HUNDREDS of people from all faiths gathered to find out more about Islam and remember murdered aid worker Alan Henning.

Visitors to St George’s Hall in Northgate, Blackburn, paid tribute to the taxi driver at the third annual interfaith community event, Journey of Faith.


Organiser Zubair Valimulla said around 2,000 people attended on Friday night.

He said: “There was a statement to denounce any form of terrorism or barbaric actions. We do not promote any form of violence – that is not Islam.

“We live in harmony and the message for all is, we are here together, respecting each other’s faiths and backgrounds, and culture.

“We kept the event free because we want everyone who believes in cohesion and peace.”

Mr Valimulla also said that, although there were separate areas for men and women at the event, there was also a mixed zone.

He said: “We don’t believe in segregation but if people chose to sit separately, they could do.”

Among those at the event were Dr Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar, a friend of Mr Henning’s who had also been on an aid convoy with him.

International speakers Sheikh Yusuf Estes from the USA, and Sheikh Abu Bakr Shatri from Saudi Arabia, both gave speeches, while Qari Ziyaad Patel from South Africa performed spiritual entertainment.

Maulana Imtiaz Sidat, from Leicester, also performed, as did world number one football freestyler Colin Nell, from London.

The event offered the chance for visitors to find what ‘Islam is all about’.

Mr Valimulla added: “I definitely feel that there could be more open-door policies and open days, where different people from different backgrounds can go to a mosque or a church.

“Blackburn is very diverse and mixed and we don’t generally have any racism and, if there is a minority, we want to show them we are united and not divided.”

Mr Henning, 47, was beheaded by Islamic State extremists 11 months after he was taken hostage while helping locals affected by the Syrian conflict.

The killing, which was filmed before being released online, was widely condemned by world leaders, with Prime Minister David Cameron ordering intelligence services to track down and kill or capture Mr Henning’s murderers.