News & Events

Interfaith Peace Walk and Tree Planting
Sunday 30 September 2018

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London joined community leaders and residents of various faiths to participate in a Peace Walk passing through diverse communities and places of worship in Brent on Sunday 30 September 2018.

The event was organised by the Brent Multi Faith Forum and brought together approximately 150 people who visited the Islamic Culture Centre in Wembley, Harlesden Ummah Community Centre, Harlesden Methodist Church, and BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden. The group also stopped at Harlesden Town Garden and collectively planted three apple trees to commemorate the coming together of the faith communities.

Multi-faith prayer meetings were held at the respective faith centres with leaders opening their doors and extending hands of friendship to promote faith cohesion and collaboration within the local neighbourhood. The congregation also shared a meal together which provided a forum to appreciate each other’s experiences and forge newfound friendships.

Volunteers at the Mandir extended a warm, traditional welcome to walkers with the beating of Indian drums and tying of symbolic threads upon the wrists of the faith leaders as a symbol of friendship and harmony. The guests were taken on a guided tour of the Mandir and provided with refreshments.

The Mayor of Brent, Cllr Arshad Mahmood, and Leader of the Brent Council, Cllr Muhammed Butt, were also present and shared their messages of encouragement and pride during the day.

The Peace Walk and tree planting ceremony were testament to the strengthened bonds forged between the faith communities over the course of the wider Harlesden Multi-Faith Network project that began in April.

Kirit Wadia, a lead interfaith volunteer at the Mandir, offered his impressions of the day: “Planting a tree is considered an act of great merit in Hinduism. However, today’s event is an especially auspicious and happy occasion, not because we are planting a tree – but because we are planting a tree together. We therefore pray that our collective efforts take deep root, branch out far and wide, and bear sweet fruit for the whole of Brent.”

The event forms part of the Mandir’s ongoing commitment to interfaith harmony. Children from the Mandir participated at an interfaith music festival at The British Museum in March 2018, and regularly participates in the annual National Interfaith Initiative.