it is important to celebrate those things,” Sue Anderson, 73, of Forest Fields, said.
"Too often in people's minds Muslims and Christians are alien to one another, but once we break down barriers, then understanding comes."
Christians celebrate on April 18, the Good Friday, a religious holiday observed by Christians in commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus and his death, an event central to Christian faith.
The celebration is followed by Easter on April 20 which is the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year.
For members of both faith communities, the interfaith prayers offered them a good chance to reduce tensions and extend bonds between them.
"Inter-faith events are good for community cohesion and helps to reduce tensions between the two faiths,” Karimia Institute member Naveed Qazi, 36, of Sherwood Rise, said.
"We are living in the same society and society has to be harmonious. There has to be love and affection for one another regardless of race or religion.
"We will pray for peace, love, harmony and prosperity for the country together."
Rev Burrows who led the interfaith prayer with Dr Hussain, echoed a similar opinion.
"Inter-faith events are very important because we live side by side but don't often have much to do with each other,” Burrows said.
"There are many false ideas that Christians have of Muslims and Muslims have of Christians, but working together we realize they are not true."
Though there are no official figures, America is believed to be home to a Muslim community of between six to eight million.
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