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Religious leaders unite for peace message

Jan 29 2003

By The Huddersfield Daily Examiner

LEADERS of six religious faiths are getting together to promote a message of peace through understanding.

Inderpal Singh Randhawa and Rev Catherine Ogle holding up the new Interfaith 
Council banner The Interfaith Council for Huddersfield will be launched next Tuesday by representatives from the Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, Hindu and Baha'i religions.

The Rev Catherine Ogle, vicar of Huddersfield and a member of the new council, said: "At this time of international tension it is more important than ever that people of faith learn about each other and work together for the good of our community."

Chairman of the council and vicar of Woodhouse, the Rev Mel Garside, echoed her words: "Religion both brings people together and divides them."

He said all religions must strive for peace.

"This is to show different faith bodies can work together for positive effects, not negative effects."

Education, he believes, is the key.

He said: "We are arranging speakers for local schools from different faiths.

"If you put information out and raise people's level of awareness you remove the fear factor."

He thinks the media is very much to blame for much misunderstanding.

"The media will report on something like the extremists al-Qaida but that gives a very, very slanted view. They are a very small percentage of people of a particular faith."

He said genuine asylum seekers fleeing persecution were largely connected in the public perception with religious fundamentalism and terrorism.

"When that happens people like the British National Party profit. I firmly believe the BNP won in Halifax last week because the media coloured people's minds."

The launch of the council takes place at 7pm at the Methodist Mission in Lord Street.

Tickets are available from Mr Garside on 01484 424669.

©Copyright 2003, Huddersfield Daily Examiner (UK)

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