News Release

Building Bridges of Understanding in Northern Tasmania

Over a hundred people of faith from across the Meander Valley region of Northern Tasmania including members of the Devonport Australia Stake (diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined together under a banner of “love for all, hatred for none,” on Friday 10 May.

The occasion was an interfaith gathering hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to build bridges of understanding and cooperation between people of diverse faith traditions.

The evening, which fell in the middle of the Muslim observation of Ramadan, commenced just after sundown with a meal prepared by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Following the dinner, representatives from different faiths including Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Baha’i denominations delivered messages on the theme of fasting. Throughout the presentations, a common theme emerged of how fasting helps individuals to draw closer to God and increase in their feelings of charity towards their neighbour.

Devonport Stake President Lionel Walters, and his wife Suzanne offered remarks on behalf of the Church. Missionaries and volunteers who had assisted with the logistics for the event then sang the beloved hymn “Because I Have Been Given Much.”

Reflecting on the evening, Sister Walters observed, “It was good to be with other people for whom faith is so important. It really reinforced to me that we have more in common than we realise, and that gives me strength.”

The keynote address was delivered by Imam Ahmed Nadeem, leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for Victoria and Tasmania. He described Ramadan as a sacred time of reflection and reformation during which Muslims strive to overcome personal weaknesses and give back to their communities.

After a question and answer period, Imam Nadeem concluded the evening by emphasising that race, gender or religion do not make people superior, but that individual efforts to live righteously and to serve generously are pleasing to God. In Iman Nadeem’s words, “We all pray to the same Creator.”

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