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Abraham, father of three faiths, brings Tower Hamlets volunteers together

PUBLISHED: 14:09 29 August 2017

Abramic Initiative by Muslim Aid charity cleaning up Stepney's East London Central synagugoue... with volunteers Helena Ross (left) and Halema Begum. Picture: Tolga Akmen

Abramic Initiative by Muslim Aid charity cleaning up Stepney's East London Central synagugoue... with volunteers Helena Ross (left) and Halema Begum. Picture: Tolga Akmen

Tolga Akmen

The biblical patriarch Abraham would be proud of volunteers from three major religions who joined together to spruce up each other’s house of worship in London’s East End.

Muslim, Jewish and Christian followers cleaning St John on Bethnal Green church as part of The Abraham Initiative. Picture: Tolga AkmenMuslim, Jewish and Christian followers cleaning St John on Bethnal Green church as part of The Abraham Initiative. Picture: Tolga Akmen

Jewish, Christian and Muslim youngsters put on overalls to clean graffiti and do maintenance at Stepney’s East London Central Synagogue and at St John on Bethnal Green parish church.

The ‘Abraham Initiative’ by Muslim Aid charity was a chance for the three main Abrahamic faiths to meet up—all having the story of the patriarch in common.

“We often see imams meeting rabbis and high church people,” Muslim Aid’s Zakaria Hussain said. “But people like me hardly ever meet Jewish or Christian people socially.

“This time of year is Qurbani, when Muslims focus on sacrifice, so we asked our Abrahamic brethren to sacrifice time for the upkeep of our holy places.”

Abramic Initiative volunteers cleaning Stepney's East London Central synagogue... Jaida Sultana, 19 (top) with Omar Ansarcano, 21, and 12-year-old Xavia Bolter. Picture: Tolga AkmenAbramic Initiative volunteers cleaning Stepney's East London Central synagogue... Jaida Sultana, 19 (top) with Omar Ansarcano, 21, and 12-year-old Xavia Bolter. Picture: Tolga Akmen

Judaism, founded by Abraham nearly 4,000 years ago, led to Christianity and Islam in later centuries.

Synagogue president Leon Silver said: “I often see misconception, hatred and prejudice between Muslims and Jews, which comes from lack of social contact.”

The Rev Alan Green of St John’s Church, who chairs Tower Hamlets Interfaith forum, said: “This is a step to show the relationship that already exists between our communities.”

The volunteers who cleaned the synagogue and church later got together socially for a tea to exchange ideas and get to know one-another.

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