AGM 2019

The well attended AGM was held on 24th July in the splendid environment of the top floor of Hounslow House, the new Civic Centre. The keynote speaker was Maqsood Ahmed OBE, Director of UK Projects for the charity Muslim Hands. His theme was The Importance of Interfaith Dialogue in Contemporary Societies. He expressed the view that  dialogue is about building bridges through ta’rafu – which means knowing each other. His vision is to work for the good of humanity not retaliating to hostility or negative views. He described the Muslim Hands Project in Hounslow called Open Kitchen. This restaurant on the Great West Road is open daily with nourishing free meals for those in need.

Walk of Peace and Friendship 2019

Outside the World Zoroastrian Centre, Feltham

This year’s HFOF Walk of Peace and Friendship was held on Saturday 22nd June with more than forty walkers taking part. The walk visited the World Zoroastrian Centre in Hanworth Road Feltham, the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak in Martindale Road Hounslow, the Islamic Integration Community Centre, Staines Road Hounslow and St Mary’s Church in Bedfont. The Mayor of Hounslow Cllr Tony Louki attended and as always the walkers were given a warm welcome at every venue. 

Farewell to Bessie

Farewell to Bessie White

HFOF Women’s Group Outing

Empire of the Sikhs

I am pleased to circulate the Group’s outing details to see an exquisite exhibition at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG. Admission is free. Nearest Tube Station Russell Square (Piccadilly Line) on Saturday 11th August. We will meet at Osterley Tube Station at 10.00am or you can join us at the venue at 11.00am. A guided tour has been arranged so please wait for the group.


Empire of the Sikhs Poster









Smiles and Friendship in Feltham

There were smiles and welcome at every venue for the 2018 Walk of Peace and Friendship on 24th June.  Our annual event took in four places of worship in the Feltham area with, in the words of local MP Seema Malhotra, once again the message of the value of walking in each other’s footsteps and through each other’s doors.  Mayor of Hounslow Councillor Samia Chaudhary also attended and welcomed the work of Hounslow Friends of Faith.

The Walk began at the Athula Dassana Buddhist Centre in Hanworth where monk Bhikkhu Assaji explained Buddhist philosophy and practice before the community members provided lunch.  After crossing Hanworth Park the second visit was to the Riverside Vineyard Church in Browells Lane where Senior Pastor Andy Chapman explained the work of the church in meeting the needs of the area.  He described their newly completed community centre and the Storehouse Project which provides food and equipment to families in difficulties.

There was a warm welcome at HIRA (the Hounslow Islamic Relief Association).  Imam Sheikh Mohammed Sayed gave a short talk on Ramadan before a tour of the centre. He joined us for the final visit to St Lawrence’s Catholic Church on The Green. Deacon Colin Macken responded to a range of questions about the church.  The wealth of the church he said is its people.

Thank you to everyone for an excellent day.  And the sun shone!

Faiths celebrate their Commonwealth Heritage

A ‘Big Lunch’ to celebrate the Commonwealth heritage of many residents of the borough is being held on 19th April.  Hounslow Jamia Masjid in Wellington Road South is taking the initiative to mark the meeting of the Heads of Government of Commonwealth countries taking place in London in April 2018.  Events have already taken place and Hounslow Friends of Faith was represented at a reception to mark the occasion which took place at Buckingham Palace in February. Members also attended a reception in March at Hounslow Civic Centre at the invitation of the Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Sue Sampson.

General Secretary of the mosque Shafiq Rehman sees the lunch as a great community event, once again celebrating the diversity of Hounslow borough.  He hopes to have people present at the lunch from as many of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth as possible, many of whom will be of different faiths.  Get in touch with Hounslow Friends of Faith if you would like to attend or know someone else who would like an invitation.

Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony 2018

Hounslow Friends of Faith members joined students and other guests at the Green School for Girls to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on 29th January.  In the presence of the Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Sue Sampson and other civic officials, Michael Brown shared the story of his life in Germany before the Second World War, his escape to the UK on the second last Kindertransport in August 1939 and his time with foster parents in Liverpool.

The theme for 2018 was the Power of Words and Michael described how words can be used to denigrate and discriminate against groups of people with horrific consequences.

Rev Richard Frank, Anglican Area Dean, suggested that by being at this event, those present were able to show through their living and their speaking their determination that such an event as the Holocaust could never happen again.

