On the evening of May 5th, about 60 members of Altrincham Interfaith Group gathered at the Ahmadiyya Mosque for one in the series of visits to various places of worship. This is a new Mosque in Hulme built for the Ahmadiyya community which was established in India in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian but which since has spread all over the world. Their motto is “Love for All, Hatred for None” and we certainly received a most warm welcome from members of this community.
On arrival we were ushered into a large hall and offered refreshments after which we were welcomed and, after a prayer from the Koran recited by Hafiz Arsalan Ahmad Rana, were given a brief introduction to Islam by the Imam Muhammad Akram, who described the 5 pillars of Islam: the testimony of faith, prayer 5 times a day, giving alms to the needy, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime for those who are able. It was also stressed that everyone was born innocent, free from sin, and that everyone is responsible for his or her own actions.
This was followed by a presentation by Dr Imran Khan, the AIG committee member representing the Ahmadiyya community, and he showed a short video about their history, their many social projects and work for peace. He stressed that to be human means to be of service, and that the movement hoped to bring Islam back to its original teachings, to concentrate on peace and tolerance and to root out oppression and inequality. They raise money for British charities and have a love for Britain, supporting the Poppy Appeal of the British Legion and condemning the actions of Muslim extremists. There were several questions and it was then time for prayer so, having removed our shoes, we respectfully entered the prayer hall to observe the evening prayers undertaken by the members of the Mosque as well as visitors from the Altrincham Mosque.
We were then invited to partake of a buffet, comprising both western and Asian food. It was absolutely delicious, and a chance for everyone to talk and continue with their questions. We were very much overwhelmed by the generosity of our hosts, they had obviously gone to a tremendous amount of trouble and preparation for our visit.
On leaving, everyone was handed a bag of publications by the Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya community. I think everyone left very moved and impressed by this small but loving community of people, who are working so hard to bring peace in our troubled times. Grateful thanks are due to Dr Naseer Choudrhy, regional president AMA NW, Dr Ijaz Ahmad president of Manchester West chapter, Imam maulana Muhammad Akram and Imam maulana Muhammad Ahmad Khurshid for making this visit possible.
Nearly 100 people of all ages and faiths gathered on a wet evening to have their spirits lifted. Altrincham Interfaith Group’s annual Entertainment Evening this year was held at Timperley Methodist Church. The evening was compared by Gwyneth Roper who between the acts caused much merriment by reading out things that children had said about marriage. The evening started with the children’s drama group from Timperley Methodist Church who enacted a modern version of the Good Samaritan, this required audience participation and was warmly contributed too.
Katy Allan sang “Annie’s Song” and the popular Catherine Jenkins song “The Prayer”. Katy is Head Chorister at Christ Church, Timperley and sings with the Halle Youth Choir. Last year she performed at the Royal Albert Hall in The First Night of The Proms concert. She is now recording with the Halle. All this experience ensured her performance was beautifully moving and accomplished.
Vipasha and Krishna
Vipasha and Krishna performed a dance from Northern India, Bringing grace in motion Bollywood style to Altrincham. Their dance told a story in the manor of temple dance, every motion and gesture having significance. Their beautiful costumes reacted to each twirl and turn of their dance.
A break for tea and biscuits may not normally be worthy of comment at a performance event but on this occasion it was significant because it gave neighbours the opportunity to meet each other, congratulate the performers and admire the costumes.
Hafsah Bashir is a local published poet who writes about love, life, and justice and everything in between, she says her inspiration comes from all that happens around her as she juggles all the her experience with the aid of an over active imagination. This was demonstrated with her first poem “The Cake Gallery” telling stories of her daytime job in Bowdon; this was received with giggles and laughter as the audience recognised some typical reactions to her cakes. Later she silenced the laughter with her thought provoking poem “The Runners” which describes of the life of refugees caught up in the violence in Syria.
ACT II : Drama Matters brought the evening to a close. Muriel Cohen, Joan Sherman and David Mort gave us a look at Jewish culture through tears and laughter. David read his own amusing piece called “Oxford Blues” telling the story of his entry to Oxford University in 1964. Joan and Muriel read extracts from “How to be a Jewish Mother” which ensured everyone went home with a smile on their face.
This years Entertainment Evening was a great success and Ann Angel and her team deserve our thanks and congratulations in organising it so well.
About 200 people gathered at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys on a wintery Saturday evening. Tables had been arranged so that people from different faith groups would sit together during the evening.
We were greeted by the AIG Chair person Dr Poonam Kakkar who introduced the Mayor of Trafford, Councillor Mrs Jane Baugh. The mayor said that she was happy to be at another AIG dinner as she had attended last year and that she considers interfaith dialogue an important part of developing the local community.
Meanwhile the children were sitting at their own table with a variety of activities for them to do.
We then had the dinner; the Jewish ladies had prepared kosher food, the Muslim ladies hallal, and the Indian ladies and gentlemen wonderful curries. As usual everyone wanted to try some of everything from this magnificent collection of home cooking.
Vegetarian curry being served
Indian food being served
The Chair person then introduced Tommy Nagra, Executive Producer, BBC Religion and Ethics Department, our guest speaker. He told us of how happy he and his family are to be living in Altrincham. He told us of the wide range of religious programmes produced by the BBC covering the special interests of many communities.
We then had deserts provided by the Christian ladies – again a wide range of homemade sweets of all types.
Dr Kakkar thanked everyone who helped prepare for this excellent event. At the end of the evening there were so many questions being asked about how to make the food, someone suggested that we should collect the recipes together.
This is our largest event each year and will surely continue to be popular for many years to come.
Altrincham Festival Saturday 2 July 2011
Our theme is ‘LET’S BE FRIENDS’:
It was alovely sunny day for the festival this year and our entry was excellent with lots of happy smiling faces singing along with “You’ve Got a Friend”
We won 5 prizes in all :-
• Winners Most Original entry
• Winners best Voluntary entry
Then 3 highly recommended
• Best Fancy Dress – it must have been the sunflowers!
• Most colourful
• Supreme entry!
Here are the first photos of our float :-
Title: Visit to Mosque
Location: Zakariyya Mosque, Peace Street, Bolton, BL3 5LJ
Link out: Click here
Description: Zakariyya Jame Masjid is the central mosque of Bolton.It is the central mosque in Bolton, playing an important role in uniting and serving all Muslims in the town. It holds a capacity of housing up to 3,000 worshippers and acts as a contact point for many groups, agencies and local authorities on various issues in the borough.
About 50 members of Altrincham Interfaith Group had the privilege and pleasure of visiting the Zakariyya Mosque in Bolton on 31st March, for what proved to be a most interesting evening. We were given a tour around the elegant, domed building with its prayer rooms, one of which could accommodate around 2000 worshippers and were impressed by all the facilities which included a library, IT room with numerous computer terminals, ritual washing room and also a mortuary to expedite speedy burial of the dead according to Muslim practice. We were invited to enter one of the prayer rooms in time for the sunset (or maghrib) prayer – about 200 men lined shoulder-to-shoulder to pray in traditional fashion in four rows of about 50 people facing in the direction of Makkah and led in prayer by the Imam, who also talked to us about the Mosque, Islam and answered any questions that we had, most openly and frankly. We were made to feel most welcome and after the tour were given a splendid meal of delicious curries, samosas and kebabs. These interfaith events where we share each others experiences and traditions of worship are vitally important in breaking down barriers of suspicion and fear that may exist, as well as proving to be of great interest in themselves, and in this way Altrincham Interfaith Group is helping to promote harmony and understanding between all peoples.