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‘Children of the ghetto’: A discussion on immigrant integration in the East End


For more than two hundred years, Christians, Jews and Muslims have lived and worked in close proximity in Spitalfields, east London. Dr Anne Kershen, of Queen Mary, University of London’s Department of Politics, will chair a panel discussion next week with representatives of the three religions to discuss notions of identity and cultural and religious difference in the community.

Dr Kershen will chair the discussion on interfaith and tolerance between Rev Dr Kenneth Leech, Priest, writer and former theologian-in-residence at St Botolph’s Aldgate in the East End; Imam Ajmal Masroor, leader of Friday prayers in four mosques across London and Member of the consultative body of the Islamic Society of Great Britain; and Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, writer, broadcaster and minister of Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire.

The panel discussion will enable representatives of the three religions to express their opinions and answer questions on the way in which unity can evolve out of disunity, and how cultural and religious differences can be used to further understanding and co-operation in the 21st century.

Dr Kershen said: “At a time when it is vital that tolerance and understanding be two of the pillars of multi-culturalism, the example of the way in which Spitalfields has accommodated difference and dissidence and facilitated the integration of outsiders into the mainstream, provides an ideal starting point for any contemporary discussion of religious and ethnic harmony in the 21st century.”

Dr Kershen has been Director of the Centre for the Study of Migration since its foundation in 1995, and Barnet Shine Senior Research Fellow at Queen Mary within the Department of Politics since 1990. Her latest book, from which the panel discussion takes its themes, ‘Strangers, Aliens and Asians: Huguenots, Jews and Bangladeshis in Spitalfields 1660-2000’, was published last year.

Sally Webster | alfa
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