Walkers of all faiths unite in a show of solidarity

Peace walkers outside Sunderland Minster.
Peace walkers outside Sunderland Minster.
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Crowds of all faiths gathered in the city yesterday to take part in the annual Interfaith for Friendship walk aiming to show unity and peace.

The fourth annual event organised by Rev Chris Howson, chaplain for Sunderland University, saw around 65 Sunderland residents from various faiths and backgrounds walking through the city together.

The event – which was especially poignant this year following the Paris terror attacks – saw walkers set off from Sunderland Minster at 12.30pm and visit the Gurudwara Sikh Temple and then onto a city mosque.

Rev Howson said religious groups participating in the walk included Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Christian and Hindus among others.

“Each year the event gets bigger and better,” he said. “The walk is very important to us, particularly after the atrocities in Paris.

“People like ISIS try to divide people, but we want to show we are a community.

“The struggle in the 21st century is between these who want to live together and those who want to force us apart.

“I am a chaplain at the university and there are over 100 nationalities at the university. It is important that the feel welcome and get support from communities.”

Walker Tafazza Hussain, vice chairman of Sunderland Bangladesh Community Centre, said he thought the walk was a great thing to do.

“The walk is very important. We condemn the Paris attacks and this sort of thing, it shouldn’t happen.”

Jo Dowsett was taking part in the walk with her family.

She said: “I think this walk is so important as it is an expression of the fact that ordinary people can get on with their neighbours whatever their faith.

“There are a variety of faiths coming together here.”

Retired GP and atheist Pam Wortley said she was a peace activist and regularly attended marches in the hope of bringing peace.

“I am walking because of the wars in the world, because we need somehow to get peace.

“I am an athiest, but I just wanted to show solidarity with other faiths.”