Mirvis addresses Muslim dinner in Cardiff


Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has, for the first time, been guest of honour at a Muslim dinner, delivering a keynote speech to the Muslim Council of Wales.

Addressing a Cardiff audience of 400 including Lesley Griffiths, Communities Minister of the Welsh Assembly, he emphasised his commitment to Muslim-Jewish co-operation, calling for greater dialogue in challenging times.

“True religion involves a life of moderation, of kindness, of understanding, tolerance and love,” he said.
The council’s secretary-general, Saleem Kidwai, said it was “indeed a historical occasion, which I very much hope and pray will be the beginning of a journey of mutual respect and co-operation in the coming years.”

Mr Kidwai referred to a vist made two years ago to Finchley Synagogue, Rabbi Mirvis’s then congregation. “When you... spoke to us, I and my colleagues appreciated your commitment, vision, passion and sincerity of us working together for the common good.

“As you said then, we may never agree on the situation in the Middle East — we can hope and pray may peace come soon. But we can work together [on issues] which are common to us for the good of the community.

“But what is more important now, to me and everyone in this country of ours, is to bring peace, harmony, trust and respect here.

“The increase of antisemitism and Islamophobia is increasing day by day and the need for unity and working together has never been so important as at this time.”

He added that the presence of Rabbi Mirvis, and of “past and present secretary-generals of Muslim Council of Britain, our mother organisation, is a testament of the importance you and we feel for mutual co-operation, trust and respect. Let us begin this new journey with new commitment, new enthusiasm and mutual trust. Not as us and them [but as] us as we.”

Founded in 2003, the council is a broad-based representative body.

The Chief Rabbi remained in Cardiff the following day to officiate at the induction of the minister of its United Synagogue, Rabbi Michoel Rose, and to visit residents of the Penylan House care home. He also met members of probably the tiniest community under his aegis, Newport.

Rabbi Rose told the JC that the invitation to the Chief Rabbi to address a Muslim audience indicated the strength of interfaith relations in Wales. “Although small now in number, the Cardiff community remains large in its caring, spirit and commitment to Jewish life.”

V comment, p39

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