Over 60 people gathered at Westleigh, St Vincent’s Church, Altrincham, for this event initiated by members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. A panel of four representatives from the Hindu (Dr Girdari Lal Bhan), Jewish (Rabbi Warren Elf), Christian (Professor James Holt of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)) and Muslim (Imam Mohammad Khurshid) communities each spoke about Freedom of Speech from the perspective of their faith.
Although they all raised different points, there was one message in common which could be summarised as follows: be tolerant of others and do not impose views if you think they will cause hurt, although it is right to speak up to pursue righteousness.
After a break for refreshments, there followed a lively question and answer session covering topics including the problematic issue of gender, the right to protest, and the attack on Salman Rushdie. The importance of face-to-face discussion was emphasised as opposed to the use of social media to stir up hate.
It was an interesting and stimulating evening, and good to be able to meet in person again.
(Hon. Sec., Altrincham Interfaith Group)