Friends of Al-Aqsa hosts Bishop Riah Hannah?
Friends of Al-Aqsa hosts Bishop Riah Hannah
Friends of Al-Aqsa had the special privilege of hosting former Bishop of Jerusalem, Bishop Riah Hannah Abu El-Assal on Tuesday 24th March 2009.
Three events were held in Leicester for the Bishop’s visit to the city, including a meeting with local dignitaries, an open public meeting and a fundraising dinner. All of the events drew sizeable crowds and the Bishop’s visit to the city was celebrated by a cross-section of the community.
At a reception held in the Friends of Al-Aqsa offices and attended by local councillors, religious leaders and other dignitaries, Vice Chairman of the County Council Roger Wilson stated that the gathering was “one of the best” he had ever attended. He referred to the multi faith gathering of 50 people, and stated that it reflected how Leicester as a community could claim to be “one.” This integrated community together welcomed Bishop Riah.
Lord Mayor of Leicester, Councillor Majula Sood followed by thanking Friends of Al-Aqsa for hosting an event which reflected diversity through spirituality. In addition, Canon Barry Naylor added a welcome address to Bishop Riah, reflecting in his view that we are all the children of Abraham, and that our common understandings and values help us to work for peace.
Bishop Riah used the gathering as an opportunity to bring a message from Palestine; that of ‘salaam’ or ‘peace’ from a people who wish that ‘salaam’ will come to them. Bishop Riah stated his belief that once peace comes to Jerusalem, it will allow peace to come to the whole world. His resounding message was that Muslims, Christians and Jews have lived in Palestine in peace for centuries. They have more in common than separates them and their energies should be put to living with each other, not against each other.
The events were a show of cross-community solidarity with the Palestinians from the people of Leicester, and they presented the opportunity to forge links with the people of Palestine.
Friends of Al-Aqsa is a UK based non-profit making NGO concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the sacred al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem. This vision is supported by various international groups and organisations. Friends of Al-Aqsa was first established in 1997 and now has an international support base.