Muslim Christian Evening press release 2022

On 25 January, 2022 Portsmouth Cathedral and the Wessex Jamaat celebrated their 27th annual Muslim Christian Evening - the second to be held over Zoom. The communities used mixed break-out rooms and plenary sessions to reflect on the questions, ‘What impact has the pandemic had on your faith?’ and ‘What will you do differently in responding to God?’

The Dean of Portsmouth, the Very Revd Dr. Anthony Cane, referred to the song ‘Imagine’, noting that national identities and religions are in fact sources of strength, and that through them we are enabled to befriend each other and to celebrate our common humanity.

Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo, of Wessex Jamaat, referred to how the pandemic has changed our lives and provided an opportunity for us to reflect. He remarked that what we can take away is a better understanding of patience and faith; that God is with the patient ones. Dr Mohammadabbas Jaffer spoke for us all in observing that our experiences had been very similar, concluding by saying that as we reach out in love to each other and our communities, ‘the heart is a vessel for none other than God himself’.

There was plenty of time for greetings among friends old and new, and we are all looking forward with hope to meeting in person next year. Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo comments, ‘It was heartening to share stories in the break out rooms. Our faith in Almighty God and the friendship that we share between our two communities has enabled us to continue this longstanding tradition of Portsmouth Cathedral and Wessex Jamaat. As Dean Anthony says: ‘In a divided and often intolerant world, the long-standing friendship between Portsmouth Cathedral and Wessex Jamaat is a small but significant pointer to a better way, with mutual learning and the enjoyment of one another’s company at the heart of it.’