The buffet must go on: Ilford faith event overcomes disaster

Despite a ceiling collapsing and two changes of venue about 100 people turned out for an interfaith social buffet.

It was organised by the Redbridge Faith Forum with people from at least seven different religions represented.

The forum aims to increase respect, co-operation and understanding between different faith groups.

Shamshia Ali, from the forum, said: “Considering the hurdles we have had it’s turned out amazingly. We had to turn people away as we could not cater to everybody and to them I apologise. The next event will be bigger and better.”

Due to the ceiling collapsing at their original venue choice, the buffet was held in restaurant Food Street UK in High Road, Ilford yesterday evening.

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Mrs Ali said: “It’s important in a multi-faith society to talk and there’s no better environment than eating food and having a conversation with your neighbour. It’s not just faiths, but different backgrounds as well.”

The first meeting of the charity took place in 2003 and since then the forum has worked to increase interaction between different faiths.

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Mrs Ali said: “Meeting and talking takes away a lot of the misperceptions. There are lesser known faiths and when you come to these events you realise how established they are in the community.”

Loga Juggapah, one of 15 registered Baha’is in Redbridge, said: “It’s interesting to meet people of all different faiths. We are no different from anyone, so it’s important that we all keep the atmosphere that we are one family of mankind.”

Reba Barua 48, who attends the Buddhist temple in Blake Hall Road, Wanstead, said the events were a good way to learn about different events coming up in various communities.

She said; “I found that it’s really useful to see people from different faiths and exchange ideas. It gives us an opportunity to get together and eat nice food while getting to know more about different people.”

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