UIV pupils went on a “Faith Trail”: a visit to a synagogue and a mosque in Bournemouth. This is a rare experience and one which is essential in this multi-faith and multi-cultural world that we live in. It is agreed that many of the problems that we encounter today is through ignorance so it was important to see first hand how people of different religions express their faith. The Pope urges Catholics to do: “God desires solidarity amongst Catholics and Muslims,” he writes; and of Jews “ We must recognise we share the same roots.”
During the visit to the synagogue our students learned about the central place of the Torah in a Jew’s life. The Ark with the Torah scrolls was highly ornate and reverently kept special by a permanently lit lamp. The girls loved the engaging and warm presentation by the synagogue leader.
The visit to the mosque was wonderful. Dr Hammadi, lecturer in Computing and Maths at Bournemouth University, gave an inspiring and insightful talk about Islam and fielded questions surrounding marriage and terrorism. Throughout his talk the respect for Christianity was tangible, and he drew on common ground, as well as common ancestry, Abraham, to make the point that Islam when truly understood is a religion of peace. Especially interesting was being allowed to witness prayer time.
It was Ramadan for Muslims so the worshippers had not eaten since 2.50am and would not eat until 9pm in the evening – the sound of rumbling tummies was audible!
Mrs Jacintha Bowe