Rabbi Lee Sunderland is a man of peace. Not only is he a man of peace but a man that inspires peace right through out the local community.
In an interview with the Havering Daily, the leader of the Romford synagogue talks to us about building bridges between the local faith groups.
‘What I have found in Havering is a very strong attempt at building bridges between communities. Hence we have a very strong and not well enough attended inter faith group.
‘Last year around the world, Muslim, Jewish and Christian institutes were targeted by terrorists and we in Havering have sent each other letters of condolence. Not only that but the last time it happened when a mosque was attacked I sent a letter to the local Havering Islamic Cultural centre and when two synagogues were attacked they didn’t just send me a letter they came and handed it in on Saturday morning in the middle of the service.
‘We followed that with an interfaith Iftar at the cultural centre and we invited the Muslims to the synagogue.
‘On Wednesday night the Jews celebrate their holiest festival Yon Kippur and the Muslims are also celebrating. Some celebrate and some commemorate. Either way the Muslims also mark the tenth day and they have invited us to come to the mosque to celebrate.
‘Some old people can’t understand that not every Muslim hates Jews. Some are starting to realise how brilliant it is.
‘The best friend I have in the world is a Muslim and I actually call him brother. We don’t have Muslims here that hate Jews. We have Muslims here that can’t stand what the Israeli Government is getting up to, some Jews can’t stand that either. But it’s about living together in peace and harmony and learning about real h other and respecting that.’
Tariq Mahmood the Vice Chair of the Havering Interfaith Forum told the Havering Daily ‘We meet either every month or every six weeks. Either at the Havering Islamic Cultural centre or at the Romford Synagogue for joint activities.
‘It’s all about building bridges together, eating together, talking together and being respectful of each other’s views. We are good friends and regularly host each other and share food together.’