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3rd December 2012

People of faith unite to spruce up Platt Fields Park

Volunteers paint fences and clean graffiti for Interfaith Week

Students from a mix of faiths volunteered in Platt Fields Park for Interfaith Week last Wednesday.

University of Manchester students from all the major religious societies attended the event designed to bring students from different faiths together.

Students’ Union Diversity Officer and Interfaith Week organiser Saad Wahid said, “Students belonging to Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Christian faiths joined hands for a common cause.

“Approximately 60 student volunteers turned up, sacrificing the comfort of their homes to contribute and engage in a community-based project.

“The event generated a lot of enthusiasm and the feedback I have received has been positive.”

Volunteers spent the time cleaning graffiti off benches and scraping down and repainting fences.

The President of the Islamic Society told The Mancunion he hoped the event would show people religion is not just about religious activities.

“People think faith is something that is limited to prayer spaces,” he said. “The Islamic society is here to show that faith is something that gives back to the community.

“Religion is also seen as something that divides people up, because it is seen that each individual faith has different interests, but by coming together we are showing that there are so many things we can work together on.

“There is no reason to segregate faiths.”

Tim Mckenzie from the Student Christian Movement said he did not usually mix with people from such a variety of faiths.

“I think this was a really good opportunity for people from all faiths to come together and do something practical and engage in conversation about everything from religious views to more mundane things,” he said. “I had a conversation with somebody from the Pakistan Society about cricket.

“I think it’s important for us to engage in the world around us.

“Caring for the environment and the world we live in I think appeals to all the major faiths.”

Interfaith Week, which happens every November, is designed to bring people from different faiths together, something the outgoing Interfaith Officer from the Jewish Society said was really important.

“I think it is really important for faiths to come together,” Sarah Cohen said.

Members of the Friends of Platt Fields Park directed the student volunteers, originally expected to be up to 200 people.

Friends of Platt Fields Park volunteer Anne Tucker said, “I think parks are one of a few places in society that everybody feels they have a right to be in.

“This is the first time we have had a multi-faith thing. It would be lovely if they could come back next year.”

Islamic Society member Mohamed Heruba said Interfaith events allowed people to see faiths through a different light.

“People see faiths through debates and the media, but never get to see people from different faiths working together.

“We are here to work for the community, we are not here to try and convince each other of anything.”

Vice-President of the Islamic Society Aamiah Taheem added, “We are all humans at the end of the day.”

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