Interfaith Week - Shaz Akhtar
My name is Shaz Akhtar, I coordinate the Near Neighbours programme in the Black Country, which is part of Transforming Communities Together. I follow one of the Abrahamic religions, Islam.
Interfaith for me means encouraging dialogue between different faiths and none, diversities, and marginalised communities. A conversation that is done respectfully can be the stepping stone to changing perceptions, stereotypes and prejudices one may have of a certain faith/community. Interfaith also means to recognise, understand and celebrate our similarities and respect our differences. Living in peace and harmony inter-culturally.
My favourite quote is from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) last sermon, which is also known as the farewell sermon, where he states:
. . . ‘’All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a Black nor a Black has any superiority over a White except by piety and good action. . . . ‘’
This reflects the importance of treating each other equally regardless of what race or ethnicity you may belong to and not undermining one another because of the colour of one’s skin. It further affirms the importance of looking after your brother and sister of humanity - the human race is one race!
I would encourage people to learn more about my faith by asking them to come, visit my mosque, and build relationships of trust. In my capacity as a Near Neighbours coordinator, I have been engaged with faith trails - where we visit three worships places and learn about each other’s faith places.