Mitzvah Day: Mayoress of Camden urges faiths in UK to ‘not be divided by international affairs’
PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 November 2014
The Mayoress of Camden has urged people of different faiths across north London to not let themselves be divided by international affairs – calling for them to instead join together in “doing what all faiths teach, which is to go out and do good deeds”.
Daniela Pears, who became mayoress in June, made the inter-faith rallying call as she expressed her concern over different communities being “taken over” by events abroad as they became “more heated”.
It comes as communities of different religions across the UK feel the impact of recent problems in the Middle East, including the recent war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip and gains made by Isis across Syria and Iraq.
In London, Jewish organisations have recently complained of a rise in anti-Semitism while Muslim communities find themselves falling victim to Islamophobic attacks.
Mrs Pears stressed the importance of expanding inter-faith work as she promoted Mitzvah Day, the annual day of social action, which this year takes place on November 16.
As trustee of the Jewish charity, she says this year will see the organisation involving more and more volunteers and projects of different faiths.
She told the Ham&High: “All faiths teach the importance of doing good deeds, and that’s what we should work together on. There’s a whole lot we can do as British people of different faiths.
“We don’t need to be taken over or dictated to by international affairs, but only to realise just how similar we all are.
“This year we’ve been working hard to unite churches, temples and mosques in projects like food banks and donation drives.”
Last year, the charity forged some 50 different faith partnerships, seeing synagogues, churches, mosques, other places of worship and community centres participate together in a wide range of local initiatives.
And this year’s Mitzvah Day will see more churches than ever involved in projects across Camden and the rest of north London.
An Inter-Faith Social Action Calendar has also been launched with the leaders of faith communities to highlight key festivals which have a link to social action themes like hunger and homelessness.
The work supplements Mrs Pears’ new position as Camden Mayoress – a role she was “surprised” to be asked to fulfil by Mayor Lazzaro Pietragnoli during their first face-to-face meeting.
She added: “Meeting people of different faiths is broadening – and adds colour to one’s life.
“It’s a great way of getting to know neighbours you perhaps wouldn’t meet otherwise.”
For information on how to participate in this year’s Mitzvah Day, visit mitzvahday.org.uk.
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