Recently, an interfaith cricket match was played in the London borough of Lewisham. The match brought together teams from the dominant faiths around Lewisham, namely; Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The cricket match was meant to enhance dialogue, tolerance, and good neighborliness for the communities living around, and was held at the Catford Jubilee grounds. Players and organizers of the event mingled freely, the weather was great, and it was basically a day to remember for all present.
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Lewisham Islamic Center’s Sameel Meer was the first to bat, and went ahead to ensure that his team carried the day with 183 runs for 5; and a total of 25 overs. Meer, who also doubled up as LIC’s captain was relentless in his attack, and we were able to overcome our Christian and Jewish brothers.
The timing of the match could not have come at a better time; just recently, shocking statistics were released showing that Islamophobia was on the rise across in the UK. In London alone, it was suggested that Islamophobic attacks and attacks had risen by a massive 70 %! But like the interfaith cricket match demonstrated, communities can live and co exist together in harmony, even join hands to engage in noble activities for the common good of all. As was evident, participants shared jovial and lively moments, enjoying foods and drinks from all corners; English snacks, Caribbean delicacies, Indian foods, to mention but a few.
It was a highly symbolic event; a majority of the Muslim and Jewish residents in London are from migrant families that migrated to the UK years ago. To be able to coexist peacefully and amicably with the native communities they found here is a commendable thing. Lewisham Islamic Center has always been at the forefront of encouraging interfaith dialogue and togetherness, not just by engaging in joint events, but also in standing up together for the rights of the poor, vulnerable, and needy. We will continue to engage our Christian and Jewish brothers, even those that ascribe to no religion or faith.
We believe that all human beings deserve to be treated right and with dignity, regardless of their faith, race or gender. This includes the desperate Syrian refugees who are risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean just to seek refuge in Europe. Together with the local communities around Lewisham, we are ready to demonstrate and show love, and compassion as our duty for humanity.
Special thanks to Father Charles Pickstone, Gerald Rose, Father Alan Race, and everyone else who helped make this day a success. We hope to keep the same spirit next year.
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