The role of marriage in religion to be debated tonight in Seven Kings

The role of marriage in Christianity, Judaism and Islam is the subject of a talk being held this evening.

St John’s Church, St Johns Road, Seven Kings, will host the discussion organised by the East London Three Faiths Forum at 8pm.

Rabbi Alex Chapper, Quran group leader Hafiz Abdullah Muhammed and Phil Butcher, marriage adviser for the Diocese of Brentwood, will all be speaking.

Rabbi Chapper of the Ilford Federation Synagogue, Coventry Road, Ilford, said: “The question of marriage is often debated in the 21st century, but it should remain the foundation of society.”

He said it was important because it promoted commitment, stability and a sense of shared purpose.

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Mr Muhammed who leads the Quran Study Group which meets at the Eman Foundation, Ashgrove Road, Goodmayes, said: “Marriage is important because it is a commitment with responsibility. It ensures the values of society are carried forward and, quite simply, it is a means of the survival of the human race.”

The talk will emphasise the shared beliefs of the monotheistic religions, something Roman Catholic marriage and family co-ordinator Mr Butcher was keen to highlight. He said: “These events are very much about understanding the common ground between us. We share far more collectively than that which keeps us apart.”

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All speakers were concerned with government intervention in marriage.

Mr Abdullah said: “Because of legislative moves, believers in the current climate fear that our institution could be at risk. The government should not push its own agenda on our institutions.”

Another source of contention is same-sex marriage.

Rabbi Chapper said: “Marriage is by definition between a man and a woman. It is a biblical term. If same-sex relations are made official I don’t think it should be called marriage.”

n For more information about the East London Three Faiths Forum events, visit

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