Imam highlights the challenge of ‘finding a voice’ at Barking mosque

Redbridge Faiths Forum chairwoman Jacquie Grieve speaking at the interfaith event Picture: Ajay Nair

Redbridge Faiths Forum chairwoman Jacquie Grieve speaking at the interfaith event Picture: Ajay Nair - Credit: Archant

Finding the voice to tell the world those responsible for the Paris attacks “do not represent Islam” is one of the faith’s biggest challenges, according to one Imam.

Imam Yunus Dudhwala, head chaplain at Barts Health NHS Trust, was among the speakers at an event held at Al Madina Mosque in Victoria Road, Barking, on Saturday.

“In the Muslim community, everyone knows that the challenges we face are getting greater and seem to be cornering Muslims in Europe and in the world,” he told the Federation of Redbridge Muslim Organisations at the Redbridge Faith Forum (RFF) event.

“How do we give our voice the vocabulary that it needs? A voice that we need in trying to tell people that some people who claim to represent Islam are not of Islam.How can we represent and articulate ourselves?”

The Imam was joined by a panel of different faith leaders at the Challenges of Faith in Today’s Society event, which was attended by an audience of different faith groups.

The panel included the Ven John Perumbalath, the Archdeacon of Barking, Rabbi Larry Becker, of Sukkat Shalom Reform Synagogue in Wanstead, Sufyan Ismail, chief executive officer of Muslim Engagement and Development, and Harmander Singh, principal advisor to think tank Sikhs in England.

The Ven Perumbalath said one of the challenges facing faith today was the “alternatives to religion”.

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“What people are looking for in religion is now available elsewhere and in one sense we are in competition with them,” he said.

“Some people stay for comfort, healing and security, but the fact is that in our society there are plenty of providers of all these things.”

He also highlighted “intolerant secularism” as a challenge of faith.

The next RFF event, a women’s interfaith workshop on the festivals of light, is set to take place at VHP Hindu Community Hall in Albert Road, Ilford, on Tuesday December 8, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.