Christians and Muslims Visit Holy Sites in Turkey

Ten Muslims and 10 Christians from within the Diocese of Leicester returned last Saturday from a pilgrimage to holy sites in Turkey.

The visit is part of an ongoing effort to build closer ties between the two faith communities and during their time in Turkey they took time to share ideas and thoughts on the significance of the holy sites they visited from their own faiths' perspective.

Stop-offs included historically important sites such as Istanbul, Ephesus, Konya, the birthplace of the Sufi saint Rumi, and Cappadokia, and the group were also given the opportunity to learn more about modern day Turkey.

The pilgrimage brought together mostly members of Muslim-Christian dialogue groups, which have been meeting at the St Philip's Church and Centre every six weeks for the last seven years.

A reporter from BBC Radio Leicester also accompanied them on their journey, which was their boldest yet. Previous journeys had only been as far afield as Bradford, Burnley and Manchester.

The trip was organised and hosted by a Muslim dialogue organisation in Turkey.

Canon Andrew Wingate, the Bishop's Inter Faith Advisor, lead the pilgrimage but expressed another reason why it was so important to be there.

"We will also wish to express our solidarity with the small Christian community, who have suffered considerably in the recent past," he said prior to the journey.

The Christian community in Turkey has been left feeling even more vulnerable after three Bible workers in a publishing house were brutally murdered.