Report by Ayesha Jamal,Administrative Executive, Muslim Council of Wales
Photographs by Mr Zaid Djerdi
The Muslim Council of Wales were delighted to hold their Annual Interfaith Dinner 2019 on Tuesday 26th March. This year’s dinner was held at St Fagans National Museum of History, an illustrious venue that is set in the grounds of St Fagans Castle and chronicles the historic lifestyle, culture and architecture of the Welsh people.
With over 400 attendees, the interfaith dinner truly met its purpose of commemorating interfaith, and acting as a unified gathering of respect and joy. The volunteers were all members of Cardiff’s admirably active youth community, including representatives from Pontyclun RAF air cadets as well as the 1st Cathays Al-Huda Scout Group. These volunteers greeted the dinner guests with a smile, took their coats and escorted them to the delightful selection of drinks and canapés.
In the usual tradition of the Muslim Council of Wales interfaith dinners, each table in the main hall was named after a virtuous characteristic such as kinship, compassion and hope. The name cards at each seat also had beautiful quotes from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), such as “None of you believes until you love for your brother what you love for yourself”.
It was a pleasure to have the interfaith dinner hosted bilingually in English and Welsh by Ali Amir and Arooj Khan respectively. After everyone was seated, Sheikh Yaqoub Kutkut opened the evening with his melodic recitation of the Holy Quran. Professor Saleem Kidwai OBE, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales welcomed everyone in the opening address and a minute of silence was held for the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack.
The two keynote speakers of the event were Reverend Rowan Williams, Baron Williams of Oystermouth and the former Archbishop of Canterbury and Professor Wajih Kanso, Director of the Royal Institute of Inter-faith Studies. The Muslim Council of Wales were also honoured to have on stage First Minister Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford AM as the Chief Guest, as well as Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt AM.
At the end was an awards ceremony, which is a token of gratitude, appreciation and friendship from the Muslim Council of Wales to individuals who have made a significant contribution to our society. The celebrated recipients were Reverend Rowan Williams, Professor Wajih Kanso, the Rt. Hon. Mark Drakeford AM, Professor Meena Upadhyaya OBE, Mr Ghuzanfar Ali, Mr Daoud Ali Salaman, Ms Fadhila Al Dhahouri and the Most Reverend George Stack.
After a vote of thanks, the evening was closed with the three-course meal served by Eastern Cuisine Wales. A noteworthy feature of this year’s dinner was the fundraising for the statue of former First Minister Rhodri Morgan, which will be built near the Pierhead building in Cardiff Bay. The Muslim Council of Wales are proud to look back on this year’s event as a resounding success and look forward to furthering the bonds of interfaith and diversity in our community.