I WAS pleased to see the recent coverage given regarding the Makkah Mosque fast breaking Iftari event on May 10 when many people from the wider community were invited to tour the Mosque, observe prayers, listen to children reciting in Urdu and English.

There were guests from various backgrounds — Bolton Council, teachers, neighbours; other faith members attended the traditional fast breaking ritual and sharing food together.

Similar interfaith event was also held following day at the MA Mission on Halliwell Road with an inspiring title of “Love thy Neighbour”.

Once again many people from the wider community attended.

I was fortunate to attend both of them and, as in previous years, found events to be wonderful examples of one community reaching out to wider community with a hand of friendship, openness and mutual respect.

Hence such gestures to the whole community are very welcome and have immense value which helps us build good relations as well as to break down the barriers and perceptions which damages our community.

We are all aware as in today’s troubled world, a tiny group of people have sadly blemished the Islamic faith with their twisted ideology and hatred for mankind.

Their actions have no place in our society as kindness and compassion are our core humanitarian values we all share above anything else.

Their evil actions destroy lives of innocent families as we have seen many times here and, more recently, in New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

At such times, we can reflect back to an old Mahatma Gandhi quote: “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the whole ocean does not become dirty.”

Our own town of Bolton is a very good example of many partnerships working with numerous projects to bring communities together so there is an opportunity to get to know as well as to build trust between people of diverse backgrounds.

Could I take this opportunity to sincerely say thank you to many friends and colleagues who attended my retirement “Celebrating my interfaith journey” which was a truly humbling experience and my deepest gratitude to all the good people who were part of my journey for almost 12 years.

Chan Parmar