Leaders of nine faiths stand together

Leaders of nine faiths stand together

By Victoria Combe, Religion Correspondent

LEADERS from the nine religious faiths in Britain stood together in the Palace of Westminster yesterday (Jan 3rd) and made a public commitment to "work together for the common good" in the Third Millennium.

The unprecedented event, hosted by the Prime Minister, brought together Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, Jains, Baha'is and Zoroastrians in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, stood shoulder to shoulder with the Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, Iqbal Sacranie, and leaders of the other faiths.

Wearing a colourful mixture of turbans, cassocks, skullcaps and saffron robes, the leaders recited together: "In a world scarred by the evils of war, racism, injustice and poverty, we offer a joint Act of Commitment." They committed themselves to "build a better society, grounded in values and ideals we share" and to work together "to help bring about a better world now and for generations to come".

The Shared Act of Reflection and Commitment, the hour-long event of music, readings and prayers, dwelt on justice, community, compassion and respect. Tony Blair described the occasion as "progress of a very special sort" for the country which showed how religions, which had often been cause for division, "can reach out across the divide".

Dr Carey emphasised the Christian nature of the millennial celebrations, but acknowledged "the increasingly important contribution of other faiths". He said: "This event will, I believe, be seen by future generations as truly historic."

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