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Apology follows Iftar at Manchester Cathedral

06 April 2023

Twitter/Manchester Cathedral

The Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd Rogers Govender, speaks at the start of the Open Iftar event

The Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd Rogers Govender, speaks at the start of the Open Iftar event

THE Chapter of Manchester Cathedral has apologised for allowing the Muslim call to prayer to be made in the cathedral at an interfaith event last week.

The Open Iftar event on Wednesday of last week was organised by the Ramadan Tent Project, a Muslim charity. An Iftar is the meal that breaks the day’s Ramadan fast.

After speeches by faith and civic leaders, the call to prayer, known as the adhan, was recited in the nave, before prayers were held in the adjacent public Cathedral Gardens. Those who attended the prayers then returned to the cathedral for a shared meal.

C of E guidance for churches and cathedrals hosting an Iftar says that the adhan “should happen in the room allocated for prayer, rather than a consecrated space”.

On Monday, a Manchester Cathedral spokesman said: “We understand that our commitment to Inter-Faith work does have its limits — hence the arrangement for Ramadan prayers to be held outside in the public square and not in the Cathedral.

“In hindsight, we acknowledge the call to prayer should also have been issued outside the Cathedral and in future we will be mindful to offer our hospitality in a way that does not interfere with the integrity of Manchester Cathedral. We apologise for this oversight. We will ensure that any call to prayer is not offered in the Cathedral at any such events in future.”

The spokesman continued: “The Dean and Chapter work hard to ensure Manchester Cathedral is a welcoming place for the entire community and for those of all faiths and none. The house of God is open to all and we offer hospitality for all communities so that we can make connections, build bridges and build friendships.

“This is an intrinsic aspect of community cohesion that we support as a way of building friendships between different faiths and cultures in our society. May we continue to support one another in our different faith communities to build peace and cohesion in our communities.”

On Tuesday, an imam connected with Baitul Futuh Mosque in south London, Sabah Ahmedi, said that such events were “important to create a safe space for conversation and dialogue, but also to allow people to see how the other person practices what they believe is important to them.”

Mr Ahmedi, who goes by the moniker “The Young Muslim” on social media, said that he enjoyed inviting people of all faiths, and none, to visit his mosque to experience the breaking of the fast. Such interactions, he said, “really build bridges of understanding, and of community and union”.

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