10:30am Tuesday 22nd June 2010
A GROUP of Malaysian delegates descended on the London School of Jewish Studies in Hendon yesterday as part of their national tour into the learnings of different faiths.
They were greeted by Rabbi Natan Levy, head of the Jewish Responsibility Unit at LSJS, who gave the visitors a tour of the school, followed by a question and answer seminar.
The afternoon ended with a group planting of an olive tree, designed to symbolise peace and unity between the two faiths.
The Malaysian delegates, which included an assistant secretary from the Ministry of Home Affairs and two Shariah High Court judges, asked a variety of questions to Rabbi Levy.
Topics ranged from the workings of the Torah, which contain the five books of Moses, his views on the situation in Gaza and the Holocaust, which Rabbi Levy said was, "a wound that hasn't fully healed yet."
At the end of the seminar, a group of adult students studying world faith at LSJS, joined the visitors to ask each other questions.
When asked what they hoped to gain from their tour, Mizra Hilmi Abu Bakar, assistant director for the Anti-Drugs Department said: "We also live in an inter-faith society, much like London. Islam is the largest religion but all other faiths are welcome to be expressed freely."
After the planting of the olive tree, Rabbi Levy said: "The olive tree is a sign of peace. A symbol of unity and togetherness."
He added: "It has been a real honour to have everyone here."
The delegates then presented the Rabbi with a silver plaque as a token of thanks.
Shah Shahin, programmes manager from the Muslim College, London, who organised the trip, said: "Both Malaysia and Britain are multi-race, multi-faith societies, the only difference being that in Malaysia Islam is the majority religion, whereas here it's a minority."
He added: "They enjoyed the afternoon immensely. For many, this tour is their first encounter with deeper looks into other faiths."