Pulpit swap will see rabbi preaching at mosque and imam and vicar addressing shul worshippers

Berkshire initiative geared to promote interfaith relations in wake of Sri Lanka attacks


In a response to the bomb attacks on Sri Lankan churches, a rabbi, a vicar and an imam have arranged a pulpit swap in Maidenhead to promote interfaith harmony.

Maidenhead Synagogue’s Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said that “after Sri Lanka and the attacks on mosques in New Zealand and a synagogue in Pittsburgh, I felt religious leaders had to show that while we cannot control what extremists do, mainstream communities can forge a better way forward.

“We already have hundreds of interfaith groups around the country. But polite cups of tea are not enough. Swapping pulpits will be a powerful message to our three communities and to wider society.

“We hope this will serve as a pilot project that will be emulated throughout the UK.”

Rabbi Romain will start the process by preaching at the local mosque during Friday prayers, and later, at All Saints Church.

Imam Abid Hashmi will then address worshippers at the shul and church and Rev Jeremy Harris will speak at the synagogue and mosque.

Rabbi Romain said that Friday’s prayers would have particular significance as they fell on Maimouna, which dates back to Morocco in the 12th century. On the last day of Pesach, Muslims would bring their Jewish neighbours flour to mark the end of the festival. This enabled them to bake bread and cakes again and the Muslims would stay on for the celebration.

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