His Grace, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, visited the Birmingham, UK headquarters of Islamic Relief on the 6th of February 2003.
During the visit, his Grace was given a brief tour of the Projects Division and had the opportunity to speak to members of staff about the work they do around the world.
Archbishop Nichols with Islamic Relief President Dr Hany El Banna
At a reception held in his honour, Archbishop Nichols expressed his happiness at being able to see the work of organisations like Islamic Relief. He spoke of how difficult it had once been for members of different faiths to enter into dialogue with each other.
“There was a time when I would have found it difficult to go into an Anglican Church,” he told Islamic Relief staff. “It is only relatively recently that I have been able to do so, and now, being here amongst members of the Muslim community marks a further tremendous step forward for inter-faith co-operation.”
Archbishop Nichols speaking with Atallah Fitzgibbon durring his tour of the Projects Division
Archbishop Nichols was offered an insight into the work which Islamic Relief carries out with partners such as Cafod, Christian Aid, DfID and WFP. This has included extensive relief programmes in some of the world’s most troubled regions, such as Chechnya, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Sudan.
Islamic Relief’s development work has also helped many thousands of impoverished people, living in regions of drought and famine.
Together, Dr Hany El Banna and the Archbishop pledged themselves to ongoing friendship and prayer. They resolved that no matter what happens in the world of politics, the affinity of faith that exists between them – both Muslim and Christian – would not be damaged or broken.
The meeting ended with prayers for peace, mutual trust and friendship.