Leader of Hounslow Council, Steve Curran, referred to the diversity of the borough. He asked students whose families were newer residents to find out what their relatives had felt like when they first arrived.  Anti-semitism and hate crime are only just below the surface and there have been more recent genocides such as Muslims at Srebrenica in Bosnia. Always challenge any inappropriate remark, he stated.

Councillor Curran mentioned that Hounslow Council have taken some unaccompanied refugee children from Calais and families from Syria.  These latter are being supported by members of the community. (Note: this is through Refugees Welcome Hounslow, a group sponsored by Hounslow Friends of Faith.  Get in touch if you would like to know more.)

There was moving display of art work by sixth form students on the topic in the school hall. Photos of some of these and of the event are in our Gallery. Photo credits Bessie White and LB Hounslow.

Inter Faith Week in Hounslow 2017

 Inter Faith Week is marked across the UK in mid November each year with a wide range of activities, all designed to bring people of different faiths together and show the positive contribution faiths can make to society. Two great events took place locally.

The HFOF Women’s Group had fun at the Bring and Share, East meets West food evening. Samosa chaat with tamarind sauce, mince pies, patra – chickpeas and colocasia (eddoes), Polish salad, coconut macaroons and the vicar of Feltham’s upside down pineapple cake. Thanks to Satish Dutt for some laughter yoga to get us in the mood and to Divya for a quiz afterwards. And thank you to all the cooks.  A great evening.

Later in the week there were two stimulating performances of The Bundle, a play by Journeymen Theatre about an asylum seeker’s journey.  It highlighted some of the issues involved for those of us who have little experience of what it’s like to feel driven from an intolerable situation to seek a safer life. Journeymen Theatre Company members are active in projects for asylum seekers in the West Midlands, including a scheme to pay transport costs, and MacKenzie Friends, who offer non-professional support and advice to asylum seekers as they present their cases to tribunals.

Donations at the performances were shared between the projects above and Refugees Welcome Hounslow.  This group, which was launched following an initiative of Hounslow Friends of Faith is just celebrating the arrival of the second household from Syria under the Government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, with a third following very soon.  Hounslow Council are accepting up to 10 families, just as soon as private properties can be found.  Do get in touch if you can help.

For more information about other events which took place round the country during Inter Faith Week see

Women’s Group Picnic in the Park

Picnic in Osterley Park 2 19.8.17Over 25 adults and children enjoyed the sunshine at our Interfaith Women’s Group picnic in Osterley Park on 19th August 2017 when the chat and food flowed. ‘Does this happen every year?’ was the question, to which the answer must be yes!  Some people had enjoyed the Walk earlier in the summer, some were regulars at the Knitting Group while others again are active with Refugees Welcome Hounslow for which HFOF is a founder member and sponsor.

Afterwards a group went for a walk in the park and others made the most of the buggy transport along the drive.

Meanwhile the next sessions for the group will be in Feltham on 16th September at 4pm and 2nd October at 7.15pm. Hold the dates, details to follow in our events section.

Learning from the leaders of the great religions

Presentation to John Parry and his wife cpd What can we learn from the leaders of the great religions, even if we are not of that faith?  Rev Dr John Parry, a United Reformed Minister who has studied Sikhism for over 30 years, shared his insights with a well attended multi-faith audience at the Gurdwara Sri Singh Sabha in Hounslow on 13th July.

Guru Gobind Singh was the 10th and last spiritual leader and the founder of the Khalsa, the Sikh community, in 1699.  He was a man of vision, commitment and organisational skills, but also of humility. Although he inspired sacrifice from Sikhs as they stood up for their faith against the Mughal emperor, he also saw humanity as one. He distinguished between the political form of a religion and faith itself for the individual.

John Parry discussed the value to a faith of scriptures, the understanding of the concept of God and the obligation of service to others. It was Guru Gobind Singh who installed the Sikh scriptures as the final guru, always available and central to the life of the community and the family.

He saw the concept of God as too great for the human mind to comprehend.  This inability to comprehend God fully has a parallel in Christian St Paul’s words ‘through a glass darkly’.  Humans should always be selfless and give service to others.

This talk presented something new and different, a real soul searching for those who are at the chalk face of interfaith activities, having to deal with histories of strife between faiths and yet finding a way forward together as one diverse humankind.

The photo shows John Parry and his wife receiving a thank you gift from Chair of HFOF Charanjit Ajit Singh.  Earlier John had presented a copy of his book ‘The Word of God is not Bound, the encounter of Sikhs and Christians in India and the UK’ to Mr Gurmeet Singh, President of the Gurdwara.