On Friday 26th June a Community Iftar was organised by the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council in the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre in which renowned holocaust survivor Tomi Reichental was the guest of honour and representatives from different faiths came together for an Iftar Dinner.
This was a historical event in which a Jewish holocaust survivor celebrated his 80th birthday in a Mosque and participated in the Ramadan fast breaking dinner.
Renowned holocaust survivor Tomi Reichenal said he was delighted at the invitation by Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri and was very touched by the exceptional welcome in the Mosque and will treasure the memorable visit to the Mosque. Tomi Reichental narrated his story as a 10 years old child in the Nazi concentration camp. Tomi Reichental said that he did not speak for 50 years about the suffering of the holocaust. But then he realised that he suffering he went through must be told to future generations. He warned of the danger of history repeating itself if hate, mistrust and misunderstanding gain the upper hand.
Rev Eugene Griffin, Christian priest and and Rev Myozan Kodo, Buddhist monk said that they were delighted to be in the Mosque and share the Iftar breaking dinner with the Muslim Community.
Lynn Jackson from the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland mentioned his Muslims saved Jews in Paris during the 2nd world war and their story must be told to eliminate prejudice and misunderstandings.
Shaykh Umar Al-Qadri, Founder of IMPIC and Imam at the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre, said that he was delighted that his call to Muslims of reaching out to other communities has been welcomed by Muslims and non Muslims. He said that today’s Iftar displays solidarity between different communities.
Speaking about the terrorist attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France, Shaykh Al-Qadri said “Whilst some people are doing their best to improve relations between Muslims and non-Muslims these awful events have taken place”
Shaykh Al-Qadri condemned the terrorist attacks and said: “I condemn the attacks and it is the responsibility of every Muslim leader and scholar to condemn it. Terrorists are criminals, enemies of humanity, enemies of religion, enemies of morality and the enemies of human values”
“My heart bleeds for all those who have lost loved ones in Kuwait, Tunisia and France.Terrorism should be seen as terrorism no matter who carries it out- regardless of religion, colour or race. All victims of terrorism are the same. Terrorism is terrorism no matter who carries it out.”
Shaykh Al-Qadri said that the majority of victims by the terrorist attacks of ISIS are Muslims. They should therefore be at the forefront of fighting the extremism of ISIS. The war with ISIS should be fought ideologically and theologically.
Shaykh Al-Qadri spoke on love, commonality of mankind and the importance of Peace in this day and age specially. Shaykh said that communities need to come together to remove hatred and prejudice and develop understanding. Only then Peace can be achieved and he hoped that this event will be seen as an important pillar in the bridge between communities.
More than 150 attendees participated in the Community Iftar. Guests arrived from Cork, Belfast, Athlone and Dublin.
Ali Khan from Belfast said he never heard about the holocaust from a holocaust survivor and the talk by Tomi Reichental has opened his eyes about the suffering that took place.
Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council will organise its second Ramadan Community Iftar this year in Cork on Saturday 4th July 2015 at 8:30pm in which Councillors and representatives of faiths will come together in the Cork Mosque. The address of the venue is : Nicholas well lane, Blarney street, Cork City. Members of the Public are welcome.
VIEWS OF OUR RESPECTED GUESTS
Eugene Langan :
“Dear Shaykh Umar, Friday evening was a very moving occasion. I was touched firstly by the very warm welcome form so many of your brothers and sisters. I was moved by the speeches from the panel members and yourself. I was awed by the speech and the presence of Tomi Reichental. It was an incredibly moving experience to hear him talk about his holocaust experience. It was hard to believe that this was happening in your own Masjid. And then to celebrate Tomi’s 80th birthday was an absolute honour for me.
“Thank you so much for allowing me to experience such a night – a historical night surely but probably more importantly a night that brought many different people together who may not have had the chance to meet up in the normal course of their lives.It was an amazing evening.”
“Thank you very much for our message and for your invitation. I found the event to be very moving and inspiring and perhaps one of the most significant actions on integration that I have ever participated in in this country. Today I read the booklet ” A Journey Together” and was heartened to hear of the inter faith work which has been done by yourself and others in the Muslim community with the SMS Order and others in the Christian Churches and in public life and ordinary members of the community around Ireland in recent years.
I wish you continued success in your integration endeavours and am very happy to be involved in future events and to assist in any way in disseminating information and widening your network still further.”
“I would like to thank you personally and the other representatives of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council for the very warm welcome to the Community Iftar in Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre on Friday night.
It was a great honour for me that you should invite us to your Mosque to share the evening during the holy season of Ramadan.
To be there while Tomi, yourself and other Muslims were breaking bread together and speaking so openly about your different perspectives and the need to come together for peace and understanding was, as you said truly unique and historic.”