Redbridge religious leaders discuss whether faith can build bridges

PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 February 2017

Rev. Santou Beurklian-Carter, Sheikh Ayoub and Rabbi Henry Goldstein

Rev. Santou Beurklian-Carter, Sheikh Ayoub and Rabbi Henry Goldstein


A vicar, a rabbi and a Muslim scholar from Redbridge shared their thoughts on whether faith can serve to build bridges between people or to shore up walls to keep them apart at the latest East London Three Faiths Forum meeting.

On January 27 new US president Donald Trump issued an executive order, temporarily barring nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – from entering the USA for 90 days.

It also suspended the United States’ refugee system for a period of 120 days.

Although the topic for the forum meeting had been planned well in advance of Mr Trump becoming president, it raised many relevant issues for residents in the borough.

Shaykh Ayub Rashid, of the Ilford Community Centre, in Eton Road, Ilford, said Mr Trump’s travel ban was a “big shock” to Muslims at his mosque.

Some Muslims would refuse to go to the United States explained Shaykh Ayub.

Rabbi Henry Goldstein, of South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue, Newbury Park, said he hoped President Trump was mindful in his new role.

He said: “It is difficult when something comes along that you feel is aimed at you because of who you are. That is a very awkward situation to be in.”

The Rev Santou Beurklian-Carter, curate at St Mary’s Church, in South Woodford, said she prays for Mr Trump to listen to his advisers and to God rather than making reactive decisions.

She said: “I agree that he should be mindful and respectful of other people, even if they have different viewpoints.”

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