On Thursday 28th October, Al-Manaar hosted an Inter-Faith Welcome Event for Afghan Refugees, from 4pm to 6pm. This event not only welcomed the Afghan Refugees to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, but it also celebrated the values of diversity, tolerance and coexistence in the borough and across the UK.
Over three hundred people filled the halls of Al-Manaar, most of whom were refugees, but a number of people from different organisations and faith-based institutions were also present. The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Gerard Hargreaves, was also in attendance, and he welcomed the refugees and expressed his appreciation in a speech he made at the beginning. The Mayor also proved to be very popular with the refugees, many of whom asked for photos with him throughout the event.
Multiple Speakers from various backgrounds and organisations were invited to speak at the event. They included representatives from Latymer Community Church, Al-Manaar Mosque, Holland Park Synagogue, West London Synagogue, London Fire Brigade, as well as vocational training providers. All of their speeches were translated into Pashto and Dari languages, so that the refugees could understand what was being said.
Dinner prepared in Al-Manaar’s Community Kitchen, was provided for all the guests, and was particularly enjoyed by the refugees who stated that it reminded them of the food they would eat back home in Afghanistan.
During the event, the refugees spoke to a number of people from different organisations, which provided them with the opportunity to talk about their experiences, allowed the young, specifically those aged 16-24, to sign up for work, training and education opportunities, and also receive information about Qur’an classes being held at Al-Manaar.
The event was a resounding success, and Al-Manaar is honoured to have hosted such a wonderful event welcoming the refugees from Afghanistan as well as celebrating the multi-culturalism and tight-knit community of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.