Wembley ( UK ): Brent Multi-Faith Forum’s Peace Walk returned to Brent’s streets for the first time since 2018, marking the end of Interfaith Week. Over one hundred people of all faiths and none marched to many of the borough’s places of worship in a display of peace, unity, and solidarity. People rallied from Brent and beyond, with some attendees journeying from places as far-flung as Croydon and Nunhead.
The walk was initiated with a communal meal at the Brahma Kumaris venue of Innerspace Wembley and speeches on the importance of peace and unity in Brent and beyond from the likes of BK Daxa Shah and Georgina Long of Brahma Kumaris, Rabbi Dr. Frank Dabba Smith and Tahseen Mehar of the Brent Multi-Faith Forum, and and Leader of Brent Council, Cllr Muhammed Butt and Cllr Orleen Hylton.
“We are beings of peace – to be at peace is our natural state” – BK Daxa Shah
The crowd then journeyed onwards to St John’s Church on Crawford Avenue, one of Alperton’s oldest faith venues, where Rev Ngozi Njoku welcomed the group. Rev Ngozi spoke about the true meaning of peace and conflict, and how peace can not truly exist without justice and that justice can often only be achieved through struggle and sacrifice.
The walk then proceeded down Ealing Road towards the Zia Ul-Uloom Masjid, where the group was joined by Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, and Mayor Cllr Abdi Aden. Walkers were met here with words from Abdul Aziz Ahmad on the need to love thy neighbour unconditionally and on the true meaning of Islam – peace and submission.
“All religions are united in a common goal – to love thy neighbour” – Abdul Aziz Ahmad
The final faith venue visited by the walkers was the Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir on Ealing Road, where the group was met with words on the importance of a peace which embraces all of creation, setting aside not only conflict with fellow humans, but also domination and exploitation of the natural world. The walkers then journeyed to their final stop of Mount Pleasant Open Space.
At Mount Pleasant Open Space, speeches were given by the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Abdi Aden, Barry Gardiner MP and the Co-Chair of the Brent Multi-Faith Forum, Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith. Mayor Abdi Aden stressed the importance of interfaith work in a borough like Brent, which “… is home to more faiths and more people of faith than any other London borough; and so it is key that we recognise and embrace the role that faith communities play in promoting peace and harmony.” This was followed by the planting of a young dogwood tree “as a symbol of growing peace and friendship today, tomorrow and for generations to come.” Cake was then served, to the delight of many.
The walk was well received by all, with attendees and organisers alike expressing joy at seeing so many people from different walks of life coming together as one and the spirit of joy and humour which characterised the walk. The walk achieved a great deal in terms of providing walkers with new perspectives, with many walkers reporting that they had had their first experience at a type of faith venue, with many having never attended a church, mosque or temple before. There was also a hefty dose of relief that the rain was kept at bay until the very final seconds, answering all of our prayers.
The Brent Multi-Faith Forum is looking forward to making this event an annual occurrence and bringing this display of peace and unity all across the borough of Brent in the coming years.