HARROW is the most religiously diverse borough in London and with this comes both good and bad.
The recent demonstrations outside Harrow Central Mosque, in Station Road, Harrow, brought the area a lot of bad press and could have disrupted the harmony among different faith groups in the area.
However, determined to unite all cultures and religions, Harrow Inter Faith Council has worked in partnership with Harrow Council to organise a week of activities as part of the first ever National Inter Faith Week.
The week started on Monday (November 16) with events at Siddhashram Shakti Centre, in Palmerston Road, Harrow Wealdstone, and United Reformed Church, in Woodcock Hill, Harrow.
A whole host of events are still to come, including a musical night, a film making event, and open days with the last events taking place on Sunday (22).
Pam Lea is a member of Kenton Baptist Church, where an open day and worship services are being held on Sunday (22)
She said: "This inter faith week is very important to us because we want to encourage people of all faiths to come in to the church
"We need to open our hearts and minds to people of all faiths so we can live in peace with each other without discrimination.
"We also need to do it for the children because they have to learn to respect and understand other religions. They need to understand that we are friends and not enemies."
Dr Rajeshji Parmar, a spiritual leader at the International Siddhashram Shakti Centre and member of Harrow Inter Faith Council, said: "This event is a chance for people of different faiths to come together.
"There's a lot of conflict at the moment in Harrow with the recent demonstrations outside the mosque and this event will allow people to see that all faiths in the borough are united and that people are not fighting each other.
"All faiths in the area have a good connection with the whole community and no one from the outside can damage that."
The signature event of the week will be a talk on 'Religion and Law in a Modern Society' at the Civic Centre on Saturday (21) night.
Martha Besser, secretary of Harrow Inter Faith Council, said: "The Archbishop of Canterbury talked about adopting Sharia law in Britain last year so we have decided to hold a talk about that on Saturday.
"This week is important for the Harrow community because I think all faiths need to enter into dialogue with each other and befriend each other.
"In the past faiths have kept their distance from each other and people in Harrow are scared of what they don't know and of different cultures. They are scared of people coming into the borough, but there's really nothing to be scared of.
"People understand their own religions and I think we need to widen that.
"That message needs to be spread through schools because education is a good thing, wherever it comes from. It has got to be celebrated and embraced.
"You can't shut people out just because they come from different parts of the world. It's important to know your neighbour and those around you. If you don't you become isolated and we will end up with lots of mini countries within one country. People need to move forward or they will get left behind.
"Harrow is the most religiously diverse borough in London so if we socialise with each other we will have a better society.
"Religion plays an important role in all our lives, whether we believe in it or not so I would like people to come out and support the event, but that's up to them."
Councillor Jean Lammiman, portfolio holder for community and cultural services at Harrow Council, said: "We are very fortunate to live in such a multi-cultural and religiously diverse borough and this open faith week will further strengthen our community relations by giving people a chance to learn more about different religions."
Programme of events -
Friday, November 20
In Tune With God
7.30pm – 10.30pm
Zartoshty Brothers Hall, Zoroastrian Centre for Europe, 440 Alexandra Avenue, Harrow.
Young Jains and Bhakti Mandal are hosting a musical night. Various faith communities have been invited to sing some of their most devotional songs/prayers, including content
Refreshments will be served at the end of the event.
For catering purposes, please let us know if you are attending by emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information call 020 8866 0765.
6pm – 8pm
St John The Baptist C Of E Church, Victoria Cl/Sheepcote Road, Harrow
A multi faith film making event about how different religions affect young lives today. Young people from different faiths are participating.
For more information call 020 8863 3690.
Saturday, November 21
Celebration of Sai Baba’s Birthday & Grandparents Day
10am – noon
Sai School of Harrow, Stanburn School, Abercorn Road, Stanmore
Shabbat Morning Service
10.30am – 12.30pm
Kol Chai Jewish Community, Uxbridge Road, Pinner
For more information call 020 8421 5482.
10am – 3pm
North Harrow Methodist Church, Pinner Road, Harrow
The church will be open to the public to view the completion of our "Transformation" project, a complete refurbishment and redecoration of the worship area, described by one visitor as "absolutely gorgeous".
For more information call Alan Piper on 020 8427 2803 or email