On 2 June, approximately 100 people gathered at St Pius X High School, Adamstown to hear from the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, Bishop Bill Wright, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese, Bishop Greg Thompson, the Imam of the Newcastle Mosque, Sheikh Mohamed Khamis, and Farooq Ahmed from the Newcastle Muslim Association to learn and appreciate what the religions have in common and explore the common good that each religion shares and further develop inter-faith relationships.
The religious leaders formed a panel for a Q&A dialogue opened up for questions from members of the audience. It was the first event of this kind for these groups, born out of a quest to dispel fear of the Muslim community following media coverage in 2014 following the opening of the Newcastle Mosque and Muslims being targeted in racist attacks.
Questions were asked from both the Christian and Muslim communities and the answers from the panel were astounding in parallelism. One of the key themes from each of the panellists was around achieving personal, communal and world peace and the place of religious leaders and communities to seek this by engaging in dialogue. And the audience agreed. It was suggested at the end of the evening that such an interfaith dialogue become an annual occurrence.
A date for the next event has not yet been set but one thing’s for sure, it will be highly anticipated and attended! Photos courtesy of Kylie Cooper.