(Originally published on Issue 41, November 2016)
The main event was the Third Annual Peace and Unity Conference, organised by Ahl Al-Bait Society Scotland, in collaboration with The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought and other faith and community groups. The conference was originally conceived with the aim of bringing together Scottish officials, leaders of Muslim communities, university academics and people of other faith communities.
The conference, held at the Glasgow City Chambers on the 30th of September started with a private reception for special guests before the public event was held in the main hall.
The First Minister of Scotland and head of the Scottish government Nicola Sturgeon attended the event and addressed the audience. Her speech was followed by the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Phil Gormley. Among other speakers were the director of Ahl-al-Bait Society Azzam Mohammad, Dr Lloyd Ridgeon from Glasgow University, Dr Ameli from The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought and other individuals involved in charity work.
The final part of the programme consisted of a Q&A session with a selected panel. The theme of this session was centred on three major questions: integration and community cohesion, interfaith and interfaith relations, and what faith communities can do in practical ways to preserve the environment.
Sheikh Shomali was one of the three panellists. He talked about issues related to community relations, interfaith and the environment. This event which started four years ago has become a major programme in the Glaswegian calendar attended by over 250 invitees.
Visit of Shi‘a Imams to St Andrews Cathedral
Prior to the Peace and Unity conference, Hujjatul-Islam Dr Shomali and other Shi‘i scholars visited St Andrews Cathedral (a Roman Catholic church). This was followed by a meeting with the Scottish Committee for Interreligious Dialogue, a Catholic organisation involved in inter-religious dialogue. The meeting is part of the dialogue among members of the Committee on the Unity of God which includes Christians and Muslims from various denominations.
Also on Thursday 29th September the group visited Sunni scholars at Minhaj-ul-Qur’an International in Glasgow. The brotherly encounter had no specific agenda although ideas were explored among Shi‘a and Sunni scholars on the possibility of setting up a permanent Shi‘a-Sunni Scholars Forum made up of individuals committed to unity.
In the evening of the same day, Dr Shomali attended a religious gathering of the Shi‘a community in Glasgow. After the recitation of Du‘a Kumail, he gave a lecture about the connection between Imam Husayn(a) and Imam Mahdi(aj) exploring the best ways to commemorate the event of Karbala in a way to help us prepare for the coming of Imam Mahdi(aj).
Islam Today issue 65 (Special Issue) is dedicated to the interfaith work undertaken by the Islamic Centre of England over the past few years. Download the full pdf here: