On Saturday 9th June, Usama Hasan, Quilliam’s Senior Researcher in Islamic Studies, chanted Islamic prayers for peace in Arabic and English during the interfaith service for peace held at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church, Trafalgar Square. The service followed a 12-hour overnight prayer vigil at St Martin-in-the-Fields that marked the start of 100 Days of Peace in the run up to the Olympics (more info here: http://www.peacelegacy.org.uk/). The interfaith service was addressed by attended by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, and representatives of the Bahai, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Sikh and Zoroastrian faiths. A prayer was also read out on behalf of the Jewish faith, many of whose members were observing the Sabbath at the time. Primary and secondary school choirs also sang songs of peace. The entire service may be found here (attached).
The prayer vigil heralded the start of the “sacred truce” that, as in ancient times, will proclaim peace for London as the host city of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Usama Hasan commented, “The Olympic ‘sacred truce’, to allow warring Greek tribes safe passage to Mount Olympus, has similarities with the four ‘sacred months’ of the Islamic calendar, that traditionally meant an end to war and promotion of peace for a third of every year, to allow warring Arabian tribes safe passage to the Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca).”