Mus­lims en­joy a seder night

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community Life - BY JAY GRENBY

AN IMAM told an in­ter­faith au­di­ence last Wed­nes­day that, ac­cord­ing to the Prophet Mo­hammed, great hon­our should be paid to the Jews who es­caped from their Egyp­tian slave-masters in bib­li­cal times.

Sheikh Salah al-An­sari of Bas­ingstoke Mosque was ad­dress­ing a third seder at the Lib­eral Jewish Syn­a­gogue, St John’s Wood, held un­der the aus­pices of Alif-Aleph UK, which pro­motes con­tact be­tween Bri­tish Mus­lims and Jews.

I t wa s o r - gan­ised by the group’s founder pres­i­dent, Dr Richard Stone, who wanted to repli­cate the suc­cess of a seder he ar­ranged 15 years ago for Jews and mem­bers of the black com­mu­nity.

Afro-Caribbeans and a Ja­panese wo­man were among more than 40 in­vited guests, as were gov­ern­ment ad­vis­ers, coun­cil­lors, po­lice rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Lib­eral Jewish Syn­a­gogue con­gre­gants.

Dr Stone led them through the seder ser­vice in English and He­brew, as­sisted by LJS se­nior min­is­ter Rabbi Alexandra Wright, who re­flected on the mean­ing of Pe­sach and an­swered some of the many ques­tions from the au­di­ence.

Speak­ing to the JC af­ter­wards, Dr Stone re­ported that the imam, who is of Egyp­tian de­scent, re­cited pas­sages from the Ko­ran re­lat­ing to the ex­o­dus of Jews from Egypt.

“He then sur­prised us all by point­ing out how th­ese in­di­cated that the Prophet Mo­hammed had con­demned the ac­tions of the Egyp­tians of Pharaoh’s time while ad­vo­cat­ing that great hon­our should be paid to the Jews who man­aged to es­cape from their hard task-masters.”

Hav­ing been ad­vised about the di­etary re­quire­ments of kashrut and Pe­sach, guests brought some well-re­ceived con­tri­bu­tions to the in­for­mal meal.

“The feed­back was fan­tas­tic,” Dr Stone added. “It proved such a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple from en­tirely dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties and back­grounds to meet, talk and learn from each other — which is what it was all about.”

PHOTO: VICKY AL­HAD­EFF

Rezia Wahid chats to Miriam Win­ston at the in­ter­faith third seder

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