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Religious leaders work together on unity

Emir Saleem Talbot, Imam of the Bermuda Islamic Cultural Centre, John Rankin, the Governor and Wes Spiewak, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, release birds of peace last December (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Three of Bermuda’s religious leaders have come together to form a new group to promote unity in the face of Covid-19.Bishop Wes Spiewak of the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, Imam Emir Saleem Talbot of the Bermuda Islamic Cultural Centre and the Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, the Anglican Bishop of Bermuda will work as part of the Bermuda Committee for Human Fraternity.The informal agreement will be formally launched this afternoon at Victoria Park to highlight the day of interfaith prayer convened by the Higher Committee for Human Frailty in Abu Dhabi.A spokesman said: “The three faith leaders will highlight the uniquely global spotlight that has fallen on Bermuda as a result of the island’s proximity to the first arrival of African prisoners of war from the Catholic Kingdom of Kongo in present day Angola to Virginia and Bermuda in 1619. “This anniversary has paved the way for a wide ranging focus on peacemaking that is relevant to the broader transatlantic community.”The group will also address concerns about a potential “hunger pandemic” as a result of Covid-19’s worldwide impact.The spokesman added: “Today marks the first part of this process of goodwill and peacemaking which will continue with a tree planting ceremony for reconciliation and peace on May 24 at Government House in celebration of the Ramadhan Eid Al Fitr, the fifth anniversary of the Laudato Si encyclical of Pope Francis, the birthday of Queen Victoria, US Memorial Day weekend and the spirit of African Unity Day. “All peoples will be encouraged to engage their own tree of reconciliation and peace in celebration of this unique moment in modern history.”