THE BROMSGROVE Muslim Community Trust (BMCT) hosted the first-ever multi-cultural dinner to take place in the town, to promote unity, friendship and understanding.
The dinner took place at Shimla Peppers to help unite communities in light of events such as the Paris attacks and refugee crisis.
It followed on from the multi-faith Act of Prayer and Remembrance for Paris held in November at St John’s Church.
Naseem Arif, spokesperson for the trust, said: “We are all one. The more united we are, the less chance there is for the community to be divided.
“There will be difficult times ahead and we don’t want our communities to be divided. This is why we must stand in solidarity, shoulder to shoulder.”
Bromsgrove Welcomes Refugees Committee (BWRC) member, Mike Carrick, also attended the event.
He said: “I’ve worked with Muslim communities in the Gambia for 25 years so one is not aware of differences at all. One can only feel this way by experiencing other communities.”
Rev Ray Khan, of St John’s Church, added: “Fear is often generated by the unknown so it’s easy to be fearful of something you don’t know. When the unknown becomes a name, a person, the fear goes.
“This dinner shows more people will meet to become friends – because peace only happens in the context of friendship.”
He added: “If anything, events like this illustrate many people are not Islamaphobic and they recognise the divisions the media try to create.”
BMCT chairman, Waqar Azmin OBE, agreed. He said: “Whether it’s ISIS or the far right racists who promote hatred, in these turbulent times, it’s absolutely fundamental we don’t let them divide us.
“We don’t want our children growing up in an environment of mistrust. We want to ensure we come together and defeat hatred.
“It’s our prejudices that create barriers and we need to get rid of them to create a stronger, more cohesive Bromsgrove.”