King Charles hosts interfaith summit at Buckingham Palace

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King Charles hosts interfaith summit at Buckingham Palace

Monarch hears how faith leaders are promoting harmony in face of Israel-Hamas war

Pic: PA
Pic: PA

The King has heard how community and faith leaders are working to promote harmony in their areas in the face of the Israeli conflict with Hamas.

Charles hosted a gathering of representatives from across the UK, giving them time and space at Buckingham Palace to discuss the issues they face, before joining them after an hour to hear their conclusions.

The violence in Israel and Gaza has had reverberations in some Jewish and Muslim communities in the UK with faith leaders finding themselves working to maintain dialogue between faith groups.

Canon Dr Andrew Smith, director of interfaith relations for the Bishop of Birmingham, was part of the discussions and he said afterwards faith and community groups had worked well together and with local authorities during the pandemic.

Pic: PA

He added: “Geopolitics affects things and it has done so for years and obviously at the moment it’s straining relationships, and we talked about the fact people are really feeling hurt, feeling angry and really struggling to have the right kind of conversations.

“The fact that in schools people are not quite sure, teachers are nervous about how to create space, but some pupils feel ‘why can’t we talk about this?’.

“So we talked about the fact it is a painful time, there are some bits of hope, some relationships are being sustained through this, some are very fragile but are being sustained.”

Canon Smith said in his area a peace service had been held in a Catholic church where different faiths gathered to say prayers.

He added: “When you’re hurting you do something really gentle.”

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